New antibody testing program starting in Ohio on volunteer basis


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Monday, Dr. Amy Acton announced that the state has discovered five new cases of coronavirus that indicate the outbreak in Ohio may have started as early as January.

Antibody testing results reveal that at least five people exhibited COVID-19 symptoms as early as January, in five different counties.

Dr. Acton says disease detectives are tracking those cases to see if they were related to travel.

The expanded antibody testing throughout the state is helping epidemiologists work backward to see where and when the disease began, and for how long it was spreading before medical experts realized.

The state Department of Health is now beginning a new random testing program to get results that better represent the state as a whole.

In all, 1,200 samples will be taken from 1,200 people who are randomly identified and then agree to volunteer.

Dr. Acton says many of the volunteers may not know they had COVID-19, and they’ll help the state learn more about the prevalence of the disease.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will first contact people through the mail.

If they opt into the testing, an ODH official will come to the house and test an adult by taking a nasal swab and blood test.

“This will be all over. It will be urban, it will be rural. Again, voluntary participation in a study that helps us learn more about coronavirus in Ohio,” Dr. Acton said.

She also said Monday that we should not be surprised to see more spread whether the state opens up or not. When a new case is discovered, it is important that businesses always call their local health department first, so they can walk you through the best guidance to help your employees.

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