Ohio Makes Progress With Reagent and Testing Swabs, Contact Tracing

Governor DeWine announced new collaborative efforts in the state's fight against COVID-19.

(Columbus, Oh.) - At the end of last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted gave updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including reagent, testing swabs, and contact tracing. 

Reagent:

Governor DeWine announced that the newly formed Testing Strike Team, led by former Governors Celeste and Taft, have reached an agreement with Thermo Fisher, which will substantially expand the COVID-19 testing capacity in Ohio. 

"This is an exciting, new partnership, and we look forward to working with the Thermo Fisher team and its 1,500 employees working in Ohio," said Governor DeWine.

“Governor DeWine has worked tirelessly to address the critical need to increase diagnostic testing across his state, and our teams have worked together to develop a plan to meet that goal,” said Marc N. Casper, chairman, president and CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Through his leadership and determination, labs across the state will have access to reagents and instruments needed to accelerate testing and control the spread of the virus. We are committed to helping the Governor in this effort to protect Ohio citizens and help save lives.”

Testing Swabs: 

Through the collaborative efforts of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, Cleveland's ROE Dental Laboratory will manufacture nearly 1 million testing swabs to support Ohio's testing efforts.

This company that typically produces dental restorations, such as crowns, dentures, and dental surgical guides, will now be able to manufacture swabs from Formlabs, a 3-D printing company in Toledo. 

ROE Dental Laboratory has invested in more than 36 additional 3-D printers, almost doubling production. This has led to bringing back nearly 100 employees to produce swabs around the clock. 

"We are very appreciative to ROE Dental for providing these much-needed supplies for Ohioans. Because of their efforts and other efforts underway, Ohio will be producing a million swabs in the coming weeks," said Governor DeWine. "Public-private partnerships like this represent how, here in Ohio, we are all in this together. We believe that these efforts will not only increase our capacity to test, but they will also provide us with a stable supply chain."

This testing will dramatically increase Ohio's testing in our priority areas, including nursing homes, hot spots, congregate living settings, food and grocery stores, and essential manufacturing facilities.

Contact Tracing:

The increased testing will allow for enhanced contact exposure tracing throughout the state. 

"Voluntary contact exposure tracing is one of the strongest weapons we have to help keep our families, our friends, and ourselves healthy," said Governor DeWine. "For several weeks, we have been recruiting community health workers to conduct this vital voluntary tracing."

As part of Ohio's offense strategy, the state has started working with Massachusetts-based Partners in Health, which will bring needed resources to Ohio to help increase the ability to trace contact exposure to the virus.

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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