The State Department of Health has an update on the capabilities of the new public health lab. Officials have said that the lab should be complete by the end of the year.
The lab was put under the umbrella of the new Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence earlier this year.
"Our vision for the public health lab was to take a unique opportunity to create a state-of-the-art new lab in Oklahoma,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said. “A new lab of this caliber necessitated big changes in order to set us up for long term success."
Some of those changes were outsourcing newborn screenings back in March and keeping COVID-19 testing at the former lab.
"This is the state’s public health lab,” the Chief Science Officer Dr. Jared Taylor said. “We are committed to that and the purpose is to serve Oklahomans health."
With the continued evolvement of the public health lab and pandemic center, state health officials said they will continue to ramp up sequencing for COVID-19 variants at the lab.
"That is one of the successes we have,” Frye said. “Obviously there is a transition anytime you're setting up a new lab especially when you're moving from the PHL of the past to really a state-of-the-art lab."