CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A free COVID-19 testing company at the center of several state investigations announced its locations would be temporarily closed beginning Friday.
The “pause in all operations,” is expected to be in place until Jan. 21 at all 300 Center for Covid Control locations, including the one on Clements Ferry Road.
Center for Covid Control has come under scrutiny in recent days for its testing practices. The Oregon Department of Justice opened an investigation into the company in addition to several other states.
In a statement released Thursday the company said it would pause operations due to “unusually high patient demand” and to focus on retraining staff.
“Center for Covid Control is committed to serving our patients in the safest, most accurate and most
compliant manner. Regrettably, due to our rapid growth and the unprecedented recent demand for testing, we haven’t been able to meet all our commitments,” CCC founder and CEO Aleya Siyaj said in a release. “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.”
USA Today reports an internal memo was sent to all “owners and managers” cited “increased scrutiny by the media into the operations of our collection sites” over the past week.
The website claims the company is CDC-approved and partnered with a licensed laboratory named Doctors Clinical Lab. It also links to a Twitter page and Instagram page. The Twitter account is listed as “suspended” and the Instagram page is filled with comments calling the company “fake” and “a scam.”
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control does not have Center for Covid Control listed as an official testing location on its website and said according to DHEC records, the site is not certified by CLIA for South Carolina. We reached out to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which certifies testing sites and according to a CMS spokesperson Doctors Clinical Lab is certified in Illinois.
DHEC reports the department has not received test results from Center for COVID Control’s Charleston site which has been open for five months. All cases of COVID-19 are required to be reported to DHEC.
“Upon notification of an alleged fraudulent laboratory (Center for COVID Control), DHEC’s CLIA program on Jan. 12 notified CMS of the allegations,” a DHEC spokesperson said. “DHEC is working with CMS to determine next steps based on CMS’s determination of the appropriate response.”