Pop-up coronavirus testing booths: Legitimate or roadside scams?

Pop-up coronavirus testing booths: Legitimate or roadside scams?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Is it a scam or is it legitimate?

You might have seen some tents pop up across Louisville the last few days.

Some representatives say they’re offering health screenings that return results in 24 hours.

But here’s the thing; they’re doing mouth swabs, which can’t test for the coronavirus.

Louisville Metro Government told WAVE 3 News on Wednesday that it was not consulted prior to these sites being set up, adding that it has received multiple calls about the pop-ups. Metro has referred the matter to local law enforcement.

Louisville Metro Government says if you’re experiencing symptoms, get help from hospitals or healthcare providers or government resources.

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites popped up early this week at Sojourn Church Midtown on Shelby Street.

“If their insurance wasn’t on the list, they said they had clip board and if it wasn’t on the list they would charge then $240,” activist Tara Bassett told WAVE 3 News.

Sojourn Church Director of Communications Jack Brannen said no staff or volunteers from Sojourn participated in the testing. He said church leaders were contact by an organization offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing and they wanted to use the church's parking lot. The church "performed an initial screening and researching the organization" and after the organization told them they were in communication with Louisville Metro government, they agreed to let them use the parking lot from Monday until Wednesday.

After some concerns, the church asked the group, BCK Marketing, not to return to their parking lot on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, another group, Community Outreach Marking Group, were set up for testing at 17th and Broadway.

Metro Council President David James said it's all a scam.

"They are telling people they are testing for COVID-19 but it's actually just a medicaid fraud scheme," James said.

WAVE 3 News talked to two men from Community Outreach Marketing Group who were on site Wednesday and said they were overseeing the location on 17th and Broadway.

“This is not about anybody’s personal information or anything else okay? People want to get an opportunity, we’re not asking anybody to come out here,” Monquiz W. from Community Outreach Marketing Group said. “We put a sign, and they are more than welcome to say yes or no. People have, patients have rights.”

The men said they send off the results of the swabs to a lab.

“We have relationships with genetics lab,” a man with the group, who would not give his name, said. “Doctors, nurse practitioners, all these are professionals. We’re doing everything in compliance, everything the right way. This is for the community.”

Metro Government told us they were "not consulted prior to the sites opening up."

As community activists, reporters and Metro Council President David James confronted the group at 17th and Broadway on Wednesday, the group tore everything down and left.

“These people are the scum of the Earth and they are taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in our community,” Bassett said.

James tore down their sign and then he and Bassett followed the group around town to Main Street and Clay, where LMPD officers were speaking with them. James said while he followed the group onto I-64, the tent that was not secured in the back of the truck, it flew off and knocked James’ car mirror off.

James and Bassett continued to follow the group into Indiana.

“In reality, they are just scammers and playing on people’s emotions and vulnerable populations and I’m not going to tolerate that,” James said.

Governor Beshear said Wednesday unless a drive-thru testing site is connected to a healthcare provider, people should be on guard.

The only drive-thru testing site in Louisville is at UofL Hospital and it is by appointment only.

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