Staff shortages and equipment transition for the relocated Public Health Lab in Stillwater have caused state health officials to outsource certain tests to private labs, and in some cases to a public health lab in Minnesota.
The move will cause delays between 24 to 48 hours for some microbiology tests, according to an email obtained by Oklahoma Watch and sent earlier this week by John Murray, the lab’s acting administrative director.
Among the tests to be outsourced were those used for E.coli, meningitis and salmonella. The tests to be sent to Minnesota were those that involve infections that could be picked up in a healthcare setting.
It will not affect newborn screening, which is among the highest priorities for the public health lab because the early detection of some genetic disorders at birth can mean the difference between life and death for newborns. It also won’t affect testing for COVID-19.
Dr. Michael Kayser, the lab’s new director, said the outsourced testing was due to the transition of equipment from the old lab in Oklahoma City.
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