NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Picture this: You’re waiting in line to get tested for COVID-19, when suddenly, you receive a text and email stating that your test results are already in, even though you haven’t been tested yet.
That’s exactly what happened to Torie Privitera, who visited the state-run COVID-19 testing site at Wickford Station Wednesday.
Privitera tells 12 News she scheduled her appointment for between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. She arrived on time and waited in line, but decided to schedule another test for the next available time slot, which happened to be for 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Her reasoning for doing so was to use the second appointment as a backup in case she was turned away from her original appointment, which she claims has happened to her before.
Privitera said at 1:43 p.m., she received the results of her antigen test.
But she was still waiting in line.
“My concern was if they’re sending a result before I was even tested, did they just have an automatic negative result that they send to people? Are they actually doing these tests?” she questioned. “What’s happening to these tests once they do them?”
The first results Privitera received read “negative.” Confused, Privitera waited in line and was tested right at 2 p.m.
Privitera tells 12 News she immediately emailed the R.I. Department of Health regarding what had happened. But soon after she hit “send,” Privitera said she received another set of negative test results from her second appointment.
The catch? She was only tested once, and it was about a half hour before the time slot her second appointment was scheduled for.
“I’m concerned, and if it was just an isolated incident, if it was just me that had the negative result that wasn’t even a real negative result, is that the truth?” she asked. “Have they done an investigation? … I would just hate for people to get negative results that aren’t true and think they’re OK.”
12 News reached out to the R.I. Department of Health regarding the mix up. Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the Health Department, said the site error appears to have only impacted Privitera.
“It could have resulted from a data entry issue,” he explained. “We have done almost 8 million tests in Rhode Island since the start of the pandemic. While very rare, data entry issues sometimes do occur. We are working with the team on site to address this.”
Privitera said she also received the results of two PCR tests — one negative and one positive — Thursday afternoon, even though she received one antigen test.