DeWine calls on FDA to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity

Local News

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Gov. Mike DeWine is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help increase Ohio’s coronavirus testing capacity.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, DeWine raised concerns about testing, saying Ohio does not have enough of the materials needed for test kits.

“I could probably double, maybe even triple testing in Ohio virtually overnight if the FDA would prioritize companies that are putting a slightly different formula together for the extraction reagent kit,” DeWine said. “We have a shortage, worldwide shortage of some of the materials that go into this, so we really need help.”

After repeated calls from across the country to increase testing capacity, President Donald Trump announced an effort Sunday to increase the nation’s supply of swabs.

“We’re preparing to use the Defense Production Act to increase swab production in one U.S. facility by over 20 million additional swabs per month,” Trump said.

According to Sarah Hackenbracht, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, the Miami Valley in particular has faced more of a challenge obtaining supplies for testing than other regions in Ohio.

“Our understanding is that some of the testing originally was being directed to Tier 1 laboratories, those laboratories that are connected to a state research institution or a research facility, and we don’t have that here in the Dayton region,” Hackenbracht said.

Local hospitals are in touch with the vendors daily who distribute supplies for testing kits, Hackenbracht said.

“When we place an order with our vendors for the full number of test kits, we are getting only a fraction of those test kits fulfilled,” she explained.

Doubling or tripling the state’s testing capacity would allow doctors to test more groups of people quickly, including patients and workers in nursing homes and first responders, Hackenbracht said.

“We really have to focus and concentrate our efforts for rapid turnaround testing for those individuals that are in those priority groups,” she said.

Gov. DeWine tweeted Sunday afternoon that he received a “very positive phone call” from the FDA following his appearance on “Meet the Press.”

Last week, DeWine announced some additional efforts to get more of the materials needed for testing kits manufactured in Ohio. That includes 3-D printing 200,000 swabs by the end of the month, he said Wednesday.

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