Ohio health officials say they want random COVID-19 testing of general population in near future

Posted at 7:51 AM, Apr 07, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In an attempt to more thoroughly track the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said she is proposing a plan to randomly sample a small number of the general population.

With limited testing in the state, only the severely sick or higher-risk individuals have been able to receive testing, which limits the data the state has been able to collect on how widespread the virus actually is.

One potential plan is to begin by randomly test 100 asymptomatic people to get a better grasp of how many people may have it without even showing signs, Acton said in a press conference Saturday.

Acton said she is working on assembling a team of scientists and individuals who can be trained to be amateur epidemiologists and conduct the study to collect the data.

The plan has not been put into writing, but Acton has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for both the development of the study and the future execution of the study.

The Ohio Department of Health said they do not have a date when testing will take place as negotiations with the CDC are ongoing.

In addition to randomly sampling the general public, the CDC will work with the Ohio Department of Health in the state’s rural areas and Amish Country, which have seen more testing limitations than the more densely populated areas of the state.

This story was originally published by Camryn Justice on WEWS in Cleveland.