New State Health Pandemic Center, Public Health Lab To Open In Stillwater

Thursday, January 21st 2021, 7:21 am
By: Caleb Califano

Oklahoma's new Public Health Lab will open in Stillwater at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Governor Kevin Stitt and State Health Commissioner Lance Frye will be there for the grand opening.

The Governor says the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence will be a first of its kind in the nation, combining agriculture, medicine, food safety, public health testing, as well as animal health and safety.

The pandemic center and public health lab will be a partnership between both the State Health Department and Prairie One Solutions, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the OSU Research Foundation.

The State said Prairie One will add expertise and capacity to the Public Health Lab staff. The State Health Department does confirm however they will still oversee both new facilities.

“We have to change so we can be ready for what happens next. We don’t want Oklahoma to be flat-footed the next time something like (the COVID-19 pandemic) happens,” said OSDH Deputy Commissioner Travis Kirkpatrick.

Some critics are questioning why the state is moving the lab away from the health department in OKC, especially in the middle of the pandemic.