Despite antigen test backlog, Ohio reports record single-day COVID-19 case count

Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 21:47:05-05

Ohio may have hit a record-setting number of new COVID-19 diagnoses Tuesday, but the count isn't certain, Ohio health officials said.

Tuesday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported a daily new-case total of 25,721, including a backlog of roughly 13,000 positive COVID-19 antigen tests collected since Nov. 1.

Minus the 13,000 or so COVID-positive antigen test results collected since Nov. 1, Ohio's 25,721 total cases reported Tuesday leave roughly 12,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus -- topping the previous state record of 11,885 new cases counted on Nov. 23.

The total number of COVID-related hospital admissions also increased by 100, to a total of 657.

Gov. Mike DeWine warned the state during an address on Monday that they planned to release the backlog on Tuesday.

DeWine explained that, in the spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began accepting the results of antigen tests, a newer form of COVID-19 testing that has emerged, which could be included in case results only if they were also verified through contact tracing, evidence of exposure or symptoms of the disease.

In August, the CDC announced they no longer felt those additional steps toward verification were necessary to include these test results in case reporting.

In Ohio, DeWine said, health department officials so far had continued to perform the manual tracking to verify antigen test results, and this was contributing to a weeks-long backlog that delayed the state's ability to report numbers fully.

"Cases have skyrocketed, and we have been averaging 12,500 antigen tests per day, with more positive tests per test," said DeWine.

As a result, ODH and local health departments working to take those extra verification steps have been overwhelmed. To alleviate this, DeWine said the state would move to the CDC's new recommendations, releasing the antigen test backlog Tuesday. DeWine hoped releasing the backlog would give local health departments a bit of relief as they fight to keep up with caseloads.