Updated: Dec 23, 2020 09:58 AM
David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)
The Premier said today that a data entry error led to the wrong e-mails being sent to people who tested positive for the coronavirus.
David Burt explained, in a series of early morning tweets, that geneticist Carika Weldon took “full responsibility” for the incidents and contacted everyone affected.
His clarification came after Kim Wilson, the health minister, said at a Covid-19 press conference last night that “an unfortunate glitch” happened at the Government’s molecular diagnostic laboratory last week.
She added that it “led to the issuance of false negative test results to a number of people who were in fact Covid-19 positive”.
Ms Wilson said: “This is extremely unfortunate, and the ministry fully understands and regrets any distress or confusion caused to individuals and their close contacts regarding the false negative results.
“I have been assured by the lab that they have reviewed their processes and structures, and put in place measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
Mr Burt wrote on twitter: “I want to make it clear that there was no error with any machinery or the process of the testing.
“The testing process did not produce a ’false negative’ result where the person was positive.
“The testing process has been the same since April and has been working correctly.
“There was no ’glitch’ with any machine.
“The testing process worked as it should, by identifying positive people from positive pools.
“Unfortunately, on these isolated occasions, persons received the wrong e-mail.”
The Premier said: “The cause of these incidents was human error on the part of Dr Carika Weldon.
“Dr Weldon has taken full responsibility for these incidents and personally called each person who was affected.
“Negative results were incorrectly entered into the system that issues the automated negative e-mails to persons who have completed tests.
“The tests for persons that tested positive had not yet completed and no result should have been entered for those persons.
“Usually, negative results are e-mailed directly to the persons tested, while positive results are sent to the person’s physician – and not the individual tested.
“When the testing process was completed, the positive results were entered into the system as positive.”
Mr Burt said that the second entry “triggered a report to be sent to the person’s doctor”.
He added: “This data entry error resulted in people being called by their doctor the following day stating that they had tested positive when they had earlier received an e-mail that said they were negative.”
The Premier insisted: “There was no issue with any lab machine or the method of testing.
“Dr Weldon and her team have done an amazing job working extremely long hours to ensure that Bermuda is the fifth most tested country in the world.
“In this instance, she made an error in entering the data which caused the unfortunate incident.
“Though it is easy to criticise this incident, Dr Weldon and her molecular diagnostics laboratory team have done a stellar job for Bermuda under very difficult circumstances.“
He added: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.
“I hope that you will forgive Dr Weldon and I thank those persons this has affected directly, who she has already reached out to, for forgiving her as well.”