DeWine: Testing Update; Recommends 38 Prisoners for Release

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — To further increase the testing capacity in the state, the Ohio Department of Health is partnering with Ohio State University to produce the needed components to create more testing kits.

The state has already expanded its capacity to fulfill tests, with OSU, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth in Cleveland using their labs to turnaround the tests. But OSU and the health department are working to fill some of the holes in the supply chain for producing the tests themselves, said Gov. Mike DeWine.

“What we’re finding is we run into a problem with the supplly chain and some days there’s not the liquid. Some days there’s not the tube. Some days there’s not the swab,” DeWine said during his daily update Friday. “They’re ready to go and they’re going to start producing these and making these available.”

DeWine expects those test components to be ready for distribution in the next few days. The state is also working to fulfill demand for chemicals used for medical machines, he added.

The governor has sent letters to judges in a number of counties regarding 38 prisoners he is recommending for early release in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The prisoners are broken into two groups: 23 women who are either pregnant or have a child that was born while they were serving their sentence, and 15 individuals who are over the age of 60.

None are violent individuals, or are domestic abusers or sex offenders, DeWine said. All have passed a “rigorous” screening process as well, he said. They also have no infractions on their records while in prison and have no outstanding warrants in other states.

DeWine is leaving the final decision up to the judges in the counties where their sentences were handed down, he said. While he acknowledges he could use his pardon power to make it happen, he wanted local input.

“We wanted to allow the local community to have input through that common pleas judge,” he said. “So the final decision goes with that judge.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.