Local doctors respond to expanded COVID-19 testing announced by Gov. DeWine

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Doctors at several of Northeast Ohio’s largest hospital systems say they were surprised to hear Governor Mike DeWine announce expanded COVID-19 testing.

Thursday the governor said coronavirus testing would be available to anyone who requested a test, even if they did not have symptoms of the virus.

“The issue is when anyone can get a test, there is the possibility that the test, which are to a certain degree still a limited resource, may not be used in the most appropriate manner,” Dr. Gary Procop of the Cleveland Clinic said.

MetroHealth System Dr. Brook Watts said it’s important to remember a diagnostic test only answers if a patient currently has the virus. 

When asked about if the worried well should be tested she responded, “For most health systems and doctors right now they’re probably going to encourage you not to do that.”

Like many medical centers, at University Hospitals, a physicians order is still required for coronavirus testing.

*Read more stories about the impact of the coronavirus, here.*

“I wouldn’t say there are shortages right now but we do still thoughtfully apply those priorities to who gets testing,” said Dr. Christine Schmotzer of University Hospitals. “Our approach will be that you need to have that conversation with your physician.”

For now, despite the governor’s expanded testing announcement, it’s not likely everyone who asks their physician for a COVID-19 test will receive one.

“It’s not because we don’t want to test everybody, honestly we’re not sure that there’s benefit,” said Dr. Watts.

According to the Ohio Department of Health there are more than 40,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the state as of Friday.

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