Some at Roger Williams, however, were left angry and confused. A few faculty members in the marine science building were embittered by the event, which they said disrupted classes, hampered productivity and eroded emotional well-being, according to a person who worked in the building, who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions from the university. . Others were concerned that faculty members and students would see the event as an excuse to forgo testing and come together closely, the individual said.
Brian Williams, the university’s chief of staff, admitted that the events had created tensions. He couldn’t provide more details, he said, as the university was still reviewing the matter.
Although diagnostic laboratories have long had protocols in place to avoid such events, “we have never had a situation where so many laboratories are working on a pathogen” in the midst of a pandemic and so much testing. asymptomatic, said Dr Butler-Wu, the clinical microbiologist. As a result, there are few contingency plans in place to deal with these unusual test errors.
One person from Roger Williams, who was among 20 who tested positive, “was first told that I would not be retested,” said the person, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his status at university. This decision was quickly overturned and the person tested negative, ending a “stressful emotional roller coaster”. But only a subset of the 20 people who tested positive were given the opportunity to take a second test with the State Department of Health, which raises ethical concerns, the person said.
The events at Brown also caused “consternation among the staff and the faculty,” said Edward Hawrot, the university’s senior associate dean for the biology program. A few people who tested positive and suspected the cause was contamination “kind of begged to be retested,” and were able to do so, he said. But many facilities do not have the resources to perform generalized testing, making it difficult to issue follow-up diagnoses.
Guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend not to retest people within 90 days of a positive result. There are no explicit exceptions for potential contamination. Many people whose tests were likely contaminated, in several establishments, stopped getting tested for weeks or months because their positive results had been treated as legitimate, despite the possibility that they were still vulnerable to the virus.
A Roger Williams faculty member, who was among 20 who tested positive in mid-October, was able to resume regular screening. But when he recently tested positive again, health officials told him he didn’t need to self-isolate, according to an email sent to several people in the building.