Ohio Working To Clear Backlog Of COVID-19 Antigen Tests

Nov 23, 2020

For the last five days, the data on Ohio's coronavirus website has been labeled as “incomplete,” with thousands of reports pending review. It’s unclear when that warning will be removed.

A flood of antigen tests came from the federal government late last month. Those tests are less sensitive than the PCR tests the state has been using, so Gov. Mike DeWine says Ohio has been double-checking some 12,000 antigen test results.

“We started to do that. And so nothing is actually confirmed until we get that positive from antigen," DeWine said last Wednesday. "But then they go back and they do some additional fact checking."

DeWine knows well the difference between the antigen test and a PCR test. He tested positive with an antigen test set up by the White House before a planned visit with President Trump in Cleveland in August. That visit was scrapped and DeWine came to Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center for two more PCR tests – both of which delivered negative results.

The Ohio Department of Health also reported system errors, and local health departments have been struggling with reduced staff and huge numbers of cases. A Ohio Department of Health spokesperson said in a text that there’s no estimated timeframe to reconcile the backlog.

“We made a decision to double check these basically, and that means going back, making a phone call, going back to the health department, finding out the facts that surround that particular test,” the department spokeperson said.

Even without those antigen tests included, Ohio has logged record levels of new COVID-19 cases in the last week, with an additional 8,133 reported Sunday.