COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The governor of Ohio called on the federal government to help provide crucial materials that would allow a dramatic increase in testing for coronavirus in his state — and later reported a “very positive” response from the agency concerned.
Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Ohio hospitals doing the testing lack needed chemicals known as reagents, and help from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was needed.
“I could probably double, maybe even triple testing in Ohio virtually overnight,” said DeWine, who called on the FDA to “prioritize companies that are putting a slightly different formula together for the extraction reagent kit.”
“We have worldwide shortage of some of the materials that go into this, so we really need help,” he said. “Anybody in the FDA is watching, this would really take our capacity up literally … overnight.”
DeWine said in a Twitter post later Sunday that he was “happy to get a very positive phone call just a short time ago” from the FDA regarding his comments.
DeWine, a Republican, referred in his television appearance to his having sought help several weeks ago with an issue involving sterilization of masks, and he said President Trump “got that done.” The FDA authorized a Columbus-based private research lab to deploy a system that can sanitize 160,000 face masks a day, after initially approving only 10,000 masks a day.
The Ohio health department reported 453 confirmed deaths associated with coronavirus in the state as well as 11,292 confirmed cases statewide.
The Ohio Department of Health reported Saturday that there were 471 total confirmed and probable fatalities and 11,602 total cases that also count 310 probable cases according to the federal Centers for Disease Control’s expanded case definition.
The department reported 2,565 patients in Ohio hospitals with 765 patients admitted to intensive care units.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
A total of 2,400 prison inmates have tested positive for coronavirus, including 1,828 at the Marion Correctional Institution, almost three-quarters of the prison population, Ohio prison officials reported Sunday.
Another 384 inmates at Pickaway Correctional Institution tested positive, as did 103 in Franklin Medical Center, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said. Another 1,614 Pickaway inmates are in quarantine, as are 393 inmates at Franklin. Five inmates at Pickaway and one at Franklin have died, officials said.
The remaining 667 prisoners at Marion are now in quarantine, and no deaths have been reported among inmates there.
JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told the Columbus Dispatch that throughout the “mass testing process,” they’ve found many individuals who tested positive but were asymptomatic.
The Ohio National Guard is providing medical support at Pickaway and will be sent to help at the Marion Correctional Institution, the paper reported.
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Source: The Village Reporter