Miscommunication Led To Handout At Denver Rec Centers Of Expired COVID Tests Without Instructions

On Thursday both City of Denver and State of Colorado officials acknowledged that there was miscommunication between the agencies which resulted in COVID-19 tests being distributed to residents without clear instructions on how to use them.

Not only were the free tests given out to the public past the printed expiration date, but many of them also didn’t come with any instructions.

“It’s very, very frustrating,” said Carole Ray, a retired nurse who alerted CBS4 to the issue. “The test is not useful if someone doesn’t know how to use it.”

Over the past few days, Denver recreation centers have been distributing tests to people on behalf of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, but there were no directions inside the boxes on how to use the tests. Ray said there was also no signage at the recreation centers explaining what to do.

“I called 311, I haven’t gotten a phone call back from the city,” she said.

In a statement, a health department spokesperson acknowledged that the tests were meant for staff use and community-based organizations and not necessarily the general public, “but because the expiration date was approaching, Denver asked to allow recreation centers to distribute them so they wouldn’t be wasted.”

She added that anyone using them is “required to take them using a telehealth proctor,” but that information was never passed along to city officials, and therefore was never passed along to the community. A spokesperson with the City of Denver said they didn’t know about these issues until CBS4 started asking questions.

“They’re pointing fingers at each other… the city says, ‘It’s not our program, it’s a state-run program,’” Ray said.

In a statement, a city spokesperson continued, “As a result, the City has taken proactive measures to create step-by-step instructions on how people can effectively use their COVID-19 tests. Moving forward, these instructions will be given out with each test, including clear information about the expiration dates of the kits. More information about how to use the COVID-19 test kits can be found on the city website in the Getting Tested section.”

Ray said she’s not trying to blame either agency, she just wants someone to give the community the right instructions before the tests expire in a few weeks.

“Someone needs to take responsibility and educate folks,” she said.

The tests in question have a red line on the box reading “Do not open until instructed to do so.”

In order to use the tests, people have two options. They can go to the city’s website to find the guide on how to use them, or they can continue by using the QR code on the front of test box, which will then put the user in a queue and connect them with a telehealth proctor. Here is a link to the instructions if needed.

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