ST. LOUIS- Amid the scramble for access to COVID-19 testing across the country, local and state governments have been joined in the effort by private companies which have popped up with locations around the U.S. and in the St. Louis region. But the Better Business Bureau has issued a failing grade for one such company that has locations in Chesterfield, Eureka, and the city of St. Louis, including one at Ballpark Village.
The Center for COVID Control, headquartered in the Chicago area, hasn’t responded to consumer complaints, which are largely focused on the lack of follow-up after testing is done. That has earned the company a grade of F.
The St. Louis area chapter of the Better Business Bureau has not reported complaints about the firm. In a statement first reported by WGN in Chicago, a spokesman for the company said it regretted the grade. A spokesman said in part:
“As with any fast-growing organization, we are constantly working to improve processes, develop and train staff, and continue innovating in keeping with our commitment to provide accurate, timely Covid status and peace of mind to our many customers. We are fully committed to our many customers and communities and our more than 3,000 employee partners across the country.”
A company spokesman did not return a FOX2 message seeking comment Wednesday.
The company’s website says it is no longer offering PCR testing due to a national shortage, but recorded voicemails to some of the local locations in St. Louis say that testing is available. The company’s website FAQ section says PCR results are available within 24-48 hours, while antigen results can be ready in 15 minutes with an email confirmation in three hours.
“The omicron variant has compelled many residents to seek COVID-19 testing in order to protect themselves and their families. The increased need for testing has also resulted in testing shortages, leading people to visit so-called ‘pop-up’ testing locations,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a news release Tuesday. “It is important for people to know that these sites are not licensed or regulated by a government agency, and they should ask questions before visiting a pop-up testing location – or try to utilize a state-sponsored testing site.”
An organizer of the Ballpark Village Center for COVID Control location who did not want to be identified said he wasn’t aware of any local complaints, and only learned of issues nationally with the firm within the last few days. The publicity that has come about now has Ballpark Village looking for a new partner, he said, adding that the company’s issues look to him to be more of a product of staffing, human error, and the sheer number of tests pouring in. The company only processed rapid tests at that location.
Sarah Wetzel, with the St. Louis chapter of the Better Business Bureau, said “there’s no one red flag” when it comes to dealing with COVID testing companies. If you can’t get tested through a government site, the best bet is to do your research about the company beforehand and remember what information you may have given to the company, so in the event you don’t get results back, you can file the appropriate hold or freeze on credit card information, for example. “Beware and trust your gut,” Wetzel said.
FOX2 has compiled a list of state-sponsored COVID testing locations to help you find a spot.