Beware of COVID Testing Scams in Fresno, Health Officials Warn – GV Wire
As demand for COVID-19 testing grows, pop-up testing sites abound in Fresno — on street corners, parking lots and malls, as well as online.
The Fresno County Department of Public Health says many of these sites are unregulated or unapproved, and could lead to fraudulent activity like identity theft.
The department warns residents to be aware of scams and recommends residents check the credibility of testing sites before seeking services.
here is a list of local test sites verified and approved by the FCDPH.
Vohra warns against COVID test scams
Acting Fresno County Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said it’s been a real challenge for many parents who are struggling to get tested and have their children tested.
“We don’t want you to fall prey to unscrupulous sellers…because this information is almost worse than not having it.” – Dr. Rais Vohra, Acting Fresno County Health Officer
“We don’t want you to fall prey to unscrupulous sellers who may not be above board when it comes to the tests they offer or the answers they give you, because that information is almost worse than no information,” Vohra said.
“I urge residents to take proactive steps when seeking COVID-19 testing services, such as verifying credentials or using one of the approved locations listed on the county’s website. from Fresno.”
Residents are encouraged to visit the FCDPH COVID-19 Testing Resources webpage for a list of local test sites which will have direct information about OptumServe testing sites, local pharmacies, and community testing events.
Residents can also order free home tests by mail online through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Distribution Program.
Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent COVID Testing Sites
Residents of Fresno County can avoid fake COVID-19 testing sites by taking the following precautions:
- Ask for medical references to prove legitimacy.
- Ask which lab test is used (PCR or rapid test).
- Ask where the test is processed and if it is sent to a lab.
- Ask how the results will be reported.
Tips to remember when spotting a scam test site:
- They ask for social security numbers or other non-medical information.
- The materials have no logo.
- The site is on a sidewalk and is not affiliated with any medical provider.
- Most FDA-approved rapid test results take 10-20 minutes. Anything faster is debatable.
Assume COVID positivity if you have symptoms
While testing for COVID is important, Vohra wants people who are visibly sick and showing symptoms of COVID to assume they have COVID.
Symptoms to look out for include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, headache, throat, stuffy or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. . All of these may be symptoms of COVID-19, health officials say.
“If you are showing any of these symptoms right now, just assume you have COVID or something else contagious and infectious that requires you to stay home.” Vohra said. “Passing the test is secondary. But the bottom line is that if you feel infected, stay home and don’t spread it. Take care of yourself as best you can with or without the tests.
Illegal testing sites change location
As authorities scramble to shut down these illegal testing sites, others are springing up in their place, Vohra says.
Pressure to supply test kits has saturated the market as demand continues to grow.
“Unfortunately, if we shut down or the authorities shut down a site that doesn’t appear to be certified to do what they do, then the same or different vendors will come up with another business model and appear elsewhere,” Vohra said. It feels like a game of Whack-A-Mole every time we try to individually identify and work with suppliers.”
Vohra does not expect to be able to shut down all illegal sites. This is why it is crucial that people take the extra step of getting tested from certified providers and ordering home test kits from government sites.
“We need to partner with everyone to make sure people have the best information they can have to make the best decisions they need about where to get tested,” Vohra said.
Report your COVID test results
FCDPH encourages all residents who test positive for COVID to self-isolate and report their positive test results at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Anyone can self-report results using the Fresno County COVID-19 Self-Testing Webpage or seek assistance by calling the Fresno County COVID-19 Information Line at (888) 559-2683.