SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – COVID-19 tests have been hard to come by and now the Ohio Department of Health is prioritizing who gets them first.
State health officials say schools and universities will receive them before the general public.
As FOX 8 has been reporting, there has been a huge shortage of COVID-19 test kits.
Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health announced that K-through-12 schools, colleges and universities will be the first to get any shipments that come in.
“It’s just a matter of priorities, you know. It would be great if we had enough for everyone, but we just don’t,” said Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.
Skoda says she agrees with the Ohio Department of Health’s plan.
“The state was expecting to get like 1.2 million per month and I think they’ve received up to 400,000 and they aren’t sure when the others are going to come,” said the commissioner.
State health officials say they are experiencing a delay of more than 800,000 testing kits due to a national shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies. So from now on, the rapid testing kits they do receive will first be given to schools and universities.
“I think because we’re desperately trying to keep children in school and the state of Ohio has come up with some guidance that would allow schools to mask to stay, test to play, so kids could keep having as normal of a year as they possibly can and I think prioritizing to the schools is a good thing,” Skoda said.
But Skoda said the decision will have an impact on the general public.
“It does create a shortage for the general public, whether it be a library or it be us, we aren’t going to get as many as we thought we were going to get,” Skoda said.
Skoda said although the decision will mean fewer test kits available to the general public, the demand for testing is beginning to decrease in Summit County.
“We’re hoping this prioritization won’t have any more impact than we already have. It may require that folks are going to have to go search a little harder for test, if we don’t have them to give out, or the library doesn’t have them to give out, but the advice has always been, if you don’t feel well and you can’t test, stay home,” she said.
Skoda said they have given the kits they do have to congregate living facilities, homeless shelters, the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority and churches. She also said the best choice is to get vaccinated and boosted.