The office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday he had taken a second coronavirus test that came back negative, just hours after his office said the governor had tested positive for COVID-19.
DeWine, 73, initially tested positive just ahead of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump, adding he was experiencing no symptoms but would quarantine at home for 14 days. His office said that while that test was part of the protocol the White House has instituted in order to meet with the president, it was an antigen test rather than a more sensitive PCR test.
“These [antigen] tests represent a new technology to reduce the cost and improve the turnaround time for COVID-19 testing, but they are quite new,” his office said. “We do not have much experience with antigen tests here in Ohio. We will be working with the manufacturer to have a better understanding of how the discrepancy between these two tests could have occurred.”
The Washington Post notes that while PCR tests are considered more reliable, antigen tests can provide results much quicker, sometimes in minutes.
The governor’s office said his wife, Fran DeWine, and staff members had also all tested negative for the virus in the second round of PCR tests.
DeWine said both he and his wife would take another PCR test on Saturday and release the results publicly.
It’s unclear if the governor will remain in home quarantine if the second test comes back negative as well.
“The President wishes Governor DeWine a speedy and full recovery and commends the job he’s doing for the great state of Ohio,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement to CNBC.
With a 5.47% positivity rate, Ohio currently slightly exceeds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended 5% rate of positive coronavirus cases ― one of the metrics public health experts recommend using when deciding to loosen social distancing restrictions.
DeWine issued a statewide mask order late last month after observing that new cases had slowed in Ohio counties that already had a mask rule in effect.
Following a recent outbreak in his state linked to one infected person who attended a church service, he also called on faith leaders to prioritize mask-wearing and social distancing.
“It spread like wildfire, wildfire. Very, very scary,” he said Tuesday of the incident. More than 90 cases have been linked back to the church service, including around 40 among people who weren’t in attendance.
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