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COVID Testing Is Widely Available In Ohio

COVID antigen test
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A COVID antigen test

And it's free in many places.

On Wednesday, the state logged more than 2,600 confirmed COVID cases. That's the highest number since February 5. The head of the Ohio Department of Health says people who think they have COVID or may have been exposed to it can easily get at-home test kits.

Public libraries, schools, and health departments throughout the state are offering free at-home COVID testing kits. Ohio Dept of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says those with COVID symptoms or who think they may have been exposed to it should test themselves.

“So until far more Ohioans choose to be vaccinated and the COVID-19 is no longer driving waves of hospitalization, testing will remain an important tool," Vanderhoff says.

Vanderhoff says the virus will continue to be an issue in Ohio until enough people develop immunity to it to thwart spread. He's warning Ohio's schools to have their students and teachers wear masks in the classroom. And he urges everyone who is eligible for vaccinations to get one. Children 11 and younger are not yet eligible for vaccines so Vanderhoff is asking adults to consider wearing masks when around young kids. But he says he doesn't think the state should mandate vaccines. He says those decisions should be made at the local level.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, incoming director of Ohio Dept of Health
Jo Ingles
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, incoming director of the Ohio Dept of Health

What about booster shots?

Vanderhoff says booster shots are now being recommended for people with immune deficiencies. And soon, he says Ohio will be offering booster shots to people who received their last vaccine eight months ago. He says the state will be providing more details on that.

When asked about whether booster shots will be required every eight months from here on out, Vanderhoff says he believes Ohioans will eventually develop immunity through these vaccines. Also, he hopes more Ohioans will be vaccinated. As those two things happen, he says COVID will become far less dangerous and more like the common cold.

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