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Ben Asks a Question: At what point will COVID-19 tests be available to all Ohioans?

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 11, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — All Ohioans are now eligible to be tested for COVID-19, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. DeWine made the announcement during his COVID-19 press briefing Thursday, saying “anyone who wants a test in the state of Ohio can now get a test.”

The announcement comes as the state of Ohio is still far below its initial goal of testing 22,000 Ohioans per day -- with only around 10,000 tests being completed daily in the past weeks. Due to time restrictions I was unable to ask a question of the governor on Thursday -- and after DeWine failed to answer WCPO viewer Kelly King Schlegel’s question on Tuesday about why the state is still so far behind in testing, I planned on re-asking Schlegel’s question. However even though I was unable to do that, the issue was still brought up during the day’s briefing.

DeWine began his announcement by explaining that some Ohioans have been prioritized in receiving tests -- but as the state continues to work against COVID-19, resources now allow all Ohioans who want to, to get tested.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we prioritized our limited testing availability to ensure that our sickest patients, and their caregivers and first responders, were able to receive tests,” said DeWine. “We progressed about who could be tested. As more testing became available we’ve added more and more groups of people -- those in nursing homes, those with underlying health conditions, those with symptoms. We continue on that path today. Today we’re expanding testing to include anyone in the state of Ohio who wants a test … We very much had a scarcity, kind of a scarcity mindset, and we still are working to expand our capacity. But, we are making progress.”

DeWine then continued to repeat that all Ohioans are eligible to be tested -- while mentioning scenarios where getting tested would be a good idea.

“If you’ve been around a lot of people and you’re worried that you may have contracted the virus, or that you might be exposed, you can get a test,” said DeWine. “If you’ve spent time around someone recently who was sick, maybe you’ve even taken care of them, you can get a test. So we’re encouraging anyone who wants a test to talk to their healthcare provider, or contact a testing location to arrange a test … By understanding who is sick, whether they’re showing symptoms or not, we’re able to better prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

A current list of testing locations can be found here [coronavirus.ohio.gov].

Thursday’s announcement came just before DeWine’s announcement that Dr. Amy Acton will be stepping down as Ohio’s Department of Health Director. DeWine’s next COVID-19 press briefing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16.