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Middlemore Hospital staff return to work after false positive Covid-19 test forces stand-down

Staff at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital, who were stood down after a patient returned a weak positive for Covid-19, have resumed their normal activities after the test was deemed a false positive.

Middlemore Hospital. Source: Counties Manukau Health

A spokesperson for the Northland and Auckland DHB’s Covid-19 response today confirmed to 1 NEWS that one person was given a Covid-19 test as a precaution after being seen at the hospital last night for respiratory symptoms.

"Clinical assessment was that symptoms were likely to be related to a known non-Covid condition but a Covid-19 test was carried out as is standard," they said.

The spokesperson says the patient was categorised as "under investigation" after their first test returned a "weak positive result for one of two target genes".

"Some staff members were temporarily stood down as a precaution while further tests were carried out," they said.

Two further Covid-19 tests carried out throughout the day came back negative, and the first test "has now been categorised as a false positive".

Staff have since been "released back to their normal activities".

"Although the nasal swabbing we use for Covid-19 testing has a low rate of false positives they do occur and we take a very precautionary approach when any cases under investigation are in our care," the spokesperson says.