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DeWine Talks Tests, Improving COVID-19 Numbers After 'Roller Coaster Day'

In this file photo, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers are regular coronavirus update on June 22. [Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine at a podium with the state deal on it

Updated: 4:41 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7, 2020

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine got a call from President Trump Friday afternoon after missing out on a meeting with the president Thursday.

“I appreciated that very much,” DeWine said. “He wanted to see how I was doing and he said he had been told last night by the Secret Service that I actually tested negative. So, he was just calling to see how I was getting along. We had a good, good conversation.”

DeWine tested positive for COVID-19 with an antigen test in Cleveland before meeting Trump, but  later tested negative with a PCR test back in Columbus.

“Yesterday was kind of a crazy day,” he said “It was kind of a roller coaster day.”

Dr. Peter Mohler, chief scientific officer for the Ohio State Univeristy Wexner Medical Center, explained  at DeWine’s Friday coronavirus briefing that the PCR test, or polymerace chain reachtion test, is hypersensitive and accurate, while antigen testing is more rapid. Each test has advantages and disadvantages, he said.

Ohio has used the PCR test more frequently and doctors in the state have greater knowledge of that test, he said, likening the PCR test, which looks at the virus’s RNA, to a view through a telescope. The antigen test, he said, is more like binoculars.

“It (the PCR test) actually looks at the protein on the surface of the virus. So, it's a little bit less sensitive and so you're going to have things that we call false negatives and false positives,” Mohler said.

But it still has clear advantages for medical and public health professionals.

“You can find out results within 15 or 20 minutes and so for the epidemiologists of the world, you're very quickly able to do contact tracing, be able to quarantine people and be able to make decisions on health care,” Mohler said.


Daily New Confirmed & Probable COVID-19 Cases In Ohio


DeWine said Friday the state’s positivity rate is down to 5.5 percent, a full percentage point lower than it was three weeks ago.

But 11 Ohio counties are at Level 3, or red, in the  statewide public health advisory system, the governor said, with Mercer added this week.

Cuyahoga County remains red, but DeWine said the county is seeing a “steady decrease in the number of cases reported” and “real movement” in a positive direction. With 114 cases per 100,000 people, however, the county is still over the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 for being considered “high” incidence of the virus.

DeWine added Medina County cases are increasing, which is believed to be tied to out-of-state trips to hot spots by some at manufacturing plants.

DeWine said announcements about professional, college and high school sports will be coming next week. Later Friday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced that if the governor approves football, it will adjust to a six-game regular season that will begin the week of August 24th. All teams will make the playoffs, which will begin October 9th, with seeding based on a coaches vote.

The governor said during his press conference: “The community has got to look at wearing a mask as a direct impact on how long that school stays open and how long the football team is able to play and how long the band is able to play."

Glenn Forbes is supervising producer of newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.