New public health lab gives employees first up to par office space
BATON ROUGE - The state's Office of Public Health is responsible for testing everything from blood samples to drinking water and, until today, they didn't have a viable work space.
The department unveiled a new laboratory in Downtown Baton Rouge that has been in the works for more than a decade.
"I'm delighted," said Dr. Stephen Martin, Public Health Laboratory Director. "There was a point where I didn't think it would be done in my tenure as a director. I'm actually the third director to work on the project."
Martin says the old facility testing would take weeks. Samples had to be thrown out and occasionally their systems would just shut down, which greatly impacts how quickly and effectively they're able to help respond to public health threats.
Officials say reliable heating and cooling systems, better technology and increased security are just a few reasons they are more confident now in their ability to protect the public.
This new facility in Baton Rouge will be the sole testing center in Louisiana, responsible for everything from emergency preparedness and laboratory safety and quality control to newborn screening, chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology.
The State Public Health Laboratory has been serving residents of Louisiana for 124 years, and they hope to continue to grow and adapt to new and emerging technologies to better avoid public health issues.