IMMY Labs was projected to exhaust its CARES Act funding today — funding which has helped provide free COVID-19 testing — but according to a Facebook post from Oklahoma State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman), funding for the free tests will continue through at least Dec. 31.
Funding for the free testing comes from the CARES Act, which originally allocated over $2 billion to the state of Oklahoma for state agency programs and the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help combat the virus, according to the CARES Act website. Some of the funding has been used to provide free tests through Norman’s IMMY Labs. The money must be spent by the state by Dec. 31, or it will go back to the federal government.
At the Tuesday Norman City Council special session, City Manager Darrel Pyle said IMMY had burned through all the additional funding in four weeks, due to the preparations people were making for Thanksgiving break. Mayor Breea Clark said Norman would require $2 million to see itself through December.
According to a Wednesday Facebook post from Rosecrants, free testing should still be available through the end of 2020, though Gov. Kevin Stitt said the state is “hopeful” more federal assistance for the states will come in 2021 to provide further free testing.
“What we’ve been told is that they are waiting on new purchase orders,” Rosecrants said in an interview with The Daily. “And now we are putting pressure on the governor to make sure this gets done.”
Rosecrants also said he doesn’t think this free testing will be renewed next year.
“It will end in January, they think there will be another package passed by the federal government, (but) I do not think that will happen,” Rosecrants said. “They’ll still provide testing, but (it) won’t be no-cost.”
Rosecrants said he was confused when he initially heard about the situation, criticizing the state leadership’s strategy as the pandemic continues to impact Oklahoma at record levels.
“(There was a) lack of a clear plan at the top, let's just say that,” Rosecrants said.
The Daily has reached out to the governor’s office and IMMY labs for comment, and this article will be updated as more information is made available.