COLUMBUS — It's been an uneven day of COVID-19 testing news in the Ohio governor's office.
Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday night that he tested negative, as did First Lady Fran DeWine and his staff. It was DeWine's second test of the day, after a positive test result was reported Thursday morning.
According to a press release from DeWine's office, a PCR test was administered to the Governor and members of his staff Thursday afternoon. The PCR test looks for the specific RNA for the SARS CoV-2 -- in other words, the genetic material specific for the virus that causes COVID-19. This test is known to be extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus. The PCR tests for the Governor, First Lady, and staff were run two times. They came back negative the first time and came back negative when they were run on a second diagnostic platform.
"We feel confident in the results from Wexner Medical Center," DeWine said Thursday night. "This is the same PCR test that has been used over 1.6 million times in Ohio by hospitals and labs all over the state."
On Thursday morning, the 73-year-old governor was tested as part of the protocol before interacting with President Donald Trump, who was visiting Clyde, Ohio. DeWine underwent a "rapid" test somewhere along the route to Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.
The test administered Thursday morning to the Governor in Cleveland, as part of the protocol required to meet the President, was an antigen test, stated the press release from DeWine's office.
"These tests represent an exciting new technology to reduce the cost and improve the turnaround time for COVID-19 testing, but they are quite new, and we do not have much experience with them here in Ohio," DeWine noted in Thursday night's press release. "We will be working with the manufacturer to have a better understanding of how the discrepancy between these two tests could have occurred.
Out of an abundance of caution, and at the direction of medical professionals, the Governor and First Lady plan on having another PCR test on Saturday. Results of these tests will also be released.
DeWine noted that he was surprised to learn he had originally tested positive for coronavirus, a fact he related during an impromptu late Thursday afternoon televised press conference from the front porch of his home near Cedarville.
The governor, whose only other COVID-19 test since the pandemic began was during a June press conference, said he had experienced none of the symptoms associated with the illness.