On Tuesday 19th January following the regular round of PCR testing, the Club was notified that 19 of the 24 league-wide positive results comprised Bath Rugby players and staff.
Immediately, our training ground at Farleigh House was closed and all players and staff were instructed to isolate at their homes. A rigorous contact tracing process was undertaken, from which a further 16 players were identified as close contacts. Everyone who returned a positive test result, and their close contacts, was required to isolate for 10 days in accordance with PHE guidance.
Our training ground immediately underwent a full deep clean. All rugby and training activity was halted and additional testing ordered for all players and staff as a priority.
Our urgent priority was to stop the spread of the virus and protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, players, their families and the wider community.
Yesterday afternoon the Club was informed that an error had occurred in the Randox laboratory and that following routine retesting, 18 of the original 19 positive results were in fact negative. The Club has 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 surveillance measure alongside the Randox testing programme, independent Public Health testing will also be undertaken for Bath Rugby players and staff over the next 24 hours.
Bath Rugby’s Chief Executive, Tarquin McDonald said: “The health and safety of our people, the community and wider public remains the key focus for us all. We have worked closely with Public Health England who are clear that this was a specific instance of human error by Randox and not a wider outbreak.
"It is a huge and welcome relief to understand that this was a false alarm. However, this has caused huge disruption to our players, staff and to our training environment during an important two week break from games. Everyone at the Club and their families have been outstanding throughout, and we are now focussed on a return to training next week and preparation for our game against Bristol.”
Our training ground at Farleigh House will re-open next week, with full contact training resuming only on Tuesday when both the independent Public Health England test results and a further round of testing from Randox have been completed. Our fixture against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate next Friday will go ahead as planned.