The embattled COVID-19 testing company now under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice failed to submit results to state health officials for at least three months, WW has learned.
On Tuesday, WW first reported that the DOJ had launched an investigation into the COVID-19 company, called Center for Covid Control, which operated three testing sites in the Portland area. The complaints were lodged in October, but it wasn’t until earlier this week the DOJ launched its investigation.
The Oregon Health Authority tells WW it has received no testing results from the company or the lab it claimed to partner with for processing tests, Doctors Clinical Laboratory. Testing sites, which must be federally certified, are required to report test results to local health authorities.
The company is now coming under scrutiny in nearly 10 states, where allegations of improper testing practices at sites, failure to report testing results to local health authorities, and questions about the accuracy of tests have spread.
On Tuesday, a call center representative for the company said all three of Portland’s sites were closed down, but wouldn’t say why. In a statement, an unnamed spokesperson denied the allegations: “Let me be very clear—we are absolutely not conducting fake tests. Our employees and the employees of our independent operators are risking their lives everyday to provide testing for patients.”
On Thursday afternoon, the company posted a statement on its website saying it would be closing all locations for one week starting Friday, Jan. 14.
It blamed the closure on staffing shortages and high demand.
“This unusually high patient demand has stressed staffing resources, as has been widely reported, in a subset of our locations, affecting our usual customer service standards and diagnostic goals,” the statement read. “CCC acknowledges this operational strain on customer access and delivery of results/status in some locations and remains determined to provide accurate, trusted testing for our thousands of customers.”
The statement also blamed the high demand for tests for delayed reporting of results.
WW visited all three sites today, which were closed.
Two of them, one near Johnson Creek in Southeast Portland and another in Tigard, are small sheds set up in parking lots. Inside the Tigard shed were handwritten signs, nasal swabs, pens, rubber gloves, plastic bins, a red gasoline container and a standing lamp. A sign read: “COVID TESTING TEMPORARILY CLOSED” in black Sharpie. In faint paint, someone had written, “FAKE TESTING SITE.”