National Guard to help with COVID-19 testing at long-term care facilities

Coronavirus in the nursing home. Pixabay photo via MGN.
Coronavirus in the nursing home. Pixabay photo via MGN.(KOLO)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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The National Guard will be heavily involved in new rounds of testing at Ohio's long term care facilities and nursing homes. That's the word from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine as he sat down and spoke with 13abc.

People have hung on so much of what the governor has said since he took drastic moves like closing Ohio's schools. The issues are far from gone but Ohio is reopening. DeWine admits though it will all come with risk.

As one school year finishes people are already looking to next year. Governor DeWine tells 13abc that he's hopeful kids will go back in the fall in person. Physical distancing will be key as he makes the decision on how.

"Whatever you do it's risk. Whatever you do there's a big downside to it. What we've tried to do is just find that ground that is a sure safety for kids or as much safety as we can get at the same time allows them to grow up and allows them to get education,” said DeWine.

Around 60% of Ohio's COVID deaths are coming in long term care facilities. DeWine says next week, a plan headed up by the National Guard will test all staff and determine what patients need one.

"You might for example have one wing where they had an outbreak and you might test that wing. We're going to leave that up to the doctors. The National Guard is really going to take the lead in this next week. We're very excited about it. We think it'll save lives,” said DeWine.

DeWine says about 90% of the economy is open as restaurants open most recently. He says he's balancing human health with economic health.

"People who say mike you should worry more about the economy. I saw look I am worrying about the economy. I am worrying about jobs. The most important thing we can do to make sure those jobs do in fact come back is to keep people safe and give people some confidence they can in fact go out,” DeWine added.

Will this opening eventually lead to another shutdown? DeWine he will watch hospitalization numbers.

"We're going to know in the next few weeks. Are we going to see a real spike in these numbers or not,” said DeWine.

DeWine says amusement parks like Cedar Point will be the last things that will open. Spreading of germs is the key here. Part of the reopening plan is not to have large groups of people mixing together. That's exactly what happens at Cedar Point.

DeWine says the medical experts have told him that distancing is key to this virus eventually going away. How could that happen at Cedar Point? Those are the discussions underway.

"I'm not saying it can't open. I’m not saying it can't open under certain circumstances but I'm just saying as we try to analyze this and try to think how do we keep this spread from really kicking up that's the concern. The distancing, how do you ensure the distancing,” said DeWine.

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