Governor Mike DeWine had good news about Coronavirus testing in Ohio. The state should be able to test 22,000 people a day by the end of May. But will you be forced to get one? He explained how that will work and outlined plans to help foster kids who are just about to age out of the system during the pandemic. Plus Lt. Governor Husted had an important update about the election. We break it all down in four sections.
- Presumed Cases – 15, 169
Confirmed Cases – 14, 581
- Presumed Deaths – 690
Confirmed Deaths -649
- Hospitalizations – 3,053
ICU Admissions – 920
- Scioto County – 6
Good News About Testing
The Governor said two things are necessary for the state to reopen.
- Contact Tracing
He had big news about both:
DeWine then said, “We have some very good news I want to share with all of you about testing.”
He said there are two reasons for the shortage of tests:
- lack of swabs
- lack of reagent
The Governor said he’d reached an agreement with Thermo Fisher to provide reagent to Ohio. If you’ll recall earlier in the week, the Governor pushed the FDA to approve the company’s new reagent formula.
The Roe Dental Laboratory in Cleveland has agreed to manufacture up to 1 million swabs.
DeWine said, “Beginning this coming Wednesday, our capability will be at least 7,200 tests per day, and that number will go to 15,000 by May 6th; 18,800 by May 13th; and 22,000 by May 27th.”
He said the state would focus on congregate living settings, such as homeless shelters, treatment centers, and developmental disability homes.
DeWine said the state would also be able to make sure food/grocery workers and employees in essential manufacturing were healthy and not spreading the disease.
He emphasized that testing and tracing would be voluntary.
DeWine said the goal is to set up a robust tracing system to find those who have been in contact with suspected cases. “It’s going to enable us to really go on the offensive as we attack the virus. The way we kill it is making sure it does not spread to another person.”
He explained how the state would go about contacting all of the contacts of someone with suspected COVID-19. The state will use a workforce of 1,750 people to do the contact tracing. Many of these workers are medical students who have volunteered at local health departments.
The tracing will be voluntary. Dr. Mark Hurst from the Ohio Department of Health said that out of 15,000 people they’d contacted so far for the tracing, less than 10 people had refused to cooperate.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said, “Don’t consider this a mandate. Consider this a service.”
Don’t Forget to Vote
Lt. Governor Jon Husted reminded Ohioans that they were running out of time to mail in their ballots.
“I was on the phone last night with the Secretary of State. 1.7 million people have requested a ballot to vote by mail. Less than 1 million have voted. You have until Monday night to get it post-marked.”
He reminded us that every board of elections has a secure drop-box if you can’t get it mailed out in time. Ballots must be dropped off by 7:30 pm on Tuesday.
Extended Foster Care
The Governor announced a plan to help kids about to age out of Ohio’s foster care system. He said that over the next 2 months a little over 200 kids will turn 18 and age out. The State of Ohio will cover all of the costs to keep these kids in care. This includes kids about to turn 21 and age out of the state’s Bridges program.
DeWine said, “These changes will ensure that no child leaves foster care during this pandemic.”He encouraged young people in foster care to take advantage of the program.
The Governor added, “I want to thank the young people on Ohio’s Youth Advisory Board for coming up with this plan to help their brothers and sisters in foster care.”