Oklahoma ready to broaden testing criteria as new test kits roll in


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With 10,000 new test kits in Oklahoma, the state will be able to open up testing qualifications to a larger population.

The State Secretary of Health tells News 4 they will still focus on the most vulnerable first, but now we have some breathing room.

People who still feel sick should call their doctor for screening.

“This is exactly why I’m in Stillwater today,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “We just got the delivery.”

Thursday morning, 10,000 new test kits arrived in Oklahoma through a private order.

Stitt says they will be ready for use starting Friday.

The State Department of Health is now able to turn results around in just 24 hours thanks to the state’s two largest universities – OSU and OU – tackling the workload.

“This has all the attributes of a marathon,” State Secretary of Health Jerome Loughridge said.

It was just last week when Stitt told Oklahomans those test kits were hard to come by.

“We were underwater for awhile there, but this is a giant gulp of air that will allow us to keep swimming through this supply chain,” Loughridge said.

For weeks, several sick Oklahomans were turned away from hospitals. Doctors were forced to tell them they didn’t fall in a specific category to be tested.

“We will test more people and open the parameters for the testing,” Loughridge said.

Several of the test kits are set to be used at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds.

According to the OKC-County Health Department, the testing site at the fairgrounds is for high-risk category and doctor recommendation only at this time.

There is not a designated date it will be open to the general public.

Health officials say it will open to the public only when testing becomes more widely available, but there is no definite date on that timeline.

News 4 wanted to ask when the state will see more test kits.

“It’s a moving target, but it buys us some time, certainly more than just a couple of days,” Loughridge said.

Oklahoma State University will soon be able to process 2,000 test kits a day.

The state also says this influx of test kits will allow them to keep some in the reserves in case an outbreak takes place at a nursing home or a hospital.

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