Red flags to watch out for on pop-up COVID testing sites – NBC Chicago
As authorities warn of fly-by-night pop-up test sites in Illinois, what should you watch out for to make sure you’re getting to the right places?
Concerns are growing over an increase in the number of pop-up COVID-19 testing sites in Illinois.
Some of the testing sites on the state of Illinois’ ‘recommended’ list, including pharmacies and hospitals, are booked for days or even weeks, leading those in need of testing to seek out. other potentially riskier possibilities.
The new generation of contextual test operators in the state of Illinois have sparked warnings from state officials. So many concerns that Governor JB Pritzker this week ordered the state attorney general’s office to begin investigating the complaints.
“Some of these may be ‘fly-by-night’ context tests where all they do is take the swabs and put them in,” Pritzker said at a press conference Monday. “Then they don’t take responsibility for how long it takes to get that test out of a lab… that’s a huge problem.”
NBC 5 Responds has researched answers to some of the top questions and red flags to look out for when finding the right location for a rapid COVID-19 or PCR test.
State officials like Dr Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, fear that some places will benefit people in times of need.
“We want to urge caution with some of these clinics,” Ezike said. “There are unfortunately those who take advantage of these crazy times. ”
Testing for the coronavirus remains the Wild West when it comes to the rules in place.
The collection sites themselves are not regulated, unlike the laboratories that actually test the samples.
To avoid some of the confusion, here is a checklist of some questions and answers to keep in mind when finding a testing location:
What’s the best way to find a COVID-19 testing location?
Responnse: The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) strongly recommends using the locations listed on their website (link here) when searching for a site near you. If you can’t find a date at a site listed on the state’s website, authorities recommend doing your due diligence and asking about non-recommended testing sites before you go in person.
Can a COVID-19 test site charge you for a test?
Responnse: In some cases, yes. The IDPH said companies are not allowed to charge for the test itself, but they can charge a fee for administering the test. The Illinois Attorney General’s office said, “Testing sites that charge a fee should be a wake-up call because many sites offer testing at no additional cost.” Find out if the location plans to charge you for a rapid test or PCR before it takes place.
Do employees at a COVID-19 test site have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks?
Responnse: Yes, and if the workers at a test site are not wearing PPE, that could be a red flag that something is wrong.
Can a test site ask you for personally identifiable information (PII)?
Responnse: A testing site may ask for your social security number or your health insurance details. This information is used by the testing site when requesting reimbursement from the federal government for the cost of the test. State-run and community-run testing sites ask for your Social Security number, but do not require it for testing.
If your results are delayed or you are having problems with your test, what can you do?
Responnse: State officials recommend asking a testing site which lab they use before taking your test. This way you can contact the lab directly if there is a problem or a delay with your results. It is important to note that even though there is an increase in testing, labs are backed up with samples. Some delays are to be expected.
How do you know if a test site or lab meets federal standards?
Responnse: Although testing sites are not regulated by state or federal authorities, the laboratories that actually perform the testing are regulated and licensed. Laboratories performing COVID-19 tests must be certified under the “Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment” or CLIA. To find out if a lab is certified, ask the testing site for the name of the lab they use and search for the name using this online tool linked here. When you are on the website, click on “CLIA Lab Research” on the left side. When you search for the name of a lab, a CLIA certified lab will be labeled as “Compliant.”
If you think a COVID-19 testing site is breaking the rules, what can you do?
Responnse: The Illinois attorney general’s office is encouraging those who believe they’ve encountered a malfunctioning test site to file a complaint with the AG’s consumer protection division. To learn more or to file a complaint, click here. The GA’s office told NBC 5 Responds that it is working with law enforcement to investigate complaints and tips as they are received by the office.