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coronavirus testing

Six states led by a bipartisan group of governors are joining together in an effort to speed up coronavirus testing. As the nation's death count continues to rise above 150,000, the states said they will jointly purchase 3 million rapid antigen tests that can quickly detect the virus.

Associated Press

The director of Ohio's prison system has announced that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Public health experts generally agree that, in spite of improvements, the U.S. still falls short on the testing needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The official who oversees the country's testing efforts, however, maintains the U.S. is doing well on testing now and will soon be able to expand testing greatly using newer, point-of-care tests that deliver quick results.

Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder has reinstituted the “work from home” policy his office had in place during the early days of the pandemic.

Ohio Department of Health / coronavirusohio.gov

Franklin County is one of seven counties that scored highest  on color-coded coronavirus risk map of Ohio unveiled today. 

Ohio Department of Health

Ohio Governor Mike Dewine says he is not ordering increased restrictions on businesses.  

Ohio Department of Health

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says the number of cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, which had been trending upward in the past week, took a sharp jump up in the past 24 hours, with 892 additional cases.  

The Trump administration is defending plans to close 13 federally run coronavirus testing sites in five states at the end of the month.

The testing sites are located in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas. They are the last of 41 federally operated testing sites.

Federal officials say the sites have been closing or transferring to state or local control because it's more efficient to run testing that way. In other instances they argue there are readily available testing sites nearby.

Ohio Public Radio

While President Trump has suggested slowing down COVID-19 testing, Ohio Governor DeWine says increased testing is one way of slowing the increase of COVID-19 cases as the economy begins to reopen. 

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

At a hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and other federal officials said that no one had told them — including President Trump — to slow down testing for the coronavirus. The statements came after Trump has repeatedly said that more testing would lead to more infections being revealed.

As much of the country presses forward with reopening, a growing number of cities and states are finding that the coronavirus outbreak now has a foothold in a younger slice of the population, with people in their 20s and 30s accounting for a larger share of new coronavirus infections.

Ohio Department of Health

Governor Mike DeWine says the state as a whole has seen a steady decrease in cases of COVID-19.

An NPR survey of state health departments shows that the national coronavirus contact tracing workforce has tripled in the past six weeks, from 11,142 workers to 37,110. Yet given their current case counts, only seven states and the District of Columbia are staffed to the level that public health researchers say is needed to contain outbreaks.

During the coronavirus pandemic, many scientists who usually have nothing to do with viruses or infectious disease are turning their attention to COVID-19. For example, one wildlife biologist is raising questions about the accuracy of tests that detect the coronavirus.

coronavirusohio.gov

Six pop-up testing sites will open around Columbus on Friday, part of the state's effort to identify potential COVID-19 hotspots with more aggressive testing. 

The Trump administration's testing czar announced Monday that he will be leaving that position in mid-June.

Adm. Brett Giroir told a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS that he will be "demobilized" from his role overseeing coronavirus testing at FEMA in a few weeks and going back to his regular post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

An HHS spokesperson confirmed the plan for Giroir to stand down from his role and indicated that there are no plans to appoint a new "head of efforts" for coronavirus testing.

The head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a new analysis shows the agency's delayed rollout of coronavirus testing did not hinder the nation's response to the pandemic.

The coronavirus didn't start spreading in the U.S. until late January or early February, the CDC analysis found, and it circulated at low levels for quite some time.

As a result, the availability of earlier widespread testing for the virus would not have been able to spot it, according to CDC Director Robert Redfield.

OFFICE OF GOV. MIKE DEWINE

Ohio is taking the first steps to lift the more than two month old ban on visits to some long-term care facilities. Officials says they want to expand this in stages.

Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared.

The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself.

The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.

Karen Kasler

Residents at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, make up more than three-quarters of the deaths related to COVID-19 in Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine says he is now ramping up efforts to combat this problem with a new strategy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that it is mixing the results of two different kinds of tests in the agency's tally of testing for the coronavirus, raising concerns among some scientists that it could be creating an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic in the United States.

Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

The state of Ohio is conducting a study using antibody tests to learn more about COVID-19.

Updated at 11:16 p.m. ET

The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning the public about the reliability of a widely used rapid test for the coronavirus. The test, made by Abbott Laboratories, has been linked with inaccurate results that could falsely reassure patients that they are not infected with the virus.

The Trump administration has promoted the test as a key factor in controlling the epidemic in the U.S., and it's used for daily testing at the White House.

The White House has touted the fact that its coronavirus task force provided each state with a list of labs that could potentially test for the virus, but officials in a number of states told NPR that the lists did not actually help them increase testing.

The Trump administration says it will now spend billions of dollars to help states make COVID-19 testing more widely available, a move meant to address months-long complaints about test shortages.

But here's the puzzle: Many labs say they have plenty of tests. So what's the disconnect?

Turns out a "test" is not a single device. COVID-19 testing involves several steps, each one requiring different supplies, and there are shortages of different supplies at different times in different places.

State data shows a flat overall death rate from all causes so far this year in Ohio. 

States around the country are gradually reopening their economies, even as most of them fail to meet voluntary guidelines set by the White House for doing it safely.

At least 31 states are partially reopening as of Monday.

Ohio is ramping up its ability to test for COVID-19, which means a big increase in testing by the end of May. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports Gov. Mike DeWine is now announcing new protocols to follow since testing won't be as limited as it once was.

Updated at 6:59 p.m. ET Sunday

President Trump is moving to replace the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog whose office found severe shortages of medical supplies in hospitals as COVID-19 cases surged.

Updated May 9 to reflect Food and Drug Administration clearance of the first antigen test.

Testing for the coronavirus has been very much in the news. The first and most urgent focus is on increasing access to tests to diagnose people with current infections. But now other tests are appearing as well. Antibody tests, which can identify people with signs of past infection, are starting to be available. And a third type of test is on the way.

Here's a quick guide to sorting out the pluses and minuses to each type of test.

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