Mississippi woman shocked when she receives COVID-19 test in the mail; part of a university study


CLARKSDALE, Miss. — A Mississippi woman said she was confused and shocked when she received a COVID-19 test in the mail that she did not request.

Lucille Dotson said one day she opened her mail and received a COVID-19 test from Emory University. She said she is scared to open the package but is not sure why she received it.

“I’m just more scared to open it because I didn’t know what was in the box,” Dotson said. “I haven’t opened it yet, the box.”

Dotson reached out to WREG-TV to get answers, so she could better understand what was going on. She said she never tested positive for the coronavirus, so she is not sure why a school in Atlanta sent her a test.

WREG-TV investigated the situation and found the test is legit and is part of a study called COVIDVu. Emory University Professor Dr. Patrick Sullivan said the kit is produced by the university, as part of a national study of COVID-19, sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Sullivan said the following via a statement:

“The results will be summarized to help provide a clear national picture of the COVID-19 epidemic. Results will only be presented in summary, and no individual person’s results will be made public.”

Sullivan added participants are asked to complete a questionnaire and test themselves using the supplies in the kit before sending it back.

Dotson said she does not mind helping out with the study. But she would have preferred the university to contact her beforehand.

Emory officials said each participant is chosen by random from a list of every U.S. mailing address, and they are working to ensure all positive results are available to state and local health departments for appropriate follow-up measures.

Additionally, those who participate in the study will receive a gift card.

For more information on the study, click here.

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