This 30 Minute Special Report is the culmination of a 14-month investigation that prompted state and federal investigations, resulted in two new pieces of legislation, and was the subject of national media coverage that shined a spotlight on shocking public health failures that it appeared regulators tried to hide.

Each of the original daily newscast reports is linked below.  For ease of navigation, we’ve also added video-chapter links to this version of the special report:
THE COVID LAB: State Secrets Exposed.

    • 0:00 Prologue
    • 02:16 Introduction
    • 03:22 CHAPTER 1 A Billion-Dollar Promise
    • 07:06 CHAPTER 2: False Positives
    • 12:54 CHAPTER 3: The Whistleblowers
    • 18:55 CHAPTER 4: Fixing A Flawed Test
    • 24:01 CHAPTER 5: State Secrets Revealed

(This report first aired on Dec 30, 2021)

As positivity rates continue to decrease following the 2022 Omicron variant surge, we’re taking a look back at the lessons learned from our year-long investigation into the state’s troubled COVID testing lab.

Over the past year, this investigation gave a voice to brave whistleblowers who risked their careers in the interest of public health, and it shined a spotlight on shocking public health failures, which it appeared the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) tried to hide.

CBS Sacramento conducted dozens of interviews with whistleblowers and lab experts, submitted hundreds of public records requests, and reviewed thousands of pages of internal lab documents.

Still, public health officials tried to discredit the reporting, and whistleblower complaints, even after their own inspectors confirmed the findings.

Both state and federal regulators concluded that the lab posed “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety” “likely to cause serious injury or harm, or death,” but CDPH didn’t warn the public, or even pause testing, as problems continued for nearly a year.

Now, following this special report, lawmakers are taking action.




The Whistleblower Investigation

Asleep At the Lab: Whistleblower Allegations From Inside CA’s Billion-Dollar COVID Lab


CA’s Billion-Dollar COVID Testing Lab Under Investigation Following CBS13 Whistleblower Report


Questionable COVID Results – More Concerning Whistleblower Allegations From State COVID Lab


PerkinElmer Sues Whistleblower After Allegations About Troubled CA COVID Testing Lab


Regulators Find ‘Significant Deficiencies’ At CA COVID Testing Lab – Whistleblowers Respond


The Troubled Test

State COVID Test Not FDA Authorized



Same COVID Test, Different Results: FDA Looking Into State Lab ‘Test Result Concerns’


CBS13 Investigates: Should Rapid Test Be Used To Test School Athletes?


Delayed School COVID Results, Canceled Games and Contamination Concerns 


Are False Positives or Sensitive Tests Responsible For School COVID Spikes? 


CA COVID LAB Returns Fewer Than 1 Out Of 5 Results Within Required 48hrs During Omicron Surge


Continued Accountability

Continued Accountability: Delayed Investigation Report, Denied Interview Requests 


Lawmakers Demand Answers –What’s CDPH Hiding At The $1.7B COVID Testing Lab? 


Theranos Trial Reveals Details of Federal Investigation at Troubled CA COVID Lab, No-Bid Contract Renewed


State Inspections Confirm Whistleblower Allegations At Troubled California COVID Lab


Lab Experts Criticize State’s Response To Risk Of ‘Serious Injury, Harm or Death’ At CA COVID Testing Lab


Julie Watts