Oklahoma Officials Scrambling To Raise Money To Repair The State Health Lab

Friday, September 21st 2018, 7:28 am
By: Grant Hermes

Oklahoma officials are scrambling to raise money to repair the state's Public Health Laboratory. 

If it's not given an upgrade soon the state could be forced to close the lab. 

This is the lab where the state does most of our newborn testing, our drug-resistant disease testing as well as our emergency response testing for diseases like Anthrax or Ebola.

The lab has been in disrepair for some time. In recent years health officials have been warning the situation is dire. 

The College of American Pathologists which certifies the lab's accreditation said the facility is "antiquated and poorly designed" which could put the lab in jeopardy of losing its accreditation meaning the state would have to shut down the lab.

If that happens Oklahoma would have to use a lab out of state. Officials say that could cost millions of dollars a year. 

Lawmakers approved a multi-million dollar bond package last session and just last week the Oklahoma State Board of Health gave the go ahead to start raising funds but it could be some time before any work on the lab would begin.

News 9 cameras were not allowed inside the lab under CDC rules.

We did ask the department for an interview about the lab but officials declined. They also did not fill News 9's request for photos of the lab's current condition.