UES COVID Testing Sites Are Misleading Residents, Menin Says

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UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A company running pop-up COVID-19 testing sites on the Upper East Side has falsely promised next-day results, then returned long-delayed results with incorrect information, according to a local lawmaker.

In recent weeks, complaints have poured into Coucilmember Julie Menin's office about PacGenomics: a California-based company that has opened testing tents on street corners around the neighborhood.

Though the tents promise same-day results for "rush" samples and next-day results for "routine" tests, results have in fact taken far longer to arrive. One constituent who visited a PacGenomics tent on the corner of East 72nd Street and Second Avenue on Dec. 31 has yet to receive any results nearly a month later, Menin said.

"Failure to provide timely results, and in fact failure to provide any results - which is what we have heard from several constituents - is certainly contrary to pressing public health needs," Menin said in a letter sent last week to PacGenomics, pressing the company to stop its "deceptive marketing and advertising claims."

Meanwhile, some residents who have gotten results say the documents have included incorrect details. A person tested on Dec. 1 later received a positive test result claiming they had been tested on Dec. 4 — leading them to suspect that their test had been confused with someone else's.

"I've been negative on 4 rapid tests since getting my lab results," the person wrote in a complaint shared by Menin's office. "Something here doesn't add up, and pooled testing would explain it. I called and emailed their offices, and have not gotten any kind of response."

Other sites run by the company have popped up on the corner of East 70th Street and First Avenue, and East 68th Street and Third Avenue, among others.

PacGenomics has not responded to Menin's letter, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Patch. Its CEO told the Daily News that the company has operated "10 or 12" pop-up sites in the city since December, shipping samples to California for processing — making the supposed 24-hour turnaround impossible.

Menin also questioned the company for its practice of collecting personal and health insurance information from customers. A former commissioner of the city's Consumer Affairs department, Menin said she takes such complaints "especially seriously.

"We must instill some accountability in this field, and not allow those seeking diagnostic testing to be misled or worse," Menin said in a statement.

As New Yorkers flood COVID testing sites during the omicron wave, other companies have come under scrutiny for misleading claims. Several companies with Manhattan locations, including ClearMD, Labworq and LabQ , have been warned by Attorney General Letitia James about misrepresenting turnaround times.

This article originally appeared on the Upper East Side Patch

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