Governor Mike DeWine said Ohio is waiting for the results of five people who were tested for coronavirus.
Test results are expected within 24 hours. There are no confirmed cases in Ohio, however, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said Ohio can expect its first case any day.
“We have a plan, and we are implementing that plan now,” DeWine said. “We’re here today to update the people in the state of Ohio, specifically to talk about our testing process,.”
Acton addressed the conference with new updates on the status of the state response to the respiratory virus, COVID-19.
The department will start releasing data every day, Acton said. Including sharing updates on confirmed cases and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for the virus every day on the Ohio Department of Health’s website by 2 p.m. That now includes weekends.
“As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the Ohio Department of Health, working in conjunction with hospitals, primary care providers, and other health care experts, has a plan to maximize our testing resources,” DeWine said. “We are prioritizing the patients who are the most vulnerable to be tested in the Department of Health’s State Laboratory, while ensuring those that need COVID-19 testing will be able to be tested.”
Testing can now be done in Ohio for the sickest patients, although testing capacity is limited but will increase. For the time being, testing priority will be elderly, immune-compromised and health care workers.
Acton said hospitals will likely be able to do their own testing in two weeks.
“We want to reassure Ohioans so there is no confusion,” Acton said. “Information is critical to managing an outbreak of any infectious disease, and testing at our state lab offers the greatest ability for all of us to make the best decisions to protect the health of the greatest number of people. We will now be able to turn around results in an estimated 24-48 hours.”
A hotline is now available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week for coronavirus questions at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
“Eventually testing will be almost routine,” Acton said.
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