Backlog tests spike Ohio’s coronavirus numbers


It is likely that case counts will continue to remain high

COVID, Coronavirus, Drive up Testing

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The number of coronavirus cases reported Tuesday by the state of Ohio seems extremely high, but that is due to a backlog of pending files that dated back to November 1.

Included in the 25,721 cases reported Tuesday are approximately 13,000 that were part of the backlog, but even when you subtract those numbers, Ohio is still reporting over 12,000 new cases for one day.

“After understanding more about antigen tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), changed their case definition in August allowing antigen tests to be included in case counts without additional verification,” said ODH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “ODH is now aligned with CDC’s current definition and we will begin reflecting those tests immediately in our daily reported case counts moving forward.”

It is likely that case counts will continue to remain high with the new CDC guidelines. It all has to do with the type of testing that is being done.

At the beginning of the pandemic, only PCR tests were available for the diagnosis of COVID-19. As antigen tests were developed in the spring, the CDC issued guidance that allowed for a positive antigen test to be counted as a probable case only if additional criteria were met. The additional criteria included either an epidemiological link to a known case of COVID-19, or symptoms of COVID-19.

Now, all cases, whether confirmed or probable, from a PCR or antigen tests, will still go through the same case investigation and interview process. The adoption of new case definitions allows for ODH to count probable cases from antigen tests in a more timely manner, which means all Ohioans will have a more accurate, real-time understanding of the spread of COVID-19.

When you look at the state coronavirus numbers on Ohio’s Coronavirus Dashboard, you will be able to toggle between PCR-only, antigen-only and combined testing volumes and positivity rates.

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