Five students are in quarantine after doing used coronavirus swab tests that were mistakenly done as part of a testing plan, one student said today.
Seven households in Selly Oak, Birmingham received the used kits as part of the Birmingham City Council drop-and-collect service on Tuesday.
The students were "shocked and concerned" when they opened the boxes and found only sealed bags of used swabs.
The council conducted an overnight investigation which found "no evidence of cross-contamination," reports the BBC.
Dr. Justin Varney, the city's public health director, claimed that only one of the 25 kits had a seal broken.
He added that there was "no evidence that this test tube was opened, so we consider the risk of contamination from the sample itself to be very, very unlikely".
However, one student has claimed that at least five used tests issued by Birmingham City Council have been reused by unsuspecting recipients.
Pictured: college students Sophie Dunne and Tasha Ashbridge, who underwent Covid-19 swab tests
RAF staff in Selly Oak, near the University of Birmingham, are helping distribute the Birmingham City Council's coronavirus tests
The kits were distributed as part of the Birmingham City Council's drop-and-collect service, which aims to increase testing in areas with high infection rates.
Selly Oak ranks 27th on the list of areas with the most positive Covid cases.
As part of the program, volunteers visit households to offer tests on their doorstep before returning an hour later to pick up the finished kits.
Around 100 military personnel are working with Birmingham City Council on the initiative, but it was confirmed today that they were not involved in the bug.
19-year-old sophomore medical student Tasha Ashbridge, who lives in Selly Oak, claimed a house with five men told her they had all tried using the old self-test kits.
She said, “Council people came over and gave out free test kits, so we took five for our house.
“They were pre-assembled boxes and we've never done them before, so we didn't realize they weren't coming that way. We cut the seals to open the boxes and the bags were also sealed.
“We all started ripping open the pockets to try to get into the box because there were no instructions in it.
“We saw that the swabs were snapped into the test tubes, which obviously means they're done. I quickly realized they had been used.
“My roommate went outside and stopped the boys from handing them out and told them what was going on. They turned and remembered her. & # 39;
Ms. Ashbridge claimed that a boy came up to her and said five of his roommates had taken the test. "As a result, they are now being quarantined," she said.
Dr. Justin Varney, the city's public health director, previously claimed a seal was broken on only one of the 25 kits.
The students were "shocked and concerned" when they opened the boxes (left) and discovered sealed bags of used swabs. Right picture: Volunteers in Selly Oak
Seven households in Selly Oak, Birmingham received the finished kits on Tuesday as part of the Birmingham City Council's drop-and-collect service. Pictured: RAF personnel in Selly Oak
He said the teams were back at the property today to check that no one was at risk.
He added, "The risk of contamination from handling the boxes was also" very, very small ".
However, Ms. Ashbridge claims he is mistaken about the extent of the tests being reused.
She added, “A group of council members came by this morning and they apologized and gave us new kits to test ourselves, which we were a little worried about, but we did.
Justin Varney was on the radio this morning and said 25 kits had been handed out but only one had been opened. I have photos with multiple kits open.
“We are a little confused because the Council does not admit the mistake. It's just a bit of a mess and it's hard to believe that happened. & # 39;
Birmingham City Council has been asked to comment on the latest allegations.
News of the bug came Tuesday when a Birmingham University student warned others about the bug on a Facebook community page.
She wrote: & # 39; Anyone on (Tiverton Road) who has received a Covid test from men in safety vests does not open!
"They're already done – we opened the box and they were sealed and torn, so obviously used!"
Ms. Ashbridge's roommate, Sophie Dunne, also a sophomore paramedic, added, “This was the first home test I had taken.
"After opening the test, I could tell that they were already finished because smears in the test tube and sealed pouch had broken off."
Fortunately, the students made the discovery before using the kits and alerted the council workers who were distributing tests on the street.
The council conducted an overnight investigation which found there was no evidence of cross-contamination
Ms. Dunne revealed that the workers had no idea what happened.
She added, “When I got back to them, many people were standing at their doors and saying the same thing. It's such a scary thing. & # 39;
The student claims that she learned from council workers that they received "what appeared to be new packages to be distributed externally."
She added: “At least I would have thought that the workers would have been told what packaging should look like in case of tampering or contamination.
"The tests were quickly recalled, but the students were not given any information about what to do as all of the tests had obviously been mixed up."
Birmingham is part of the second tier of the three tier system of coronavirus restrictions that went into effect across England today.
The city, with 167.4 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, is facing tough crackdown on inter-household socialization alongside Greater Manchester and the Northeast.
The kits were distributed as part of the Birmingham City Council's drop-and-collect service, which aims to increase testing in areas with high infection rates
A council spokeswoman added that the bug affected seven homes and only one box was opened
Official PHE figures show how the case rate in Birmingham rose from 30 per 100,000 in late August to 78 per 100,000 in September
People on alert are prohibited from meeting people outside their household or "gushing" indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.
A council spokesman said: “We are aware that a small number of tests were incorrectly conducted during the Selly Oak drop and collect activities yesterday.
“We want to reassure residents that none of these tests have been reused. While the outer package of one was opened, the inner package with the swab remained sealed and secure so there was no risk of contamination.
& # 39; The team was notified within five minutes that the wrong tests were being issued and immediate steps were taken to correct the error.
& # 39; Drop and Collect is an essential part of fighting the spread of Covid in our city. Around 100,000 tests have been carried out to date.
"The circumstances of this seven houses and 25 kits incident are being fully reviewed and any necessary changes to the process will be implemented."
A university spokesperson added, “The safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is a priority for us.
"The university adheres to all government and public health guidelines in England."
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