Ohio still has no coronavirus cases; 5 test results awaited


COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio officials say the state still has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but test results are awaited from five people — and officials hope such tests can now be done within the state.

Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton said Saturday test results on nine people had come back negative and the state “amazingly” still had no cases — “but we will have one any day now.”

Test results on five people are awaited back, one from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two from the state health department and two from a private lab, she said.

Gov Mike DeWine said the Ohio department of health now has the ability to conduct testing with a turnaround time of eight to 24 hours. In addition, a private lab in Ohio can now do testing and another lab in the state will begin tests Monday. In about two weeks, officials expect hospitals to be able to test for the virus.

Acton said the department’s lab will prioritize tests of the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions and compromised immune systems, and health care workers. Other tests by private labs will be done only with a doctor or health provider’s order, which could be given remotely via phone or tele-medicine.

DeWine also said the health department will now post information about the number of people under investigation seven days a week rather than only five.