Pressure is building in the General Assembly to request an audit into the use of reportedly unreliable Curative COVID-19 tests at the center of Gov. Polis’s nursing home scandal.
State Sen. Rob Woodward is requesting the audit, and the Legislative Audit Committee is scheduled to vote on the matter soon.
The scandal was exposed by Colorado Public Radio last June in a report detailing how the state used Curative tests off-label in nursing homes between last fall and January.
That choice may have produced deadly results for nursing home residents across Colorado as deaths rose to the highest rate in the country at the end of last year.
Medical Director at Vivage Senior Living Dr. Gregory Gahm told CBS-4 the state’s choice of Curative didn’t make any sense considering there were other more reliable vendors available.
But Gahm says what the company didn’t deliver was reliable results. Suspecting false positives, he and his colleagues compared Curative’s results to other labs.
“Every single time it was Curative that was positive and the one that was sent to one of the other labs- was negative.”
He says they repeatedly warned state health officials, “Every week I would bring in an update and say there were 10 more this week, 12 more. We found that Curative tests that were done at two different places on the same day and had two different results.”
Gahm’s comments track with emails from other senior nursing home doctors who suggest the tests may have directly contributed to Colorado’s surge of nursing home deaths.
“After reviewing some charts, I also have examples of what were likely false positive residents,” wrote Dr. Rebecca Jackson in the email. “This of course is more concerning as they are transferred to the COVID units. It is devastating to think of the morbidity, and potentially mortality, occurring across the state because we were told to trust the test and that a ‘positive is a positive’”
Ultimately the state pulled the Curative tests from nursing homes, but not until 17 days after the FDA issued in a warning in January.
Questions also remain about how the state ended up choosing an unproven COVID test vendor with a 25 year-old CEO.
The Polis administration was initially introduced to Curative through Gary Lauder, a Polis donor who hosted the governor’s top pandemic advisor Kacey Wulff at his Aspen home in July of 2020.
Ultimately the state’s former head of testing Sarah Tuneberg and Wulff both departed the Polis administration within a week of each other in January of 2021.
Those departures came after the FDA issued their warning about Curative and the state of Colorado pulled the tests.
Polis’s office says he wasn’t involved in selecting Curative, but the governor has refused several interview requests including from Colorado Public Radio prior to the publishing of their story last June.
The only remaining uncertainty is whether Democrats on the State Legislative Audit Committee will block an investigation.
The committee is equally comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans, meaning the GOP will have to convince at least one Democrat to vote with them to authorize an audit.
Woodward is submitting his request for the audit on Monday.
If Democrats do unite to block any investigation, they can rest assured it will follow them for the rest of their political careers.
There is no reason for the state not to investigate why Colorado ended up with COVID tests that could have resulted in the deaths of countless seniors.
Anything less than requesting a full and transparent investigation from the state auditor would reek of a coverup.
Is that something these Democrats really want to be tied to, forever?
We are about to find out.