EDMONTON -- Some saline tubes used to store and transport virus swabs used to test for COVID-19 have been recalled, due to being prone to leaking.

Alberta Health Services says any potential health risk to laboratory staff associated with handling the leaking samples has been avoided due to the appropriate use of PPE. However, the leaking tubes may cause contamination of COVID-19 specimens.

Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL), the company that sourced the tubes, is aware of approximately 730 patients that have had to be re-tested due to leaking samples since the start of June, according to AHS.

That is 1.2 per cent of the 56,600 COVID-19 samples that have been properly processed since June 1, says AHS.

The four specific types of problematic tubes have been removed from use and the manufacturer has been made aware of the issue. Some of the tubes will be recalled. 

The tubes were distributed to areas across the province at assessment centres and other collection sites.

The problematic tubes are not typically used by APL, however due to shortages in swab collection supplies caused by the global pandemic, APL had to source different types of tubes.

AHS added that recall of the tubes will not lead to a wider shortage of collection tubes.