ST. LOUIS ( -- Some COVID-19 test sites are popping out of the metro, just as quickly as they popped in.

News 4 Investigates has been looking into these clinics, some being run out of tents. The company behind them, the Center for Covid Control, is at the center of investigations in other states, as well as in Illinois and Missouri.

On Thursday, the Missouri Attorney General's Office confirmed it is now looking into complaints involving these test centers.

The Center for Covid Control is an Illinois based company that claims to run over 300 test sites across the country. News 4 Investigates learned that company is providing the tests, but at least three sites in St. Louis are being run by someone else.

News 4 Investigates spoke to a St. Louis pharmacist who says he partnered with the Center for Covid Control and opened test sites at Ballpark Village, the Central West End, and another in Chesterfield. These sites weren't being checked by state health departments in Missouri and Illinois.

"Real testing are going on at these sites, it's nothing malicious," he said during a phone call.

The man asked News 4 not to use his name, saying he wants nothing to do with the Center for Covid Control.

"I'd rather not be tied to them when I can maybe work with a different lab," he said.

He explained that he wanted to bring more testing to St. Louis and reached out to the Center for Covid Control. He says the Center for Covid Control provided some training and then sent him free tests.

"It's fairly basic, you do take an hour course, like a CDC course, you take like an hour OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] course and then you take another little training, its lab specific," the pharmacist said.

He says the Center for Covid Control paid for his lease costs and employee salaries, but he ran everything.

"As long as you're using their supplies and their platform then they let you operate," he said. "I think that's something that needs to be watched a little more closely is who they're allowing to open sites through them."

He claims problems started as the omicron variant spread and sites went from doing about 100 tests a day to close to 600. He says all rapid tests were processed by his employees on site, and only PCR tests were sent to a lab.

"When you're understaffed and overworked because the testing just exploded there is a huge room for human error," he added.

Some people who did rapid tests days ago said they're still waiting to hear if they tested negative or positive.

"I never received any results and now it is what, four days later," said Katherine Banister, who took her young son to Ballpark Village for a test.

Banister said she received a confirmation email, but nothing else.

"It's concerning to go somewhere and trust them and give them your personal information and then later on find out that there's no real oversight," Banister said.

The Center for Covid Control had no comment for this story. However, the company announced it was pausing nationwide operations starting Friday until January 22.

The pharmacist say he plans to partner with a different company and re-open his test sites.

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services says it's struggling to get information from people who tested at these spots. A department spokesperson says it's possible this set-up meets federal regulations since rapid tests don't have to go through a lab and the only requirement is that tests are authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.


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