Jurong West Sec Student Wasn’t COVID-19 Positive & Was Incorrectly Diagnosed; Error Has Led to Whole Cohort on HBL

Somewhere in Jurong West Secondary School, several students could be looking at their phone and going, “Wait, what?! Simi sai?”

Okay, kids nowadays might not use the phrase “simi sai” but the idea is there.

Last week, we got to know that there might be a possible transmission in Jurong West Secondary School.

A 13-year-old boy was tested positive for COVID-19 on 6 July 2020, and about a week later, one of his close contacts, a 13-year-old girl, was reportedly tested positive, too.

That led to the school disinfecting the premises again, and the HBL period for Secondary 1 students, who had been on HBL since 8 July, will be extended for a week (13 July to 18 July) before the start of the one-week mid-term break.

That means they’d have a longggggg holiday since it’d be the mid-term break next week.

Then this happened.

Jurong West Sec Student Wasn’t COVID-19 Positive & Was Incorrectly Diagnosed

It turns out that the second student, the 13-year-old girl who was “tested positive” on 10 July, was incorrectly diagnosed after Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) mislabelled testing samples.

Image: Tenor

They said, “Our investigations revealed that there was an erroneous reporting of this case by our laboratory. This arose from a human error in the laboratory where two patients had their specimens cross-labelled.”

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s reminded of Korea dramas whereby babies are mislabeled wrongly.

According to an MOH press release, “ the laboratory had mislabelled a swab sample from a COVID-19 positive individual as belonging to Case 45655 without properly verifying the patient identifiers of the specimen tubes. Consequently, Case 45655 was recorded as being positive for COVID-19, and was reported to MOH as such.”

45655 is the 13-year-old girl.

So was the sample from the other 13-year-old boy?

No. It “belongs to a migrant worker who had been isolated since his swab, and had not been in contact with any other individuals.”

For this we can only

Image: gifpy

TTSH said, “The original test was undertaken by our laboratory. Subsequently, the student was admitted to NUH and re-tested twice and found to be negative on both occasions. Our laboratory repeated a PCR test on the original sample and the result was negative.”

And therefore, that poor 13-year-old girl has been discharged.

TTSH said, “We have since informed both patients of the mislabelling incident and apologised for the anxiety caused.

“We are sorry for the mistake and sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our patients and her school.

“We have audited our laboratory testing for COVID-19 for that period and no other mislabelling was discovered.  We have also put in place additional checks to prevent such an incident from occurring again.”

And as for MOH, they’re not happy about this, saying, “MOH takes a serious view of this error. We are investigating this matter, and will take appropriate actions against the laboratory if it is found to be in breach of protocols. In the meantime, the laboratory has reviewed and tightened its processes to prevent a recurrence of the error.”

The quarantine orders of the close contacts who had previously been placed on quarantine due to the error have been lifted.

But somewhere in Jurong West, whispers can be heard:

“So we still stay home and TikTok or must we go back to school?”

There’s an answer now: you can continue to TikTok at home because a number of teachers from the school are in quarantine.

In the meantime, if you’ve not downloaded the TraceTogether app to fight this virus that’s making certain secondary one students confused, you might want to watch this video: