‘Scam’ COVID Testing Centers Shuttered Pending State Lawsuit

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has obtained a preliminary injunction banning the Center for COVID Control from operating any testing sites within the state, until the state’s lawsuit against the company is concluded.

Late last month, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a suit against the Illinois-based company, alleging the company’s testing centers had been providing “invalid, false and delayed COVID-19 test results” to Washingtonians— that is, if they gave back results at all.

The Center for COVID Control (CCC), which at its peak operated over 300 testing sites across the country and over a dozen across Puget Sound, has been under fire since mid-January, when Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts and California all began investigating the company after receiving complaints about the way it handled its tests.

In response to the investigations, CCC paused all operations starting Jan. 13. All 300+ centers remain closed. They will remain closed permanently in Washington, as the company has agreed to never operate within the state again, the AGO said.

CCC promised customers COVID-19 test results within 15 minutes with a rapid antigen test, or within two days for a PCR test. But according to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, because the company couldn’t actually process the 8,000 to 10,000 COVID tests it received each day, employees starting storing tests in garbage bags, sometimes for weeks.

“Calling this conduct a ‘scam’ is an understatement,” Ferguson said. “It was unethical, illegal, and jeopardized the health of thousands of Washingtonians. Our investigation put a stop to Center for COVID Control’s Washington operations.”

In AGO interviews, CCC employees told investigators they often backdated these “stale” samples so they could still be processed, which resulted in potentially thousands of Washingtonians receiving false negatives. Washington’s lawsuit says, that violated the Consumer Protection Act by failing to deliver accurate results.

“Center for COVID Control contributed to the spread of COVID-19 when it provided false negative results,” Ferguson said. “These sham testing centers threatened the health and safety of our communities. They must be held accountable.”

The suit demands that CCC give up all unlawful conduct, including providing false assurances and test results to consumers, pay up to $12,500 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act, and forfeit any profits it made through its “sham” testing operation, plus attorneys’ costs and fees.

Source: Bellevue Patch