Apr 20, 2020

Mike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 20

Ohio Briefing Apr 20
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsMike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 20

Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on April 20, 2020. He announced Ohio schools would remain closed through the remainder of the school year. Read the full transcript with all his updates.


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Mike DeWine: (01:57)
Afternoon everybody. The tie that I’m wearing is a tie that belonged to my friend George Voinovich. His son, George sent this to me a couple of weeks ago and it’s appropriate, I guess, today. It’s a children’s tie that I saw George wear many, many, many times, so I’m honored to wear it. I of course served as George’s lieutenant governor. In addition to that, we served together in the United States Senate. I miss him a great deal. John Holsten is working, as I said, he would not be here for every one of our two o’clock sessions. He is working with our business community, and our medical advisors in regard to preparing the rollout for March 1 as we begin the pathway to have more businesses come back online and more people get the opportunity to go, go back to work. So that’s where John is today. We are actually in a different location today, I am and Dr. Acton is, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and we thank them for hosting us here today. Let me share a little bit with you. Our Ohio travel and tourism community is helping to provide us with the ability to actually go places but not really go but doing that through virtual travel experiences. You can find links to Ohio’s many sites and activities at www.ohio.org. Today I want to highlight the Belmont County tourism council, clear on the Eastern side of our state. They have added virtual puzzles to their website using pictures of beautiful locations from across the county. All you do is click on the image to start your virtual puzzle. You can adjust the number of pieces in the puzzle for your skill level and you can send the puzzles to friends or family to see who can complete the puzzle first. This is a great intergenerational project. Kids, grandparents, grandkids, people who could not gather in person. The Belmont County virtual puzzles can be found at visitbelmontcounty.com, that’s visitbelmontcounty.com or on ohio.org. Oh, that’s pretty cool. We’ll talk this afternoon about our schools and I know this has been something that teachers, parents, everyone is very, very much interested in, and I have talked in the last few weeks with a number of parents with a number of teachers, with a number of administrators about this. I’ve also talked to our Ohio superintendent of public instruction, Paolo, who does such a absolutely great, great job. He and I have consulted about this. I’ve also talked with legislators about this, and so let me announce that for the remainder of this school year, our young people will continue to go to school remotely. I want to thank the teachers, I want to custodians, all school personnel who just make a difference every single day. The bus drivers, those who work the lunch room, everybody. That family, that really is a family in each school district and each school building. I want to thank them for the great job that they have been doing. Thank the teachers. I want to thank the parents as well, because I know the parents have been very, very much involved in this education as it goes forward.

Mike DeWine: (06:31)
Let me explain the reasons for the decision. First, the virus continues. We have flattened the curve but it remains dangerous. The situation is fluid. We now have eight or nine days straight of a fairly straight line in regard to hospitalizations, so that’s good news. We’ll feel a lot better when it starts going down, but this situation is still very tough. Second, one of the things that have been expressed to me by teachers as well as superintendents is continuity, and to go back to school now with a relatively small amount of time left, by a large number of superintendents, principals, others who’ve expressed to me that that probably is not a good idea even if the health situation was resolved, which obviously it is not. Not only do we have to be concerned about the risk to students, but also obviously teachers, and ultimately the risk to the community with a number of kids from a number of families coming together and then and then going home.

Mike DeWine: (08:10)
We know that statistically that unless a child has a specific medical problem, the fatality rate is exceedingly low among young people. But we also know that young people are carriers and the reason that the schools were shut before, the physical locations of the school, was because of our concern about people coming in, kids going in and going back and forth, back into their families, and the spread that occurs because of that. So that issue continues to remain. So those are the reasons that we have made the decision that our young people, K through 12, will continue to go to school as they are remotely and will not go back in the physical building this academic year. Now, as we move forward, because I know that’s, if I was a parent, grandparent, I’d want to know. We’ve made no decision about the fall yet. We’re going to have to see where we’re going. I know that parents, teachers, administrators are anxious for a decision about the fall, but we are simply not in a position yet to make that decision. I am happy to say though that schools are in fact already preparing for the fall.

Mike DeWine: (09:46)
They’re thinking about how they would handle the situation if they go back in school, how they would try to do what they could in regard to social distancing and to run the school as well. So I applaud them for that. In many conference calls, I had several this weekend. I was just really impressed and delighted by all the thinking that’s going into this already as our teachers are looking at this and our administrators are looking at this and school board members are looking at this. So I would encourage you to continue to plan. We will work very closely with you through the Ohio Department of Education, and know that contact is going on, every week. And so that will continue. And as we know more information and as we can share information from experts about the social distancing, we’re going to make that information available to you as as well. So we appreciate the planning that’s going on and I would encourage schools to continue to do that planning.

Mike DeWine: (10:59)
One option that was discussed with me by a number of superintendents and teachers was the possibility, and there’s no decision about this obviously, but the possibility of having a blended system this fall, a blended system, that might mean some distance learning as well as some in-person learning. Now, that’s just a possibility and also each school district is going to be different, and a school district’s ability to successfully do the distance learning, I fully understand, is different from school district to school district and from population to population and families to families. One of the things that I think is very strong about our Ohio school system is its local, and so as these decisions are made, we’re going to allow a great deal of flexibility, as we should for the local schools because what they find in their district and how their district looks is very different.

Mike DeWine: (12:20)
Akron City Schools are different than the Switzerland school district and I could go on and on, example after example. And so these are things that each school district, we’re going to give a great deal of flexibility within some broad parameters to ensure safety of of young people. Let me share with you, as residents of Ohio, whether you have kids or grandkids or don’t have any kids or anybody in school anymore. Let me share some of the concerns that I have as we go forward. Safety, the children’s safety, family safety, appearance, safety of teachers obviously is very, very important. We talked about that. But as I talked to teachers and as I talk to superintendents, as I talk to parents, I just want to mention different groups of kids who I have particular concerns about when they are not able to be in school the way that we normally have that, and that is physically to be in school.

