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Woman Questions COVID-19 Clinic After Receiving Results Before Testing

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As the Omicron variant spreads in Illinois, demand for testing is soaring, too. But with greater testing come test results that are sometimes delayed and even inaccurate.

One woman told CBS 2's Jackie Kostek that her experience left her with questions about a testing clinic itself.

When it comes to testing for COVID-19, most people are generally pleased to get a negative result. But Michelle Vanderlaan's negative test result from a clinic in Berwyn raised a big red flag for her.

Before taking a trip to see her elderly parents, Vanderlaan said she was excited to find same-day COVID testing appointments for her whole family at a nearby clinic. That was until she got an email.

"When I opened up the link, it showed, 'Michelle, you're negative.' Normally I'd be excited about that, but I hadn't even tested yet. I'd never been to the facility before," she said.

Vanderlaan wasn't scheduled to test for another 30 minutes. Confused and concerned, she called the Holy Family Medical Clinic in Berwyn for an explanation.

"The person I spoke to, it could've just been a front desk person. I said, 'I'm really concerned. Can you tell me how this happened?' He seemed to be very confused," she said.

Vanderlaan said when the employee couldn't explain what happened, she worried the place might be a scam. Just last week, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a consumer warning about so-called "pop-up" testing sites, which aren't licensed or regulated by any government agency.

Sunday, the clinic manager turned down an interview but said what happened with Vanderlaan was simply due to human error -- an employee likely mislabeling a test sample -- and, to his knowledge, had never happened before. Vanderlaan said she did receive a call from the clinic manager Sunday, but only after CBS 2 got involved.

"Any medical organization that's handling that kind of sensitive information should have everything really tight. There should be no room for human error, especially not like this one," she said.

She said she will be filing a complaint with the attorney general.

"Oh yes, definitely. And again, when you file a complaint with the attorney general, they investigate so if everything is up and up then fine but hopefully they will help put protocols in place to ensure this doesn't happen again," she said.

As for how the clinic plans to deal with the issue, the manager said he plans to address the situation with the employee Monday to make sure it never happens again. He said the clinic started COVID testing during the pandemic to help the community, and they plan to continue doing that.

Vanderlaan said her family ended up rescheduling their trip until they can be sure they get accurate tests.

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