Washington state officials allege COVID-19 testing firm faked results, lied

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Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) filed a lawsuit on Monday against a COVID-19 testing company, alleging it misled the people of his state.

The lawsuit filed against Illinois-based Center for COVID Control, which is co-owned by Akbar Syed and Aleya Siyaj, says that the company claims to offer "crucial COVID-19 tests" throughout Washington for free and provide results within 48 hours, but has failed to deliver on those claims.

"In reality, defendants lacked a license to operate almost all of their Washington testing sites, improperly took patient insurance information, and caused imminent and irrevocable harm to the welfare of the people of Washington by providing invalid COVID-19 test results or no results at all," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also alleged that the company's testing lab, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, lacked the capacity to process the volume of tests it received and engaged in practices - including "storing tests in garbage bags strewn about its facility for over a week rather than properly refrigerating them," and "backdating sample collection dates so that stale samples would still be processed" - that resulted in consumers receiving false negative test results.

By reporting those false results, the lawsuit claims, the company "contributed to the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus."

Additionally, the company "frequently failed to report any test results at all, causing potentially COVID-19 free individuals to isolate and miss work, travel, and time with loved ones unnecessarily," the lawsuit said.

It alleged that the company's conduct was unfair and deceptive, in violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

Center for COVID Control announced in January it was extending its pause on operations and would not be reopening on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, as planned. It added in a statement on its website that it "remains committed to providing the highest level of customer service and diagnostic quality and will not resume collection of patient samples until staffing resources permit CCC to operate at full capacity."

Center for COVID Control did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.