IRVINE (CBSLA) – A reported coronavirus outbreak among dozens of students at Concordia University in Irvine earlier this week turned out to be a false alarm because of a flurry of false positives.
The university had reported over the weekend that there were 65 active cases of coronavirus among students and staff.
However, school officials announced Wednesday that only six of the 65 cases returned as positive in follow up laboratory testing. The rest were determined to have been false positives.
The university said it used a rapid antigen testing with an 80% accuracy rate in the initial tests. Every rapid antigen test on a student or staff member who was asymptomatic was followed up with a PCR lab test. Those PCR lab tests determined that nearly all but six of the rapid antigen positive tests were actually negative.
The school noted that it had reported the results of those rapid tests on its dashboard prior to confirming them with the follow up PCR tests because it wanted to nip what it thought was an outbreak in the bud.
“As the number of preliminary tests results indicated a potential outbreak, the university made the decision to post the unconfirmed test results, noting that the results were still pending confirmation,” the school wrote in a news release Wednesday.
There are now only six active cases, four students and two staff. The Orange County Health Care Agency has also advised the university to stop using the rapid antigen testing on asymptomatic individuals.
Beginning this past Monday, Concordia transitioned all its classes back to online instruction after Orange County was moved back into the purple tier of California’s coronavirus recovery roadmap.
All sports practices are canceled until at least the spring of 2021.