Maltese worker Anna Maria* is currently spending two weeks in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19; the only problem is she highly doubts she’s been infected with the virus to begin with.
Anna Maria told Lovin Malta that she got tested at St Thomas Institute on Thursday, not because she was experiencing symptoms but as a precaution ahead of a holiday to Sicily the following Sunday.
By Friday evening, she was yet to receive her results, usually a sign that the person getting tested is negative, seeing as the COVID-19 response team prioritises the communication of positive results.
However, she decided to get an antigen rapid test at a private clinic to put her mind somewhat at rest and resulted negative.
Although this medical certificate specifically states that this test doesn’t substitute the confirmatory PCR swab test, Anna Maria’s doctor assured her that it was 90% accurate and that he was convinced she was negative seeing as it only took ten minutes to process.
With her flight on the doorstep and her first swab result still not delivered, Anna Maria paid for a second PCR swab test at St James Hospital and was confirmed negative after a few hours.
Everything seemed fine until Sunday morning, when Anna Maria received a phone call from Mater Dei informing her that her first result was positive and that she should stay at home.
She also received an official letter which confirmed her positive status and warned her she will be fined €10,000 if she breaches her mandatory quarantine. She cancelled her holiday, while her boss immediately shut the outlet she works at and commissioned private swab tests for all her colleagues, all of which resulted negative.
Confused at the situation, Anna Maria managed to secure an urgent follow up test at Mater Dei on Monday and was yesterday confirmed as negative.
Positive on the 15th…
And negative on the 19th
“I asked a primary health doctor whether I could be released from quarantine, but I was told I must get it into my head that I’m COVID-19 positive, that I must stay at home until 28th October, and that the other negative tests must have been false negatives,” she said.
“If that’s the case and I received three false negatives, then we have a serious problem in Malta. However, a Mater Dei doctor told me my positive test could have been the result of a mistake in the swabbing process, such as that the person who dealt with my test didn’t change their gloves after handling a positive case.”
Meanwhile, Anna Maria has to remain at home for six more days, despite not developing any symptoms and seriously suspecting whether she’s been infected with the virus at all.
“I feel as though I’m a prisoner inside my own home for no reason whatsoever and that I’m suffering because someone made a mistake,” she said. “We’re human and we all make mistakes but it should be sorted out.”
Lovin Malta has reached out to the Health Ministry to ask about discrepancies in testing results.
*Her surname has been kept hidden to protect her identity
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