Thailand’s Department of Medical Services (DMS) is warning of false positive COVID-19 test results by private laboratories, as many factories and organizations are currently using these laboratories for the screening of new employees.
DMS Director-General Dr Somsak Akksilp said the department’s 1668 hotline is now being overwhelmed by people asking for hospital beds, after testing positive for COVID-19 in these private labs. These positive results could be false, as these labs often use the rapid test or antigen test method, which is cheaper than the standardized RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) type and inferior in terms of accuracy.
He explained that the 1668 hotline can only assign hospital beds to patients who have a confirmed positive result using the RT-PCR method. Patients who do not have one will need to be tested again. This eventually delays their hospitalization, which could affect the overall prognosis.
Meanwhile, Dr Somsak urged factories and organizations to use the services of private laboratories which are certified by the department, make sure that they use the RT-PCR method to get an accurate result and ensure that patients can be hospitalized immediately in case the result is positive. (NNT)