Shipment term

State to ship tests to schools due to shipping issues

Ohio plans to distribute more COVID-19 tests to K-12 schools and universities, but faces delayed shipments as demand for tests soars nationwide.

The state ordered 1.2 million rapid test kits for January and received only 400,000, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Manufacturers have delayed shipments of the remaining 800,000 as the contagious omicron variant is driving up the number of cases and prompting more people to get tested.

The department expects to receive the additional tests later this month.

Health officials plan to first make the tests available to schools as more become available and will temporarily stop sending them to local libraries and health departments. Test kits can also be purchased at pharmacies and grocery stores, although many are out of stock due to increased demand.

Ohio reported more than 20,000 new cases Wednesday, and 6,637 people were hospitalized. Schools in Buckeye State have abruptly switched to virtual learning this semester due to a lack of staff.

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Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliate news organizations across Ohio.