All Center for Covid Control testing sites remain closed in SWFL, Edison Mall location cited for code violation

Published: January 22, 2022 10:24 AM EST
Updated: January 22, 2022 7:01 PM EST

A troubled COVID-19 testing site set to reopen on Saturday at the Edison Mall might not open after all. The site in Bonita Springs could be suffering the same fate.

Not only is the Center for Covid Control under investigation by the federal government, but the City of Fort Myers has cited the center for a code violation at its location at the Edison Mall parking lot.

According to a warning notice taped to the trailer’s door, the Center for Covid control is operating without a business tax receipt. That tax receipt was something the site failed to give to the City.

In order to continue operating, the code violation notice says the testing site must “apply for and obtain a Business Tax Receipt.” This was the first time the City has uttered even a word about the Center for Covid Control.

Now, WINK News has learned that the sight on Bonita Springs is closed. And a notice from Florida Power & Light hangs on the door saying that the building’s power has been shut off.

On Friday, the federal government confirmed it’s investigating laboratories and testing sites associated with the Center for Covid Control, the company at the center of a WINK News investigation.

WINK News confirmed the company and one of its labs, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, sent test results to people before they took a COVID-19 test.

The Center for Covid Control (CCC) has sites across Southwest Florida and 272 others nationwide. WINK News first brought you the story of Doug and Erin Kates, the couple who went to the Bonita Springs site and got negative results before they even took their test.

“I hope it gets shut down soon,” Erin Kates said.

It paused operations nationwide on Jan. 14 with the intent to retrain its employees and roll out new procedures.

Minnesota’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the company, citing misleading, deceptively riddled and fraudulent activity. Some in Southwest Florida told WINK News the same thing.

Mary Farmer says she manages the Edison Mall Center for Covid Control site. And, she says she knows the real reason the site was shut down.

Everybody has been shut down that was ever associated with the Center for COVID control. Everybody has to be investigated to show that they weren’t part of that,” said Farmer.

It planned to reopen its testing sites on Saturday. The Center for Covid Control says it made that announcement on Thursday, Jan. 20.

However, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid said on Friday it was aware of CCC’s plan to reopen on Saturday.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid statement

The testing site in Cape Coral appears to be closed for good.

It’s unclear if a site in Bonita Springs and the one in Fort Myers will reopen.

WINK News is reaching out to the City of Fort Myers for comment.

In a press release posted to its website, the Center for Covid Control said it is extending its pause on operations.

Here is their full statement:

“Center for Covid Control (CCC) announced today it is extending its pause on operations and will not be reopening on Saturday, January 22, 2022. CCC 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. As previously announced, CCC is using this operational pause to train additional staff on sample collection and handling, customer service and communications best practices, as well as compliance with regulatory guidelines. CCC will provide an update on reopening plans when appropriate.”

So, based on the statement and the closures, WINK News called the Center for Covid Control. This was the first time a human answered the phone. The help desk said they didn’t know what we were referring to and to direct inquiries to [email protected]

The Center for Covid Control does have some time before it has to respond to the Minnesota Attorney General’s 25-page lawsuit.

However, the CCC has not yet commented on The Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s 81-page investigation.

For now, we were told, all Center for Covid Control locations will remain closed until further notice.