MINNESOTA — An Illinois-based chain of Covid testing sites is being sued by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, after initial reports from Block Club Chicago’s investigation.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison announced the lawsuit Wednesday, saying the Center for Covid Control, LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc. gave individuals wrong or false test results or, in some cases, failed to deliver any results.
Some also reported receiving test results despite never submitting a sample for testing.
“Issuing false results, not issuing results at all, undermines the public’s trust in this crucial time of testing and we can’t have that,” Ellison said via Zoom.
Ellison says the companies took advantage of people’s urgency to get tested, billing the federal government for more than $124 million since the pandemic’s start.
Minnesota’s lawsuit says former Center for Covid Control employees described chaos at the sites and say tests were in garbage bags and discarded all over an office floor.
On Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker and the state’s top doctor spoke about the ongoing matter.
“Yes, deep concern, and of course, the attorney general is on it and the federal government, as you know, has been on this case as well,” the governor said.
WGN News reached out to the office of AG Kwame Raoul for comment:
We have opened an investigation into the Center for COVID Control and will follow evidence and tips where they lead. Our understanding is that at this time, the company has voluntarily suspended its operation. In the meantime, we have contacted the company to demand that it immediately stop engaging in any deceptive or fraudulent conduct relating to impermissible charges or when testing results will be received, and to confirm that it is in compliance with state law. It is important to note that pop-up testing locations are not currently regulated by a government agency, and we are investigating to determine whether there is a violation of Illinois law. While we are committed to conducting our investigation as efficiently as possible, our first priority is a thorough investigation that will result in an outcome that best protects Illinois residents.Annie Thompson, Senior Press Secretary
The Illinois Department of Public Health director, Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike, says she is watching the legal developments closely.
“We support any efforts to make sure we shut down and deal with those people who have been bad actors and who have harmed the public health of the state with those bad actions,” Ezike said.
Last week, WGN News reported on a Rolling Meadows Covid pop-up location under investigation following dozens of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
The company issued a statement apologizing for falling short of its standards last week, saying that intense demand for testing during the omicron surge had strained staff members, leading to long wait times at test centers and delayed results.