Mike DeWine: (13:33)
I want to say before I list some of the kids that I worry about, people are doing an amazing job. Our teachers are doing an amazing job. I mean, everybody has just stepped up and is doing things that they never would’ve thought they would’ve had to have done, but they’re making the best of a very, very difficult situation, and I’m just impressed every time I talk to teachers, every time I talk to the superintendents, of the thought that is going into this and the planning and what teachers are doing now and what parents are doing now and administrators are doing now to bring the best education they can to these kids, to our kids across the state under very difficult and certainly unusual circumstances. But let me, as we plan to the future, let me talk about students that I am particularly worried about, and this is not based on things that I dreamt up. It’s based upon what educators are telling me. Parents are telling me, teachers are telling me.

Mike DeWine: (14:38)
One, children with special developmental needs as we go forward, whatever we do in the fall, what we do in the summer, I think that we have to remember these students. Second, children who have health challenges. As we look to go back in the fall, if that’s what we end up doing, we have got to figure out how to protect children who have unique health challenges that may make them more susceptible to COVID-19. Not more susceptible with getting it, but the consequences of getting it may be more severe. And so I think we have to think about these kids and figure out how we’re going to help them, how we’re going to protect them. Three, children with no or limited access to the internet. We find these children sometimes in our cities, we find them sometimes in our rural areas and it is a challenge. We have over a million people in the state of Ohio, adults, families, who don’t have good internet access or no internet access at all. So that remains a challenge.

Mike DeWine: (15:55)
I worry about children who do not have a supportive home life. That is always difficult for kids. It is particularly more difficult when kids are not physically in school every single day. And so again, these four groups of children, and there may be many more, but these are the ones that I think that we, as we plan ahead, and we try to think how are we going to have school educate our kids with a virus that is still out there, I think these are some kids that we need to be particularly concerned about. Let me move now to another area of concern and that is the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 virus is having on our African American community. I asked the health department to give me the latest data and the breakdown, and as I read these numbers, one of the things that we have pointed out before, Dr. Acton has pointed out before is that our statistics …

Speaker 3: (17:46)
So Emily Joy Zeller, Her pieces are very visceral and corporeal. Some of them are the artists herself, but she also works with other models, so whoever is the subject, she has them literally putting the dirt and the mud and the silt and the staining. They handle different fruits and berries and the skin now becomes, I guess if we were thinking of ourselves, oh, I got dirt on, I should wash it off, I got dirty, but instead the people, the figures revel to the point of, as in some of them they’re handling worms and the worms are crawling on to their skin. I’m not even sure what that material is, but their skin starts to erupt and peel and open almost. You’re not sure if the material was something that is now drying and going away or the skin is even opening more to receive the earth’s materials. In another one she has octopus, which we normally think as something maybe has a slimy quality, almost the abjection, right? The abject of qualities is something we want to get away from it. Instead, the fingers in her images seem to embrace the tangible qualities of the earth even more, and I loved that so much because sometimes photography you can talk about the image, but sometimes it also means it references sound, like the sound of the waves in some other pieces, or this one references touch so strongly when we can honestly imagine ourselves handling some of the materials that we see in her work.

Speaker 4: (19:44)
In his 11th season as the executive artistic director at the Cleveland Public Theater, Raymond Bobgan has initiated many educational and mission focused programs that place strong emphasis on supporting new works, local artists, and a bold aesthetic vision.

Raymond Bobgan: (20:00)
I think it’s our responsibility as artists to sort of make situations that promote different people coming together in the room that aren’t normally in the room together and an environment that encourages, nurtures, just makes that kind of extra conversation happen. Theater was founded at the same time as democracy. Theater, the whole point of theater was, hey, we have to all come together and talk about this stuff, or how are we going to be voting? How are we going to be deciding anything?

Joan Southgate: (20:32)
I love Raymond Bobgan. That’s easy because I can feel his love for all of the people that he works with. It’s intense. He’s very obviously caring and it makes a difference to him. It does.

Raymond Bobgan: (21:01)
I think as artists when we go out to engage the community, if we reach out to do something for the community as some kind of good works, for me that never really is effective. But that is not a real exchange of artists. That’s not a real collaboration and real work for artists happen when that artist is excited and curious and has something themselves to gain. So one of the projects I’m super proud of having been part of is the [inaudible 00:21:32] Cleveland. And when I approached it, it was not-

Mike DeWine: (21:35)
… That interruption we had not counted on. I apologize for that. I was talking for a while, so I’m going to go back because I suspect that this part you missed, and it’s very important. We have a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 virus on African Americans in the state of Ohio. That’s true across the country as well. But it is very, very concerning, and let me just share with you some data. Right before I came in here, I asked the Department of Health … Excuse me, the Department of Health, to give me the current numbers and breakdown of COVID-19 cases in regard to race. Point was 49% African American, 21% Asian, 1% biracial, seven other, listed as other, 10, and unknown, 11, so you can tell this data is not really complete, but you can also tell that with African Americans at 21% listed out of this group, that the number is certainly higher than 21% but even if it’s only 21%, that’s certainly-

Mike DeWine: (23:03)
-then 21%. But even if it’s only 21%, that certainly is disproportionate to the African American population in the state of Ohio, which is somewhere between 13 and 14%. This is very, very concerning. We have put together a group to take a look at this. And it is a group… I’ll pull the list out here. This list will be available to the news media, and it will be up on our webpage, but this is a list of people who are going to serve on a working group. Minority Health Strike Force is what we are calling it, and it’s a group of individuals from throughout the state of Ohio who are going to focus on this and see what are the things that we should be doing? What are the things that can be done in the community?

Mike DeWine: (23:59)
I’ve asked my Director of Aging, Ursel McElroy, who is on this task force, along with Alicia Nelson, both from my office, but I’ve asked the Director of Aging, Ursel to be on the Skype. Ursel, there you are. Hello. Director, you want to talk a little bit about how you see this task force, this minority task force, and how you think it’s going to work and maybe what some of the goals are?

Ursel McElroy: (26:28)
[no audio 00:01: 36]

Speaker 5: (26:28)
influence that the position holds. As the main guy in both Washington and the nation, the president’s ideas…

Mike DeWine: (26:36)
Thank you very much and good luck. That is very, very important work and thanks for taking it on. And for the other members, we want to thank them for taking that on as well. I want to mention about testing. A while ago, Director Acton issued an order for our hospitals not to take their testing to the private sector, LabCorp or Quest. And the reason we did that was not because we had any doubts about their ability to test or the quality of the testing, but the backlog was very disconcerting, and it was not providing Ohioans with the results very, very quickly. So, they had quite a backlog, five, six, seven days. That backlog has now been cleared up, and so we want to make testing available, again, to broaden the testing.

