Norman city leaders concerned about funding for free COVID-19 tests

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, many healthcare professionals are encouraging those who traveled for the holiday to get tested for COVID-19.

However, officials say testing could be a problem in Norman.

On Tuesday night, Norman Mayor Breea Clark announced in a special session that free testing at one of the labs, IMMY Labs, might be a thing of the past.

Mayor Clark said the state funding given to IMMY Labs for free COVID-19 testing for residents is set to run out on Thursday. She says she heard that information from the Cleveland County Health Department.

If that is the case, it won’t just affect residents in Norman but could also impact those in surrounding communities who have taken part in free testing.

Last week, IMMY Labs completed about 32,000 COVID-19 tests as everyone was preparing for the holidays.

Right now, Clark says it would cost about $2 million to provide free COVID-19 testing throughout the month of December. Each test at IMMY Labs costs $135.

“I plan to reach out to our partners at Cleveland County. I’m sure they received some CARES Act funding. I don’t know what they’ve done with it, but I know that if we try and limit testing to just Norman, we’re going to get Moore, we’re gonna get Noble, we’re going to get Chickasha. So this is an excellent opportunity for our county partners to help us cover these expenses with CARES funding,” Mayor Clark said at the meeting.

Clark says they might try subsidizing the cost of the tests so they’re a little cheaper, but they would not be available for free.

This is the second time community leaders have heard that money was running out for free testing. After learning about the funding the first time, IMMY Labs said that another round of funding was coming.

While that did come, it only lasted about four weeks.

Now, they don’t believe a second round of additional state funding is in the works.

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