Lori Shibinette speaks June 30

N.H. Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette promised to look into the COVID-19 contract lab work being done in North Carolina. (WMUR FILE PHOTO)

OSSIPEE — The commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is going to personally look into the two false positive cases of COVID-19 at the Carroll County-run nursing home in Ossipee, the home’s administrator has told lawmakers.

Although two residents of Mountain View Community were reported to be positive for COVID-19, a retest done by the National Guard showed the results to be false positives, it was announced July 1.

Mountain View is a 103-bed facility that serves 19 towns, including Conway.

When the cases were still presumed positive June 30, Mountain View Administrator Howie Chandler described the residents as asymptomatic, saying, “They don’t feel bad.”

On June 29, the National Guard retested everyone, patients and staff, but it took several days for the results to trickle back from Concord.

On the afternoon of July 1, Chandler announced they were false positives, explaining that the original tests were analyzed by Mako Medical Labs of North Carolina and the retest samples by a state lab in Concord.

At the Carroll County delegation of local legislators quarterly meeting July 2, Chandler was pleased to tell them: “We are officially at Mountain View COVID-free. We had two residents last week that were misidentified by the out of state lab.”

He said all the staff are COVID-free as well.

Rep. Bill Marsh (R-Brookfield) questioned why the nursing home was using this private lab, which he said had “a similar problem in North Carolina.”

Chandler, who appeared by video, replied that he has been in contact with Mako and New Hampshire’s commissioner of health and human services, Lori Shibinette, who Chandler said is “looking into it personally.

“It’s a major concern that a state lab administered by the National Guard came up with completely opposite results from the contracted service,” said Chandler, noting the contract with Mako was negotiated by DHHS. “We had no choice in which lab to use.”

Rep. Lino Avellani (R-Wakefield) thanked Chandler and facilities manager Bob Murray for their hard work keeping the nursing home COVID-free.

“I hope that will continue to the future,” he said.

On Monday, Chandler said that he’s emailed Shibinette and Mako and said he asked Shibinette to consider “alternative testing options.

“Not having heard anything from Ryan Nibert of Mako Medical, I just emailed him to say that without confirmation of what caused this past problem that we have no confidence in future tests,” Chandler said Monday.

Chandler also said that despite the negative tests, the nursing home still had to abide by a quarantine that expires Wednesday.

“Residents, staff and family members are all anxious to get back to our ‘modified normal’ and be able to plan ahead for outdoor visitations along with residents being able to get out of their rooms and enjoy some limited small group activities,” said Chandler.

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