‘Isolated contamination’ caused NFL’s 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests: lab

The New Jersey lab at the heart of the NFL’s weekend COVID-19 scare says the 77 false-positive samples affecting 11 teams were caused by “an isolated contamination during test preparation” and all of those tests now have been confirmed as negative.

“On August 22, BioReference Laboratories reported an elevated number of positive COVID-19 PCR test results for NFL players and personnel at multiple clubs. The NFL immediately took necessary actions to ensure the safety of the players and personnel involved,” Dr. Jon R. Cohen, executive chairman of BioReference, said Monday in a statement. “Our investigation indicated that these were most likely false positive results, caused by isolated contamination during test preparation in the New Jersey laboratory.

“Reagents, analyzers and staff were all ruled out as possible causes and subsequent testing has indicated that the issue has been resolved. All individuals impacted have been confirmed negative and informed.”

Less than three weeks from the scheduled start of the regular season, the incident shows the predicament the NFL faces if another contamination occurs once play resumes.

Among the teams reporting false positives, the Minnesota Vikings revealed they had 12, the Jets had 10 and the Chicago Bears nine. The Jets scrapped a walk-through session on Saturday night, but they held a full practice Sunday after the retested samples came back negative.

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