Ohio prioritizes COVID testing supplies for schools, universities amid high demand

With Ohio experiencing a delay in a shipment of more than 800,000 COVID-19 testing kits, the state health department announced plans to prioritize testing supplies for K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

The Ohio Department of Health had been making proctored Abbott BinaxNow at-home antigen tests as well as over-the-counter self-administered tests to Ohioans for free at local health departments, public libraries, schools and other locations.

The state ordered 1.2 million proctored testing kits for January, but has only received 400,000 so far. The remaining 800,000 tests were delayed by the manufacturer as the U.S. experiences a spike in testing demands during a surge in COVID cases. Ohio also has a high demand, with a seven-day average of more than 94,000 tests a day, according to the state health department.

ODH expects to receive shipments later this month and will distribute rapid test kits to K-12 schools, colleges and universities as the tests become available.

“COVID-19 tests are a critical tool to help ensure in-person learning can continue in Ohio schools,” read a release from ODH. “Ongoing access to these tests helps ensure students and teachers can remain in the classroom. Because schools are experiencing significant new demand for tests as COVID-19 cases continue to climb, the state is temporarily adjusting its allocation strategy to ensure schools receive an adequate supply.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Ohio is pausing shipments to other community partners until the inventory and supply chain stabilize. Existing and new requests for testing kits will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Dayton Children’s announced Wednesday that 20 Ohio National Guard members will be assisting with its Springboro testing center on West Tech Road. With the additional help, the facility will be able to triple its capacity and is expected to be able to process nearly 800 tests a day. The location will offer PCR tests free of charge.

An investment from the state in a high-capacity instrument at the Dayton Children’s south testing site will allow the facility to process up to 5,000 PCR tests a day, allowing lab staff to focus on running more tests.

Multiple area school districts, including Springfield, announced temporary plans to return to remote learning as COVID cases increased in staff and students.

About the Author