Tennessee officials this week inadvertently put coronavirus testing materials on auction.
The state accidentally listed the “surplus” materials — including 13 pallets of test swabs — on government liquidation website, GovDeals.com, Tennessean.com reported Thursday.
The supplies had been put up as “the result of an internal processing mistake,” and promptly removed from the listing, Dean Flener, spokesman for Tennessee’s COVID-19 Unified Command Team.
Instead, the supplies were meant to go into storage rather than be labeled as surplus and subsequently listed for auction by the Department of General Services, he explained.
The state’s warehouse has separate sections for storage and surplus materials that are supposed to be sold, Flener explained to the outlet via email.
“During an internal movement of items, these pallets were identified as surplus when they should have remained in storage,” he said.
A full account of the supplies was not detailed by the auction site, but did display photos of items and labels, including the pallets and SteriPack nasal swabs, as well as test sample transport medium — small tubes to hold swabs en route to the laboratory.
Prior to being removed from GovDeals, the auction got one bid for $150.
One image of the listing showed a package label referencing “FEMA” — the federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides governments supplies during times of crisis. Those supplies, the label notes, were designed to “support COVID-19.”
There was no additional information regarding Tennessee obtaining the supplies nor how they came from FEMA, said Flener.
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