Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced new priorities for COVID-19 testing across the state, while at the same time local health experts stressed the urgent need for greater testing capacity.
DeWine unveiled a group of three priorities in deciding who would receive a coronavirus test and under what circumstances.
First priority for testing will be Ohioans with symptoms who are hospitalized or are healthcare workers, including behavioral health providers, home health workers, nursing facility and assisted living employees, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), housekeepers and others who work in healthcare and congregate living settings.
Second priority is Ohioans with symptoms who are residents of long-term care/congregate living settings, first responders or public health workers, those 65 and older, or are living with underlying conditions.
While the third priority is Ohioans with and without symptoms who are receiving essential surgeries or procedures, including those that were reassessed after a delay.
DeWine said in all cases testing will still require a care provider referral.
Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton acknowledged the need for greater state COVID-19 testing capacity, even though Ohio went from 3,000 to 4,000 tests daily to more than 5,000 tests per day, in just the past week.
DeWine announced he's hoping Ohio will get to 22,000 tests per day by the end of May.
Dr. Amy Edwards, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist with University Hospitals said Ohio has come a long way in its testing capacity but still has a long way to go, especially with major business sectors re-opening over the next week.
Edwards urged Northeast Ohio residents to be the the difference and wear a mask while in public as Ohio works to increase its testing capacity.
“Any time there has to be a list, that means that not everybody is being tested right,” Edwards said.
“Until there is something akin to universal testing, we’re going to have to keep doing better.”
“Mask wearing is still hit or miss, but it shouldn’t be hit or miss, the point is that if you’re out and about wear a mask."
"I know it’s weird, but it’s not for you, it’s for everybody around you.”