After retesting samples, French hospital discovers COVID-19 case from December

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PARIS (Reuters) - A French hospital which has retested old samples from pneumonia patients discovered that it treated a man who had COVID-19 as early as Dec. 27, nearly a month before the French government confirmed its first cases.

Yves Cohen, head of resuscitation at the Avicenne and Jean Verdier hospitals in the northern suburbs of Paris, told BFM TV that scientists had retested samples from 24 patients treated in December and January who tested negative for the flu.

“Of the 24, we had one who was positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 27,” he told the news channel on Sunday.

The samples had all initially been collected to detect flu using PCR tests, the same genetic screening process that can also be used to detect the presence of the novel coronavirus in patients infected at the time the sample is collected.
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