Government Says Contract for Covid-19 Database Was Competitively Bid

WASHINGTON — The Pittsburgh company that won a $10.2 million contract to run the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database beat five other firms that bid on the work, according to officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, who said a federal website that listed the award as a “sole source” contract was in error.

The contract to TeleTracking Technologies became the subject of scrutiny this week after the administration ordered hospitals and states to begin reporting coronavirus information to the website that the company is managing, instead of to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The New York Times reported Wednesday on the contract.

As of early Friday afternoon, the federal website listed the contract as “only one source” and “not competed.” But in response to The Times article, H.H.S. officials — who did not respond to questions about the contract on Wednesday — said the website was mistaken and that in fact six firms bid on the work. They would not name the other bidders, saying they are “prohibited from sharing that information by federal regulations and statutes.”

“The TeleTracking contract was part of a competitive solicitation process and was not sole source,” the official said. “One of the websites that tracks federal spending contained an error that incorrectly categorized the award as sole source. That coding error is being corrected.”