Doctor sues health district after COVID-19 drive-through testing postponed


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A doctor has filed an injunction against the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and its administrator, Julie Pryde. Dr. Thomas Pliura of Campustown Urgent Care claimed both Pryde and the Public Health District are trying to prevent him from conducting drive-through COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Pliura originally had an agreement with First Christian Church of Champaign to hold drive-through testing in their parking lot on April 1. It would have allowed people with minor or no symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested.

According to the injunction, Dr. Pliura claimed Pryde and others at CUPHD ‘undertook efforts to prevent Campustown from conducting its drive-through testing, including raising false, contrived and pretextual concerns with officials at the church’ and ‘made baseless accusations concerning the cost of the testing, vague assertions concerning whether unidentified “guidelines” would be followed and asserting that, “first of all, there is just no unfettered access to testing in this country”.’

Pryde said in an interview on April 2 that CDC guidelines state only those who are showing symptoms are supposed to get tested, and she wanted to make sure Dr. Pliura was following those guidelines.

“If people are doing it and they don’t have symptoms, and they’re just testing because they just want to test, and they don’t have any real reason to test… that’s taking resources that could be better used,” said Pryde on April 2.

While the Public Health District can’t shut down a testing site on its own, they can make suggests to anyone looking to provide testing. Dr. Pliura said in the injunction both the district and Pryde did just that after he attempted to make arrangements to hold drive-through testing at several other locations in Champaign-Urbana. According to the injunction, those ‘tentative agreements (were) rescinded after the owners/managers had communications within one or more Defendants who raised various “issues.”.’

The injunction reads Dr. Pliura called Pryde on Monday, April 6 to see if she would be against him holding drive-up and walk-up testing at Campustown’s Champaign clinic, to which she said was was opposed to it. It further reads neither Pryde nor the Public Health District has interfered in other helathcare providers conducting COIVD-19 testing on some of their own patients, that they don’t have the authority to determine whether a patient can or can’t receive COVID-19 testing from a licensed physician and qualified lab, and states their actions are ‘jeopardizing the health of the community and needlessly risking lives.’

The injunction would prevent Pryde and CUPHD from ‘interfering with, or falsely communicating with anyone about (Campustown’s and Dr. Pliura’s) COVID-19 testing’. Dr. Pliura is also seeking a temporary restraining order.

WCIA has reached out to CUPHD for comment, and is waiting to hear back.

You can read the entire injunction here:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.