Mike DeWine: (27:35)
And so, going forward, LabCorp and Quest are now… Hospitals can take their tests there. They can have them do the test. We will monitor the turnaround time. If the turnaround time becomes bad again, we will stop using them because it’s very important to get these results just as quickly as we can. But this gives us a broader ability to test, and so we welcome them back and we messaged to our hospitals today, if that’s where you want to take them, you certainly can take them just as long as we’re getting the results back quickly.

Mike DeWine: (28:19)
I want to talk a little bit about reporting of information and data. When I became governor, one of my goals was to have more information available for decision makers, legislature, executive branch, more information available to the public. I can tell you that as attorney general for eight years going through and trying to look at data in regard to the drug epidemic, I was often frustrated by a lack of timely information that was coming to us. And so, we have started down the path. We started down the path over a year ago to increase the amount of information. It’s a path. We’ve accomplished some things, but we certainly have a ways to go. It is really imperative in this particular crisis that we balance the public’s right to know and our obligation to protect Ohioans health privacy rights. We have to balance both of those. So far, as part of our commitment to transparency, the department of health has developed several data dashboards to reflect data from multiple sources, including the Ohio Disease Reporting System, hospitals, local health departments.

Mike DeWine: (29:54)
Much of this data is updated on a daily basis, and it’s also available for downloading so that anyone, any Ohio citizen can perform their own analysis of the data. This is the broadest and at the same time most granular level of information the department has ever made available before on infectious diseases, and it is updated on a daily basis. The data we currently share on the Coronavirus is at coronavirus.Ohio.gov. On that particular website that you’re now all familiar with, it includes the following: an overview of the coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county and by the day symptoms first occurred. This data is updated daily. Next, we provide a breakdown of positive cases confirmed by laboratory testing and positive cases as defined by the CDCs new, expanded definition of positive cases that relies on a clinical diagnosis. And again, we separate those out so you can tell what it would have been under the old counting system, what it is under the new counting system. And people can take that and do whatever they want with that information.

Mike DeWine: (31:19)
The Department of Health breaks down cases by age and by gender. Again, many of these things you see every day with Dr. Acton. The daily cumulative case count and deaths are broken down by new daily cases and existing cases. The Ohio Department of Health displays current trends of cases, deaths and hospitalizations, including reports received in the past 24 hours compared to the five day rolling average. Ohio Department of Health provides the age range and median age of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Ohio Department of Health also provides a cumulative number of intensive care unit admissions, updated on a daily basis, as well as ICU admission percentage of total cases. Further, they attract the number of counties with at least one case, hospitalization or death. The Department of Health tracks and provides a number of lab tests performed. The Ohio Department of Health provides the number and percentage of cases impacting healthcare workers. And on an aggregate level, ODH provides the race of individuals, hospitalizations and deaths as they report it to the department.

Mike DeWine: (32:33)
ODH provides forecast modeling of predicted cases, and ODH provides cases and tests completed for residents and staff of state owned facilities such as youth services cases and testing completed for residents of state owned facilities such as prisons, youth detention centers, psychiatric hospitals and developmental centers. This is certainly more information in the department of public health has ever, ever put out before. But it is a work in progress, and we’re going to continue to try to broaden that, not just with the Department of Health, but in every other agency in the state. At the same time, we are charged by law of weighing personal privacy rights of the individual citizens here in Ohio. In Ohio, the law specifically sets apart protected health information in revised code section 3701.17A2. Ohio law allows us to give aggregated data, and that is the type of information that I just talked about.

Mike DeWine: (33:48)
We cannot release data under Ohio law. That’s what it provides, that is so specific that the data or data combined with other public data can then lead to a person’s identity. So we have to strike a careful balance. The Ohio Supreme Court has recognized that protected health information under the Ohio revised code, PHI, protected health information is an exception to the public records law. They did this in a case called Cuyahoga County Board of Health versus Lipson O’Shea Legal Group. However, as I said before, we are balancing our obligation to protect privacy with our desire to be as transparent as the law allows us to do it. Now, last week we published information about positive cases in long term care facilities in Ohio, including nursing homes. We found that there was inconsistent information, inconsistent reporting and causing inaccurate data. We took that down. I’ve asked the Department of Health to fix that. They are in the process of doing that. They’ve been making calls and doing the due diligence.

Mike DeWine: (35:11)
So, we took the inaccurate data down. It is being corrected, and we will be posting updated data Wednesday at 2 p.m. And that is when that data will be updated every week. Further, I have directed the Department of Health to collect more specific information regarding nursing homes. This data will include COVID-19 cases broken down in each nursing home category by residents and staff. So we will report in each nursing home the number of residents, if any, who have COVID-19. We’ll do the same thing for the number of staff, and when we report that information, we will report what is new since the last report and what the cumulative numbers are.

Mike DeWine: (36:06)
So, the cumulative numbers are just that, cumulative numbers. If someone has left the nursing home, if someone has died, those numbers will remain accountable to that nursing home or listed by that particular nursing home. But then, people will be able to see the new cases that have just arisen in that last reporting period. So, we’ll also break it down, as I said, by facility and and by county. So, we’re going to do that by nursing home and we’re also going to do that by assisted living facility. Again, the number of staff, number of residents with COVID-19.

Mike DeWine: (36:54)
This will be reported every Wednesday, will be updated every Wednesday. In addition to this, while balancing transparency and individual privacy rights, we will report aggregate death data for nursing homes and assisted living facilities at the county level. We will do this at the county level. The reporting module will need to be modified to accurately collect this information. So, I expect the reporting on deaths at longterm care facilities by county will not begin this week but should begin next week.

