By: 1812Blockhouse Staff
While the number of infections continues to rise, Governor Mike DeWine is increasingly emphasizing two additional paths forward as the State of Ohio moves toward the beginning of “reopening” on May 1.
In specific, at Friday’s news briefing DeWine talked about a breakthrough that will allow for increased levels of COVID-19 testing, and also a move toward mobilizing local health departments to assist with aggressive infection tracing.
To this point, Ohio’s testing capability has lagged far behind its need, similar to many other locations nationwide. Two elements are required to do coronavirus tests — the testing swab itself, and the reagent which allows the sample to be analyzed.
Thermo Fisher is ramping up reagent manufacture after recent FDA approval, and ROE Dental Lab has been contracted to create one million swabs. This new level of testing will begin as soon as next week, initially with 7,200 tests daily, and then moving to 22,000 tests per day within one month.
This compares to only a bit of 3,700 daily tests currently being performed.
DeWine also profiled a new contact tracing program, described as an additional measure to be used with social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing. Using some 1,700 local health department workers, the program will allow for more tracking and isolation to take place.
In this regard, Ohio will work with a Boston-based company with demonstrated success in such efforts.
According to the Governor, “Ohioans are fighters. And we have the ability to really go on the offense against this enemy. That means we are going to track it down. We’re going to isolate it. And then, we are going to kill it.”
Locally, Richland Public Health shared on Friday that there are 70 positive cases of COVID-19 in Richland County, with 20 cumulative hospitalizations. A cumulative total of 33 people have recovered to date.