COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health has announced plans to prioritize the state’s supply of COVID-19 tests to support testing for K-12 schools, colleges and universities as the state is dealing with shipment delays.
The state had made the rapid at-home antigen tests and over-the-counter self-administered tests free at local health departments, public libraries, schools and other locations.
ODH said they ordered 1.2 million testing kits for January but only 400,000 have been received and are being distributed.
Shipment of the remaining 800,000 has been delayed by the manufacturer as demand has increased nationwide during the omicron surge. ODH anticipates receiving those kits later this month.
As supply becomes available, the testing kits will be first distributed to meet the needs of schools. ODH says schools are experiencing a new significant demand for tests as cases continue to climb.
“COVID-19 tests are a critical tool to help ensure in-person learning can continue in Ohio schools,” ODH said in a press release. “Ongoing access to these tests helps ensure students and teachers can remain in the classroom.”
As a result, the state is adjusting its allocation and pausing shipments to other community partners like libraries and health departments, until the supply chain has stabilized.
ODH says the demand for tests in Ohio is exceptionally high, with a seven-day average of more than 94,000 tests per day.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ohio has distributed about 5.6 million free testing kits including 1.4 million in December alone.
While these free tests are being sent to schools, ODH says over-the-counter kits can still be purchased at locations including pharmacies and grocery stores.
Testing is also available at many urgent care locations, community health centers, retail locations and pop-up sites. ODH says it is important to call in advance to ensure tests are available at any testing location.
ODH has a searchable map of testing locations online, which can be viewed here.