While wrapping gifts Saturday night at her aunt’s house in East Moline, Andrea Ellis found something extra in the shipment of garden flags from Kohl’s in Richmond, Virginia — someone’s COVID-19 test.
Ellis said she was ordering gifts about a week ago and ordered two flags for her grandmother’s garden from Kohl’s through kohls.com
The flags were shipped in a big yellow padded envelope from Richmond.
“I pulled out the flags and I told my aunt, ‘Look how cute these are,’” Ellis said. “I pulled out the packing slip and then noticed something deeper inside the envelope and pulled that out. It was a biohazard bag containing someone’s COVID-19 test specimen.”
On one side of the envelope is a woman’s name, date of birth, the doctor’s name and the address in Richmond and the phone number of the doctor’s office.
Ellis said she was able to find the woman’s name on LinkedIn and sent her a message, but had not heard anything back as of late Saturday.
Ellis and her husband and three children are moving into their new home in Silvis two days before Christmas and are looking forward to getting settled and putting up the Christmas tree.
But finding that COVID-19 test blindsided them.
Ellis called the East Moline Police Department and an officer came by.
“He took it and said, ‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it,’” Ellis said. “He left but about 15 minutes later there’s a knock on the door and he’s like, ‘Here, I can’t take it. I was told to bring it back to you. I can’t tell you what to do with it.’”
Ellis said Sunday that a representative of the Rock Island County Health Department picked up the sample and will try to return it to the woman.
Ellis added she also got a call from a vice president of Kohl's who promised to find out how it happened and that he will keep her in the loop.
"He said that everybody's working on it to find out how it happened and to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.
It is possible that a third-party shipping service for Kohl's may also have been doing COVID tests, and that it is possible the test ended up in her envelope that way, she added.
Ellis said she will continue to try and contact the woman and return the test to her.
“I don’t know how this ended up in my shipment,” Ellis said. “I don’t know what to do except try and contact this woman.”