Investigation has brought vast majority of testing operators into compliance.
SAN FRANCISCO (March 11, 2022) — City Attorney David Chiu announced today that he has made progress in his probe of rogue COVID testing sites in San Francisco. After more than two months of investigation, the City Attorney reported that all of the testing operators in the City the Office is aware of are following necessary public health regulations.
“The public can rest assured that COVID testing in San Francisco is safe and legitimate,” said City Attorney Chiu. “After a thorough and diligent investigation, we were able to weed out the bad actors and ensure that reliable, accurate COVID tests are available to those who need it.”
The investigation began in January as the Omicron variant caused an increase in COVID cases and demand for COVID tests. The inquiry was spurred by reports of potentially unauthorized entities performing COVID tests in San Francisco.
The City Attorney’s Office investigated approximately 100 complaints made to the Office directly, the 311 Customer Service Center, the Department of Public Health, or members of the Board of Supervisors. Investigators went to the testing sites to determine their compliance with public health requirements, followed up with reporting witnesses, and stayed in communication with testing site staff and leadership.
A handful of testing operators that were found to be out of compliance shut down their operations. The Office assisted other sites with only technical violations—such as a lack of a Department of Public Works sidewalk permit—to come into compliance so they could continue offering important testing services to San Francisco residents.
The Office also worked with the San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip to issue a new health order that set health, safety, and consumer privacy standards for COVID testing sites.
The Office is furthering its inquiry into testing operator Community Wellness America, Inc. (CWA). In January, the City Attorney issued subpoenas for records from CWA, after it was reported that CWA was offering COVID tests on public property in San Francisco. It remains unclear whether CWA’s staff had adequate training to perform the tests, whether they were working with a certified laboratory, and what they did with the information and samples collected. CWA has yet to comply with that subpoena, and as a result, yesterday, the City Attorney filed a motion to compel to force compliance and obtain the necessary records.
Members of the public in need of a COVID test are encouraged to first contact their healthcare provider for a test, if they have one, and then explore SFDPH-affiliated testing site options. For a list of testing sites in San Francisco, go to: sf.gov/gettested. If a member of the public suspects a testing facility to be operating without the proper authorization, they should notify city officials by submitting a tip to 311.