Following the UK government’s announcement that there would be further relaxation of social distancing measures from July 4th, an image has been doing the rounds on social media
A rumor quickly making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook is claiming that an LA-area resident tested positive for COVID-19 at a CVS Minute Clinic site in La Habra despite never actually attending their appointment to take the test. The images being circulated include a letter from CVS allegedly confirming the result, and though the actual content of the letter is for the most part blurry and illegible, that isn’t stopping the image from being widely shared on social media.
A closer look reveals that the original post came from Instagram account @carolina_gss and that the letter from CVS appears to be legitimate and confirms a 'abnormal/positive' COVID-19 test result. According to the Instagram user’s story highlights, CVS did get in touch shortly afterwards to apologize for the mix-up but failed to offer an explanation as to how this error may have occurred.
This story emerges as states across the U.S. report spikes in COVID-19 cases, causing some social media users to cast doubt on the legitimacy of those statistics. COVID-19 testing procedures have come under scrutiny with experts pointing out the risks of false negatives; it remains unclear, however, if the false positive in this case is a result of strict measures requiring tests that fail to rule out COVID-19 to be labelled as “abnormal/positive” and flagged for further investigation. It's, of course, possible that this was simply due to an administrative error. As we've seen with cases involving coronavirus relief packages being sent to dead people, even small rates of error in large scale operations can mean relatively large errors.
When reached for comment, CVS Health told Logically: “We have firm protocols and processes in place for COVID-19 testing. Given the large volume of tests that are being processed, there can be errors from time to time despite our best efforts. In the event of a confirmed error, we take corrective action to prevent it from happening again. We are aware of the original complaint and working to connect directly with the individual who posted it in order to learn more.”