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Ohio Creating System To Track Spread Of Virus When Businesses Reopen

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine

State officials are warning people that the process of loosening Stay At Home restrictions will be slow and gradual. They add that when businesses to start to reopen, the state hopes to have a system in place to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, says a major part of that plan is to create an infrastructure for the state to track potential cases of COVID-19.

She says this includes expanded testing and reporting which flows to Ohio's Emergency Operations Center where workers will be monitoring the data to identify possible hot spots.

"We want to pick up the second there's a flare somewhere whether it's a nursing home or a prison or in a neighborhood or in a workplace and we want to be able to respond and put all our resources in the right place at the right time," says Acton, noting the state is still working on this system and that more details are expected soon.

Acton added that scientists are conducting studies on how administering about 1,000 tests randomly in certain areas could help identify immunity rates.

"I want people to feel confident that we here in Ohio are on the cutting edge are at the cutting edge of every one of these discussions and we won't let up," says Acton.

Gov. Mike DeWine is strongly emphasizing that when the state does begin reopening businesses there will be a new normal where employees will likely be expected to wear masks and cleaning regimens will be high.

A part of the new expectations includes making sure workplaces are disinfected. But stores are quickly running out of stock on disinfectant and other cleaning supplies. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says this is why businesses should start planning for new protocols now, and find sources for cleaning supplies. Husted says the availability of these products play a role in reopening the state.

"In being able to determine when that rollback can occur because you have to make sure that adequate supplies are available particularly for the most vulnerable workplace settings," Husted says.

DeWine says making sure masks, hand sanitizer, and other disinfectant supplies could end up being a collaboration between the public and private sectors.

"Every company's got to figure out 'what do I need.' But there are common things that we know have to be there. Basic things like the masks that certainly can and are being produced and hand sanitizer. Some of the other things are unique that particular business," says DeWine.

He adds that another way to make sure businesses stay safe when they reopen is to ramp up testing. The state has said it's working on ways to increase its testing capability, such as manufacturing more swabs and purchasing more machines.

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