Credit: File Photo | Mustang News

A technician error at Avellino Labs led to a false positive COVID-19 result for 41 students, according to a campus-wide email sent Wednesday evening by Cal Poly’s Office of the President. 

Avellino Labs is the third-party lab that Cal Poly contracts to process COVID-19 tests through their ongoing testing program.

The university has contacted and informed all students who received a false positive result, according to the email.

Of the 41 students who received inaccurate results, 28 have been cleared to return to normal campus activities. However, the other 13 students remain in isolation because the University determined they may have been exposed to other infected students while in quarantine. These students are being tested to satisfy CDC and public health guidelines in order to determine their health status.

In a Jan. 22 email, Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey said the university has seen a concerning rise in the number of positive COVID-19 test results. This was after Avellino Labs reported a significantly higher number of positive tests from samples collected on one particular day.

The day after this increase, the number of positive results declined significantly, according to the Jan. 27 email. Due to this spike and decline, the university asked Avellino Labs to re-process those results. Upon re-processing, Avellino Labs found the 41 false positive tests reported. 

The Jan. 27 email also read that the university is planning to implement its own in-house saliva-based testing procedure and transition away from using Avellino Labs within the next two weeks. 

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