Mike DeWine: (37:34)
Finally, I know that Ohioans are concerned about how COVID is impacting our health care facilities, particularly our hospitals. So let me talk about our hospitals. Our current data collection tool has limitations. Therefore, I have directed the Ohio Department of Health to modify the Ohio Disease Reporting System to accurately collect case information for individuals who are direct care providers at hospitals, including the name of the hospital where they work. I expect this data to be available very soon. So, to put in plain English, you will be able to see, by hospital, the number of their healthcare staff that, if any, have come down with COVID-19. We will begin reporting how many healthcare workers at each hospital are positive for COVID- 19, and that will be up, we hope by next week just as soon as we can make the changes that need to be made in the reporting mechanism. Dr Acton.

Dr. Acton: (38:46)
Thank you governor. Hi everyone. Good afternoon. I don’t think I could have given that much detail on data any better than that. I do think it’s very important as we always do talk about data is to try to remember that it has to be taken in context, and I think we’re all very alarmed, and it’s very painful to see that congregate settings such as nursing homes are particularly at risk during this COVID-19 pandemic. And anytime that folks are in close proximity like that, that is going to be an issue. And I know we’ve seen some pretty startling stories. There are some bad actors out there, and one of the things that was in our order originally that the governor wasn’t mentioning as he talked about data was part of my original order was to mandate that the facilities tell the families when there is a case either with their workers or with someone who lives there because this is, again, someone’s home.

Dr. Acton: (39:57)
And I think that’s very vitally important because we are going to see folks get sick in nursing homes. We’ll see some folks die, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re getting bad care. They might be getting the best of care, and so it’s really important for all facilities and all families to keep that dialogue open. What is not acceptable is for folks to be left unawares. And so, I think a very important part of our order was mandating that within 24 hours that communication taking place because we do have the right to know what is happening with our loved ones. So, I just wanted to add that caveat in there. So starting with our data today, we do now have 12,919 cases. Of course, we’ve gone over our weekend, and we have 2,653 hospitalizations. And now on record, we have 509 deaths in the state of Ohio from COVID-19. Next slide.

Dr. Acton: (41:12)
While most things are staying pretty steady in terms of our percentages because we’re still testing at about the same level, I think one thing we need to take into consideration as we look at our data is that we did go into prisons and do some intensive testing, as was mentioned last week. What was fascinating about some of that data is the amount of asymptomatic cases we are picking up. I talk to my colleagues in all our neighboring states, and they are seeing a similar trend. When they go into a facility and do widespread testing in a high risk situation, they pick up extraordinary amounts of asymptomatic cases, in one institution up to 70%. And we’re starting to see that in the literature, so that wasn’t new, whether it’s a nursing home or a prison. Now, those asymptomatic cases might be someone who is not yet showing symptoms and those are numbers, sir, that we don’t really know yet.

Dr. Acton: (42:09)
And then as we know, there is a significant amount of the population who are really being carriers or vectors without even realizing it. So, this is the game of this virus. The threat of it is that spread. All of this is about how much we’re spreading and putting others at risk maybe while not knowing it, all again, reinforcing for us the absolute essential basics that we are doing that are really saving lives. What I do is saving your life, what you do is saving my life and people a few steps removed from us. Other interesting data we’ve found is that there’s significant amount of morbidity and some interesting indicators in younger age groups around things like obesity and other effects on the body that aren’t necessarily… We’ve been thinking this as a lung disease, but it’s really having impacts on different parts of our bodies and at different ages. So there’s just a lot we’re still learning about this novel virus.

Dr. Acton: (43:12)
So, I want to say that don’t be surprised as we learn, day by day, something’s new, that hasn’t gone away. This virus remains predictably unpredictable. Next slide. So looking at our trend data with that in mind, we are seeing some upticks, and as that testing is expanded and we’re going into high risk areas, we still have very little testing, so we continue to try to target our testing at the highest risk groups. And by going into a facility and being able to spread that as we’re going to be doing and we’re looking at plans for doing that more extensively within nursing homes, we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re going to see some upticks. The more we test, the more cases we’re going to be seeing. Likewise, as we make any moves on taking up or opening up, we should be expecting that with every slight opening we do, we will be seeing some increasing spread. But right now, we really are looking at a trend where we’re still at that peak level that is a flat plateau, and we are not decreasing. Next slide.

Dr. Acton: (44:27)
So I brought back an oldie but goodie for us today to start to think about our future. We know that we are going to have to learn with this virus. We’ve talked about the fact that there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Whether we have orders or not orders, whatever we do, the virus is spreading amongst us. Even the best estimates are thinking and nobody has exact prevalence yet, and so we can’t say for sure, but it could be anywhere from five to 15% of our population that has been affected. Until we’re able to test more widely, we won’t know that answer.

Dr. Acton: (45:04)
But the virus is still out there, and it’s disrupting everything from who gets sick to completely disrupting supply chains around the world. So, we have to go back to the fact that this is what is the year ahead. There’s a fascinating, fascinating article, and it was in the New York Times this weekend. Donald McNeil, front page of the New York Times. It was an extensive look talking to a [inaudible 00:45:32] and epidemiologist and doctors and just a wide variety of fields, historians to say, what is our new life going to be? Because I think a lot of us are really longing to understand a little more of the road ahead. And while we’ll be talking more about this in the week to come, I thought it was interesting to go even back to our Philadelphia governor in St. Louis. And so it really was, when you go back and look at St. Louis, we focus very much on the-

Mike DeWine: (46:03)
It was when you go back and look at st Louis, we focus very much on the peak, the curve that was most dangerous around hospital capacity overload. And we remember that Philadelphia spike, so much so that it ended up dealing with some of the things that we’re looking at in New York city right now.

Mike DeWine: (46:18)
Where we really are concerned about having enough providers where there’s now evidence that ambulances were not able to get as quickly to people at home having a heart attack or a stroke. It’s not just about how many beds we have in hospitals, it’s about how our whole system can help all of us. But in St. Louis, they actually, this is over a long period of time and St Louis actually had as what we’ll see in our whole country now is we’re trying to avoid those big peaks, but we’re going to have a series of bumps, and these bumps will happen. They’ll happen no matter what.

