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Cease and Desist Order Issued for COVID Testing Site on Grafton Street

For Immediate Release: 1/13/2022 6:41 pm

The City of Worcester today delivered a Cease and Desist Order to the Center for COVID Control operating a pop-up COVID testing site at 1 Rice Square, adjacent to 462 Grafton St.

The Order, which is effective immediately, was sent by constable, delivered by email and posted at the location.

The Center for COVID Control has been providing rapid COVID-19 antigen and PCR testing at this location in Worcester and at other sites throughout the region and country. The Center advertises free tests, with no appointment or insurance necessary, although people are asked to bring an ID and insurance card if they have one. Numerous complaints have been publicized in media reports and on social media, including not receiving test results, receiving test results while still waiting in line, and in some cases receiving incorrect results.

The City of Worcester recently became aware of the operation at 1 Rice Square. This site has been determined to be performing rapid testing without a necessary state permit. The lab associated with this location in Chicago also is not registered in the state of Massachusetts.=

The Division of Inspectional Services visited the site this week to observe the organization’s use of the space. Additionally, the Division of Public Health, responding to complaints from residents, contacted the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for guidance. On Monday, Jan. 10 the City sent an inquiry to the Attorney General’s Office regarding the operation.

On Tuesday, Jan. 12 the City was informed by the Office of Local and Regional Public Health that MDPH would be issuing a Cease & Decease Order for the location at 1 Rice Square. A constable delivered the Order today. The Order requires the Center for COVID Control to immediately cease providing all services that require clinical laboratory licensure by

MDPH. Those activities cannot resume unless and until the Center for COVID Control is licensed by MDPH. The Order also impacts sites in Needham and North Dartmouth.

Inspectional Services will continue to monitor the site in Worcester and enforce the Order.
Pop-up sites such as those operated by the Center for COVID Control have become popular given the scarcity of home testing kits and long wait lines elsewhere. While the frustration is understandable, the City of Worcester encourages residents to make use of known testing sites, such as local pharmacies, as well as the testing site operated by UMass Memorial Health Care at Mercantile Center. That location is open Mondays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

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