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Cincinnati Health Explains COVID-19 Testing Delay

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After waiting for several days, the Cincinnati Health Department has received COVID-19 test results for six people who were tested last week at city health clinics. 

Health Commissioner Melba Moore said the results were finally returned early Thursday morning.

"All of those test results are negative," Moore said. "What we're doing now is going back into take a look at any additional things that we need to be doing in preparation for additional cases coming forward."

The city is still waiting on results for five other cases that were tested at city clinics. 

Moore said she has spoken with the private lab doing the tests, and they are now hoping for a four-day turnaround.  The results coming in now have taken eight to 10 days.

"In the past, when tests were moved forward to the lab that was testing them, those samples, the issue became they were running tests for Influenza A and Influenza B," Moore said. "If in fact those two tests came back and it was negative, then the sample was run again to determine if it was COVID-19. So that was the reason for that delay."

Moore said the process going forward will be to test for COVID-19 first, and it that result is negative, then there will be checks for influenza.

Mayor John Cranley, like elected officials across the country, are asking for more testing.

"I am greatly worried that we will not feel like we have a sense on whether we're going up or down, and of course in the short-term we'll be going up if testing became available," Cranley said. "But in a complete absence of sufficient testing, I worry we'll prolong the pandemic; prolong the crisis; prolong the fears; prolong the panic."

The health commissioner said people contacting city health clinics will be tested for COVID-19 if they have moderate symptoms—a persistent cough, fever, shortness of breath—and some underlying health issue like hypertension, heart disease or diabetes.

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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.