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Some remain skeptical of DeWine's plan to expand testing, tracing before reopening

Mike DeWine
Posted at 10:39 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-25 00:28:13-04

CLEVELAND — While many are eager to get back to work, others are concerned with how reopening the state could impact the spread of COVID-19.

“I think most Ohioans would rather stay home a little longer with the certainty that doing so would keep them and their family safe,” said David Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party Chairman.

University Hospitals Pediatrics Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Amy Edward, among many others, is questioning if Ohio rushing its reopening.

“I had a lot of confidence last week that we were going to be ready and then I feel like there’s been kind of a lag in rolling some of these things out,” Dr. Edwards said.

Governor DeWine projected Friday that Ohio will go from averaging more than 3,000 tests a day to 22,000 by late May.

“This will give us this capacity. This will give us a much better opportunity to deal with hot spots wherever they occur where we have a breakout. We will be able to move in and do the appropriate testing,” DeWine said.

But when it comes to tracing the virus across the state, public health officials warn we don’t have the capacity to successfully trace every case.

“As we start to open up more we’re going to have more and more contacts to trace. The concern is we need to keep this up for a longer period of time and so how are we going to continue to be able to do that for months to come?” asked Lorain County Public Health Department’s Health Commissioner Dave Covell. “You’re going to eventually burn out all of the people that are doing it now.”

The governor announced yet another partnership aiming to help train and deploy about 1,700 people from local health departments to track down and isolate those who have been in close contact with virus victims. More details are expected in the state’s reopening plan, which is set to be announced Monday.

“If it’s not if it’s too broad, if we see steps like we’re seeing in Georgia or Florida or other states I worry that we go backwards,” Pepper said.

But in order to get back to work, to friends and family Dr. Edwards says we must be in this together.

“This is not all on the governor, this is all on me and every Ohioan.”

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