Mike DeWine: (46:57)
If there’s an outbreak in a given facility, we’ll see a little bump like we’re seeing this week. And as we alter the amount of people who are moving about in the population, we’ll see bumps. But the most important thing is how we respond to those and we’re calling those more and more hotspots, flare ups, fires. And what my job and my team is working so hard on is what is our ability to put out those fires immediately when they happen?

Mike DeWine: (47:25)
And that’s the testing, the contact tracing, and so we’re working tirelessly, sir, on testing ability and using the testing we have well. But we’re also working on building a complete army of people who can contact trace because we know in a year ahead we will not stay flat. Even if we go down and when we go down we will see a journey of bumps.

Mike DeWine: (47:48)
And so even in St. Louis, look at this, they did these amazing things and they slowed it down, but they actually had a period, sir, where they removed mass gatherings and schools all at once. So people were longing. Longing to get back to life the way we’re all longing right now. And so in St. Louis they, they did that. They removed a bunch of the social distancing all at once.

Mike DeWine: (48:15)
And usually with these things, when you remove them, it takes three to four weeks to see the effect of it because it takes a while for this virus to incubate and start spreading and infecting each other. And when they did that, they saw a big spike here. Now, it wasn’t a spike that was the original spike, but it was enough so that St Louis had to dial back. They had to dial back and put back in place the mass gatherings and the school closures.

Mike DeWine: (48:43)
I think what we’re seeing here, not just us in Ohio, but all over the country and all over the world, is trying to learn from history. Trying to learn from the data that we have is we have it and go slow to go fast. We need to go slow to go fast. Because when things go too fast and you see things respond too quickly, people in their panic are going to have to go back; you have to go backwards, you have to dial back.

Mike DeWine: (49:14)
I think what you see every state and all my colleagues as well and all the scientists around the world is figuring out how you slowly go back in a way that when those hotspots occur, you can put them out immediately and not have to dial back. It’s a road ahead of that. We’re building those structures, we’re doing it in every sector.

Mike DeWine: (49:36)
Every sector, the governor just mentioned schools remaining close, but they’re not closed. They’re still working through the end of the year, but we’re all working behind the scenes. In schools, we’re working on new ways to do schools. In businesses, we’re looking at new ways to make businesses safer. We’re looking at new ways of doing more distance working.

Mike DeWine: (49:57)
And what I think as we learn to accept and it’s a slow acceptance, the reality of our situation that is where, and I know this is a deep breath we all must take, once we sort of accept that we have this journey ahead and that’s why the article is so fascinating, what could possibly the year head look like? Once we do that and kind of deal with our grief and disappointment of not a quick fix, that’s actually the foreground by which we start to get good again.

Mike DeWine: (50:31)
We start to be innovative again. We start to help our neighbors again, we start to think of new ways to do things. As much as we start to open up some things, we’ll also be innovating again, but it does rest a little bit in us to kind of see that it is a new road and that is part of the journey that we’ll be traveling together. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (50:53)
Thank you very much. We’ll take questions.

Jim Otte: (51:01)
Good afternoon, Governor. Jim Otte from WHIO-

Mike DeWine: (51:03)
Rush to get to the microphone and Jim Otte wins again.

Jim Otte: (51:06)
Thanks for doing this governor. Happy Monday. Looking ahead, what’s your vision for the end of the school year? Kids will not be returning to the physical classroom, but what about all those traditional end of the year activities? I’ll get on the short list, graduation, banquets, other special recognition events, band camp, everything that follows in the next six months. Will those be the same? Will those be canceled? What’s your view?

Mike DeWine: (51:33)
Well, this is part of the sadness about all of this. I mean, I know with our children, our grandchildren, end of school year particularly for seniors is particularly an important, the prom, sporting events, so many, many different things, recognitions.

Mike DeWine: (52:02)
And we’re not telling the schools how to do this, but again, the gathering of significant number of people is a dangerous situation. And so just as schools have been innovative in regard to how to teach from a distance, I know that they’re going to be innovative as they look at how they try to in some way honor the students and in some way compensate students for what they are missing. But it certainly is not going to be easy. And it’s a real shame. I just I can’t express how sorry I am about that.

Mike DeWine: (52:50)
I know how much many of these activities, all of these activities, mean to young people. I mean, an athlete, this is his or her senior year and to miss the spring sports and you could go on and on, the honor society et cetera. These are difficult times and you’re right Jim, this is something that is going to mean a lot and that kids are going to be missing. And I hope schools try to figure out, how to do this, but also protect the kids and protect their families.

Jim Otte: (53:30)
Thank you governor.

Laura Bischoff: (53:33)
Good afternoon, Governor. It’s Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News. A lot of those kids who are graduating seniors from high school are heading off to college campuses in mid August. What’s it going to look like for them when they get to college? Are they going to be able to pack into dorms and go to big events? And is that chemistry lecture going to have 300 students packed into a lecture hall?

Mike DeWine: (54:00)
I don’t think we know that, Laura, yet. I think I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know where exactly we’re going to be then. So I think it’s premature to really, really speculate. I just don’t know.

Laura Bischoff: (54:14)
All right, thank you.

Randy Ludlow: (54:18)
Good afternoon, Governor Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch. Prison cases continue to spiral; over 200 more today on the Marion County, which I’m pretty sure come from the prison, nearly 800 more cases out of Pickaway County, which would appear to come from Pickaway Correctional. With these kinds of numbers, how is the state ensuring the health of those who are ill with COVID 19?

Mike DeWine: (54:54)
Randy, [inaudible 00:54:54] question that we try to deal with every day. We do deal with every day. Every morning I’m talking to the director of prisons. Every evening I’m talking to the director of prisons. She’s put a number of teams together that are working on this. The reason that you’re seeing the numbers spike of course, is because we are massively testing now. And this is something that we’re doing. We’re going to be doing in regard to prisoners we’re going to be doing in regard to the personnel, the folks who work there.

Mike DeWine: (55:31)
Prisons, by their nature, congregate living. Anytime you have congregate living, whether it’s a nursing home, whether it’s a prison, whatever it is once COVID 19 gets inside the gate, inside the door, it spreads and it spreads very, very significantly. We’re doing a lot of different things, the National Guard is in the process of building out to create some more space for the director.

