Background Patients with suspected COVID-19 might be admitted to hospital. We aimed to describe the characteristic of SARS-CoV-2 antibody negative probable COVID-19 patients and give some suggestions to manage suspected COVID-19 patients. Methods We analyzed 616 confirmed COVID-19 patients and 35 SARS-CoV-2 antibody negative probable COVID-19 patients who were admitted in Wuhan Union Hospital from February 13, 2020 to February 16, 2020. Telephone interviews were conducted and medical records were reviewed for epidemiological, clinical, laboratory and radiographic data. Results Of the 35 SARS-CoV-2 antibody negative probable COVID-19 patients, all of them had tested at least 3 times of nucleic acid, 3 were believed to be non-SARS-CoV-2 infection. Compared with confirmed patients, antibody negative probable patients were younger (P=0.017), exhibited similar symptoms and chest CT images, had higher lymphocyte count (P=0.004) and albumin level (P<0.001), showed lower lactate dehydrogenase level (P=0.011) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P<0.001). During hospitalization, all the 35 patients had contacted with confirmed COVID-19 patients, but all used general face mask for protection and maintained a social distance of more than one meter from each other. All the isolation wards were kept ventilation and disinfected once a day. After discharged from hospital, all of them had negative nucleic acid tests and no one developed symptoms again. Conclusions The conditions of patients with AbN probable COVID-19 were less critical than those of patients with confirmed COVID-19. Room ventilation and daily disinfection, wearing face masks, and maintaining social distance might be helpful to prevent patients from hospital acquired COVID-19 infection.