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Sonora Quest accused of consumer fraud for delayed COVID-19 test results

PHOENIX — Sonora Quest Laboratories is accused of violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act with false claims over coronavirus testing times.

In a letter to Sonora Quest, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office called for the laboratory to halt claims about processing tests in 24 to 72 hours when processing has taken upwards of nine days.

“At this critical juncture in Arizona’s battle with COVID-19, testing turnaround times are incredibly important to consumers, health care providers, and society at large,” Assistant Attorney General Joshua Weiss said in a letter Friday.

“Misrepresenting testing capabilities undercuts contact tracing, and frustrates consumers’ ability to change their behavior and notify others they may have infected.”

The Attorney General’s office claimed that Sonora Quest caused “substantial injury to consumers” because health care providers and patients have endured long wait times.

“We categorically deny the allegation that Sonora Quest violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and will provide a complete response to the Attorney General’s Office,” Sonora Quest said in an e-mail to KTAR News. “Sonora Quest is not making further comment on the letter at this time, but we affirm that Sonora Quest has provided and will continue to provide accurate and timely information about its turnaround times.”

According to the lab’s dashboard, around 2,890 tests were waiting to be processed.

The letter also noted that Sonora Quest has failed to deliver on clearing out the testing backlog. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called out the laboratory last week to “step up their game” when it came to eliminating the backlog of tests.

According to the document, Sonora Quest has until Monday at 5 p.m. to agree to comply with the Attorney General’s letter.

On Saturday, Arizona health officials reported 1,054 additional coronavirus cases and 56 deaths, bringing the state’s total 186,107 COVID-19 infections and 4,137 deaths.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gabriel Gamino contributed to this report.

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