Mike DeWine: (56:03)
We’re looking at additional prisoners to potentially release all the while have to balance the public safety, but we need to create more space. As we announced Friday, I believe, we are on a rolling basis, so anytime anybody gets within 90 days, they’re going to get out in 90 days. Then we’re going to take a hard look at them and see if they can get out now under the emergency provision that the legislature set up a number of years ago.

Mike DeWine: (56:36)
Our prison population, we expect it to continue to go down, but even beyond the 90, I asked my director, I asked some of our team today to take a nother look. Do we have other prisoners in there who would not pose a danger to the public, who might be older? Who might be more at risk? And we’re looking very carefully at seeing who we could let out and can let out.

Mike DeWine: (57:07)
We do not intend to have a wholesale, just everybody in certain category comes out. What we’re doing is trying to do this very thoughtfully. At the same time we’re doing everything we can to protect the prisoners and the employees who are there, but prisons present, as Dr Acton has said a very difficult situation. And I can tell you that the prisons, that nursing homes, any place where we have Ohioans gathered together in close quarters, we are very, very concerned about them and we’re working on this every single day. Thank you.

Randy Ludlow: (57:48)

Jim Provance: (57:52)
Jim Provance with the Toledo Blade, and this is a followup to what Randy was talking about. What assurances can you provide to the public as these inmates are leaving prison? Either because their sentences are expiring or because you’ve taken steps to release them early? How can you protect the public?

Mike DeWine: (58:12)
Well, I think your question is protecting us as far as a medical situation?

Jim Provance: (58:15)
Yes. What precautions are being taken?

Mike DeWine: (58:20)
They have been, my understanding with discussion with the director they are being tested, they have every right to leave if their prison sentence has expired, and we have no way of holding them. But testing them, on the early release ones, trying to figure out, where is a place for them to go? Where can we protect the public? These are all considerations and they’re made on a case by case basis. So it’s not a question of opening the door and letting people go out. The directors is on each case that’s being worked on by that individual and that individual case.

Jim Provance: (59:11)
And would they be expected to quarantine themselves for 14 days?

Mike DeWine: (59:11)
Yes, certainly. Certainly some of them, that’s their conditions.

Jim Provance: (59:13)
Thank you.

Kevin Landers: (59:19)
Hello, Governor. Kevin Landers with WBNS-10 TV. Businesses looking to reopen are concerned about consumer confidence. What will your reopening plan include to ensure that people who go into a restaurant, for example, can be ensured that this place is a safe place to eat? And would mandatory masks and gloves do you think be required for all food handlers? Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (59:45)
Well I don’t want to prejudge it, but the odds are yes, as far as what the masks and gloves. I think that question recognizes what the challenge is. That the challenge is not just is there a state order that says you can’t do something? And we take off that state order. That does not necessarily mean that that retail business is going to be flooded with people or get back to normal.

Mike DeWine: (01:00:11)
Part of the reason we’re doing it so carefully is number one, to protect the public, that’s the most important thing. But second, when a business is reopening, if we expect anybody to go there, there’s got to be some sense of safety. And so what we are working on, what Lieutenant Governor is working on right now and working on with our business advisory group and working on with the different industries and different retail establishments is to make sure that when the order to reopen takes place and the company can reopen or retail business can reopen, that there’s an assurance to people that it’s been made as safe as it can be made. Nothing is perfect. We can’t guarantee anything. But, we want people to have confidence so when they go to a restaurant or wherever they go, that there is going to be the space, that there is going to be all the protections that we have, the ability, society, I don’t mean we, but society has the ability to put in place.

Mike DeWine: (01:01:20)
If we do that, then the consumer confidence will go up. If we fail to do that, and are inconsistent in doing that, then people are not going to have that confidence. So your point is very, very well taken, I think.

Kevin Landers: (01:01:38)
Thank you

Adrienne Robbins: (01:01:43)
Adrienne Robbins from NBC4 and my questions for the Governor. As we move forward with people possibly heading back to work soon, you announce that schools are closing, many parents are wondering if they’re going to have childcare for their kids now that they’re not going back to school and they could be going back to work. Have you thought about this? And are you thinking about possibly prioritizing daycare’s re-opening with this re-open Ohio plan?

Mike DeWine: (01:02:12)
We have not reached that yet. The same reason that we didn’t want schools meeting in person is the same reason that you have in regard to daycare. And that is you have a number of kids together and you then have them going back to their respective homes, which is a perfect recipe for spread. That’s true with whether it’s the flu or whether it’s COVID 19. But because this is so deadly, that was the concern.

Mike DeWine: (01:02:47)
Now, what we did, as you know, in regard to certain occupations that were so essential to the public safety, we said that the children of those individuals could be in daycare, but we impose some pretty stringent, very stringent actually, regulations on how many children could be allowed per classroom and a number of other things. We don’t, at this time, as we said, schools will continue to be remote. We are not ready yet to open up any daycare facilities.

Adrienne Robbins: (01:03:26)
Thank you.

Ben Schwartz: (01:03:31)
Good afternoon Governor, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. I know just a couple questions back you touched on food workers wearing masks, but I want to ask if there’s been any type of conversation about once we do begin to reopen just making everyone wear face masks, just if they go outside or step into a business or something like that.

Mike DeWine: (01:03:58)
Discussion really about making people do that. But I would just say that makes eminent sense. We’re starting to go back, we’ll start around May one, get people back to work. More people are going to be out going to and from work. It just makes sense that anybody who is out in public to where a mask. It is more for the protection of everybody else and is for you. But if everyone’s doing it, then it’s reciprocal.

Mike DeWine: (01:04:28)
And that plus the social distancing are two very solid things, not one or the other, but both that really will make a difference. And so I know that culturally this is not something we have done. We’re not used to going out in public and wearing masks. I certainly was not used to doing that, but I think it is clearly, clearly the right thing to do.

Mike DeWine: (01:04:54)
And as we go back and try to get people back to work, everybody’s going to have to do some things that maybe we had not done before, that social distancing, the mask, these are all very, very positive things. And so I would encourage highly recommend everyone who does actually go out into public to where mask. It can become a fashion statement. I’ve noticed in this group here with the reporters, everybody’s got kind of a different one and sometimes we have different colors and all kinds of things. We could have at least a little fun with this, but there’s no doubt it’s the right thing to do.

