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Hundreds left in dark about botched COVID-19 tests in Nipomo 

County residents who received COVID-19 tests early this month in Nipomo are still awaiting their results, without explanation, as the clinic mistakenly sent three days of test swabs to the wrong laboratory.

San Luis Obispo County public health officials said the error affected as many as 495 tests administered on Dec. 3, 5, and 7 at the Nipomo Senior Center. Community members tested on those days are encouraged to get retested.

"We were disappointed to learn that there was a mix-up with the types of tests administered at our Nipomo testing site," SLO County Public Health spokesperson Michelle Shoresman said by email. "The problem was identified on [Dec. 7] and the contractor was notified of the issue. ... We take full responsibility for the error and have corrected the issue, and it will not happen again."

click to enlarge LONG WAIT Nearly 500 locals recently tested for COVID-19 in Nipomo experienced delays receiving results due to a clinic error. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • LONG WAIT Nearly 500 locals recently tested for COVID-19 in Nipomo experienced delays receiving results due to a clinic error.

The testing contractor, OptumServe, called the issue "an administrative error" where "samples were sent to the wrong lab to process." A company spokesperson said patients tested on those days will eventually receive results—which are typically delivered between two and six days after a test.

Patients affected by the error weren't notified by OptumServe or Public Health about the problem or reason for delay. Shoresman said that SLO County Public Health could not contact the patients individually because OptumServe did not provide patient information.

"Unfortunately, we were unaware of the issue until it was too late and still do not have data from the vendor," Shoresman said. "Please consider getting retested to know your health status." Δ

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