Lawmaker urges Ohioans against getting tested for coronavirus

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As coronavirus cases continue to rise, Ohio State Representative Nino Vitale is urging Ohioans to not get tested for the coronavirus.

Vitale, a Republican who serves portions of Champaign, Logan and Shelby Counties, posted a message on social media shortly after Governor DeWine announced a mask requirement in seven Ohio counties where case numbers are quickly growing.

“Are you tired of living in a dictatorship yet?” asked Vitale. “This is what happens when people go crazy and get tested. STOP GETTING TESTED!”

On Wednesday, Ohio experienced its third-highest single day increase in coronavirus cases with 1,277 cases reported in the last 24 hours.

“I wish I could say [the rise] was because of testing but it’s not,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Health Commissioner for the City of Columbus. “It’s important that we identify people who are positive for COVID-19. The sooner we identify them, the faster we can get them isolated, determine who their close contacts are and get them quarantined.”

In May, Vitale said he would refuse to wear a mask, saying faces are the likeness of God and he “wants to see his brothers and sisters.”

Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine announced a mask mandate for seven Ohio counties that are classified at Level 3 under the state’s Public Health Advisory Alert System.

Franklin, Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Huron, Cuyahoga, and Trumbull have all reached Level 3.

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, people in those seven counties are required to wear a mask “primarily when they are in a public place inside,” DeWine stated. The order stays in effect as long as those counties are a level 3 or higher.

“If 75 or 80 percent of the people in the state of Ohio wear a mask when they’re out, we will dramatically kick this virus in the stomach,” DeWine said.

In Urbana constituents of Rep. Vitale reacted to his call to stop getting testing. 

“I think it’s a personal issue to be tested and I don’t think anyone higher up or anywhere should really tell us personally how we should handle things,” said Kathy Atherton, a resident of Urbana.

Another local resident said he wouldn’t hesitate to be tested for the coronavirus.

“It’s better to know and prepare for it than to wait,” said Eric Batsa. 

Dr. Roberts is recommending anyone who believes they have come in contact with the virus or is showing symptoms to be tested. 

“It’s important that you get tested,” said Dr. Roberts. “What I do encourage or discourage people from doing is not to do serial testing. This is not something you need to get tested for every week or every month.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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