Ben Schwartz: (01:05:38)
Thank you, governor.

Jackie Borchert: (01:05:42)
Good afternoon. This is Jackie Borchert from the Cincinnati Inquirer. Late last week, Harvard University researchers estimated that we need to have about 152 tests per 100,000 people. Ohio at that point was at 22 out of 100,000 people. How confident are you that we’re going to be able to ramp up our testing in the next few weeks ahead of May 1st, around May 1st? And what is the state doing now to reach that point?

Mike DeWine: (01:06:14)
Dr. Atkins getting bored over here. I’m going to let her answer a question. I’ll start. One of our challenges I expressed over the weekend when I was on TV has to do with the reagents and I look at a chart every day that has our labs in Ohio, not just the public labs, but our university labs, our hospital labs. And I look at their capacities and then I look at how many they are actually running.

Mike DeWine: (01:06:43)
And one of the reasons that the number that they’re actually running is much lower than their full capacity is because they do not have the reagents. And so over the weekend I expressed the concern about that. There are companies that are trying to develop new reagents, kind of new recipes for the reagent and some of those have their application pending with the FDA.

Mike DeWine: (01:07:10)
And so I encourage the FDA to do everything they can to speed up that process. After I talked about this on TV on Sunday on Meet The Press, I got a call from the FDA. They told me they were there working on it. I know the particular company involved, I was told made an amendment or provide additional information on Friday.

Mike DeWine: (01:07:34)
The more companies that we can get out there that are providing reagent so that the supply chain of reagent, hospitals don’t have to worry about that supply chain, and that they know that they can run an unlimited number; or at least they can run up to capacity. That’s going to make a big difference. So that’s one.

Mike DeWine: (01:07:55)
We’re doing some self help in Ohio, Ohio state and the health department are working very, very hard to come together. And what they’re doing is they’re creating more of the swabs and more of the liquid that goes along with that. And they’re getting those out every week to hospitals around the state of Ohio. So a lot of good things are going on but we’re not there yet and we’ve got a ways to go. Dr. Atkin.

Mike DeWine: (01:08:28)
Thank you sir. So our Governor is endlessly asking the question you ask and we spent a good part of this weekend in discussions because we are looking to see if there anything else we could do that is in our control to expand testing. And we have pushed everywhere. We’re not the only ones that have these questions. Every state health officer in every state surrounding Ohio last night and a late night call with me, faces the same wall. And-

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:09:03)
… faces the same wall. And one thing we did today was we loosened, we were saying directly send to our labs, don’t use Lab Corp before, because they were very, very behind, but they’ve caught up, they tell us. So we’ve loosened that, that our hospitals can send directly to Lab Corp and Quest and the other private labs now, and we are going to closely monitor that to make sure that those times are not getting so far behind that we feel it’s not helpful to us. Another thing we looked at over the weekend was our tiers. We actually have three tiers of sort of how do you scarce resources and who you should test. And we’re really looking at that to see if we can tweak it. Could we get any more people under the roof of the scarce testing we have. But another strategy we have, we’re also looking at deploying or creating strike teams and the ability to sort of go into places, get that test, and run it back to our labs because we don’t want any delays.

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:09:59)
And how someone swabs someone. We have invented swabs in this state and we are sharing that technology with sister states so that they could do the same. And then we’re looking at, say you have an outbreak somewhere, so let’s just use the Maryanne or a prison for an example. If one hospital lab or my lab only can do so many tests that day, how can we make sure to take all those swabs to a bunch of different labs and share across the state so that we maximally test people. So that is part of our sort of zone and regional preparedness structure that we’ve been building, so that hospitals and labs are working together all over the state. So if there is this flare up in one place where we just have to get those test results, but a lab only has so much reagent in that neighborhood, then can we move that test to a different neighborhood or a different community where they can run it.

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:10:58)
So, it is that kind of flexibility that we’re trying to build in to maximize, everything we’re doing is to maximize our PPE, our testing. And this is a dance, the hammer and the dance, as we know, this is the dance we’re in of constantly trying to sort of use what we have to the best ability for Ohioans. And certainly the more testing we have, the better it will be for us going forward. Thank you.

Jeremy Pelzer: (01:11:30)
Hi, This is Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com. Governor, I’ve talked to a number of prison inmates about why the virus is spreading so rapidly through prisons. And one big thing they said was when they are tested, it can take days for those test results to come back and in the meantime they’re just sent back to their cell block or their dorm and they can infect other inmates. Do you see this as a problem? And if so, what can be done about this?

Mike DeWine: (01:12:02)
Yeah. I don’t know if Dr. Acton can shed any light on that. I was not under the impression that it was taking this long. I will certainly find out and I will report back tomorrow. Dr. Acton, do you have anything to add to that?

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:12:16)
I’m sorry, sir. I don’t. I don’t have any, but we’ll look into it, Jeremy.

Mike DeWine: (01:12:19)
I mean, look, Ohio State has been very, very helpful. They’ve surged in there and helping us get the testing done. And I know the Director is acting upon the testing, but I was not aware that that was taking that long period of time.

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:12:40)
I would wonder too, sir, and we’ll look into this for Jeremy, but I do wonder if you are a worker, especially or somebody, if you go to a private physician or something else. So we’ll look into all of that and get that back for you, because I know that’s where our numbers picked up all weekend, because they were turning them around so quickly. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (01:13:04)
The reason you’re seeing the numbers dramatically go up is because of the prisons. So those numbers are going up. So the tests are being done, they’re being recorded. So I know those tests are being done and that data is going into our database. So I would assume that that information is readily available to the prison.

Scott Hallis: (01:13:30)
Governor, Scott Hallis, Xenia Daily Gazette, AIM Media Midwest. Kind of want to piggyback on the question that was asked a couple minutes ago about daycare. As the economy opens and parents start to go to work a little bit more, there’s kids that are still going to be home. At what point is it going to be okay for parents to take their kids maybe over to Mimi and Papa’s, or to uncle Mike, or whoever it would be if they need to go to work or if they need just three or four hours to do some work at home and just need to have the kids watched for a while?

