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Mislabeled sample led to release of San Diego coronavirus patient

Posted: 3:46 PM, Feb 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-12 02:16:44-05
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — An evacuee who tested positive for the coronavirus in San Diego was mistakenly released back into quarantine because their test sample was mislabeled.

Four evacuees were brought from MCAS Miramar to UC San Diego Medical Center and provided samples for testing within the last week. Three of those four samples were not labeled in compliance with the same regulations between UC San Diego Health and the CDC, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson.

Because of this, when the samples were brought to the CDC in Atlanta, three of them were not immediately processed.

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The CDC says the team in Atlanta then reported that the samples tested negative, when three of those samples had not actually been tested.

As those three patients were heading back to the base to finish out their 14-day quarantine orders, the mistake was discovered. Officials asked the three patients to self-isolate in their rooms while they tested their samples.

CDC officials said two samples came back negative and one was positive.

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The patient, a female, spent the night in her room on the base, before being returned to the hospital for isolation.

UCSD Medical Center says she is in good condition and has minimal symptoms.

CDC officials are now investigating whether the woman may have come into contact with anyone after they were released for a short time. But based on what they've learned so far, they say it appears unlikely anyone else is at risk.

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While the woman was returned to the hospital, another evacuee from Wuhan, China, was also taken to the hospital the same day for further evaluation.

The first flight carrying 167 evacuees arrived on Feb. 5, before a second flight carrying 65 evacuees arrived the next day. Those passengers are all serving 14-day quarantines that started the day they left China.