News10NBC Investigates: Private testing site in Rochester on ‘pause’ after multiple complaints about test results
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We’re investigating a private COVID testing site in Rochester that has the worst possible rating the Better Business Bureau can give.
News10NBC has been working on this for days and contacted the company Thursday morning. Mid-Thursday afternoon the Chicago-based company told us it’s temporarily stopping its operation.
It’s called the Center for COVID Control.
The letter from the company called the closure a pause to re-train staff. The Center was good at taking people’s information—driver’s license, insurance card and date of birth, but terrible at getting test results.
The Center for COVID Control filled an empty storefront on Mt. Hope Avenue. Thursday, I watched a couple of people go inside.
In an email, the company said "We’ve made this difficult decision to temporarily pause all operations, until we are confident that all collection sites are meeting our high standards for quality."
"Based upon everything I saw and everything I experienced, I don’t trust them," Antoinette Erwin said.
Erwin teaches in a city elementary school.
In November, desperate for a PCR test, she went to the Center for COVID Control.
Brean: "You got tested on the 15th. When did you get results from that test?"
Antoinette Erwin: "The 29th of November."
Michelle Richardson went to the Center on New Year’s Eve. First, she got a rapid test.
Brean: "How quickly did that rapid test come back?"
Michelle Richardson: "Within a minute or two."
Brean: "A minute or two?"
A Harvard University Medical School report published on Jan. 5, 2022, says "antigen (rapid) test results may come back in as little as 15 to 45 minutes."
Then Richardson got a PCR test.
Brean: "What were the results of that (PCR) test?"
Michelle Richardson: "I haven’t gotten those yet."
That was 14 days ago.
Richardson’s rapid test result was negative. Without PCR results from the Center, she went to a local CVS Pharmacy and tested positive.
The Center for COVID Control has locations across the country. It has an F rating on the Better Business Bureau after complaints about test results.
"My concern is that they’re giving negative results and I was actually positive," Richardson said. "And what if I didn’t quarantine myself?"
After receiving complaints in late December, the Monroe County Health Department referred the issue to the New York State Department of Health which is responsible for testing at this level.
In an email today, the New York State Department of Health said "The Department’s investigation determined that the Center for COVID Control was collecting specimens for PCR testing and sending the samples to an appropriately approved laboratory. However, the investigation determined that on-site rapid COVID-19 testing was being performed at the Center for COVID Control in the absence of New York State Department of Health approval. The Center for COVID Control was informed to cease rapid testing and obtain the appropriate approvals for rapid COVID-19 testing. The Center for COVID Control may continue to collect samples for PCR testing."
The company says the plan is to re-open sites on Jan. 22.