Apr 16, 2020

Mike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 16

Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript Coronavirus
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsMike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 16

Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on April 16, 2020. Read the full transcript with all his updates.

 

Follow Rev Transcripts

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Governor Mike DeWine: (00:08)
Afternoon. I apologize, everybody. I have forgotten some of my notes. Lisa, if you could bring the quote in, that would be great, and I’ll go ahead and start. We’ll start on a kind of happy note, or what will in the future be a happy note. My son’s, our son Brian’s minor league baseball team that he runs in Asheville, North Carolina, today would have been their opening day, and this is their hat, and that’s Mr. Moon, and Mr. Moon comes from the fact that the team used to be called the Moonshiners years and years and years ago. So kind of a throwback hat. And so I brought that today to remind us of when baseball will be played again, and we will all have the chance to go to minor league games and major league games and do all the things that we want to do.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12)
John Houston today will not be with us. I’ve asked him to really head up our effort to work with the business community as we get ready to come back, and businesses to start back up. And so he will be coming in periodically, but not every, every day.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:38)
We’re going to only go today for an hour. The President has a conference call with governors at 3:00, and so I want to be on that call, and look forward to that. Thank you, Dr. Acton, very much. I want to start with my report to you, people of the State of Ohio, in regard to where I think we are today, April 16, 2020. And I want to start with a quote. This is a quote from one of my favorite people in history, and that is Winston Churchill. This was on November 10, 1942, and I know the British people at that time must have felt that they had been in this war forever. They were in it much earlier than the United States was. They were battling for their life, survival, and I’m sure at this point, they were starting to get very, very weary. This is what Churchill said after the North African campaign, which was really well into World War II. “Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”

Governor Mike DeWine: (03:23)
And that’s where I think we are today. We’re about to enter a new phase, and let me talk about what I think are the essential facts of where we are, and throughout this, I promised you that to the best of my ability, I would tell you where we were and what we knew, and we’ll try to do that today. Again, first of all, first fact, Ohioans have done a great job. You all have done a phenomenal job fighting back, staying home, doing the distancing, doing all of the things that needed to be done. I’ve never been prouder, never been prouder to be an Ohioan. I’m very grateful for what you have done.

Governor Mike DeWine: (04:19)
You have, number two, you have, it would appear, flattened the curve. We have data from the week where it’s been fairly flat. We got to get more data. We got to see that continue, and what of course we hope is that it doesn’t stay flat too long. We hope it starts edging down. And we look at the statistics every day. Dr. Acton will share today’s, but one of the things I always look at is the hospital admissions. And we know people are staying in the hospital a long time, so hospitals start filling up some, but the admissions, people going in every day, it’s absolutely clear that at least for a week, we’ve been relatively flat, so we wait to see what happens.

Governor Mike DeWine: (05:15)
Fact number three: We all must live in a state and in a country where COVID-19 is still here, and is in all likelihood going to be here, and we’re going to live with it until we have an immunization. We don’t know how long that will be. Could be a year, could be a little longer. I’m an optimist. We have amazing scientists who are working on this as frantically and as hard as they can, so we don’t know the tight date. We know it’s going to be awhile. We don’t know how long. Number four: This period of time, living with COVID-19, is not going to last forever. We will get through this. It’s for a period of time. Again, we don’t know the exact period of time.

Governor Mike DeWine: (06:21)
Number five: We must get Ohio’s economy moving again. We must get people back to work. I fully understand what people … Because I’m getting calls and texts, and I get it, and I’m seeing it. I’m seeing the news media, what people are dealing with. I know that people who are unemployed want to work and they want to get back, and they want to move us forward, and small business men and women want to do the same thing.

Governor Mike DeWine: (06:56)
For all the reasons that we know, Ohioans are chomping at the bit, ready to go, ready to get back to work, but I want to mention something else of why it’s important for us to start back. We know that when the economy goes down and we have this significant drop, we know that there are bad consequences. People lose their jobs, and we also know that there are medical consequences as well, that certain things happen. Overdoses, for those who have an addiction problem, go up. People relapse, in regard to people who are an alcoholic, or people who are drug addict. We see the relapses go up. We see people have more anxiety. We see people have more depression. We see more homelessness, and I could go on and on, but these are all things that are very, very important, and that matter a lot.

Governor Mike DeWine: (08:12)
It is essential, though, that as we start back, we do this the right way. We must get this right, because the stakes are very high. If we don’t do it right, the consequences are horrendous. What we do not want to do is to start back, start getting back, getting businesses up, getting small businesses up, and then have a disaster, a huge spike in the number of people who test positive, and who are in the hospital. That would be disastrous. We have an obligation as we start back, and it’s so very, very important for our state to keep our employees safe and for businesses to keep their customers safe. We are fighting really, in a sense, a two-front war. One has to do with keeping us safe, medical point of view. One has to do with a medical crisis, but the other has to do with an economic crisis, a crisis about jobs and the economy.

Governor Mike DeWine: (09:35)
A while ago we created the Governor’s Board of Economic Advisors. Just as I looked to the medical community to give us help, give us advice, and we still do that, we put a group together of doctors and others who really understand pandemics, just as we did that, we have put together this group of economic advisors, and these are CEOs from many of the major companies and smaller companies in the State of Ohio. I asked them to inform us, to help us, to look at what we need to do to address this economic crisis.

Governor Mike DeWine: (10:23)
This morning, I received a report from them, a verbal report, and the report is a work in progress. It’s a plan, but the plan is not done yet, but they gave me a glimpse of what … They orally presented it to me, of what they had come up with, and as I said, it’s a work in progress. And let me talk for a moment about that. Well, COVID is out there. No plan will guarantee people will not get it. That’s the reality. But during the stay at home time, the companies that were allowed to continue have learned a lot, and we’ve seen them put in place some very, very stringent measures. And so in a sense, this has been a trial period where we can see some of the things that work, and so we have learned from that.

Governor Mike DeWine: (11:38)
I have asked the Lieutenant Governor to work with all kinds of businesses around the state, and I’m doing it as well, but he’s taken the lead on it, to come up with the best practices that we can, and again, some of this is on what they’ve learned in the last month. Some of it is based obviously on medical science, and what we are seeing is companies that have done quite a good job.

Governor Mike DeWine: (12:05)
I’m going to show this slide. Frank Sullivan of RPM heads up this group that we put together. This is a slide that kind of shows some of the things that they have done, and I’ll just go through this quickly. Again, this is one company, one type of business. For other businesses, there may be different things, but this is kind of an example what you could put together. Regular checks of PPE stock supply and lead times. Make sure it’s there. Limit visitors. Essential ones only. Screen for health upon entry. Everybody coming in gets screened. [inaudible 00:12:43] right there.

Governor Mike DeWine: (12:45)
Clear guidelines on hygiene. Instruct on self-monitoring for illness. Below 100 fever, no cough, respiratory issues, sore throat, none of that. It’s just employees with alternatives to public transportation. Enforce six foot physical distancing. Some of that. Mandatory masks. Communicate suspected exposure to cases of COVID-19. On and on and on. That’s just one company, one example, but that’s the type protocol that we’re looking to put together as people look to start back in. We’re looking to begin this process on May 1. We’ve got a lot more work to do between now and May 1, because we want to get this right. We will start with companies that can demonstrate that they can do these things. We’ll start with some companies that … And this will be phased in, because we got to measure how we’re doing as we go. But we’ll do this with companies where we have been able to put together the guidelines and companies that we think could start back down this road.

Governor Mike DeWine: (14:16)
Again, the world that we’re going to see is a different world, and the world in the workplace is going to be different. You’re going to see people with masks. You’re going to see people where there’s a lot of sanitizers, a lot of barriers, distancing. All the things that we have talked so much about. The workplace is going to change, and for the companies to come back, we want to make sure that they’re able to assure this for their employees and for those that are retail, for their customers.

Governor Mike DeWine: (14:52)
We enter a time when this is a new reality, really. And again, this is going to last until we’re done with COVID, and until we have-

Mike DeWine: (15:03)
… we’re done with COVID until we have a vaccine. You’re going to be seeing masks everywhere in public. We’re going to see the washing of hands, the sanitizers, wiping surfaces, distance, distance, distance. That is our new reality. I want to talk for a moment. Dr. Acton has talked a lot about this, but I want to talk about it, because again, as we start back in, people are going to have to make decisions, and people are going to have to make the best decision they can that’s in their own best interest, in their own health and their own wellbeing.

Mike DeWine: (15:45)
We have a slide that shows the people who are most at risk: older adults, people who have their immune system compromised, people of any age with these underlying medical conditions are a higher risk of COVID-10. They’re at higher risk of hospitalization, higher risk of death. Dr. Acton can explain it a lot better, but I don’t know if you all can read it, but chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart conditions, immunocompromised individuals, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity. I’m sure there are many more, but those are the individuals in this new world that’s going to last for, we don’t know, a year or so. Not going to last forever. It’s going to last for a while. Those are individuals who certainly are at the most risk and are going to have to be exceedingly, exceedingly careful as they look at what they do and the decisions that they make.

Mike DeWine: (16:45)
Let me address directly young people. I was 20 once. I was 25 once, and I thought I was invincible. That’s kind of the nature of the age, and I get it, but as we’ve talked about, you can be just as much a carrier as anybody else, so you need to be careful. We have had young people hospitalized. The odds are much better for you, but we also know that you can be a carrier, and without intending to do anyone harm, you visit an older person, you can be carrying that and not even have any symptoms at all. I would just, as we enter this new period, ask our young people to be very, very responsible. Worry about others. If you’re not worried about yourself, worry about others.

Mike DeWine: (17:43)
As we enter this new period beginning May 1, we’re going to continue to be fact-driven. We’re going to follow the facts. We’re going to see where we’re going. We’re going to have the ability to adjust where we’re going. What are the variables as we steer this ship? What are the variables that are going to make us go one way or the other? They’re obvious, I think. Where are we at flattening the curve? We hope to start going down, but we certainly do not want to go back up. As we open up, we’re going to be very, very careful about that, that does not happen.

Mike DeWine: (18:25)
Second, we’re going to keep an eye on the hospital admissions. They go hand in hand with that curve that we’re talking about. We’re going to look at the PPE availability. How are we doing on that? That’s an everyday battle. I know it is in the private industry. I know it is for the hospitals. I know people who work in our team, we’re out there trying to find this and trying to make sure that it gets manufactured. I think the good news is, I believe, that as time goes on and we have bought some time, that that’s going to get better, that we’re going to have more domestic companies that are making it and that the availability will slowly over time go up. Testing capacity. Again, I’m an optimist. I think our testing capacity is going to go up. We know it’s going to go up, we just hope it goes up fast, but again, that is a variable in our ability to test as we move Ohio forward. Again, we’re going to be very fact-driven. We’re going to adjust as we need to as we move forward. Let me just say to everyone that we’re a two front war now. Got to keep safe, got to protect the most vulnerable. Same time, got to start moving this economy back forward. We’ve got to do both things at once, and we can do that. My commitment to you is that I will fight just as hard to bring this economy back. I will give it everything I have, and I am doing that as I have to fight to save lives of Ohioans. That’s what Dr. Acton will do. That’s what I will do. That’s what Lieutenant Governor Houston will do and our team. That is our commitment to you. We will work on both of these every single day.

Mike DeWine: (20:20)
We will take the best advice that we can find as we do it, but those are our objectives. They’re not inconsistent. They can go hand in hand, we just have to be careful how we do it. When we put businesses back in, we’ve got to make sure that they can do everything they can to, as much as humanly possible. Nothing’s perfect. No place is totally safe, but to as much as humanly possible, assure that their employees, and if they’re retail, their customers have a safe place to work, a safe place to come and shop and do the things that we like to do.

Mike DeWine: (21:03)
I am an optimist. I think we can do this. I know we can do this. This is new. This is a new thing for us, and it’s tough. No one says it’s easy, but I am an optimist. My wife, Fran says, anybody with eight children by definition is an optimist, and I’m an optimist. We can do this. When I looked at what tie to pick out today, I picked the one with the flag again, so I would invite everyone to keep flying your flag. Fly your Ohio flag or your U.S. flag. We’ve done well. We’ve done well, we just have to keep moving. Now we move into this next phase as we get ready to start yet on May 1st, and I will be continuing to report to you as we know more, as we lay this plan out. The outlines are there, but as we get more details, we will lay this out in the days of ahead. But this is my report, as of today, where we are and where I think we’re going to be able to go, where we intend to go beginning May 1st. Dr. Acton?

Dr. Amy Acton: (22:17)
Okay. Thank you, Governor. Good afternoon, everyone. I just want to say as the governor’s talking about our next phase together, I just want to say that it has been the absolute honor of my lifetime to serve alongside him in this capacity. I think our commitment to you remains very, very strong. We’re fighting every day for both your lives and your wellbeing and your health and your livelihood as well, and we know that health is so much more than whether we get sick or not. It’s so much more about who we are, how we feel, and this has been a very, very trying time for Ohioans, whether it’s us getting sick, someone we know losing a loved one, or whether it is going through this as business owners and as people who are trying to make our way in the world.

Dr. Amy Acton: (23:16)
In my family, we have people in every walk from businesses they’re running to teachers to people like me or my daughter who’s on the front lines right now at Riverside Hospital. This is wearing on all of us, and I just want to acknowledge that, but I do want to give you a sense that while we have a long road ahead, I am very, very optimistic about how we will travel this road together, because I’ve seen how we’ve traveled it thus far. We will be with you, once again, every step of the way.

Dr. Amy Acton: (23:51)
Let me begin with a little update on our numbers. We have right now in Ohio, 8,414 cases. We have now had cases in documented community spread in 87 of our 88 counties. We have sadly a total death number of 389. Going to our next slide, we have now tested 74,000 people in Ohio, and we are hoping we are maximizing that capacity, and we are fighting on every front to increase those numbers and have more and more people tested. Similarly, our age range is still less than one to 101, and we have now a total of 1,729 or 21% of our cases are healthcare workers, and we’ve had over 2,331 hospitalizations. We also know that long longterm care residents have totaled 826 of our cases. A lot is made of this, but we shouldn’t be surprised by this data. It’s not that hospitals or nursing homes are doing something wrong, it’s just, as the governor said, these are very, very high risk places where more of our populations are that are exposed. The work that is being done is heroic, and we are coming alongside them to do that job well. But I just want to acknowledge that we shouldn’t be surprised by those numbers. This is the nature of the virus we’re dealing with.

Dr. Amy Acton: (25:48)
I also wanted to say that we had 623 cases in the past that had been reported in the past 24 hours. We’ve had 28 deaths in our last time period and hospitalizations of 221. Reporting hospitals, 1,050 people hospitalized currently with COVID-19 I do want to say that the path ahead, you’re hearing a lot, and I know it’s hard because there’s not one exact path, but what our team has been putting together is a series of phases that we’ll walk through together as we slowly and responsibly open up and try to bring about more of our life as we know it. Those details, again, the governor and his team and the lieutenant governor will be laying out in the days to come, but there’s a lot of things that you can do as we go through the next phase to help us do really well at it again. Not surprisingly, it’s a lot of the things we’ve learned in the first phase.

Dr. Amy Acton: (27:06)
It is once again that great hygiene you’re doing. Going back to the boring basics again, it’s the washing of your hands, it’s the coughing, and now, again, it will become a new part of our lives, just like taking off our shoes is to go through an airport. It will become using this mask. Do not underestimate donning your mask and donning your cape. I still very much need you to keep doing this, and doing it better than ever, because we know as we slowly return to activities, it will increase slightly our chance of spreading infection, so we really, really have to embed in ourselves doing this well in the days to come.

Dr. Amy Acton: (27:53)
This is a very special mask that I’m holding. It was made for me by a woman in Grandview, the area here in Columbus where one of my sons is a teacher, Mr. Acton, as many of you know. The woman who was making this was running out, as many of you home sewers are, of the elastic that goes around. Somebody who was going by. It was a beautiful day, the window was open, and she said hello, and they saw that she was working on this. They asked if they could donate material, and the material was donated by a lovely young girl who has survived chemotherapy. The actual ties were from a little tank top she would wear I think when maybe she had to go get dialysis, actually. I just want to say this, this was something given to me. It’s precious, and each one of these masks I’m seeing you wear, the ones I’m seeing, even our media where they’re starting to have stories behind them. I’m almost imagining a storyboard behind each and every one of these.

Dr. Amy Acton: (29:02)
This is a big part of our future. We’re not going back to life just the way it was before, but we are moving forward in the most amazing ways. Once we accept it, and I’m telling you everyone, we’re accepting this slowly. Every day I go through stages of grief. I go through denial. I go through a little anger. I go through a little bargaining. I don’t have to wear this. I might not need it. This isn’t true. I get a little down, and then I come to a different kind of acceptance. At that stage, I start to imagine how things could be, how they could be better than they’ve been, how we could do things differently. Just like that Battelle innovation we saw yesterday with that lovely couple who married into, in just a conversation, a new way of being. The businesses we were on the phone with today were coming up with ideas that are going to actually transform our businesses in new ways.

Doctor Acton: (30:03)
… Going to actually transform our businesses in new ways and I know our small businesses who are particularly hard hit are working on the same kinds of innovations.

Doctor Acton: (30:10)
So I want us to know that we are going to continue and I’m your doctor, so I have to be telling you, don’t be so hard on yourself when you go through these phases, day to day, because we’re all accepting sort of a new way to go forward. But I want you to go through it and I want you to don that mask and don that cape and bring to us your best ideas, whether you’re a business or a person. Let’s keep going into this together. Thank you

Governor Mike DeWine: (30:38)
Doctor Acton, thank you very much. We’ll turn to the news media, which I can’t see you guys now, but I hope I can hear you.

Laura Bischoff: (30:48)
Good afternoon. It’s Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News.

Laura Bischoff: (30:51)
Governor, the United Commercial Food Workers asked that you issue a mandatory mask order for anyone entering essential stores right now. Would you consider doing that? Also would you consider issuing a masking order similar to Governor Cuomo did in New York. I mean May 1st, is it going to be strongly suggested that we wear masks or mandatory?

Governor Mike DeWine: (31:15)
Thanks Laura. Let me start today with a very, very, very strong suggestion that when people are out in public, it’s the courteous thing to do, it’s the safe thing to do to, to wear a mask.

Governor Mike DeWine: (31:27)
As Doctor Acton has demonstrated, you can make your own. This one was made by my wife Fran and she’s made a number of them, she’s given to different people and this is going to be part of what we do at least until we’re done with the virus in a year or so.

Governor Mike DeWine: (31:49)
So I would strongly suggest that and I think that is the right thing to do. And again, maybe everybody doesn’t have a mask, but there’s different things that you could make with the bandana or something. Again, I’m not the doctor, but as a Doctor Acton has explained to me and others have explained to me, this may not protect you but it protects other people from you breathing on them, to some extent and so if everybody’s wearing it, that’s a very, very positive thing and I would suggest that people, you know who work in the groceries, work in other retail that’s open now and then the retail will open in the future, wear these as well.

Jim Otte: (32:36)
Governor, thank you Jim Otte from WHIO TV.

Jim Otte: (32:38)
Thanks for doing this. What else do you envision happening on May 1st? Will the stay at home order expire? Kids go back to school? Businesses, will they have to apply for permission to reopen under the criteria that you’ve set?

Governor Mike DeWine: (32:52)
All good questions, Jim, which I’m not going to answer today but I appreciate you asking them. We’re working on this. We’re going to be talking about it in the days, days ahead. We’ll be dealing with the school shortly, probably early next week. I have some superintendents I want to talk with first, so those are things that we will be certainly talking about in the future.

Governor Mike DeWine: (33:18)
I just wanted to lay it out and say look, May 1, will be a new phase. We’re in a new phase and try to give some kind of outline of how we’re approaching it and what we’re thinking and how we’re thinking this through, as we want to share that with all of you. As I said, I got the briefing from our business group this morning, so we want to turn our turn around and two o’clock today, be able at least to tell you something about it and get that discussion started in the state.

Molly Martinez: (33:50)
Hi governor, this is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News.

Molly Martinez: (33:53)
I’m wondering if you have any updates on the prison numbers in the state and also once those prisoners are released, will halfway houses be available and will reentry services be available to them?

Governor Mike DeWine: (34:04)
Well and I don’t have numbers, but I will tell you what I know. I talk again this morning as I do virtually every day, sometimes twice, three times, with our director and Ohio state is doing a great job in regard to the testing. That’s very helpful. We’re testing employees as well as prisoners and that’s ramping up over other dramatically. General Harris, I talked with him this morning at long with the director and they are building some capacity out so that they can spread out some of the of the prisoners. So those are two positive things that are going on.

Governor Mike DeWine: (34:48)
Now as far as the release of the prisoners, we don’t just open the door and people go out and again, to remind everyone, the bulk of these prisoners we’re talking about were within 90 days of getting out. One way or the other, they were coming out within 90 days.

Governor Mike DeWine: (35:04)
So then we started looking at them, we screened them down and got rid of the ones who were the sex offenders and even though they’re going to be on 90 days, I’m not taking responsibility to send them out earlier any way, shape or form. So we screen those out, came up with a number and then started working through.

Governor Mike DeWine: (35:24)
Now what’s happening is they are being tested to see if their COVID-19 positive and if they’re positive then they got to make special arrangements for them. The other thing you’re seeing with the prison numbers and the COVID-19 numbers are going up pretty quickly and that is a function of, yes it is in the prison but it’s also a function that we’re testing and they’re starting the testing. They started and they’re going to test everybody but they through the people that are most indicated that they had some susceptibility or they look like they might have COVID-19 but everyone’s getting tested, so those numbers are going to go up very, very significantly and are going up.

Molly Martinez: (36:12)
Are halfway houses still open?

Governor Mike DeWine: (36:15)
As far as I know.

Molly Martinez: (36:17)
Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (36:17)
I’ll get back to you on that.

Laura Hancock: (36:21)
Hi governor DeWine, this is Laura Hancock from Cleveland.com.

Laura Hancock: (36:25)
I’m just wondering, I know that the governors of Indiana and Kentucky had said that they would kind of want to coordinate, are they also planning to open May 1? Do you know anything about that? Also are you thinking about Michigan, which has had a lot more cases than us.

Governor Mike DeWine: (36:41)
So as I’ve said, I’ve talked to other governors a lot. It’s a great way to share ideas, see what everybody else is doing, what works, what problems that we have in common, how we’re dealing with them. So we’re are working with going to Holcomb, Governor Beshear, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. So we’re certainly working together with the three states. We have a lot in common.

Governor Mike DeWine: (37:13)
We are also working with all the Great Lakes states governors. So those are kind of two different little groups that we are informal groups that we’ve put together to share ideas and share information.

Governor Mike DeWine: (37:27)
So I can’t speak for what the other governors are going to do and I won’t, but we’re all in a lot of contact and I think it’s good for the people of our respective states that we’re sharing ideas.

Kevin Landers: (37:43)
Kevin Landers, WBNS-10 TV.

Kevin Landers: (37:46)
Governor and Doctor Acton, you both have been committed to transparency throughout this process, yet the Ohio health department is not reporting the number of deaths in nursing homes, the state is also not disclosing information on hospital staff illnesses. That’s not being fully transparent. This information can legally be released without identifying individuals, so why is the state withholding that information?

Governor Mike DeWine: (38:11)
[inaudible 00:08:16]… Look at that and we’ll get back to you. We will.

Kevin Landers: (38:19)
Doctor Acton?

Governor Mike DeWine: (38:21)
That’s our answer. It’s Doctor Acton’s answer too. So you know, we’re in this together and so we’ll consult afterwards and you know, we’ll decide. I mean, you gave a legal conclusion. I respect your legal conclusion, but these hospitals may have something to say about that and the families may have something to say about that and that’s why I think that I probably shouldn’t answer this until I go back and take a look at this and I see exactly because we have privacy issues with family members and these are not state run institutions. State run institution, buck stops with me. If it’s not a state run institution, we got other people involved and we got to deal with them on a policy issue as well as on the legal side.

Governor Mike DeWine: (39:14)
So I apologize for not getting you the answer now, but we will get back and we’ll have an answer.

Kevin Landers: (39:21)
Great. Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (39:22)
Thank you very much.

Ben Garver: (39:24)
Hi governor, Ben Garver with ABC 6 and Fox 20 here in Columbus.

Ben Garver: (39:28)
One question we’ve been getting from a lot of viewers is, as we’re starting to reopen the state, what about events as summer county fairs, sporting events, other sorts of things like that that people might be looking forward to. Do you anticipate that we might get to a point where we might be able to have some of those events later this summer?

Governor Mike DeWine: (39:44)
Well, no one loves the county fair better than Mike DeWine and no one loves the state fair better than I do but I don’t know the answer to your question yet. I think we’ve got to take this a few weeks at a time see exactly where we are. Big events or not even that big events where we are mixing together are pretty problematic as long as this monster is out there.

Governor Mike DeWine: (40:15)
So we’ll take a look, we’ll kind of look at where we are but as we look at this sequence of what things are opened and how they’re opened, your bigger events, your concerts, your fairs, your sporting events, those are going to be tougher and those are going to be towards the end of the openings because this is groups roaming together and again, while we want to be able to provide safe places for people to work, we want to get the economy moving again, all that pretty much goes out the window when you’re mixing people together in a small facility.

Governor Mike DeWine: (41:01)
So I’m not ruling them out. There may be ways of doing this that I have not thought about or don’t know about. If you look at your county fairs, what’s the heart and soul of the county fairs? It’s 4-H, FFA, it’s kids and the thought that kids wouldn’t be able to take their lambs to show is just, I think that’s just horrible.

Governor Mike DeWine: (41:28)
So it’s something we all have to work through and this is not just me, this is the county fair boards and other people are going to have to kind of figure this, work through and figure this out. But they are challenging. It doesn’t mean they can’t be done, but they are by their nature, they are quite challenging.

Governor Mike DeWine: (41:49)
Workplace, it’s easier to control, not every workplace, but workplaces that you can come up when we’re going to do these five things or seven things and we’re going to do a well and we’re going to check temperatures and we’re going to do all this. When you get into bigger events, that really the stuff we like, the stuff that we all really like and that’s what’s tough about this period that we’re in. Whether it last for a year or whatever it lasts, I mean it’s going to be tough for bigger events.

Doctor Acton: (42:22)
Ben… Could I add governor to that. Ben, I just want to say that there’s science behind all this.

Doctor Acton: (42:28)
So many things we talked about in the beginning but maybe we haven’t talked about in a while that bring us back to the basics. This is a novel virus and the world is learning together. All the best scientists now around the world and in this country, in every state, are learning and so there remain these unknowns and each day we know more. Every day we learn a little more. It evolves but what we do know is this. One of the things about this virus is it’s slow and it takes up to 14 days incubation period, might be another week until you show symptoms, you might be asymptomatic and then hospitalizations follow that and deaths have followed that.

Doctor Acton: (43:12)
So as we return and as a world we learn and watch from the moves we make and understand how this virus affects us, we’ll make moves, smart moves, small moves at first. Logical science driven moves and we’ll watch what happens and we’ll have to watch our numbers and the spread of the disease and we’ll probably make moves on a two to three week period because that’s how long, that’s the science, that’s how long it will take for us to get through an infection cycle and kind of another week to see the data come back and see what impact it’s had.

Doctor Acton: (43:51)
So that’s what I predict. No matter what model and who studied this anywhere in the world and you’ll see it, just like we went into this, each state kind of trying to… We learn and then we say, “Oh, maybe you could do this one thing this new way.” I think you’ll see us learn and I think you’ll see us learn in increments of opening and opening but being cautious in that.

Doctor Acton: (44:13)
Thank you.

Ben Garver: (44:14)
Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (44:15)
let me just add to that. From our perspective of trying to make policy, tried to guide the state, not only the things that I mentioned that are the variables but new science discoveries and new information. I’m optimistic that we’re going to find, the scientists who are working on this night and day, are going to find different things. They’re going to find things that will help us deal with this.

Governor Mike DeWine: (44:45)
So we should not rule that out and say that anything’s cast in stone, where we can’t do that or we can’t do it. We just don’t know and so what we’ve got to do is make the decisions, the best decisions we can, based on what we know now and as those facts change, we can adjust.

Governor Mike DeWine: (45:03)
As those facts change, we can adjust. We’ve got to be flexible to adjust and that’s what we’ll do. And we hope it’s adjusting for more openness and doing the things we want to do.

Adrienne Robbins: (45:15)
Adrienne Robbins, NBC4. And my question’s for Doctor Acton.

Doctor Acton: (45:21)
Hi, Adrienne.

Adrienne Robbins: (45:22)
Hi. In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be seeing a couple different factors from the stay at home order possibly being lifted and our expansion of testing. Should people start to view our confirmed case total a little bit differently and maybe not be alarmed if we are seeing more cases because it could be due to more testing?

Doctor Acton: (45:42)
That’s absolutely right. I think that’s an important caveat. The more we can test, the more we’ll discover. We’ve even seen this in our prisons as we did more testing. There are people who are asymptomatic who really weren’t showing symptoms at all. So as we expand that and as we grow in our understanding, we’ll probably see more. And then we’ll also start to be able to look at things like how prevalent is it in our population? That goes back to the study we’re hoping to do here in the next few weeks. These are answers no one knows yet. But as the governor just said, our science will open up, we’ll start to understand more about who has had this, and hopefully more who has recovered from this. And the science is still growing, and how immune and how much that immunity protects you.

Doctor Acton: (46:32)
So I think the governor said something very, very, very important. I mean, it’s very humbling to have to sit here. As much as a person of science wants to always have the answers to everything, we know that answers can change. We’ve seen that all along as we’ve gone through this journey together. And they can be optimistic changes like a new treatment that occurs, a new way a business might try an innovation. So I think our numbers will go up, but we’ll always try to put that in context for you. We know it’s out there, we know the numbers we report are the tip of the iceberg. We know that this infection is spreading in our population and will continue to do so until we have herd immunity and we just can’t spread it as much or we have that vaccine. And that’s the reality. Thank you.

Adrienne Robbins: (47:20)
Thank you.

Jim Provance: (47:22)
Jim Provance with The Blade, question for the governor. Governor, Michigan has issued an order that requires people who have multiple homes in the state to pick one and stay there. As the weather improves and there’s that temptation for people in Cleveland or elsewhere to go to Lake Erie to vacation homes, have you considered issuing an order similar to that to prevent the spread of the virus?

Governor Mike DeWine: (47:46)
Well, we do have some of that. I think statistically Michigan has a lot more. At least that’s my guess. I don’t have numbers on that. And I think it was a unique issue with Cleveland. That’s something we have not decided, we have not discussed. My inclination would be not to do it at this point unless we’re starting to see some problem connected with that. I mean, I think as people go to the lake and people go to our north, what we call our North Coast, and again, the social distancing is just going to be the key. I mean, we’ve kept all our state parks open except one. We had to close one. And that’s not because we don’t like hiking, we love hiking. And the problem is everybody loves hiking. And the trails were too … People were coming together. So we just have to adjust and make decisions as we move forward. And so the answer to the question is we’ll see. I don’t have any plans to do it now, but we’ll see if that becomes some problem.

Jim Provance: (48:52)
Thank you, Governor.

Speaker 1: (48:55)
Hello, Governor. To Dr. Acton. Dr. Acton, I’m guessing we have good numbers on ICU admissions and deaths from COVID-19. And you mentioned the tip of the iceberg. So I’m guessing you’re referring to the number of infections. And of course, if we ever have good numbers on the rate of death and this sort of thing, we’ll have to have that. What can you say about the state’s commitment to maybe across the board testing or really good control group in a city or in some smaller communities so that we really know what the infection rate is to the death rate and admission rate?

Doctor Acton: (49:40)
Absolutely. I mean, we have some of the best scientists who do these sorts of studies on infectious disease working with their counterparts around the world. So this is a specialty area and it’s something we do surprisingly routinely with other diseases, but it’s very, very important. And this is one that’s, again, hard to understand. We might have a rural community that looks like they don’t have a lot of cases, but if they didn’t have a lot of testing, we can’t say anything about sort of the randomness of our availability of testing that has made it so that we really, truly understand that. We have engaged the CDC, we have CDC folks here on site working with their teams. They’re going into rural areas, they’re going into work with nursing homes. And we’ll also be looking in urban areas. But it’s very important that we get a representative sample that truly represents all of Ohio and is equitable in that.

Doctor Acton: (50:46)
And so as we do our testing, we’ve tried to be very transparent. We’ve come up with criteria so that we could use our scarce testing to target the very sickest and help protect our frontline healthcare workers and first responders and very high risk situations. As that testing becomes more available, we have to make sure that it is available to everyone similarly that masks and everything else are equitable. And we do know, as I’ve said all along, it’s hard to understand but we will go back and we will learn a lot more about the history that was before we even had testing about cases. There are studies and ways you can do that. And we’ll learn a lot more even about deaths that might not have been attributed. So it is the difficulty of being smack in the middle of the pandemic and sort of the fog of it. And it’s going to take a while until we have all the information that gives us really the full picture. That’s why we are cautious and we have to understand what these numbers really mean. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (51:56)
A quick clarification … Okay, gotcha.

Jessie Balmert: (52:00)
Hi, Jessie Balmert with the Cincinnati Enquirer for the Governor. If we know that large gatherings and sports and fairs are on one end of the spectrum, what are some things on the other end of the spectrum that we might be able to see earlier?

Governor Mike DeWine: (52:13)
Well, that’s a good question. I said the other day that opening up the hospitals more so people can get caught up on healthcare. That’s something that we’ve asked the hospital association to work on. Six days from now, they owe me a report. And we will share that report and that information with you as soon as we get it. So hospitals opening up more as far as what kind of things that they can do. The second would be businesses, frankly, that have the ability to put in place all the different protections that some of the businesses that are open today are. And that might be a logical place to start. But again, we’ll see where we are.

Jessie Balmert: (53:04)
Thank you.

Andy Chow: (53:06)
Hi, Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. In other countries, we’re seeing the use of contact tracing mobile apps. And then there’s a concern about privacy when it comes to those apps. Are you having those conversations about using these apps and the possible privacy concerns about those?

Governor Mike DeWine: (53:21)
Yeah, look, we’re going to go where the technology takes us, but we’re going to have a respect for privacy. And I think most the things that we’re talking about doing will involve people’s consent and people will decide that they want to be part of that and they can do that.

Andy Chow: (53:42)
Thank you.

Ben Schwartz: (53:42)
Hi, Governor. Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. I would direct this to the Lieutenant Governor if he was here, but I want to see if you have an answer since he’s not. We’re getting a lot of viewer questions about people being on hold for too long and getting disconnected when trying to get their unemployment. We just want to know if there’s an answer or a message for people that are willing to stay on hold for hours but aren’t even able to when they get disconnected.

Governor Mike DeWine: (54:07)
Yeah, nothing. Well, it bothers me a lot and our apology. And we had another call yesterday with our team and looking to see what else we could be doing. So just the only thing I can tell you, Ben, is we’re looking at it. Not only looking at it, but we’re rolling up our sleeves and working on it every single day. So again, I apologize. And your listeners, you always have listeners and they always have great questions. Again, I apologize to the person who calling.

Ben Schwartz: (54:41)
Thank you very much.

Eran Hami: (54:45)
Hi, Governor. Eran Hami with WLIO in Lima. You had mentioned you’ve gotten a lot of calls about wanting to open business back up and I know a couple of legislators have mentioned it as well. What were the conversations with them and how have you reassured them that it’s not time just yet?

Governor Mike DeWine: (55:01)
Well, you know what? And I’ll maybe just use this as an opportunity to kind of answer your question, but also my communications director, Lisa Peterson, tells me on Twitter, people are tweeting that Ohio is opening up on May 1. She tells me to explain it a little better. So let me do that. We have a plan that we’re putting together. We have a plan to start Ohio back and we’re going to start doing that, implementing that plan, on May 1st. So it’s going to be gradual. It’s going to be rolling out one thing after another as we can do it. But we’re excited about being able to do it. And so May 1 is the date. It’s not that we’re reopening the state, in that sense. But we want to do it in a way that engenders confidence in the people of the state of Ohio, that when a business is opened, that customers are safe, that employees are as safe as we can make them and the customers are safe as we can make them.

Governor Mike DeWine: (56:15)
And so part of what we have to deal with is a lack of confidence among the people of the state of Ohio and the country. And so, it does no good just to open things up and then no one has any confidence and so they don’t go out. And you end up with the worst of all worlds. You don’t get the economy moving much. And so, it’s not just the orders that we put in, but it’s how we open back up. And we’re trying to do this in a very thoughtful way. We’re trying to do this in a way that engenders confidence in the people, by the people of the state of Ohio. So I’m getting a signal that’s it. We look forward to seeing you all tomorrow and appreciate it very much. Thank you.