TAMPA, Fla. — COVID-19 isn’t over yet; and finding a coronavirus test has become very hard – leading many people looking for options wherever they can find them.
Sharon Stern, who lives in the Tampa Bay region, needed a test for a trip out of the country.
“And at the time, it was holidays. So, CVS and others weren't guaranteeing you get it back in time,” Stern explained.
Stern was heading to Uganda and needed a test within 72 hours of her flight.
“I googled and found this company, and they said they were based in New York and Miami, and that they would come to your house. I called and the lady on the other line checked and said, ‘Oh, yep, Pinellas, is one of those places'. So, I made an appointment,” Stern said.
The company she booked with was called BeeperMD. According to their website, they will come to your home and perform a COVID test for free.
Exactly what she needed.
“They said they arrived between 11 and 1,” Stern said.
But the company never showed up.
“One came and went, they never showed up. I tried calling again. Got the same thing, 30 something in line. And that was it,” Stern said. “I had uploaded my insurance card so, I called the insurance company just to make sure they weren't getting charged, because I thought, oh my gosh."
She’s not the only one concerned about this company. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody's Office has received six complaints alleging the same thing. The complaints accuse the company of taking appointments, but no one ever shows up to give the tests.
So what’s going on? The company released the below statement:
"Due to the unprecedented demand for testing, our company has been overwhelmed in the same way as many state and county-run testing sites. We have been doing our best to meet the demand, working around the clock to hire more testers while upgrading our phone and computer systems. Most of our missed appointments are being caused by the heavy strain on our workforce – as they also have gotten COVID at times. When this happens, we pull them off immediately for the safety of the public. Despite these challenges, BeeperMD has successfully tested over 150,000 people across Florida in the last six weeks alone."
“I think that's one of the reasons I reported it because I thought I don't want somebody else to go through what I went through, because that was a big panic,” Stern said.
Sharon was able to go on her trip after finding a last minute test at CVS. And while on her trip, she finally heard from BeeperMD.
“Like two weeks later, and they send an email. Oh, sorry, people, we got backed up. And we hope to be OK soon,” Stern said.