COLUMBUS — During Tuesday’s press conference Ohio Governor Mike DeWine thanked all those working hard in labs across the state as this week marks national medical laboratory week.
“We salute you and we thank you for that great dedication,” said DeWine.
In further regards to labs and testing, DeWine stated that in order to test for COVID-19 a reagent is needed to know if the virus is present in the sample. DeWine referred to reagents as ‘secret sauce’ which allowed testing to be possible. DeWine stated that each testing company uses a different type of reagent, and stressed the scarcity of those reagents. “The fact that we don’t have enough reagents has limited the testing we can do in Ohio. That has caused us in Ohio and across other stated to test fewer people than we would if we had an unlimited amount of the reagent,” said DeWine.
DeWine stated that he spoke to the Food and Drug Administration and Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday in regard to Thermal Fisher, a company that has an application to have a reagent approved in front of the FDA. DeWine stated that he asked the FDA to move forward on this application, and on Tuesday received notification that a new version of the company’s reagent had been approved. “That is very good news. Most of the major labs in Ohio use thermal fishers machines and the problem has been there has just not been enough reagent. Now they can use these test kits with the new reagent, as well as the original COVID-19 test kit reagent,” said DeWine. “This will significantly expand the capacity of these labs.”
DeWine stated the approval of the new reagent will allow for more expanded testing within the state.DeWine said work is also being done with other companies to secure more reagent to ramp up testing in Ohio.
Due to the importance of increased testing to reopen, DeWine announced the establishment of a testing strike team which will be lead by former Ohio Governors Dick Celeste and Bob Taft. “These two leaders have a depth of experience in Ohio and internationally,” said DeWine. “These two individuals know how to get things done and then know how to make things happen,” DeWine stated the team would work with Ohio leaders from business, higher education, and public health to help source-critical health items and to maximize capabilities we already have here.
“Testing is vital as we begin to reopen our economy,” said DeWine.
Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton stated on Monday that there were 13,250 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state with 2,779 hospitalizations admissions with a total of 538 deaths.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932
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