‘It was kind of sketchy’: RIDOH reviewing complaints regarding unauthorized COVID testing sites

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is looking into a series of complaints regarding a number of unauthorized COVID-19 testing sites that have been popping up across the country, including in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The Center for COVID Control, an Illinois-based company, advertises “no appointment required, no insurance needed” rapid antigen and PCR testing at its sites.

The company operates two testing site in Rhode Island: one in West Warwick and another in Smithfield. There are also locations in Dartmouth, Needham and Worcester.

With an increased demand for testing due to the spread of the omicron variant, Rhode Islanders are flocking to these testing sites across the state in hopes of scoring a test.

Diana Lemus visited the West Warwick testing site on Sunday. She described the set up as “a little unorganized,” adding that the location opened up nearly 30 minutes later than advertised.

“There was no computer to upload information,” Lemus recalled. “They were writing if people were positive or negative pretty much out in the open, so I could see names and phone numbers.”

“Now that I think about it, it was kind of sketchy, but you’re just trying to find a site anywhere,” she continued.

The BBB said the testing company is under scrutiny nationwide, with people claiming they’re receiving the wrong test results or not getting them back altogether.

People are also reporting that they are being asked to provide personal information that isn’t pertinent to getting tested, or they have paid money for expedited results, according to the BBB.

Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health, tells 12 News they’re aware of these unauthorized testing sites and are reviewing the complaints they’ve received.

Wendelken said the sites don’t submit their test results to the state, adding that anyone looking to get tested should “check the state’s test scheduling portal or seek a test in a trusted healthcare setting, such as a pharmacy.”

The BBB is actively monitoring the unauthorized COVID testing sites, and said anyone who wants to share their experience while visiting one can do so by clicking here.

12 News reached out to the Center for COVID Control regarding the complaints, but has not yet heard back.

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