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Oklahoma Health Department says it has COVID-19 testing capacity amid nationwide supply shortage

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 11:11:24-04

TULSA, Okla. — As part of the nation sees a COVID-19 testing supply shortage due to high demand, 2 Works for You investigated to see if that is the case in Oklahoma.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the state does not lack testing capacity.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, a total of 613,202 Oklahomans have been tested with Wednesday's latest report showing 34,623 have tested positive.

As community spread of the virus remains a threat, medical professionals are working to identify and isolate cases. In order to accomplish this, testing is vital.

"The faster we can get reports, the faster we can jump on it and do contact tracing, which is really to find the source and stop the spread," said Dr. Bruce Dart, the executive director of the Tulsa Health Department.

In Tulsa County, several testing sites reported having adequate COVID-19 testing supplies. These include the University of Oklahoma Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa Health Department, Walmart and CVS Pharmacy.

However, testing is cut back at all CVS locations from 50 tests per day to 30 because of third-party labs.

Part of the problem could be a national backlog of materials required to perform the testing.

"Labs are scrambling. We’re almost back to the early part of the response where supplies and materials are starting to become a problem again,” explained Dr. Dart. "You can’t run a lab test without the appropriate reagents and cartridges to get the testing."

For some, the supply shortage means a longer wait time for test results.

At CVS Pharmacy, results could take between six to 10 days, in some cases, after it sends the specimens to an out-of-state laboratory.

This is not the case at testing sites that have their own diagnostic lab, such as the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and the University of Oklahoma.

"We are doing a capacity of I think has exceeded about 1,200 a day, and we get the results within 24 hours," said Dr. Dale Bratzler of OU Medicine.

There are currently 182,567 tests available per the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

For more information on testing sites across the state, visit the health department's website for a map of locations.

Other COVID-19 testing sites not included in the list occur at urgent care clinics and healthcare provider facilities.

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