Health officials warn community of 'unusual COVID testing operations'

Concerns are coming from officials with Public Health - Seattle and King County over what they call "unusual COVID testing operations."

Health officials report receiving a complaint about a group of people going door-to-door in Auburn promoting testing operations.

Health officials also say they have witnessed portable testing sites pop up in Seattle’s Ballard and Capitol Hill neighborhoods and Green Lake Park and Gas Works Park.

Health officials say they are concerned with these specific activities at these locations:

  • Testing staff are not using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect customers. At a testing operation following public health recommendations, you will see staff wearing masks, face shields and gloves. People will be in line at least six feet apart.
  • Inappropriate PPE use can cause potential contamination in the testing process and inaccurate results.
  • Personal information collected from individuals is held insecurely.
  • Testing staff falsely claimed to be "with public health."
  • Tests are promoted as free (on signs in large red letters), but paperwork fine print indicates that people could potentially be billed.

These portable test sites in Seattle are part of the same business called Community Wellness America (CWA).

Health officials say they have received no positive test results at either Public Health – Seattle and King County or the Washington State Department of Health from CWA.

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Health officials say they directly communicated concerns about these testing practices with CWA.

Q13 News spoke with Steve Sterling, CEO and Chairman of Community Wellness America. He says he has not received any communication from the health department.

He says CWA is a nonprofit operating, with licenses, in several different states across the country doing COVID testing. Sterling says CWA contracts with a third-party company who actually does the testing. 

Sterling did not know if CWA was the one responsible for the Auburn door-to-door testing because the third-party company is the one who decides where testing happens. However, he says everything should be in compliance with state and local law.

He says he plans to contact the health department about these concerns.

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