LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has announced he will no longer use the county’s coronavirus testing provider for his department over concerns over the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese government.
Villanueva sent a letter to the county’s board of supervisors stating that the FBI contacted him last week and, at a briefing the day after Thanksgiving, discussed the “serious risks associated with allowing Fulgent to carry out COVID-19.” tests” from county employees, the Los Angeles. Times reported.
The FBI advised Villanueva that the information will likely be shared with China, according to The Times, and the sheriff said the DNA data obtained “is not guaranteed to be safe from foreign governments.”
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An FBI representative declined to comment when The Times asked him to confirm what was discussed at the meeting.
The Times reported that LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl was invited to the briefing by text message, but she was unable to attend because she was out of town for Thanksgiving.
“From what I heard about the briefing, there was no evidence at all, nil, that Fulgent had violated anything or had any relationship with the Chinese government that was detrimental to the information that might be present in the samples they are testing,” she told The Times.
The county’s contract with Fulgent prohibits the disclosure of data without the county’s written consent and requires the company to store and process data in the continental United States, the county said in a statement released Monday.
A number of federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, have a contract with Fulgent, which is certified by the Food and Drug Administration, accredited by the College of American Pathologists and licensed by the California Department of Public Health, according to the statement. of the province. The company is headquartered in Temple City.
“If a credible threat is confirmed, or if the federal government takes steps to revoke certification, we will take immediate action to prevent employee data from being misused,” the provincial statement said.
County employees must register their vaccination status with Fulgent. Those who have not been vaccinated are required to submit regular test results.
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