OSSIPEE — Although two residents of Mountain View Community, the Carroll County nursing home in Ossipee, were reported to be positive for COVID-19, a retest by the National Guard now shows the results to be false positives, it was announced Wednesday.
Mountain View Community, a 103-bed facility, serves 19 towns, including Conway and Wolfeboro.
In initially announcing the two positive cases Tuesday, Mountain View Administrator Howie Chandler described the residents as asymptomatic, saying, "They don't feel bad."
The first results had came back Friday and Saturday on tests conducted last week. On Monday, the National Guard retested everyone, patients and staff, but it took several days for the results to trickle back from Concord.
On Wednesday afternoon, Chandler first announced one false positive, Several hours later he got the good news about the second case.
Chandler explained that the original tests were analyzed by Mako Medical Labs of North Carolina and Monday's samples went to a state lab in Concord.
"This was done by the National Guard, and they do the much more invasive test," said Chandler, adding he knows this from being tested as a staff member. "Instead of a little nasal swab they are using something that feels like it's 3 feet long going down your nose and halfway down your body but it's really just a foot.
"False positives are reported to be very rare," said Chandler, after the first false positive result was reported. But "we always suspected that because there were no symptoms ... And that's actually true with our other resident as well. We are hopeful we will get the same result with the second resident."
At a press conference Tuesday, HHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette gave an update on state’s nursing home surveillance program. She said baseline testing was done about four weeks ago. Then “surveillance testing” was done on all nursing home staff and 10 percent of residents every 10 days. There have been two rounds of surveillance testing that yielded 15 asymptomatic cases in 10 facilities.
Of those cases, 13 were staff and two were residents. She said this means that the system is working to catch cases early.
Chandler said the results on Wednesday from the National Guard were coming back in batches of about 20 at a time. The batches contain a mix of results for residents and staff. In total there would be about 300 tests.
"There seems to be no rhythm or reason," said Chandler explaining the results were sent in no particular order. "They actually come to us by fax."
At about 2 p.m. about half the results were in Wednesday. He said the result flow slowed down in the afternoon and started back up around 4 p.m.
For two weeks, nursing homes around the state have been allowing outside visitation where loved ones can meet with residents under tents.
Family members and friends could sit and speak with residents from 6 feet away with everybody wearing masks. Visitors were screened and surveyed. About 24 people went through it.
After the "positive" tests, Mountain View immediately canceled all visits.
Chandler said the National Guard will be back on July 8 to retest all patients and staff.
News of the two "positive" results broke through a Facebook page maintained by Rep. John MacDonald (R-Wolfeboro) about COVID-19.
He made a plea to residents Wednesday asking them to take precautions against spreading the virus.
"We have to remember that the (Mountain View) staff are members of our community," said MacDonald. "They are buying groceries and other necessities when not working. A couple of things that we can do to protect the residents at Mountain View is to continue practicing social distancing and wear a mask.”