Residents, staff at Jacksonville nursing home retested for COVID-19 after incorrect test was used

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Exactly 271 residents and staff members at Cathedral Gerontology had to be retested for COVID-19 after the incorrect test was used, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirmed to News4Jax on Tuesday.

Helen Ferre, the communications director for DeSantis, said the residents and staff members were given the wrong test by the National Guard. The mistake was made about a week and a half ago, and since then, the National Guard has returned to submit the new tests. The results are expected to be back in days.

“The tests weren’t necessarily wrong, they just weren’t appropriate for COVID-19, so once that was discovered, they were re-administered,” Ferre said.

According to Maj. Kathlyn Brown, the tests come from the Department of Health and it is that department’s responsibility to provide the proper tests.

DOH is organizing testing statewide.

Brown added that the sole responsibility of the National Guard is to administer the tests.

According to Cathedral Gerontology management, the initial testing happened on April 17. Once the state realized incorrect tests were administered, the National Guard re-tested everyone April 25.

Despite the mistake, Cathedral Gerontology staff are patient and optimistic, saying they are grateful the National Guard took the time to check on everyone that works and lives there.

“The National Guard and all did a great job and their sanitation, and all that they did was great,” said Sharon Brown, vice president of Cathedral Gerontology.

A resident at the home that has tested positive for COVID-19 is waiting on a third test.

News4Jax was told that there are two types of testing kits that require swabs -- bacterial and viral, so it’s possible that the tests sent were not appropriate for COVID-19.

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