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Coronavirus: Winnipeg man’s false negative put entire family at risk, says mother

A Winnipeg mother is furious that her son was erroneously told he tested negative for the coronavirus.
A Winnipeg mother is furious that her son was erroneously told he tested negative for the coronavirus. The Canadian Press file

A Winnipeg woman says her family is livid after finding out her adult son — who had been told he tested negative for the coronavirus — in fact has the virus, potentially putting their whole family at risk.

The woman, who Global News has agreed not to name to avoid any unnecessary stigma on her family, said when her son found out he’d been in close proximity to a friend who had tested positive, decided to take a test of his own.

After five days of waiting, she said, he was told by HealthLinks that his test was negative.

Two days later, as he was still experiencing symptoms, her son had a virtual appointment with his doctor, who discovered that he had received incorrect information and was actually positive for COVID-19.

“I’m more concerned than anything,” she said.

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“I’m concerned, obviously for my son’s health, but I’m concerned for others as well — I hope this doesn’t happen to other people. It’s a big mistake.

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“We were very relieved and happy that he had a negative result, and then went ahead with a family event, which was very risky.”

Click to play video 'Winnipeg’s new COVID-19 testing site is now open' Winnipeg’s new COVID-19 testing site is now open
Winnipeg’s new COVID-19 testing site is now open

The woman said her son, who has a pre-existing lung condition, is currently isolating at home, suffering from a bad cough and the loss of his sense of smell.

While the other family members have all been tested and none are positive, she said the potential was there for the entire group to become unintentionally infected.

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“I just want people to be safe,” she said.

“I understand that everyone is doing their very best, including HealthLinks… and they’re overtaxed and overworked.”

Read more: Winnipeg woman waits 5 days before COVID-19 positive test results delivered

The woman said her son has yet to receive an apology from anyone involved with the province, and that the only communication they’ve had with the province has been with a public health nurse regarding contact tracing.

The province said it doesn’t comment on individual cases, but Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, told 680 CJOB that there are safeguards to help avoid a similar incident from happening again.

“I think the big issue is that we have systems in place to recognize it, investigate it and fix it,” he said.

“In the health-care system, period — we have a lot of quality improvement practices that are in place, so any kind of examples like this are investigated to see what exactly happened and how we can improve, and how we can prevent that from happening again.”

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