It’s STILL not easy for Scioto County residents to get a test for COVID-19. Despite the fact that both the state and national leaders say that testing as many people as possible is key to the strategy to reopen Ohio and the nation. Despite the fact that SOMC has 50 machines capable of running tests. But guess what? They can’t use them.
However, if you listen to press conferences with state and national leaders, they claim plenty of testing is available. This frustrated County Commissioner Bryan Davis:
“It’s not happening like they think it’s happening. These things are not happening like they think they are.”
Larry Mullins, the Deputy Director of Scioto County Emergency Management agrees. “I don’t think anybody is happy with the level of testing.”
It’s not a lack of equipment that’s causing the problem. According to Mullins, Southern Ohio Medical Center has more than fifty machines capable of running tests to confirm Coronavirus. The problem, as we told you weeks ago, is the lack of a crucial chemical cocktail known as reagent.
“”It’s a car with no gas,” Mullins said. Even though SOMC has 26 test kits, they can’t use them for patients. “They got 26 test kits in. But it takes 20 test kits to set up the machines. Then you have to use two test kits a day to make sure machine stays in spec. So basically they still have no test kits.”
Mullins said the county is trying. “Our local officials are trying their best to get this. Once again, these come from China.”
Commissioner Davis says That’s one lesson that’s learned from this, we need to end our dependence on other countries.”
Focusing on Hot Spots
Prisons and nursing homes will be the primary focus for Scioto County Emergency Management as Ohio attempts to work its way out of the COVID-19 shutdown.
Deputy Director Mullins said, “Behind the scenes there is a lot of ramping up to try to help our nursing care facilities be ready.” He says that even though the county has only seen two cases in one local nursing facility that could all change when testing becomes readily available.
When asked what lessons could be learned from the COVID-19 crisis, Commissioner Davis said the most important one was “Never assume that any one particular threat can’t happen just like that.”
He said when commissioners met with Scioto County EMA earlier in the year to assess what types of emergencies could threaten the county, infectious disease was pretty far down on the list.
“We looked at spring storms, we looked at a lot of the obvious things. Even though we do hyper-preparedness, we weren’t prepared for this. We’re prepared for wind. We’re prepared to close the floodgates. This one was a silent invasion. As a country, as , a state, as a county. Who could have seen this coming the way it did?”
- Commissioner Cathy Coleman said her most important lesson was that people need to be mentally prepared to handle challenges like this.
- Commissioner MIke Crabtree once again expressed the importance of being financially prepared. Ohio did not have the infrastructure in place to handle the flood of unemployment claims. “The state is seeing that there’s no way they can take the sting out of this for people who live paycheck to paycheck.”
- Davis said that the importance of having enough PPE was brought to the forefront. Though it’s a challenge to stockpile. Most protective gear comes with an expiration date.