UA mistakenly sends 7,500 COVID-negative email notifications

About 7,500 people received false negative COVID-19 results after a University of Alabama error.

Some said they haven’t received a COVID-19 test with the University in several weeks but still received the email saying they tested negative.

“I was a part of the sentinel testing which was the random sort of testing of students, staff, and faculty, so the last test I had I believe was early December,” said Jake Reed, University of Alabama student.

Reed received the email before 4 P.M. Monday evening.

“It seemed like you had been tested yesterday or maybe earlier that day so initially, it was just a bit of confusion,” he said.

A statement from the university said it was due to a technical problem with their automatic COVID-19 test result email notification system. According to the statement, the issue was quickly resolved and recipients were notified of the error Monday evening.

The technical problem was quickly identified and corrected. Everyone who received the message in error was notified directly via email with information and an apology.” The statement added that those whose test results are positive are contacted by phone.

“For some people, I think it worries them because some have been tested and are waiting on results and some haven’t so I think they had a pretty good response time of actually telling ‘hey disregard this’,’ said Cadriene Whiting, UA faculty member.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting patients and health care providers of the risk of false results, particularly false-negative results, with the Curative SARS-Cov-2 test. Risks to a patient of a false negative result include: delayed or lack of supportive treatment, lack of monitoring of infected individuals and their household or other close contacts for symptoms resulting in an increased risk of spread of COVID-19 within the community, or other unintended adverse events.

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