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Equipment malfunction resulted in false positive tests

An equipment malfunction at the state laboratory last week resulted in 82 inconclusive tests for the new coronavirus, Gov. Doug Burgum announced during his regular briefing on Monday.

Eighty-one of the 82 people agreed to be retested. The 82 people were located in 15 different counties, including in Ward County. Of the test results that were back as the briefing on Tuesday, 64 tested negative after being retested and one person still tested positive. Results from the remaining 16 retests had not come back yet.

The false positives that were identified meant that the health department decreased the coronavirus positive count in Ward County on Tuesday to 36 cases.

Burgum said thirty-five of the 82 people who were retested were at long term care facilities. Seven were residents; 28 were health care workers. All 35 of those people tested negative for the coronavirus upon being retested.

During the briefing, it was also noted that 30 percent of those who have tested positive for the coronavirus in North Dakota have no symptoms of the disease. This roughly matches national figures, which show about 35 percent people tested are asymptomatic. This underscores the importance of people following Center for Disease Control recommendations to help stop the spread of the disease.

Burgum also said during the briefing that the state could be ready to look at a move to the next phase of reopening. He said he would address that topic later in the week.

As of Tuesday, there were 2,422 positives in the state, with 54 deaths, 40 currently hospitalized, and 1,701 recoveries reported.

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