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Nursing homes change testing as Butler County remains at Level 2 in coronavirus tracker

Coronavirus-confirmed healthcare workers can return to work without being testing negative
Posted at 11:15 AM, Aug 28, 2020

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is pausing some tests for the novel coronavirus in nursing homes and assisted care facilities because of “inconsistent results.”

The state last week began a new polymerise chain reaction testing process that uses saliva instead of a nasal swab at local assisted living facilities, according to the Journal-News.

The pause will give the state time to see where inconsistencies are originating by conducting “control validation testing to see if the irregularities can be attributed to maybe the test kits, the lab or the collection process,” DeWine said during his Thursday press conference. Results will be known either late Sunday or Monday, the governor said.

Statewide, there have been more than 118,800 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, and 4,000 Ohioans have died. In Butler County, nearly 3,700 people have been confirmed or suspected of contracting the virus. There have been 69 confirmed Butler County residents who have died, according to the Butler County General Health District.

Butler County remained at Level 2, or the orange level, in the state’s color-coded public health advisory system that’s been in effect for nine weeks. DeWine said Thursday was the lowest number of Level 3, or red level, counties since the system’s inception. Also, 76 of the state’s 88 counties were at the same level as in the previous week, but DeWine said, “We’re at a time where we’ve got to watch what’s happening.”

DeWine is still pushing testing to be conducted as the best way to “isolate and prevent” the spread and transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

With schools starting in Ohio, DeWine will implement a new reporting requirement for schools.

When a parent or guardian reports a child will not be attending because they have or will be tested for COVID-19, the school will be required to report it within 48 hours to the local health department. In turn, the local health department will then report it to the Ohio Department of Health.

Additionally, schools will be required to inform the public about the positive case, and notify parents and guardians in writing — which can either be a letter, email or other digital communication ― about the case and include as much information without disclosing protected health information.

“Prompt reporting will help prevent potential further spread among students and staff,” DeWine said.

He also said that just because there is a case at the school “doesn’t mean the school has done anything wrong."

“The spread you see in the community will be reflected in the schools,” he said.

Miami University in Oxford reported this week another jump in COVID-19 cases that involved collegiate student-athletes. Since Aug. 17, there have been 125 positive cases with another 100 testes pending, according to the Butler County General Health District.