The lab’s essential public health functions could be compromised during the move and if the lab had fewer employees. The lab, now at a former Devon Energy Corp. field office building next to a cow pasture in Stillwater, has struggled to keep its top <a href=''https://cbait.com''>director and</a> other key employees. Delays to get test results for basic public health surveillance for salmonella outbreaks and sexually transmitted infections have shaken the confidence of lab partners and local public health officials. As a new coronavirus emerges going into winter, the lab ranks last in the nation for COVID-19 variant testing. Many employees, who found out about the lab’s move from an October 2020 press conference, didn’t want to relocate to Stillwater. Those who did make the move in the first few months of 2021 found expensive lab equipment in their new workplace but not enough electrical outlets for them. The lab’s internet connection was slower than expected and not part of the ultra-fast fiber network used across town by Oklahoma State University. A fridge containing reagents, among the basic supplies for any lab, had to be thrown out after a power outage. Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized a correction plan after federal inspectors, prompted by an anonymous complaint, showed up unannounced at the lab in late September. “Although some aspects of the original report were not as favorable as we would have liked, the path of correction is clear and more than attainable,” Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett said Tuesday in a statement about the inspection. “We are well on our way to fully implementing our plan. (The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services) has confirmed we’ve met the requirements of being in compliance. We are looking forward to their follow-up visit.” In an earlier statement, the health department said the Stillwater lab now “has sufficient power outlets to perform testing with the new equipment, and has fiber connection that exceeds what is necessary to properly run genetic sequencing and other lab functions.” The department denied the lab had to throw out the reagents after a power outage.
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