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Ohio Governor Receives Negative Results in Second Coronavirus Test Hours After Testing Positive

Ohio governor Mike DeWine greets President Donald Trump at Akron-Canton airport in Canton, Ohio, March 20, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

After initially testing positive for coronavirus ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, Ohio governor Mike DeWine has announced that he tested negative for the virus in a second test hours later.

DeWine had been set to greet Trump at the Cleveland airport when he was given a test for the virus, in line with standard protocol for meeting the president. Upon receiving a positive result from a rapid antigen test, though he was asymptomatic, DeWine returned to Columbus instead of meeting with the president.

He then later received a PCR test, which is different from the original test he was administered and “extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus,” his office said on Twitter. He, his wife, and staff members all tested negative.

“The PCR tests for the Governor, First Lady, and staff were run twice,” the statement said. “They came back negative the first time and came back negative when they were run on a second diagnostic platform.”

“We will be working with the manufacturer to have a better understanding of how the discrepancy between these two tests could have occurred,” the statement added.

DeWine and his wife will receive a second PCR test, which works by looking for the specific RNA for the virus that causes COVID-19, on Saturday, his office said. 

“We feel confident in the results from Wexner Medical Center,” his office said of the PCR test. “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.”

Ohio has had at least 97,471 reported cases of the virus and more than 3,615 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In a news conference on Thursday broadcast from the governor’s porch on his farm in southwestern Ohio, where he planned to quarantine for 14 days, the governor said the positive result from the first test was “a big surprise to our family.”

DeWine had been one of the first governors to institute strict measures to curb the spread of the virus, as the state was first to close all schools in response to the virus, Fox News reported.

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