Leaky vials necessitate redo on COVID tests

The Keene Sentinel
Published: 11/20/2020 5:24:07 PM
Modified: 11/20/2020 5:23:54 PM

Twenty people who were tested last Saturday for COVID-19 at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene need to be retested, after the samples leaked in transport, according to a hospital spokesman.

The vials were being delivered to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s laboratory in Lebanon when the incident occurred, spokesman Matthew Barone said. About 700 tests are transported there weekly, he noted.

“Our process calls for multiple cap checks to ensure a tight fit,” he said in an email. “However, leaks can occur occasionally.”

The vials contain a fluid that helps dissolve what was on the COVID-19 test swabs, which is what leaked, Barone said.

Moving forward, he said, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock laboratory will add the fluid once the samples arrive, rather than its being added before transport, to ensure leaks don’t happen again.

When the leaks were noticed, Barone said nursing staff immediately switched the samples to new vials while they determined whether the samples were salvageable.

Ultimately, he said, the hospitals opted to retest the patients, who were contacted about the mishap this week.

“We did catch the issue quickly and sided on caution to retest the patents,” Barone said. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

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