Fact Check: NO Evidence San Francisco Hospital Faked Positive COVID-19 Tests

Hoax Alert

  • by: Alan Duke
Fact Check: NO Evidence San Francisco Hospital Faked Positive COVID-19 Tests Hearsay

Did a nurse prove that COVID-19 tests were being faked at a San Francisco hospital? No, that's not true: The source of the claim is admittedly at least four times removed from the purported false testing and no credible evidence is offered in the viral post. The anonymous meme suggests that hospitals have a financial incentive to get positive tests results, which is true for some patients. But there is no evidence this resulted in faked tests. There is a lawsuit in Georgia in which nurses are suiing a hosptal for faking NEGATIVE tests.

The claim appeared in a meme (archived here) posted on June 27, 2020, under the title "This is why I refuse to go get tested!!". It opened:

It's frightening how we are being railroaded. My mom actually knows a nurse in San Francisco who was giving COVID tests. After every test came back positive she got suspicious. So she sent in two separate blank tests. Unused swabs. Those both came back positive. She told some of the other nurses about it so together they submitted 10 fake tests with unused swabs and fake names. THEY ALL CAME BACK POSITIVE !!! What the he'll is going on ???? It's beyond greed and money for hospitals. We are being controlled and manipulated beyond anything we could ever imagine.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jul 1 22:26:17 2020 UTC)

The meme appears to be a screenshot of a Facebook text post, but with the author's name erased. We have been unable to locate the original post, but that person claimed to the the daughter of someone who has a friend who is a nurse in San Francisco. This puts the source of the meme at least four steps away from the hospital, which is a major red flag concerning credibility.

Yet another version of the claim is a text post that takes much of the meme's information -- minus the location of San Francisco:

Nurses at a hospital doing COVID-19 testing became suspicious when all their tests were coming back positive. They then sent 2 tests with unused swabs. Guess what? THEY came back positive!😳 Other nurses set up fake names and sent 10 unused swabs to be tested...and ALL of them came back positive! Don't ask where, 'cause I am NOT going to release where this was done to protect the nurses...but as I've been trying to tell ya...WE ARE BEING PLAYED!!! #WakeUpAmerica

Nurses at a hospital doing COVID-19 testing became suspicious when all their tests were coming back positive. They then...

Posted by Vicki Lynn Feathers Parker on Monday, June 29, 2020

The author of this version is caught in an obvious lie when the statement "Don't ask where, 'cause I am NOT going to release where this was done to protect the nurses." The lifting of quotes from an earlier meme shows this author would not have special information about which hospital was allegedly involved.

The posts do not explain how nurses can use fake names to order COVID-19 tests, which are tightly controlled and monitored. Do these names get entered into the hospital's database?

Another unanswered question is: How would the greedy hospital officials convince the laboratory owner or workers to go along with the scheme?

Officials at a hospital in Athens, Georgia, who wanted to get only NEGATIVE results got around that problem by rigging the test sampling, according to a civil lawsuit filed by nurses. The officials allegedly wanted to create false NEGATIVE test results to cover up a COVID-19 outbreak at the hospital. WXIA-TV reported on it in a story titled Georgia nurses accuse hospital of manipulating COVID-19 test results:

"When they had someone who would turn out positive, they would re-do the test so that it would come back negative and they would say that it was a false positive," explained one of the nurses

The nurses said the hospital instructed staff to take samples from inside someone's throat, but send the samples to a lab run by Piedmont Hospital that only tests nasal swabs, knowing the results would turn out negative for COVID-19.

The Georgia nurses didn't keep quiet and instead wait for the daughter of a friend to post the scandal on Facebook.

Lead Stories previously debunked a similar claim about hospitals falsifying COVID-19 cases in New York City. Read Fact Check: Some Hospitals Compensated For COVID-19 Patients Under Stimulus, But NO Evidence NYC Hospitals Inflating Coronavirus Numbers

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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