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Ohioans turned away in search of COVID-19 testing, DeWine tests twice for the virus

Posted at 9:38 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 23:11:10-04

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Mariya Butt went kayaking with friends just weeks ago.

“With everything going on I am taking precautions,” she said. “Everyone had their own kayak.”

But the next day, her friend started showing symptoms of COVID-19.

“One of my friends he said he’s feeling a slight cough and he had 100.5 I believe a mild fever,” Butt said.

Her friend tested positive for coronavirus and Butt started to worry. She’d been exposed to the virus.

“I told work and all my shifts for the rest of the week were canceled,” she said.

Her job required she get tested. Butt says without proof of test results she wouldn’t get paid or scheduled to work as a restaurant server.

"Everybody’s like oh CVS is testing and Rite Aid is testing and all these places and most of these places you go online and do a pre-screening. If you don’t have symptoms you can’t get past it,” Butt said.

However, Butt didn’t have any symptoms, so she said she lied and said she had COVID-19 symptoms in order to get tested, unlike Governor Mike DeWine. DeWine was able to get tested along with those invited to welcome President Donald Trump to Ohio Thursday. Each guest received mandatory rapid COVID-19 tests that offer immediate results. As announced that same day, DeWine’s first test results returned positive. He then tested negative after a second test that same day. The governor revealing, he is not sure how he became infected.

But the problem is many Ohioans like Butt don’t have easy access to those tests or fast results. Local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are prioritizing tests because of high testing demands and results typically don’t come back for up to 10 days or longer. The same goes for hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Gary Procop told News 5 Wednesday testing is in short supply.

DeWine says he’s working to change that. He says a partnership with five other states set to make rapid testing more accessible. He says the state has saved money from the CARES ACT to afford more testing once it becomes available.

“We’ve done everything that we can and we’re not stopping to make sure there’s more testing available,” he said.

Until then, those like Butt are forced to lie to qualify for testing. Butt says she’s just relieved her results returned negative.