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Ohio Changes Priorities For Distribution Of COVID Tests From Libraries To Schools

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

If you are waiting for your local library or health department to get more rapid COVID tests in stock, you might be waiting a while longer. The Ohio Department of Health said it is changing its priorities and will be diverting incoming stock to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

ODH said the antigen tests are a critical tool to help ensure in-person learning can continue in Ohio's schools so it's important they have access to these tests to make sure kids and teachers can stay in class. ODH said once schools have what they need, the state will once again send test kits to libraries and health departments. ODH expects to receive shipments later this month.

The state's Health Department said it had previously ordered 1.2 million antigen tests to be distributed free of charge through libraries and health departments in the month of January but, so far, only 400,000 of those have been distributed. ODH said shipments of the remaining 800,000 proctored test kits have been put on hold by the manufacturer as demand for them has increased nationwide.

Like in the overall community, the demand for COVID-19 tests in schools continues to climb. Tests will be available for purchase in pharmacies throughout the state and starting this Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover the costs for those tests.

In recent days, there have been mass testing sites opened in various cities throughout the state where Ohioans can go to get PCR tests performed by a medical professional.

Copyright 2022 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.