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Coronavirus In Ohio: State Running Low On Tests, Preserving For High-Risk Cases

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, speaks at a coronavirus briefing.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, speaks at a coronavirus briefing.

Hospitals and labs around the state are running low on coronavirus test kits. Public health officials say that's why they're trying to preserve the swabs for people at high-risk to the virus and health care workers.

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, says she understands the limit of testing can be alarming for Ohioans not considered high-risk. But she says for the large majority of cases, people should see their doctor then stay at home where they will likely experience mild symptoms.

"We don't need the test, clinicians, to know how to treat people, we just have to start treating them as if they have this disease," Acton says.

For people who think they have the virus, they're told to quarantine themselves and other people who live with that person should also stay home.

Acton says people who see symptoms worsen should call their doctor. If they start to have trouble breathing they should go to the emergency room.

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.