Some nursing home operators were forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars and face staffing shortages following testing errors by a Massachusetts laboratory. 

State health officials suspended all of the firm’s COVID-19 testing on Aug. 8 and are still investigating consumer DNA-testing firm Orig3n Inc. after it sent out about 300 flawed and incorrect coronavirus test results to facilities, according to a report by Bloomberg. The firm, which has had a history of issues, became aware of the false positives on Aug. 1 and had the samples retested after operations were suspended. 

North Hill Communities Inc., a skilled nursing, independent living and home health operator, said 18 of its employees and one resident received false positives. The operator said it spent at least $20,000 in staff overtime and other costs because of the company’s errors. 

The company’s missteps “sowed fear throughout the whole organization,” North Hill CEO Ted Owens told the news organization. “And in the end, it just turned out to be a fire drill.”

Southpointe Rehab and Skilled Nursing, in Fall River, MA, also received 13 false positives for employees. 

“A single positive COVID test result of a nursing facility staff member has an enormous impact on a facility’s clinical operations,” said Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. 

Orig3n said the botched results stemmed from human error, according to the report. The state’s department of health concluded that the misleading results were from either a broken vial or contaminated plate involved in test processing. The department also noted that its conclusion could change, and more false results could be discovered as it continues to investigate.