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At-Home COVID Testing Now Widely Available In Ohio

A COVID antigen test
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
A COVID antigen test

The head of the Ohio Department of Health said people who think they have COVID or may have been exposed to it can easily get at-home test kits.

Public libraries, schools, and health departments throughout the state are offering free at-home COVID testing kits. Ohio Dept of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said those with COVID symptoms or who think they may have been exposed to it should test themselves.

“So until far more Ohioans choose to be vaccinated and the COVID-19 is no longer driving waves of hospitalization, testing will remain an important tool," Vanderhoff said.

Vanderhoff said the virus will continue to be an issue in Ohio until enough people develop immunity to it to thwart spread. He's warning Ohio's schools to have their students and teachers wear masks in the classroom.

He is also urging everyone who is eligible for vaccinations to get one. Children 11 and younger are not yet eligible for vaccines so Vanderhoff is asking adults to consider wearing masks when around young kids. But he says he doesn't think the state should mandate vaccines. He says those decisions should be made at the local level.

The increasing pace of new coronavirus cases in Ohio continues Thursday, with the state adding more cases than any day in more than six months. State health officials reported more than 3,400 new infections and 170 COVID-related hospitalizations. It's the latest increase in a ten day stretch where daily cases numbers have hovered around 3,000. It comes as most schools resume class.

What About Booster Shots?

Vanderhoff said booster shots are now being recommended for people with immune deficiencies. And soon, he said Ohio will be offering booster shots to people who received their last vaccine eight months ago. He said the state will be providing more details on that.

When asked about whether booster shots will be required every eight months from here on out, Vanderhoff said he believes Ohioans will eventually develop immunity through these vaccines. He also hopes more Ohioans will be vaccinated. As those two things happen, he says COVID will become far less dangerous and more like the common cold.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.