MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — The governor of Vermont and his Human Services Secretary apologized Tuesday after hundreds of COVID samples didn’t get to the testing lab. But when people were notified, there was another mistake.
Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said more than 240 tests arrived in Somerville, Massachusetts early Saturday morning and stayed at the UPS site for nearly 50 hours.
The tests weren’t collected until 8:41 a.m. Monday, November 30. But, by then, they could not be processed. In an attempt to inform those who got tested, the Health Department sent an email regarding the error but, mistakenly, informed the wrong people.
“Let me apologize, personally. None of this should have happened,” said Secretary Smith.
One of those recipients was Jake Fortin, who noticed an email from the Department of Health in his inbox. “I was just confused because I was just like I haven’t even taken my test yet so how can my test results not come in or get mishandled,” he said.
While Fortin scheduled a COVID test, it was not for another few days. One by one, Fortin received numerous responses from Vermonters who were just as perplexed as him. Others responded harshly, realizing their first and last name were visible to hundreds of strangers.
“I kind of stepped back. I was just like okay, whatever, ignoring it. Seeing what happened. But it definitely blew up my inbox for a while last night,” said Fortin.
Quickly, the Department of Health recalled the email and sent out an additional apology. Fortin says no results or testing information was sent out.
“Nobody’s specific test information was put out there, it was just all of our contact information is now out there and everybody could kind of reply or chime into the conversation,” said Fortin.
Secretary Mike Smith says his agency will expedite the tests of those who got tested and continue to investigate the delivery issue and email error.
“After administering literally tens of thousands of tests to vermonters, this is the first time there was a slip up of this magnitude,” said Secretary Smith.
The Scott Administration urges Vermonters to keep getting tested and is working to ensure a sensitive situation like this doesn’t happen again.