A 13-year-old who received a negative rapid test for the novel coronavirus and had only one symptom—nasal congestion—is suspected of spreading the coronavirus to nearly a dozen other individuals at a family gathering, according to the latest weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An investigation conducted by four state health departments in conjunction with the federal agency found that the teen unknowingly led to 11 subsequent cases at the three-week gathering of five households. The 13-year-old was exposed during a large outbreak in June, according to the report, and her rapid test came back negative. Then, she and her family traveled to spend three weeks with 15 other relatives from 9 to 72 years old. None of the members who attended the gathering wore face masks or practiced physical distancing. “One person with COVID-19 was hospitalized and another sought emergency department care for respiratory symptoms,” according to the report. “Both recovered.”
The federal agency determined that the teen’s false negative was likely the result of her being tested before symptom onset, but officials have also said that rapid antigen tests generally have lower sensitivity than do diagnostic tests.