Coronavirus: Explaining the new way Ohio is reporting numbers

Explaining the new way Ohio is reporting numbers

The state of Ohio is changing how coronavirus cases are reported, Governor Mike DeWine announced Friday.

Each day, the state has been releasing numbers of confirmed cases and deaths. Starting Friday, the state will also report cases that are probable, but not confirmed, under certain criteria.

First, cases where rapid tests can show a case will be allowed. “These are the rapid tests that will soon be coming to Ohio, where doctors can prick your finger check your blood for antibodies and have a result within minutes,” the governor said Friday. Previously, those tests would not have counted under the original guidelines, because only laboratory tests were considered confirmed.

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“The tests I am waiting for are the antibody and antigen tests that are a prick of the finger,” said Dr. Amy Acton, the director of health for the Ohio Department of Health. “Having a quick test you can draw blood on will help us rapidly diagnose people both with the disease and antigen, and also people who have recovered from the disease. All of that data is so essential in knowing who now has is no longer susceptible and has actually recovered.” Dr. Acton says these tests are not yet available in significant numbers in Ohio. These are the kinds of tests developed by a Tipp City company. Click here to read about the tests from Arcpoint Labs.

The other cases involve those where there is no test at all, but a strong suspicion a person is COVID-19 positive. A person will be counted if there is “clinical evidence and epidemiological evidence of COVID-19 when there is no other likely diagnosis,” the governor said. For example, the governor said, if there is a person in a nursing home showing symptoms of COVID-19 and others in the nursing home have tested positive for the virus, that case may be considered a probable case.

“What this new guidance enables all of us to do is better track is who has the virus currently and those who have had the virus, those who have recovered, those who are no longer a threat in passing it along to others,” said Governor DeWine.

Similar guidelines will now be followed in reporting deaths related to coronavirus. This follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

The governor says the changes in reporting are following the recommendations of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

The state will release the numbers in separate groups each day. Friday, the first day, included 42 additional cases under the new guidelines, and 4 additional deaths. Under the prior guidelines, 5,836 confirmed cases were reported; adding the probably cases made the number 5,878, according to the state. 227 deaths were reported under the prior guidelines, with the total brought to 231 with the probable cases added. The state has tested 58,000 people, said Dr. Acton.

“Using this guidance will be instrumental in helping us trace the spread of the disease, and eventually isolate it to smaller pockets or areas, so we can open things back up again,” said the governor.