New testing shows COVID-19 cases in Ohio in January, over a month before first lab-confirmed cases

Covid-19 antibody tests
Posted at 3:25 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 16:10:15-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton said Monday that there were five cases of COVID-19 in five different counties in Ohio where the date of onset of symptoms was in January, over a month before the first three lab-confirmed cases were found in Cuyahoga County on March 9.

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This new earlier onset date was confirmed by a new antibody test that the state is running, Acton said. Health officials are working to learn if these cases are related to travel.

The cases with a January onset were in Miami, Montgomery, Richland, Summit and Warren counties, according to data obtained by WSYX in Columbus.

Acton said she is hoping the antibody testing will be able to provide more answers about these early cases.

The Ohio Department of Health is planning to start random COVID-19 antibody testing across the state, according to the department. These tests detect the immune response to the virus, not the virus itself, and can help identify individuals who have had the virus in the past and may have developed an immune response to it.

The testing will also give a better understanding to how the virus has spread across the state and provide a bigger picture on individuals who may have had the virus with or without showing symptoms.

RELATED: Ohio Department of Health to randomly test 1,200 households for COVID-19 antibodies