According to a recent report from KOVR-TV in Sacramento, California, a new COVID-19 testing lab in Valencia, California, is a nightmare of mismanagement, incompetence, sloppiness, and overall shoddy work.
One whistleblower from the facility who spoke with KOVR-TV put it bluntly: “That lab should be shut down because they’re jeopardizing people’s lives.”
Promises vs. Reality
The new lab was opened in October of 2020. Its opening was greeted with enormous fanfare, and California governor Gavin Newsom made all sorts of extravagant and hopeful promises about what it would be able to achieve.
“The new laboratory will allow California to ensure its testing capacity is timely, equitable, and cost-effective — just when Californians need it most,” he said.
The governor promised that by March, the lab, working in partnership with PerkinElmer, would be able to process 150,000 tests per day.
According to a group of whistleblowers, however, the reality is quite different.
First, whistleblowers have shared photos videos of lab technicians sleeping, watching videos, and just generally playing around instead of working.
KOVR has also received documents proving that at least one of the lab’s supervisors has no prior experience working in labs. In general, the whistleblowers say that there is an extreme shortage at the lab of both qualified supervisors and qualified technicians.
The California Department of Public Health has insisted that this is not the case, saying to KOVR that, “All individuals who are working in the laboratory… handling specimens are credentialed and trained.”
But one whistleblower has flatly and vehemently denied this. “This is FALSE!!!!” the whistleblower said to KOVR. “I was running samples my first day with zero clinical experience. So were the rest of my colleagues.”
These allegations may explain the lab’s extraordinarily dismal performance. First, it leads the state in generating inconclusive test results. One out of 34 of the lab’s tests come back inconclusive, while the state average for California is only one out of 256. Moreover, despite Newsom’s promises about the lab’s testing capacity, it is currently processing fewer than 20,000 tests per day.