Bath have emerged as the victims of an alarming error in coronavirus testing that resulted in all players and staff being forced into self-isolation in fear of a significant outbreak at the Recreation Ground.
Eyebrows were raised earlier this week when Premiership Rugby delayed the release of the results of the latest round of Covid-19 screening.
Bath had already announced on Tuesday that ‘a number of the playing squad and staff’ had tested positive, when behind-the-scenes they were told they accounted for 19 of the 24 positive tests.
But this has been found to be completely false and an error on the part of Randox, the company contracted to a multi-million pound deal by Premiership Rugby to run its weekly screening programme.
In fact, across the whole of the Premiership only two people from the 989 tested were positive – one believed to be at Bath.
Randox admitted that ‘human error’ was behind the faulty results which caused Bath to shut down their training facility at Farleigh House and isolate all players and coaching staff.
A Randox spokesperson said: “As a result of routine risk analysis Randox discovered that in an isolated incident, operators failed to follow the established and robust procedures that Randox have in place for COVID 19 testing.”
The RFU also use Randox for their testing programme with England but the PA has reported there are currently no plans to change company ahead of the Six Nations despite this error.
“On Wednesday afternoon the club was informed that an error had occurred in the Randox laboratory,” a Bath statement read.
“The club have been in regular and close communication with senior representatives from Public Health England throughout this time and in particular over the last 24 hours as we have worked to understand the details regarding the Randox testing error.
“We, advised by Public Health England, are now confident this was a discrete error and that the revised test results are correct.
“However, as an additional precaution and to rebuild confidence in the testing programme additional independent Public Health testing will be undertaken for Bath players and staff.”