And these lies are being exposed anew in a lawsuit filed by the state of Minnesota against a pair of Illinois-based COVID testing companies for allegedly "deceiving consumers."
The suit claims the companies, the Center for COVID Control and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc., “either failed to deliver test results, or delivered test results that were falsified or inaccurate,” according to a news release issued by Ellison’s office Wednesday.
Center for Covid Control is one of the biggest players in the COVID testing space, operating over 300 sites nationwide, according to an NBC News report from Jan. 14, which noted that the company is under federal investigation as well as being probed by attorneys general in several states.
“My job is to fight for Minnesotans’ security and help them live with dignity, safety, and respect. Making sure that Minnesotans have accurate tools to keep them safe from the COVID-19 pandemic is a key part of that job,” Ellison said, according to the statement. “When Minnesotans and people from around the country tested with these companies to keep themselves and their families safe, they trusted they would get correct results on time.
"I’m holding these companies accountable that sent back false or inaccurate results, when they sent them back at all, for deceiving Minnesotans and undermining the public’s trust in testing. I want every Minnesotan to know that I will use every tool at my disposal to keep them safe and hold accountable companies that undermine their safety," he added.
Ellis said his office received "numerous complaints" from Minnesota residents who took COVID tests at pop-up sites around the state that were operated by Center for COVID Control, which went on to report that they never got their test results back from Doctors Clinical Laboratory, which is associated with the company, even after waiting weeks on end. Other residents reported receiving test results much later than the companies advertised, while still others said they got test results from the companies even though they never submitted a test sample.
Finally, other Minnesotans said they received false or inaccurate results and information from their tests.
The news release also said that former CCC employers noted that while the company at first could handle the load of local tests, the processing center did not expand as the company opened new testing sites around the country, to include Minnesota.
As such, the end result was chaos, as one former employee said, "with received samples being stuffed into trash bags strewn across the office floor," the release said.
"Former employees recounted finding samples in bags that were well over 48 hours old, being instructed by management to falsify dates of receipt, and being instructed to lie to consumers about their tests being inconclusive or negative when, in fact, the sample had not been tested," the release added.
According to NBC News, the company eventually expanded to around 300 testing sites at its peak. But also, the company's founder did not have any prior medical experience.
The company "was founded in Dec. 2020 by Aleya Siyaj, 29, whose previous experience includes starting an axe-throwing lounge and a donut shop, according to state business records and her LinkedIn page," NBC News reported.
Besides Minnesota, authorities in Oregon and Illinois have also opened inquiries into the company, while attorneys general in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have issued cease and desist orders. Also, California and Washington have shuttered a number of testing sites for operating without a license.