COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is pushing hard to expand COVID-19 testing in Ohio’s capital city.
“We’re looking to dramatically ramp up our testing over the next couple of months,” Ginther said Tuesday.
Ginther was visiting Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s newest community-based testing site at Kipp Columbus on Agler Road.
According to Ohio State, the site borders the 43219 and 43211 target zip codes where residents tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to socioeconomic status, race, housing characteristics, and underlying chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
“There’s a narrative out there that, somehow or another, testing was only available to the very, very sick or the very, very well-connected that could navigate the system,” Ginther said.
Dr. Hal Paz, CEO of the OSU Wexner Medical Center, said community-based testing is an essential service to ensure that everyone receives the care they need.
“Expanded testing will allow for a more precise quarantine approach, which should help decrease the spread of the virus while opening the economy,” Paz said.
Currently in Franklin County, about 600 to 700 people a day get tested.
Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts says testing eligibility has expanded now to include anyone who is experiencing symptoms.
“By making it more accessible like with this site and others that are going to be opening up in the next few weeks, that will help,” Roberts said. “Expanding the pool of who we can test, that’s going to help a lot. So anyone who’s symptomatic can now get tested.”
To be tested at the OSU site, a person will need to meet accepted guidelines for testing and must register in advance by phone, but a physician referral is not required.
COVID-19 symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees of more, shortness of breath, dry cough, sore throat, headache, body aches, chills, sudden loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
People with these symptoms who want to be tested at the new northeast Columbus location can call 614-366-6800.