OC Health Officer Warns Against Unauthorized Tests for COVID-19

March 27, 2020 Updated: March 27, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS)—Orange County’s Health Officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, is warning residents against relying on COVID-19 testing kits that have not been approved by federal officials because they often provide false positives.

“These non-approved tests can produce false results and lead to unintended negative consequences for the individual and the broader community,” Quick said.

“For example, a false negative result from a non-approved testing kit may lead an individual who in fact has COVID-19 to think they are healthy and not capable of spreading the virus. We want to ensure our community members are getting accurate information about their health, and accurate information drives appropriate medical care.”

The testing kits Quick warned against measure a level of antibodies generated to fight a virus, so they are not as accurate as the testing kits approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which analyze a specimen taken by a swab.

The FDA approves polymerase chain reaction—or PCR—testing kits, which can detect minute amounts of the virus in a specimen, which is taken from a patient. The OC Health Care Agency and commercial labs use PCR testing kits.