State Closes Sketchy Worcester Coronavirus Testing Site

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WORCESTER, MA — The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has shut down a pop-up coronavirus testing site along Grafton Street that has attracted scores of complaints from local residents.

State and local health officials delivered cease-and-desist letters to the Center for COVID Control sites in Worcester, Needham and Dartmouth on Thursday, a DPH spokesperson confirmed. Health officials discovered the company was operating without a license to operate clinical laboratories in Massachusetts.

The letters came after health officials visited each location on Wednesday with officials from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The cease-and-desist orders are effective immediately.

Find out what’s happening in Worcester with free, real-time updates from Patch.

The Center for COVID Control location in Worcester was one of three across the state. People who used the sites in Massachusetts — which opened just as a surge of coronavirus cases created a testing shortage — complained of extraordinarily long wait times for test results. Visitors have also had to hand over personal information related to health insurance and driver licenses in order to get tests.

“Consumers allege problems with not receiving test results, poor customer service, and requesting personally identifiable information (driver’s license, insurance, etc.),” the Better Business Bureau said in an alert about the company.

Find out what’s happening in Worcester with free, real-time updates from Patch.

RELATED: Questionable COVID-19 Test Site Pops Up In Worcester

On Wednesday, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said it had received five complaints about Center for COVID Control sites and was reviewing them.

The Center for COVID Control operates about 300 test sites across the U.S., and officials have issued warnings about sites in other states. The ones in Massachusetts remained open without incident until media attention this week. On Wednesday, Needham officials told Boston 25 that it had sent a slew of local complaints to Healey’s office.

The company had not as of Thursday responded to a request for comment from Patch.

None of the three Center for COVID Control sites ever appeared on the state’s list of coronavirus test sites. If you want a legitimate coronavirus test in Massachusetts, find a location here. Near Worcester, UMass Memorial operates test sites at the Mercantile Center and at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough.

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