CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are all looking to begin the phased reopening of their economies in May, with small initial steps being taken as soon as Monday.
Superficial case data supports those decisions, as the states — Ohio and Kentucky, at any rate — appear to have flattened their pandemic curves.
All figures are cases per 100,000 people: Ohio ranks 22nd in the nation with 126, Kentucky ranks 40th with 78 and Indiana ranks 15th with 185.
For comparison, New York ranks 1st with 1,394. Georgia ranks 13th with 202.
But case data only gets you so far. That is, cases can only be counted accurately with ample testing, and the testing data for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana isn’t promising.
According to data published on each state’s website, Ohio ranks 45th in testing, Kentucky 43rd and Indiana 33rd.
Ohio has performed 107,109 tests to date, good for 920 tests per 100,000 people
Kentucky has performed 44,962 tests, or 101 tests per 100,000 people.
Indiana has performed 75,553 tests, or 114 tests per 100,000 people.
The good news is that testing is improving. Kentucky has increased its testing dramatically in the past week thanks to a partnership with Kroger and Covington-based Gravity Diagnostics. Eleven drive-thru testing sites are expected to be operational in the commonwealth next week.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday he expects the state to be able to test 20,000 people per day by the middle of next month.
An Indiana government official told FOX19 NOW testing has been expanded significantly and will continue to expand " with the addition of numerous labs and drive-thru clinics."
Additionally, a relative lack of testing only creates a rebuttable presumption against the wisdom of reopening state economies. There are other data points, such as hospitalizations and ICU visits, that states are monitoring closely.
The Indiana official acknowledged as much: “No single set of data, such as percent of population tested, can be used to make decisions.”
Still, all three governors — DeWine as well as Gov. Andy Beshear and Gov. Eric Holcomb — have acknowledged not even a ‘new normal’ can be attained until testing and contact tracing reach a certain threshold.