Since the coronavirus pandemic began, who gets tested and how those tests are analyzed have been a focus of concern.
This week, The Dallas Morning News reported Texas has been using NovaDX, a California laboratory, for COVID-19 testing. For months, it’s been criticized by federal regulators.
The state began using NovaDX in May when it was testing nursing home residents, said Holly Hacker, who along with her Austin-based colleague Allie Morris, have been reporting on the company. Federal regulators did an inspection on the company in late July and produced a report that found more than 30 deficiencies.
“Seven of them were so serious, they constitute what the feds call an immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety,” Hacker said.
Among the deficiencies: company practices that allowed the samples to be contaminated, steps during testing protocol that were ignored, a lack of freezer storage to keep samples at sub zero temperatures.
“Testing is very complicated,” Hacker said. “There’s all these steps you have to take. You have to be very careful how you do it.”
Texas has now stopped using the lab but they are still allowed to continue COVID-19 testing and have been in other states. NovaDX did not respond to specific questions posed by the DMN reporters, Hacker said.
“But they did tell us that NovaDX is committed to operating in compliance with federal and state regulations, that they continue to work closely with the federal government as needed,” Hacker said.