California inspectors find ‘deficiencies’ at virus test lab

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Feb. 11, 2021, file photo, is the exterior of the PerkinElmer lab in Valencia, Calif. Inspectors found “significant deficiencies” at California’s new billion-dollar vaccine testing laboratory, problems that state officials on Monday, Feb. 22 blamed on the rapid ramp-up that they had required from the lab’s private operator. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California health officials say inspectors found “significant deficiencies” at the state’s new coronavirus testing laboratory.

The state said in a preliminary report Monday that a fraction of 1% of the more than 1.5 million tests performed at the Valencia Branch Laboratory have had problems. But Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said “one incorrect test result is one too many.”

Massachusetts-based diagnostics company PerkinElmer, which operates the lab under a $1.4 billion state contract, says the deficiencies found in a December inspection “have long since been resolved.”

The state health department also is investigating whistleblower allegations of incompetence and mismanagement, including reports of workers sleeping on the job. The company says those concerns are ”misplaced.”

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