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Coronavirus testing speeds increase as KY warns of price gouging



CINCINNATI (WKRC)- In a rare Saturday news conference, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and state medical officials discussed the next phase of testing for the coronavirus.

"The turnaround time for that has been days, a number of days. Now that the test can be done in the state, for the sickest patients, that turnaround time will be significantly shorter, within a day as you've heard," Dr. Andy Thomas, with the Wexner Medical Center, said.

Thomas says the risk factors doctors are looking for have also changed.

"We've been able to use international travel and exposure to a confirmed patient as risk factors. Now that they are spread within the United States, that international travel is less valuable as a screening tool," Thomas said.

Officials say they are pushing for more sick patients to seek medical help through non-traditional means, like telemedicine: where you see a doctor over the internet to avoid potentially spreading the virus.

Thomas says 80 percent of the people with the virus are going to be sent home.

Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Dept. Of Health is warning that coronavirus will eventually spread in the community.

"Eventually, it may be something that gets tested for the same way as the flu every respiratory [illness] season and be part of a respiratory panel. There will be many people who have this and might feel a little under the weather and soldier on but never know they ever had it," Acton said.

Acton says it is critical to get the correct information out to not only patients but also medical professionals.

"We have not had an outbreak like this in a long time. We have not seen borders close. This is something different and it's going to change our ordinary lives. It's going to change. There are going to be absences and businesses are going to have to take steps about employees being out sick," Acton said.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron urged Kentuckians to report information regarding price gouging to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257.

In response to a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and activating the Commonwealth’s price-gouging laws.

“Our consumer protection hotline exists to ensure that Kentuckians are not harmed by predatory pricing,” said Attorney General Cameron. “We will not tolerate businesses or individuals taking advantage of our citizens, and I encourage Kentuckians to immediately contact the hotline if they encounter suspected price gouging.”

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