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‘I remember sitting there in shock’: We spoke to students who were given used test kits

‘We are given them by the council workers who we had trust in to give us the test’


Several UoB students confirm they opened outer packaging of used coronavirus testing kits.

The used tests were distributed to students in Selly Oak last night before the mistake was realised and the tests were recollected.

The council released a statement earlier today stating that “the outer packaging on one was opened”, however students claim that in one household four tests were opened.

Tasha Ashbridge, second-year medic told the Birmingham Tab, “we opened the boxes which were sealed with a sticker and opened the sealed bags inside by ripping them. We should’ve known not to but there were no instructions and we hadn’t done an at-home one before”.

One student said that after the mistake had been realised, they went outside and “chatted to some other people who had [been] given the tests who had used the already used tests”.

Sophie Dunne, a second year medical student told The Birmingham Tab, “it was quite a scary thing to happen” and “we were in disbelief”.

Sophie was approached by BBC West Midlands radio station after receiving a used coronavirus testing kit yesterday. On the show, she was told that only one test kit box seal was opened, this is in line with the statement from Birmingham City Council.

Sophie told The Birmingham Tab “we know first hand this is incorrect”, with regards to the council’s statement. She continued, “as seen from Tasha’s (her housemate) picture, our four were opened and people in the street had the plastic bags out”, indicating that these kits had also be unsealed.

Sophie, obviously shocked by the incident, told The Birmingham Tab, “I didn’t believe we would be given tests that had been used. It just didn’t seem real. We would only do a test at a test site now”.

Emma, a second year BioMed student told The Birmingham Tab that, after she was given a kit by the council workers, she “opened up a white box with tape on it to find no instructions and a sealed bag containing the test kit”. She added that the pack “had an address written on the back of it” which she only realised after trying to open the bag.

Emma and her friends quickly returned the kits to the council workers.

Students estimate that “around 20 households” had been given these tests. However Birmingham City Council claim that only 25 tests were given out and received back.

Today workers from the council revisited houses in Selly Oak, offering “support from a doctor” and “to say sorry”, Emma informed The Birmingham Tab. The students were also asked if they wanted to take another test.

The chaos has caused concern for not only students that received used tests, but also for those who used the brand new testing kits originally.

“I’m worried that our tests were then given out to other houses!” Holly Sambridge, a third year Business Management student told The Birmingham Tab.  “I doubt we will get our results. It seems like such a waste of resources and a massive risk of cross contamination.”