Jersey City Together accuses Quest of deprioritizing COVID-19 results for people of color

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In a scathing letter, leadership from Jersey City Together is accusing Quest Diagnostics of deprioritizing COVID-19 results for people of color after some have complained about delays for as long as two weeks.

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“We write to you angry and frustrated. Two weeks ago, starting July 1, we worked with the State of New Jersey, Interfaith Urgent Care, and the City of Jersey City to test more than 1,200 people at The Cityline Church in Jersey City,” 12 members of JCT wrote to Quest CEO, Chairman, and President Steve Rusckowski today.

“Many of those tested are still waiting on results. This is beyond unacceptable … Your company has stated publicly that you are de-prioritizing processing certain tests. It seems to us you have further de-prioritized free tests for low- and moderate-income people and people of color in your own county.”

Headquartered in Secaucus, Quest announced earlier this week that “soaring demand” for COVID-19 tests across the country has slowed down their test results – for some patients more than others.

“Our average turnaround time for reporting test results is slightly more than 1 day for our priority 1 patients. However, our average turnaround time for all other populations is 7 or more days,” the clinical laboratory company wrote.

As a result, JCT is demanding an immediate prioritizing of tests from Cityline Church and other tests from Interfaith Urgent Care sites across the state, as well as the public release of the internal guidance Quest Diagnostics is using to prioritize processing test results.

“If this information is not released by Monday of next week, we will call for a public investigation of Quest Diagnostics’ business practices by the State of New Jersey, the Economic Development Authority, and by local governments here in Hudson County,” the letter concludes.

JCT resumed COVID-19 and antibody testing at the Heavenly Temple Church this afternoon, though they are now using BioReference Laboratories to process their results.

Quest could not be reached for further comment on Thursday.