When Carole Ray, a retired nurse, went to pick up her free supply of COVID-19 tests from the College View Recreation Center in Denver on Monday, she realized the expiration date on all of them had passed.
“I thought ‘oh they’re trying to get rid of expired equipment,’” Ray told CBS4.
Many COVID-19 tests are circulating around Denver that may appear expired.
After Ray realized her tests were expired she went to the Harvey Park Recreation Center to notify staff and exchange them, but the staff there gave her two more boxes of expired tests.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Ray.
“It’s very scary. We think we have tests in our homes so we could make good decisions, and we don’t,” Ray added.
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment provided the tests to the city and county of Denver for staff use and community-based organizations, but because the expiration date was approaching, Denver asked to allow recreation centers to distribute them so they wouldn’t be wasted, a department spokesperson told CBS4.
State officials acknowledged that there was a “communication issue with the city and county officials and the rec centers on the redistribution process.” The department spokesperson added while some of the tests are expired on the box, for many of the tests given out at the centers, the expiration date has been extended to Feb. 8 or Feb. 13, depending on the “lot number,” per instructions from the test manufacture Abbott. Read the extension letter. That only gives people about one to two weeks to use the tests.
But Ray fears having expired tests circulating around the state could create bigger problems.
“Expired tests could give false negatives, and the risk of that would be a super spreader alone,” said Ray. “And the concern is that people are going to waste them if they see the expiration date and throw them away.”
As of this publishing, CBS4 reached out to city of Denver officials and are waiting for a response.