New Health Department lab bringing benefits to Laredo
Jun 9, 2010
Jun 9, 2010
Its been ten months since the ribbon cutting of the city health department lab, now officials are only days away from receiving the news they've been waiting for. The health department is expected to receive full certification from agencies like the CDC and health administration, putting Laredo’s brand new lab on the map. its a state of the art lab ... three years in the making. one securely locked door after another ... all opening to the sounds of alarms ... and the hum of an air filtration system. a total of three people will monitor not only the temperature but the pressure of each delicate room. “One. Negative pressure controls biological so we're not exposed second UV lights is the second control,” says Dr. Gonzalez of the Laredo Health Department. Before opening the main lab, anyone entering must shower and wear special suits. Ready to handle dangerous and sensitive materials. “Something like anthrax smallpox, considered a weaponized bio-terrorist act we would be able to manage here.” Scientists will also soon test for food contamination and viruses that could potentially hurt the masses. All in times quicker than Laredo’s ever seen. “Two weeks waiting for H1N1 we would have had the results in two hours here.” “You don’t realize the threat we have when we're on the border,” says Lab Manager and Scientist Vicky Perales. “We're really close to another country we're right there it can go through and come into here.” A final certification by the National Institute of Health, CDC and the US Food and Drug administration, will make the Laredo’s lab part of a larger network. “then their professional and technical expertise say when the city of Laredo health department says this is negative or positive we back it up that it is.” I’ll probably be one of the few people to walk through this door as you can tell the alarm goes off and after the certification begins only authorized personnel will be allowed to walk inside.” “All the employees or anyone that comes in here will have to get a background check and fingerprinting.” The overall result, Health Department officials say, is an amazing accomplishment for the city. “We have other border cities calling about what we have done and what they can do.” “People sometimes continue to think that Laredo and the border is not prepared not ready somewhat backward… on the contrary we are ready to respond test and act here.” The facility was build with 1 point 3 million dollars in city bond money and 700-thousand dollars from the department of state health. The final certifications should be approved in the next 60 days.