The Associated Press reports that Andrea Ellis had ordered flags for her grandmother’s garden from Kohl’s. She was wrapping Christmas gifts at her aunt’s house in East Moline, Illinois when she tore the padded envelope open to take out the flags that she’d ordered weeks prior from the department store chain.
“I pulled out the flags and I told my aunt, ‘Look how cute these are,’” she 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.”
Ellis contacted the police, who forwarded the matter to the county health department, according to East Moline police Chief Jeff Ramsey.
Janet Hill—the chief operating officer at the Rock Island County Health Department—told the outlet that she gathered the biohazard bag from Ellis’ house over the weekend and saw that it apparently held a used nasal swab and information of a person located in Virginia. She said she was working on what to do next, like get in touch with health officials in Virginia and decide if the specimen was still usable.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Hill said. “I want this person to know that the test has not been done yet.”
Kohl’s shared a statement on Monday, apologizing for “this very unusual and inexplicable experience” and saying that the package was mailed from “an outside direct ship vendor” and not from the chain. The company said it has opened its own investigation into the issue.