WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Several unauthorized COVID-19 testing sites in Massachusetts received cease-and-desist orders on Thursday, officials said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health ordered test sites in Worcester, Needham, and North Dartmouth that are operated by the Chicago-based Center for COVID Control to close after learning rapid testing was being performed without a necessary state permit.

In recent days there have been numerous complaints lodged against the Center for COVID Control including people not receiving test results, receiving test results while still waiting in line, and in some cases receiving incorrect results, according to officials.

Municipal public health departments from the three affected communities assisted with the delivery of the cease-and-desist letters.

The Center for COVID Control advertises free tests, with no appointment or insurance necessary, although people are asked to bring an ID and insurance card if they have one.

These testing locations must remain closed until they are officially licensed to operate by the state.

In a statement, the Center for COVID Control founder and CEO Aleya Siyaj said, “Center for Covid Control is committed to serving our patients in the safest, most accurate and most compliant manner. Regrettably, due to our rapid growth and the unprecedented recent demand for testing, we haven’t been able to meet all our commitments.”

Siyaj noted that all Center for COVID Control locations across the country will pause further collection of patient specimens through Jan. 22 to ensure that “high standards of quality” are being met.

Bay State health officials are urging residents to avoid visiting Center for COVID Control sites for a COVID-19 test.

There are hundreds of testing locations across the Commonwealth, as well as COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, which are widely available at local pharmacies or online.

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