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Oklahoma's Public Health Lab Will Conduct Newborn Health Screenings Locally Again

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Oklahoma health officials say they will resume newborn screenings in the state’s public health lab.

Oklahoma's outdated public health laboratory has been a thorn in state officials’ sides for decades. The Stitt Administration announced in October it would construct a new one, but the plan immediately proved controversial. It involved moving the lab out of Oklahoma City’s biomedical hub and to Stillwater. Since then, the lab has outsourced several critical tests to out-of-state labs, and its director has resigned.

Top health department officials held a briefing Tuesday, where they announced a few tests are moving to the Stillwater lab.

"Today, we are officially bringing newborn screening and COVID-19 testing fully in-house at the new Stillwater Lab location," Deputy Commissioner of Health Travis Kirkpatrick said.

Newborn screening had been outsourced to a private lab in Pennsylvania amid an investigation into the lab’s testing protocols. COVID-19 testing was still based in the Oklahoma City facility.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
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