SAULT STE. MARIE -- A Sault Ste. Marie man says he was ordered to remain in quarantine despite a negative COVID-19 test.

Luca Micelli said he tested positive with a rapid test kit, but when a follow-up test at a COVID assessment centre came up negative, he said he still was required to finish his quarantine, and miss work in the process.

Micelli is a plumber and often works in long-term care settings, which is why he was subject to the rapid test. Algoma Public Health states the rapid test result would normally be confirmed at the assessment centre. But Micelli said he was told differently.

“There are false positive tests and people get re-tested at the assessment office on Drive In Road. Well, they told me that I couldn’t do that,” said Micelli. “So I took it upon myself to make an appointment and get tested. And the very next day, it was negative.”

Micelli said it’s been an ordeal for him and his family.

“My little guy thought I was going to die, he didn’t like that he couldn’t hug me, I had to stay away from them,” he said. “My wife and my little guy -- my eight-year-old son -- had to go get tested.”

Several factors to consider

Algoma Public Health doesn't comment on individual cases, but infectious disease manager Jonathon Bouma said there are a number of factors to consider.

“Most times on a rapid test, we do request a follow-up PCR test to confirm that,” said Bouma. “And we do take into account with the case management side if that person is symptomatic, where they’re working, where they’re living, (and) what context of life that they’re working within.”

Bouma said fluctuating test results do happen.

“You may indeed test a few days later and have a negative -- we have documented cases where we have a negative and followed by another positive,” says Bouma. “So it depends on how the virus levels are in the body.”

Bouma cites Ministry of Health guidelines in explaining how the health unit interprets test results.

Micelli, meantime, said he hopes nobody else has to go through a situation similar to his.