The Oklahoma State Department of Health has opened what it called the first public health and research center of its kind in the nation.
Governor Kevin Stitt and other state leaders participated in the ribbon cutting at the $30 million pandemic center in Stillwater.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health said the 40,000 square foot pandemic center combines state, college, and private resources to combat future pandemics.
“We are super excited to see this come to fruition,” Travis Kirkpatrick said.
Deputy Commissioner, Travis Kirkpatrick, said the facility has a “one health” approach, as environmental, animal, and human health will all be equally important.
The facility will be used to study and control outbreaks and even will be used to do newborn screenings to identify potentially life-threatening health issues for young Oklahomans.
Governor Kevin Stitt participated in the ribbon cutting today at the $30 million facility. Governor Stitt said the pandemic center will bring in resources of state and national experts.
“It makes us and puts us as the global leader in pandemic preparedness and research,” Stitt said.
The pandemic center will be able to increase the state’s testing output. Governor Stitt said the previous public health lab in Oklahoma City could do 1,000-1,500 COVID-19 tests a day. However, the new facility will far exceed that.
Kirkpatrick said the pandemic center is a national model for not only pandemic response, but also preparedness.
“We are not only acting but being proactive of our ability to get ahead,” Kirkpatrick said.
State leaders say the center’s ability to do more testing will also take the pressure off other testing sites in Oklahoma.
The CARES Act provided $25 million of the centers $30 million price.