Anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ohio may now do so, the state of Ohio announced on Thursday.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio is expanding testing and encouraged those who want a COVID-19 test, including those who are low-risk or asymptomatic, to talk with their healthcare provider or contact a local testing location to arrange a test.
“Until now, we have very much had a scarcity mindset because we had a very real scarcity of testing resources, but that mindset needs to change,” said Governor DeWine. “Testing is a very important weapon in our arsenal as we continue to wage war against a very real enemy. By understanding who is sick, whether they are showing symptoms or not, we are able to better prevent the spread of the COVID-19.”
According to DeWine, some individuals who may want to be tested for COVID-19 include those who have been around a lot of people, those who have spent time recently around someone who is sick or has even taken care of someone who is sick, etc.
DeWine also announced a series of “pop-up” testing locations, beginning with six locations in Columbus. These temporary testing sites will be available all over the state, including in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Portsmouth, Dayton, Xenia, Columbiana, Akron, and other locations.
Testing locations in Ohio can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/testing-ch-centers/
Also on Thursday, according to his office, Governor DeWine sent a letter to the ministerial community in Ohio to update them on the status of COVID-19 and provide suggested best practices for resuming in-person services.
“Although Ohio never closed churches, synagogues, mosques, or other places of worship during this pandemic, we know that most of them stopped holding their traditional in-person services and found other ways to worship to protect their members and the communities where they serve,” said Governor DeWine. “Just as we did with industry, outdoor activities, and entertainment, we have put together some suggested best practices for places of worship to keep in mind as they reopen.”
This guidance can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Religious-Services.pdf
In addition, on Thursday, DeWine released information on the basic reproduction number or R0 (pronounced “R naught”) for Ohio as divided into eight regions.
“The R0 represents the number of people, on average, that a person will spread a disease to,” according to the governor’s office. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate COVID-19’s R0, without interventions, to be 2.5. With Ohio’s interventions, the R0 for the state measured slightly lower than 1.0 on June 1. Ohio is beginning to see a slight increase in the R0 measurements, more so in certain parts of Ohio such as the Dayton region (Region 3),” which was up to 1.07 as of June 1. Although Regions 7 and 8 (Pike County is in Region 7) showed the lowest R0 at 0.62 as of June 1, the governor said that some places in Regions 7 and 8 are seeing an increase in cases.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, indicated that the R0 is only one indicator related to COVID-19 and that they are looking at almost 30 measures related to the disease.
On Thursday, Dr. Acton also indicated that COVID-19 is spread more easily in areas of close contact, such as families in a household, or protestors not wearing masks. She also said that it spreads more easily inside than outside, and, of course, it spreads more easily in crowds.
Dr. Acton and other officials continue to encourage Ohio residents to make smart choices, such as continued social distancing and other safety precautions, in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
As of Friday, June 12, the Ohio Department of Health was reporting a total of 40,424 cases of COVID-19, including 37,519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,905 probable COVID-19 cases according to the CDC expanded case definition. As of June 12, the state was reporting 2,508 total deaths from COVID-19, including 2,280 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 228 probable COVID-19 deaths according to the CDC expanded death definition.
Full videos of DeWine’s press conferences each day can be found on the Ohio Channel website at http://www.ohiochannel.org/collections/governor-mike-dewine?collections=109410&dir=DESC&keywords=Search+Collection&pageSize=12&sort=BestMatch&start=1
For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, including tips for prevention of the disease and slowing its spread, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
More detailed information on the Responsible RestartOhio plan can be found at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio