Apr 17, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 17
Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on April 17, 2020. He shared further details on how the Ohio economy would reopen. Read the full transcript with all his updates.
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Mike DeWine: (05:30)
Well, good afternoon everybody. First I want to say happy birthday to our daughter Anna. Anna is a journalist, reporter, and we’re very proud of her as we all are proud of all our children.
Mike DeWine: (05:48)
Continuing our Minor League Baseball tradition, I’m wearing, excuse me, wearing a pen from the Toledo Mud Hens. Their opening day should have been yesterday. And I’m wearing a tie from the Akron Rubber Ducks. Their opener was supposed to be today. They are actually having a virtual home opening, and you can watch that at seven o’clock tonight on the Akron Rubber Ducks YouTube channel. It’s very important everybody watch that because I’m throwing out the first pitch. As I say, it’s a virtual game. They are playing the Rumble Ponies and I’m told that you’ll be able to see not only my pitch, but you’ll hear the national anthem, there’ll actually be a virtual game played. Not quite sure how that’s going to work, but anyway, it should be fun and I suspect there may even be some arguing with an empire. So who knows. Tune in.
Mike DeWine: (07:20)
Ohio has played a central role in the history of flight. The Wright Brothers who invented flight, two astronauts, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and many more. There’s certainly another part of Ohio’s aviation chapter. On this day in 1964 Columbus resident, Newark native Jerrie Mock landed at Port Columbus Airport. She was ending her history-making flight as the first woman to fly solo around the world. Jerrie was in many ways an unlikely hero whose tenacity and her courage propelled her to accomplish this historic achievement. The tiny two-passenger Cessna 180, a plane that she flew, which she named the Spirit of Columbus, is now hoisted high above in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. But the legacy of her flight remains deeply rooted here in Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (08:23)
In 2013 the Columbus Foundation created the Spirit of Columbus Award to honor Jerrie Mock and her great achievement. The award recognizes those who exhibit exemplary community spirit through their own efforts and through their accomplishments. This year’s recipient of the Spirit of Columbus Award is going to someone who has showed extraordinary compassion, commitment, and courage during the unprecedented challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic. Let’s take a look now and watch the video.
Video 1 Jeni: (09:34)
Video 2 Morgan: (09:35)
Video 3 Michelle: (09:35)
Video 4 David: (09:38)
Video 5 Tanny: (09:39)
Video 6 Scott: (09:41)
video 7 Beth: (09:42)
video 8 Michael: (09:43)
video 9 Jane: (09:45)
video 10 Dwight: (09:46)
With those qualities in mind, we’re happy to announce to you the 2020 Spirit of Columbus Award winner,
Video 6 Scott: (09:52)
Dr. Amy Acton.
Video 4 David: (09:53)
Dr. Amy Acton.
Video 2 Morgan: (09:54)
Dr. Amy Acton.
Video 3 Michelle: (09:55)
Dr. Amy Acton.
video 9 Jane: (09:55)
Dr. Amy Acton.
Video 1 Jeni: (09:55)
Dr Amy Acton.
Video 5 Tanny: (09:55)
Dr. Amy Acton.
video Doug: (09:55)
Dr. Amy Acton.
video Byron: (10:17)
Dr. Amy Acton.
Mike DeWine: (10:18)
Doctor Acton, congratulations. That is absolutely fantastic, well-deserved, and we congratulate you, and we congratulate all our first responders and healthcare workers who are out there making a difference right now at this very, very moment. And so we’re delighted to…
Dr. Acton: (10:41)
Mike DeWine: (10:41)
See that you won the award. That is absolutely fantastic.
Mike DeWine: (10:46)
Let me start by kind of following up a little bit from yesterday. Did a radio interview a little while ago with Bill Cunningham WLW, and he said he started getting calls after the press conference, and he says, some people said the state was going to be wide open on May 1, and some people said, Oh, nothing’s going to change on May 1. And he wanted to know which was the truth. And I said, well, a little bit in between I guess.
Mike DeWine: (11:25)
So let me kind of maybe try to recap a little bit, but I thought the way I would do it today, as we look towards where we’re going, and by the way, we’re not going to be here tomorrow, we’re not going to be here Sunday unless something comes up Saturday or Sunday. We will be working on the plan and kind of how we explain the plan. And next week we’ll be starting to in different days talk about that plan is actually going to go into work. But I thought today it might be a little talk, a little aspirational what we hope this plan is going to be. But I think it’s always good to get back to basics, get back to what the basic principles are, and what we’re trying to achieve. We’re trying to get Ohioans back to work. At the same time, we’re trying to protect Ohioans. We do not think those are mutually inconsistent. We think that because what you have done, you flattened this curve. You’ve stayed home, done all the things that we needed to do.
Mike DeWine: (12:35)
We’re now in a much better position and now we’re going to have to slowly do this, but now we’re ready to move into the next phase. I think as we talk about businesses opening, and this is going to be sequential, it’s going to be over a period of time. But as we talk about these businesses that are going to open, what are the goals? And the goals are kind of common sense and pretty easy to state. Protect employees and those businesses that are open to the public, that retail, protect the customers, protect those who are coming in. So that’s it. I mean everything kind of flows from there. I think we’re in a situation where protecting people, protecting customers and protecting workers is also good business. Because quite candidly the market force is equally important and probably more so than the any orders that state government or that I might put out or Dr. Acton might put out.
Mike DeWine: (13:55)
What do I mean by that? Well, no company is going to be able to attract employees if they don’t think it’s safe for them to work there. Employees are going to have to think it’s safe every day. And the same is true with customers. You’re not going to go to a place as a consumer, a retail place, if you think that you’re not safe there. If you think they’re not following the social distancing we’ve talked about, or if they’re packed in so much that you’re rubbing up against others. So a lot of this is just common sense, and it’s good business, and it’s taking what we have learned so far and taking those best practices and putting them in into effect.
Mike DeWine: (14:46)
So let’s talk a little bit about what you might see if would go into a retail business or what you would see if you would go into a manufacturing company that would be opened after May 1st. Or what we hope you would see in those essential businesses that are open now. Distancing. There’s no substitute for distance. The six foot is the norm. Obviously more distancing is always better. I would expect to see people working there wearing a mask. I think this is going to become very common and we want to be very common in public places. You go into a business, you’re going to see barriers. Barriers are appropriate. I told you about a friend of mine, have a manufacturing company, he’s put some barriers to protect people now, where that was necessary, where they couldn’t achieve what they needed to achieve in protection another way. You’re going to see surfaces sanitized, cleaned quite frequently. You may see-
Mike DeWine: (16:03)
… clean quite, quite frequently. You may see employees probably wearing gloves. Ample opportunity for the employees, ample opportunity if it’s retail and you have customers, for them to wash their hands, sanitize their hands. Staggered arrivals for employees would be something you might see. Staggered lunch, where not everybody is gathered together. Employees who can work from home will work from home. Those who can’t won’t, but those who could will continue to do that or will do that. You’re going to see checking of the employees when they come in, the temperature of employees, making sure the employee is not in fact sick. If someone’s sick, they obviously go home. Retail, but also in, in the wholesale operations or where you aren’t meeting the public, again, space is a key. So in retail, you would expect to see a limit to the number of people allowed in a store, in a place of business, and again, that will vary by place to place.
Mike DeWine: (17:23)
So these are all just some of the things that we would expect to see. John’s going to talk a little bit more in a moment about where we’re going, but we’re encouraging each industry, each group of businessmen and women who have different companies, different type businesses to come together, get the best practices. Very, very important.
Mike DeWine: (17:51)
After May first, things will change some, but the essential reality of the fact that this virus will remain out there, and so our life has to be guided by that. And one of the things that we want to do is to make sure that every individual, and we’ll be talking about this in the future, has as much information about their own condition, and what risks there are, as humanly possible. So it’s one of the reasons we do this every day. It’s one of the reasons that the media has covered this so extensively and so very, very well, that people can calculate some of their own risk. Openness is important. Testing, we’re going to see testing that’s going to evolve, but where people are going to be able to determine, over a period of time, it’s not going to be done overnight, but whether or not they may have had this when they had no idea that they had it.
Mike DeWine: (19:07)
As we move forward into this world, some things, as I said, do not change. One of them is that we have to assume that everyone we meet is carrying the virus, because many people are walking around among us and don’t know they’re carrying the virus. In the conference call I had this morning with a prison director, and this is anecdotal, but it kind of tells you something. We’re doing some testing. We’re doing a lot of testing in our prisons. Now, there was one dorm, 152 people tested positive. We’re doing extensive tests. Of that 152, I’m told 60 of them had no symptoms. 60 had no symptoms. Again, it’s not scientific. Not big enough numbers to come up with the fact that we can’t say that 39% of the population, 39% of the people who have it don’t have any symptoms. We can’t say that, but it sort of tells you why we have to assume that everyone that is out there is in fact positive, because many, many times, they will not know that. In some cases it would appear they will never really know that until they actually have a test.
Mike DeWine: (20:39)
We have a chart I know that Dr. Acton is going to talk about and Lieutenant Governor is going to talk about it, if we could put that one up there.
Speaker 1: (20:49)
All right. Over this side. I got it right there.
Mike DeWine: (20:49)
Okay. There we go. The path forward to restart. And it’s really what we want to do. Public health measures and compliance is an essential part of that. We’ve got to protect the most vulnerable. We talked about that yesterday, and then business operating safely, with safeguards, and that’s pretty much what I have been talking about and giving some examples about that, but both of them will talk a little bit more about this.
Mike DeWine: (21:27)
I am, today, granting seven commutations to prisoners. I am denying 84. We get to put this in some perspective. We get hundreds of requests coming directly out of prison, and many of them are people who are in for some very, very, very serious offenses. So the the seven that we are granting, that number is going to be shared with the news media during this press conference.
Mike DeWine: (22:15)
Let me conclude with, we had questions about, “How do we conform?” Or, “How do we look?” When we did this press conference we did at 2:00, 3:00, we had a conference with the President, and at 6:00 the President had his public conference and rolled out their plan. And let me just say, I think it’s a good plan. The President did say, and I think he’s right, that every state’s going to be different. Every state is going to have to do this differently. We have set up a couple of different groups of governors. We’re in a group, kind of self-defined group with Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Governor Holcomb, Governor Beshear and I talk a lot, and so this is a group that we’re kind of comparing notes and our departments are comparing notes as we go forward.
Mike DeWine: (23:18)
We are also in another group of mostly Great Lake States, I guess with the exception of Kentucky. Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio. And again, we have a lot in common with those states, but as the President indicated, ultimately every state has got to fashion a plan for the people of that state. And so as we reach out to people, as we put the different groups together, as we move forward, I can just assure you that Ohio’s plan is going to be by Ohioans, for Ohioans, because of the fact that we need to recognize the uniqueness of the State of Ohio, at the same time as we reach out to our friends in other states and try to get as much good information as we can and share what we hope are good ideas. Lieutenant Governor?
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (24:19)
Thank you very much, Governor. Good afternoon. I know that as the Governor has asked me to do, I have been spending a lot of time talking with business officials, businesses big and small, health officials, every thoughtful person that we can bring in the time we have to talk about the restart, and May 1, and some of the things that people can expect. There will be more specific details coming in the days ahead.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (24:56)
As we discussed, this will come in phases. There will be business practices that everybody will be expected to implement, but let me just say that inclusiveness is very inefficient. When you’re trying to get everybody involved who deserves to have a voice in this, you get a lot of information, and you’ve got to figure out how to move that information into an actionable plan. And we have the economic advisory group which is reaching out and trying to be inclusive. We have health officials that Dr. Acton and many others are engaging in this conversation. We have businesses who are big, who have certain capacities and needs, and we have businesses that are small that we also need to hear from as it relates to making these decisions.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (25:44)
We have sectors: Manufacturing, retail, restaurants. All have unique situations that they need to confront, and there are unique health applications that need to be put in place to put them together, and then we always have, in our great state, the regional differences, about what somebody in Cincinnati will think bordering two other states, versus Toledo, versus Cleveland, and you have all of these different kinds of issues that need to go into the mix to develop the strategy. And it’s being developed and it will be unveiled in more greater specificity as we go through next week, because we know that we can’t have a plan on May 1 that we wait until May 1 to deliver. We’re going to make sure that people have this information in advance.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (26:35)
Additionally, we want to make sure that when this occurs that it’s clear to business what their role is, it’s clear to employees what both their business, the business owner, and they are expected to do. We want that also for their customers. We want everybody to be able to understand it and feel confident in it. And the Governor alluded to this chart a little earlier, and Dr. Acton, I actually had a really thoughtful conversation about this before we came in. What it is, so we talk about restart, but these are the voices that we’re really trying to make sure get to this point, because that’s the safe place that we want to go. That’s the place that we can have confidence that everybody’s input is included in this. And it’s built out of fear, because you talk to everybody and I know that Dr. Acton and the health community feels a great sense of responsibility to make sure that this is done right. The public health measures and compliance, that’s their job, and those are really important things for everyone to know.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (27:50)
But we also know that businesses have a great deal of fear as well, that many of them are worried that they’re going to go out of business. They’re worried about how they’re going to really survive this pandemic from an economic point of view, and we need to understand every one of those issues as well, and then obviously the vulnerable populations. I can tell you this. You don’t have a governor who is more concerned about you, there’s no one in the country that’s more concerned about you than Mike DeWine, and we’re trying to put this all together so that we get to that place that everybody can have confidence in, that voices are heard, that we get there, and that Ohioans can feel comfortable that when May 1 comes, that we’re going to have the most thoughtful restart we can possibly have.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (28:41)
I’ve heard this said a number of times in the conversations that we’ve been in over the last few days, is that coronavirus is going to be with us for a while, and we need to live with it safely. Businesses, employees and their customers, they need to know that there’s a safe strategy. The public, the responsibilities that the young have to the old and vulnerable. All of these things, there are more strategies now. We know more about it than we did when this started, and so we can build confidence and knowledge, and the resulting strategies that come with that knowledge.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (29:21)
I will say, though, whether it’s April the 17th, May the first or June the first, government order or not, that coronavirus is just as dangerous as it’s ever been, and what we believe that we have, though, now is the knowledge from public officials, the safe operating practice for business, the understanding as a society and a culture that we know how to protect the lives of the vulnerable, and what everybody’s responsibility is in this, and that’s the goal. That’s the goal where we’ll end up being, and we do want to find that balance between lives and livelihoods. That’s our mission. The governor has called us, called a great team together to work on this, and we look forward to the opportunity to deliver this to the people of Ohio in the coming days. Governor?
Mike DeWine: (30:13)
Dr. Amy Acton: (30:15)
Thank you, Governor. Good afternoon, everyone.
Mike DeWine: (30:19)
Dr. Amy Acton: (30:20)
Thank you so much. I think I’ll address this incredible honor. I’ll share our numbers first, and then I do have a few words I’d like to say in receiving this really incredible honor. So just for our media friends out there, I do want to share that we do have 9,107 cases in the State of Ohio, and we’ve learned of 693 new cases in the last 24 hours. And we know that, do not be surprised as we extend our testing, we know we’ve only tested a fraction of the cases that are actually out there, and as that testing gets a little more extensive with each day, we’ll start to see some of those numbers go up, and that’s why we will keep watching our trends.
Dr. Amy Acton: (31:15)
We do have 87 out of 88 counties at this point with cases, and we have 418 deaths in Ohio since this began, knowing again that that’s probably an under count. We did get 29 new cases in the last 24 hours and I don’t know if we have more. Eric, do we have … Again, interestingly, we are now completely equal at males and females. Our age range now, note this, from less than one to 106, in terms of cases, with a mean age of 54. And we still, because of who we’re testing, are seeing a lot of folks that are in health care and also folks-
Amy Acton: (32:03)
A lot of folks that are in healthcare and also folks associated with nursing homes. So I just need to… Good thing always I get a few, I noticed that they conveniently put a little box of tissues, Governor that aren’t usually here. So it takes me a little bit to compose myself and they gave me a grace period here. I just want to say to everyone out there, thank you very, very much for this honor. I don’t think you ever feel worthy. It made me wonder if ever the people who you saw on that video sometimes had that feeling of, I’m just living my life and these sort of things just happen. I know there are a lot of young people out there watching this, so I want to tell a few things that link this through together having kind of composed these thoughts now spontaneously.
Amy Acton: (32:59)
First of all to my colleagues at the Columbus Foundation who I’ve known in the past and were mentors for me and the people that you saw. A lot of the folks you saw in the video are the people that I look to that are really role models for me and that I’ve been inspired by, and not the least of which is Jerry. I do have a Spirit of Columbus airplane in my office, a little model of it. I remember thinking her story, I mean here she is, this mom. She’s going around the world and for all of us out there having these seemingly sloppy lives where we’re just trying to do the best we can at whatever we’re doing at the time, how that it all comes together into a story is really sort of the miracle you see kind of more toward the end. But at the time you don’t know what it’s all adding up to. It’s not something you intend.
Amy Acton: (33:55)
But one of the things in Columbus that’s really famous, you often hear it and I know Mayor Ginther mentioned it the other day, is the Columbus way. Really what I think has happened is we have really discovered an Ohio way. We are all, meaning everyone at home and all of us here, and what the Columbus way was really about is it’s really led by businesses. Much like the Lieutenant Governor is just saying, it really is this collaborative nature that we have and it’s all the sectors. It’s really the businesses, big and small, upstarts and new ones and ones that are vulnerable that have been here forever. It’s philanthropy and nonprofits, all our nonprofits and how they come together and things like in Columbus it’s called the Human Services Chamber, but how they across things get together. How all our hospitals are working together in unprecedented ways. How philanthropy and then schools and all our different governmental functions that it’s taking to do something in this.
Amy Acton: (34:58)
Then it’s people. It’s all the individual citizens. That’s what that spirit is about it. It really is that partnership of all of us that can move mountains. When I started out, before I took this job, we were working on something called a flourishing concept, a flourishing framework. That flourishing, this vision of all of us leading healthy lives and really being our best, most vital selves was something I brought into this job and I created our mission statement for the department of health to be. Again, creating the conditions in which all people can lead flourishing lives and contribute to their full potential, and no matter who they are or where they come from, rich or poor, whatever community that we all have something to give. It is that vital spark.
Amy Acton: (35:52)
Something that Doug Kryler, the CEO that you saw there at the end, had said to me, he shared with me this poster that I also keep nearby about the art of the possible. It is that art of the possible spirit that is going to take us through this next phase we’re going to go through together. Every one of us is innovating and creating new sparks. For young people out there watching this, each of us really is a spark and whether someone sees it or doesn’t see it, I’ve just already in this journey seen so many things made possible that were not possible before. We will not be the same Ohio when this is over. There will be so many more things through the hardships that we’re going through together that will be made possible by each and every one of us.
Amy Acton: (36:43)
So I just really hope you’ll let those sparks of yourself continue to shine no matter who you are out there, whether it’s our businesses and how they’re going to solve the next things, whether it’s our nonprofits who are rallying in new ways, our philanthropies, all of us coming together. I know you’re all dawning those capes in big ways and small ways and all of that together is going to be our way. It’s going to be an Ohio way. So I’m so very honored, really don’t feel worthy, but I’m just honored to be a bit of this spirit in this long chain of spirit yet to come. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (37:23)
And the first question.
Molly Martinez: (37:25)
Hi this is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. My question is for Dr. Amy Acton. First of all, congratulations.
Amy Acton: (37:34)
Molly Martinez: (37:35)
My question is 77,000 tests have been conducted in the state, but we were told that only the sickest are getting tested. So does 9,000 confirmed cases, does that seem low? Were all of the other tests negative? Was it the regular flu, or was it sort of some other illness?
Amy Acton: (37:54)
That’s right. We’re trying to get so that we can talk a little bit more about positivity rates, but we just don’t have great data in a way to collect that yet. But that’s going to be something we really look at. Of course the more testing you do, the more negatives. We’re testing people that are a little bit higher at risk. We also know there’ve been some pretty at-risk people who have not been tested. But in our case, because we have a shortage all around the country, we’ve really tried. In the beginning it was a little more wide open. Right in those first days when we had drive through testing and there was sort of this thought that there was an endless supply, but we quickly learned that we were running out of all different components of the tests, some reagents, some cassettes.
Amy Acton: (38:38)
So we had to have a way to say if we have scarce resources, how do we best use them? So we have three tiers of testing, and that should be on our website. But it was those highest risk people, people with really preexisting health conditions, most often in a hospitalized setting. As we move out through those tiers, we start to try to get testing. As you’ve seen, indoor prisons and congregate settings. We have a whole plan. We’ve been trying to get more testing into nursing homes, and we have over 75,000 people living in a nursing home or assisted living just alone.
Amy Acton: (39:15)
So just that high risk population, if you think of it that way. There are some, and I’ll give you exact numbers, but 750 nursing homes. There’s a whole nother 600 and some assisted living. So as you try to think about how you can target to high-risk folks, then that’s how you do your testing. Yet even when you’re tested, it could be that you have the symptoms, but it’s something else. Interestingly, in what the governor shared, which I think is very important, we’ve always heard now that up to 25% of people can test positive but be asymptomatic. It could be somebody at the beginning of their illness, but they haven’t yet shown symptoms. One of the things we’ve learned now looking backwards is that just waiting for signs of a symptom is not who’s contagious. That’s what makes this virus so dangerous, because people like myself are walking around asymptomatic. Just with our testing in the prison, we’ve quickly seen that many of those prisoners weren’t showing a temperature or symptoms.
Amy Acton: (40:20)
Similarly, there are people right now who have allergy symptoms or having other illnesses, less and less flu all the time because we’re starting to move out of flu season, but have something else and those will be your negatives even in those high risk population. Very important as I see you, Molly, wearing the mask right now, part of our campaign moving forward is going to be what I said early on is each of us should treat everyone not in a scared way, but as the fact that we might be carrying it. Unless we’ve recovered, we might be carrying it. When we look at wearing a mask, I am protecting you and when you’re wearing a mask, you are protecting me.
Amy Acton: (41:01)
As we move into these new phases, as we slowly, slowly walk our way back into life and watch very carefully how we don’t have any spikes and then do a little more, those masks and those social distancing this and wash our hands and all the other ways, keeping six feet, those are the ways that we’re honoring each other because any one of us can be carrying something that we don’t know. Thank you.
Molly Martinez: (41:26)
Hi, Jim [inaudible 00:41:30] from WHIO TV. Governor, this is a question for you. Happy Friday. Between now and the return to normal here, whenever that happens to be, a lot of businesses and even public entities are going to be hurting. We found out in the last 24 hours that the Dayton International Airport will be laying off a couple of dozen people. That’s even with the federal help. Those furloughs are going to be happening. Is there anything that you can do to help and more importantly in the long run to make sure that there isn’t any really longterm damage to those public entities? Can you do anything?
Mike DeWine: (42:03)
Jim, that’s a very, very good question. I’ve expressed my concern to our two senators, Senator Brown, Senator Portman. We appreciated the help that is coming back to Ohio for individuals. One of the concerns we have is for local government. Local government provides the basic services that we expect. It is the government that is closest to the people. When local government cannot provide basic essential services, not only are the individuals hurt, not only do we feel less safe, but it’s harder for business to move forward.
Mike DeWine: (42:51)
So as we look at Ohio’s recovery, business moving forward and that as a goal and more people become employed, it’s also very, very important that the basic services that support those businesses that support all of us are not totally ravaged. So in regard to if there’s additional bill that comes out of Congress, I’ve expressed to them, our senators and to our congressional delegation that it’s important that there’d be money there, there be discretionary money, that can be used by the local governments to provide those basic services.
Have you focused on the airport issue though? Have you focused on the airport though?
Mike DeWine: (43:41)
I’m focused on the airport. I’m going to tell you Jim, probably the most important thing that we all can do is to do everything we can to start get this economy moving forward. The airport a direct… Took a hard hit for obvious reasons and as people were afraid to fly. So the more we can do testing, the more we can get people confidence up, the more places like the airports and the airlines are going to be able to come back. But you can’t do that without people having confidence. So much of what we’re talking about doing and what we will be doing beginning May 1st goes back to try to build those public’s confidence that they can in fact go out. So some of this is going to depend on when we get abundant testing, when we ultimately of course, when we get a vaccine. So all of those things are going to come together and certainly that impacts the airport, the airlines and so many other businesses.
Randy Ludlow: (44:52)
Good afternoon governor. Randy Ludlow with the Columbus Dispatch.
Mike DeWine: (44:55)
Randy, I almost didn’t recognize you. This is a new, you have a hat. What kind of hat do you have on there? This is… I can’t it.
Randy Ludlow: (45:01)
A Dispatch. [crosstalk 00:00:45:03].
Mike DeWine: (45:04)
I should’ve been able to. That just shows my eyes are bad. I can’t read Dispatch. [crosstalk 00:45:07]
Randy Ludlow: (45:07)
It covers my balding pate.
Mike DeWine: (45:09)
It looks good, looks good.
Randy Ludlow: (45:11)
With that aside, governor, you said yesterday you would look at the state’s refusal to release the number of deaths from nursing homes. What have you concluded? Also, we have nursing home operators telling us the state does not require the reporting of deaths. Why not?
Mike DeWine: (45:33)
Let me put this Randy and to say, first of all, we’re still digging into it. I want to make sure I have all the facts, so I owe you an answer. I’m not going to give you the answer you want today, but I want to say a couple things. I’m a big believer in facts, a big believer in information.
Mike DeWine: (45:54)
One of my goals as governor has been to get more facts out to us who have to make decisions but also out to the public because I believe that that more information results in better decisions, whether they’re public policy decisions or individual decisions in life. So during the time I’ve been governor, we have increased. I don’t have a list, but we have increased the number of things that are actually reported to the public, both from the health department and other agencies. We’re not there where we need to be yet. So that’s one.
Mike DeWine: (46:31)
Two, there is a consideration for people’s privacy. So we have an obligation to weigh that. That is a factor that always has to be a weighed in. Three, we don’t control all the data. Most of the information, just as an example, for hospitals been by the hospital association and because of this crisis, coronavirus crisis, we have started pulling more data out from them. They’ve been very cooperative, but that historically has been data that they have held. So this is a work in progress. I owe you an answer, but those are three kind of basic principles or facts that I wanted to mention. Some of these decisions are a public policy weighing decision about people’s privacy. In general, I firmly believe that more information out is better. I owe you an answer. We’ll have you an answer on Monday.
Randy Ludlow: (47:37)
Okay. Quick follow. With 75,000 people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, how does releasing a number identify a person?
Mike DeWine: (47:46)
How do we what?
Randy Ludlow: (47:47)
How does releasing a number identify a person?
Mike DeWine: (47:52)
Well, again, I’m not going to answer that today because I want to dig down on it. I want to look at the examples. I want to look at frankly Randy, what the historic policy has been, and the historic policy
Mike DeWine: (48:03)
… What the historic policy has been and the historic policy has not been to release that. So again, we continue to push the envelope here, don’t mind doing it, but when there’s been a policy that’s been in place for some time, I’ve got to at least look at it and hear what people who advocate for a continuation of the policy. So I owe you an answer. I’ll get back to you.
Laura Bischoff: (48:21)
Kevin Landers: (48:25)
Kevin Landers, WBNS-10 TV. My question is for Dr. Amy Acton.
Dr. Amy Acton: (48:33)
Kevin Landers: (48:33)
Hello, how are you?
Dr. Amy Acton: (48:34)
Kevin Landers: (48:34)
Happy Friday, congratulations on your award. Dr. Acton, you’ve said for quite some time that we still don’t have enough testing, we don’t have enough PPE. We don’t even know how prevalent COVID-19 is in our state. Given your concerns, does opening businesses with so much uncertainty, is the best interest of the public? And what is your team telling you about the risk of a second outbreak?
Dr. Amy Acton: (49:00)
Absolutely. So all of the things that you just mentioned are absolutely true. Right now what we’re seeing is that we have a flattened curve and that we’re hanging pretty steady right now. I think, and it’s really important to be very realistic for the public. We have a journey ahead. We’ve often said we’ve won the first battle, but we know as the Governor also mentioned today, thaT it’s a long time until we have that vaccine in hand or potentially herd immunity where most of the population is now immune. So there’s a journey between now and that time. We have a road to travel and this is a road that is unprecedented. It has not really been traveled before and this is that once in a hundred year pandemic. So I think what you see, and you see this in the President’s plan that was released yesterday evening, but you see it in all the plans and I’ve studied all of them.
Dr. Amy Acton: (50:00)
I’ve studied every recommendation made by anyone who has looked at this and we’re in constant conversation, is that this has to be done in a really responsible way. And where we try to look at the best data that we have, I’d love to have tons more testing. I’m working on a workforce for ultimate contact tracing and we’re building all of that as we get it. But each decision we make going forward has to be made with the best science. And as the Lieutenant Governor said, we have to look at all aspects of all health problems. And as a society we’re going to have to inch our way forwards. So they’re talking a lot, as Governor and Lieutenant Governor said about a phased approach. So I do hope no one at home thinks it’s wide open, May 1st, going back to life as normal.
Dr. Amy Acton: (50:54)
It’s really hard to hear that, but we are not going back to six months ago that’s the reality we all face. But we’re building that new possibility of moving forward and we’ll do that in the best way possible. Telling you everything we’re doing as we’re doing it. And I know that the Lieutenant Governor and Governor and I will be sort of revealing more of what our studies say. And that’s why we’re not saying we’re going to do with this exact thing yet because even in two weeks we have to keep watching what happens. There might be a new science advance that we’re not taking into account yet. Two weeks ago we were talking about using serology and blood testing as a sign of immunity and that might’ve been part of our plan, but we’re not sure now, two weeks later as the science comes out, if that’s the best thing to use.
Dr. Amy Acton: (51:41)
And so we’re going to continue to evolve as the situation evolves, just like the Governor and Lieutenant Governor said, with all the best knowledge on the table. We’ve always been thinking, even as we made these very hard orders, there’s no way to not think about its implications of having children out of school or having a small business close. And all the health and economic implications of that. These are unprecedented times and it’s really important that together we really, really walk that way forward.
Dr. Amy Acton: (52:15)
The virus is still here. It is still a threat. It’s even a threat to businesses because for a business to have an outbreak that is out of control can be death knell for a business and so we’re all working together to inch our way forward through this new road that we’ll all be traveling together.
Kevin Landers: (52:35)
Dr. Amy Acton: (52:35)
Jim Provance: (52:39)
Jim Provance with The Blade, question for the Governor. Hello, Governor. Today, one of the inmates that you commuted was Tom Noe. Could you give us an idea of what kind of a message it sends to the public when the Governor grants clemency to the central figure in one of Ohio’s biggest public corruption cases? And also among the conditions, if there are any placed on his release, does it do anything to try to get the roughly $13 million in restitution he still owes the state?
Mike DeWine: (53:12)
Well first of all we’re never going to get restitution with him sitting in prison and that’s one of the considerations. I said before that we were looking at people who had medical problems. We have an unprecedented situation with the coronavirus. He has served, I believe, 13 and a half years. His prison record is spotless. He will be supervised by the parole authorities and part of the condition is that he will have to start making restitution.
Mike DeWine: (53:57)
There was two people, as I said, there were seven different people. There’s probably two people of particular interest and I’ll tell you about the other one, you asked about the first. The other was Alexis Martin. She was 15 years of age when she committed the crime, 17 when she went to prison. She is a child sex trafficking survivor. She will be sent to an appropriate group home and she will be under supervision for an extensive period of time.
Mike DeWine: (54:38)
Facts of her case are particularly unique. The ultimate decision under the Ohio constitution is mine. The buck stops with me. I take responsibility for any decision. And these two individuals or or anybody else. The only thing I can say is that I take that responsibility extremely seriously. I think about it a lot. My opinion that in these two cases that this was appropriate after the period of time that they had served in prison to issue a commutation, and it does not mean they walk away free. It means they’re under arrest, under supervision. Tom Noe, for example, has to report every six months. Has to have basically a debtor’s exam about what money he has, where that money is, and there will be an opportunity we hope that he will be able to begin paying this money back and that is certainly what we hope.
Mike DeWine: (55:50)
But I felt that enough time had passed, that he had been in prison for a long time. He did not commit, he committed a serious act. A serious act. He’s been punished for it and I felt that that was enough time.
Jim Provance: (56:10)
Does that mean that you believe he was worthy of clemency even regardless of coronavirus?
Mike DeWine: (56:20)
It’s kind of hard when you dissect an issue, look at an issue, a decision you make. Was I impacted with all of these individuals that we talked about and I think I told you the other day that the coronavirus made us go look at people who are over 60, who had a compromised medical situation. So that was certainly part of the consideration that went into my decision.
Jim Provance: (56:54)
Laura Bischoff: (56:58)
Good afternoon Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News. I wanted to get some clarity on some of the testing questions. You talk about the need for testing as a condition to going back to work. How will we ramp up the testing capacity and when will we know that we’re at that point? And then secondly, DRC test results are about 76% positive and the testing of everybody in the regular population is about 11% positive. Can you explain why there’s such a drastic difference?
Mike DeWine: (57:33)
Yeah. Let me take the first one and I’ll reference to talk to Dr. Acton. I can only tell you what the director has told me. They first started testing people who they thought were probably a positive. They were not getting the reports back. Ohio State has been very, very cooperative and helpful and this could not have taken place without Ohio State. So we are grateful for them. My understanding is though that the negatives were not coming back.
Mike DeWine: (58:01)
In other words, what they were doing is very understandably, as soon as they got a positive, they wanted to tell the prison, this person is positive. I think the numbers will be more accurate within the next few days. I think you’ll see a change in those numbers. The other thing though is you’re dealing with a congregate setting. You’re dealing with it with a place where people are close together and it should not be a surprise that once you get COVID-19 in that space, that among that group of people that it would spread very quickly. That is, that is what it does.
Mike DeWine: (58:41)
So I think we’re really kind of comparing apples and peanut so little bit, but I think it’s a very good question. And those are the two things that I would mention to shed a little light on it. I don’t know if Dr. Acton if you have anything more on that or you can take Laura’s other questions as well.
Dr. Amy Acton: (59:01)
So we know that congregate settings are very, very high risk all throughout the country. And so even if you right now and Director Corcoran I know is going to be presenting more on this next week to come. But even when we’re working up a nursing home, even if we have a few tests positive, we just assume it’s there, everywhere. Even when we haven’t had the testing, I think you just have to assume it’s there and then treat everything as such and then make all of your arrangements around that. So I think whenever people are together, it started out, if you remember in Boston it was the [Bioden 00:59:41], I believe conference. And in the end when they looked at it, two people walked in and days later, 70 some people tested positive. This is a very infectious virus and under the right conditions can really spread rapidly.
Dr. Amy Acton: (59:55)
My assumption is if you went into the general population anywhere where those kinds of groupings are possible, there are a lot of other congregate settings as well, you could see that kind of spread. And again, when we have enough testing, we’re working right now as we’ve talked about on doing some surveillance where we go out into the general population and try to get that prevalence. And I think those will be fascinating numbers.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:00:21)
This virus, if you invented a virus that was going to be your silent enemy, you can’t see it and so sometimes people don’t even believe it’s there, which is so hard. You can’t see your enemy and it has the longest incubation period as possible. It sheds everywhere. We’re now learning that it can shed long after in some people. And it’s very infectious and it’s asymptomatic, it spreads when you don’t know you have it. And you might be one of those lucky people who don’t have a lot of symptoms and shrug it off as a little bit of allergies or something. So we’re seeing a whole spectrum with this and I think our testing as it becomes more widespread will shed a lot more light on that.
Laura Bischoff: (01:01:03)
Mike DeWine: (01:01:04)
Well let me… Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.
Laura Bischoff: (01:01:06)
I was just going to say I haven’t heard an answer to how we’re going to ramp up testing capacity-
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:01:10)
Oh, ramp up, I’m sorry.
Laura Bischoff: (01:01:11)
… And how are we going to know that we’re there?
Mike DeWine: (01:01:14)
Let me describe the problem as I see it as governor, because I’m looking at this every single day and every single morning at eight o’clock I’m getting a number of reports. One of them is on testing and so it is frustrating. We have at least six of our major hospitals that have pretty decent capacity to do testing. And they’re doing a lot of testing, but there’s a couple of different things that’s holding them back and therefore holding us back. One is these hospitals only get so much reagent every single week. And so they’re constantly looking at that, how much reagent they have and they’re measuring, “Okay, we can only do X number today.” And until that supply increases, they’re held down.
Mike DeWine: (01:02:08)
The other thing that holds it down and that we’ve, we, I say we, everyone has started to fix is where people are taking the sample from the individual. They don’t have the swabs or they don’t have the tubes to put the swab in or they don’t have the liquid. So Ohio State and the health department got together and they’re starting either to produce these things or procure them and find them and ship them out to the smaller hospitals and to the other places around the state.
Mike DeWine: (01:02:40)
So as I look at it, I kind of boil it down to those component variable parts that are problems. And one of the things I’m going to do is, today, work on the reagent issue a little bit. Again, we’re waiting for the FDA to approve other methods of coming up with the reagent. And so I’m going to delve into that a little bit and see we can move that up and make that