The signs that lined US-41 leading to a COVID-19 testing site at a Bonita Springs strip mall are gone, but the test site remains open and operating with some changes.
After the story that highlighted complaints people shared about that test site, WINK News got a call from Dennis Finnearty. Finnearty says he runs the day-to-day for the site operated by a company called Center for Covid control.
Finnearty allowed WINK News to see some of the inner workings of the site to show that he does his best to get people COVID test results in a timely manner
Finnearty said he doesn’t have to be at the testing location and doesn’t have to deal with people who fear they might have COVID-19 but said, “I really feel accomplished every day, because I feel like we’re doing a great service and helping people here.”
The Indiana native said he served in the army and now calls Southwest Florida home, said he decided to volunteer his time at the Bonita Springs test site after his friend told him about it.
“He goes, I need your help. And I said, what do you need? He says, well, I’m opening up this COVID testing site. And I was going to see if you can come and help me out,” said Finnearty.
He showed WINK News around the location, “look, we’ve got these tests here.” Hoping to prove the test site is functional. “We take the swabs, and then we do this and we do that,” said Finnearty.
But Finnearty said he knows almost nothing about the company that operates the location; Center for Covid Control.
“I’m going to be honest, I really didn’t (research). I trusted my buddy. And, you know, it’s, it’s a big company, it’s a big lab. You know, they’ve got sites all over the country,” said Finnearty.
He admitted he has no contact with the Center for Covid Control and doesn’t know a single person who works there.
He admitted that a friend of his, who he refuses to name, is the one who talks to the lab in Illinois.
When WINK News questioned Finnearty about the reason for our investigation, that somehow Erin and Doug Kates, and others, got negative test results before they even took their tests, he blamed a computer glitch.
Finnearty said, “we’re not perfect, you don’t, I mean, you know, there’s some times we have errors, things like that.”
WINK News reporter Michael Hudak pressed him about the company’s name on the cards he hands out to people who want a test, Doctors Clinical Lab. The company with that name in Miami denies knowing what’s happening here in Bonita Springs.
Finnearty said, “that does worry me.”
There were fewer people in the lobby of the test site on Tuesday, and the tip jar for Tony the dog is now gone.
Finnearty also defended the site’s legitimacy against the claims made by the Kates family and showed a time stamp on his administrative system that he claims proves the Kates did get results after they took their COVID-19 tests.
“Look. It says sent at 1:55,” said Finnearty.
Finnearty claims the timestamp proves the computer glitch was corrected, but the Kates said that’s not the case. “I will say this under a judge. That’s bull(sic),” said Doug Kates.
The state attorney general sent WINK News an email saying its office has received what it calls a “Consumer inquiry” about the Center for Covid Control. It points out that, according to the CDC, the Center for Covid Control uses a licensed and approved lab.
WINK News has not yet received a response from the Center for Covid Control.
The company’s website has two more Southwest Florida locations listed on its website. WINK News will be investigating those locations as well.