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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

DeWine's Conflicting COVID Results Bring Attention To Tests In Ohio

A worker at the testing site at the Columbus Health Department talks to a patient before administering a PCR test.
A worker at the testing site at the Columbus Health Department talks to a patient before administering a PCR test.

There have been over a thousand new confirmed coronavirus cases in each of the last four days in Ohio, and Friday’s 33 confirmed new deaths is the highest number in a week. And attention has turned to testing after Gov. Mike DeWine got a positive result from a rapid test administered by the White House and a negative from a different kind of test a few hours later. 

Over 90% of the 1.6 million tests that have been administered in Ohio are PCR tests – the kind DeWine got from Thursday afternoon.

“It's the best and most accurate test right now in the world," said vice dean of research at Ohio State’s College of Medicine Dr. Peter Mohler. 

Mohler talked about the different kinds of tests at DeWine's virtual press briefing on Friday, which featured the governor at his home in Cedarville, where he's been since he took the PCR test in Columbus Thursday afternoon.

He said that PCR test takes longer, while the rapid antigen test from the White House DeWine had Thursday morning is not as accurate.

DeWine said that’s important, as Ohio has joined an eight-state compact to request 3.5 million rapid antigen tests. The other states are Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina  and Utah.

“What it does say to me having to, you know, as we drill down on the difference between these two tests and understand it better is that when we deploy an antigen test we've got to think long and hard exactly how we're going to deploy it," DeWine said.

Eleven counties are still listed in red on the state’s virus alert map – down from 13 the week before.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau