Gov. Mike DeWine announced members of the newly formed Testing Strike Team, led by former governors Richard Celeste and Bob Taft, have reached an agreement with Thermo Fisher to make a reagent to analyze coronavirus samples. That will substantially expand 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 DeWine.
“Gov. 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.”
Ohio will have the ability to bump virus testing to 7,200 patients a day, increasing to 22,000 by late May, a six-fold increase.
As a result of collaborative efforts through the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, DeWine announced ROE Dental Laboratory in Cleveland will manufacture up to 1 million testing swabs to support Ohio’s testing efforts.
ROE Dental Laboratory typically produces dental restorations and surgical guides. The Manufacturing Alliance helped ROE Dental secure the specifications 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, which and will bring nearly 100 employees back to work to produce swabs around the clock while practicing safe social distancing.
“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 DeWine.
A big jump in testing will dramatically increase Ohio’s ability to test priority areas, including nursing homes, hot spots, congregate living settings, food and grocery stores, and essential manufacturing facilities.
The increased testing capacity in Ohio will also 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 offensive strategy, the state has started working with Massachusetts-based Partners in Health to bring needed resources to Ohio to help increase the ability to trace contact exposure to the virus.