Mike DeWine: (01:14:06)
These are going to be individual decisions that people are going to have to make. I think that, if it was my family, I would be very concerned about taking those children over to the grandparents. I know in our family we’re not seeing our grandchildren. We have four who live down the road from us. We’re seeing them from a distance. We’ll walk over there, but we’ll stay a good ways away. The other ones we’re seeing FaceTime, et cetera. So I think that particularly with grandparents, the children certainly can get the COVID-19 that can have bad consequences. So we don’t want to say that they can’t, but by and large, they’re going to do okay with it. But the problem is they’re spreading that to the grandparents or to someone who has a medical condition.

Mike DeWine: (01:15:08)
So this is kind of hard because as Americans, as Ohioans, we are used to going in and doing something and then we do it successfully and we move on. In dealing with COVID-19, that’s just not the way it is. I mean, we have won a battle. We’ve done well, but it’s still out there. And the vast majority of Ohioans are still susceptible to it. They have not had it. So the spread problem is just there, just as much today as it was a month ago, maybe even more. So, that’s the challenge. Those are all challenges and people are going to have to make calculations and make decisions. But what we’re telling people is continue to stay at home, continue to keep that social distancing. Continue to be very, very careful.

Todd Dykes: (01:16:07)
Hello, Governor DeWine. Todd Dykes with WLWTTV NBC Cincinnati, good to see you. For people watching at home or wherever they’re viewing this news conference, they likely don’t, may not be aware that there are protesters outside the Capitol, the State House. The message from your vantage point, I know you’ve talked in the past, the protesters have the right to gather and express their views so long as they do it safely, of course. But I talked to a man from Marysville this afternoon. I did an interview, in fact, and it’s the first time he’s ever protested. And his contention is that small businesses should have their own, I gather businesses of all size should, especially small businesses, talked about a cousin who’s on the brink of losing his business because of the restrictions, should have the right to as adults welcome commerce and people should have the right to go in and engage in that commerce if they do it safely.

Todd Dykes: (01:16:55)
And I know there’s so many difficult components to that kind of question, and I understand we’re all in this together, but there’s a very real sentiment, I’m not sure how large it is, but it’s out there. What do you say to those folks that are really feeling this pain and we’re seeing it again today here at the State House?

Mike DeWine: (01:17:14)
Well, that’s a very good question. There’s no doubt that small business is really being hit exceedingly hard. Our family has had small businesses for 100 years. We have a small business that has closed down. There’s nothing going on. And so I feel for everybody who is going through that. One of the things that we’re working on now is to see which businesses we can start opening back up. We did this so that we would not be overrun in the healthcare system. So far we have been successful. We did not want to see rationing of ventilators and other things that we saw in Italy. We did not want to see Americans go through that. We wanted to make sure every Ohioan who did get this had the best medical care that they could get and give the best shot at making it and coming out okay.

Mike DeWine: (01:18:14)
So that’s why this has been done. We are now in the process of trying to figure out how we can open back up, which businesses can open up, and to be able to assure the public that if they go to one of those businesses, at least all efforts have been made so that business can in fact open up. So, these are difficult times. What we don’t want to do, and I’ll tell you what small business men and women have told me, and they’ve told me all the things that you just heard.

Mike DeWine: (01:18:47)
But one of the things they’ve told me is Mike, “Don’t open back up, don’t have me come back out. And then a few weeks later pull the rug out.” They’ve told me, men and women, I can’t do that again. So what we’re trying to do in a very difficult situation when we’re all going through this is to have businesses that can open back up, let them open it back up and not put us at risk of having the whole healthcare system overwhelmed and be in a position where we have to shut them down again.

Mike DeWine: (01:19:21)
That is not the way we want. Businesses have told me if I go back in and open up and you close me again, I really am done. So we’re trying to get it right, but we understand this a very difficult situation for everyone out there. For the people who are unemployed, very difficult for the small businesses. They’re trying to figure out how can I hang on, how can I make it. I get it.

Speaker 8: (01:20:01)
Return in the fall. What do you foresee as the future of social distancing in the classroom when the school bell rings in the hallways might be congested and kids getting on the school bus and will they be required to wear masks?

Mike DeWine: (01:20:18)
Well, things that I’m asking the schools to work on. Again, we have a local government system, we have local schools, we like our local schools, we like the local control. It’s a combination of state control and local control. But ultimately, decisions, many decisions are made locally. But these are things that we’re going to have to work out between the Department of Education, our administration, bringing in the best experts that we can bring in, people who understand the environment in the sense of the environment that people are working in. We’re going to bring them in from Ohio State and other universities to help the schools as they try to figure this out. So it’s a work in progress and I wish I could signal to every parent out there that we know exactly what’s going to happen in August when the kids go back to school. But, we don’t. We’re working on it. And it’s not just me. We got all the schools are working on it.

Speaker 8: (01:21:14)
All right. Thank you.

Molly Martinez: (01:21:19)
Hi governor, this is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. I have a question about the protestors as well. Over the weekend we saw many, over many state capitals, here today it was very difficult to get into the building safely while swimming upstream in a crowd of hundreds and hundreds of people. The people are chanting things like, “Freedom over safety.” What do you say to them who feel like their rights are being infringed on?

Mike DeWine: (01:21:46)
I’d say it’s freedom and safety. These are not mutually exclusive. The worst thing we could do is to completely take off all restraints. Go back at it. We know what would happen. We know from history what would happen. We know from every expert who we can talk to. And that we would be back in a horrible, horrible mess and some of those same protesters would have family members or themselves who might end up in a hospital and we would not have the care that they needed. So we can do both. We can do both of these things. We can have freedom, we can have safety. We’ve got to do them in the order. We’ve got to focus on the safety. But at the same time, we are working right now to open more businesses, to move Ohio forward. And so we’re trying to do both, but it is a balance and I have full respect for the protesters.

Mike DeWine: (01:22:59)
The only thing I would ask them to do is be safe. Stay away from each other. Don’t get that close to each other. You’re not helping yourself and you’re not helping anybody else that you might come in contact with. So they have every right to protest. We have 11.7 million people in the state of Ohio. I have no idea how many are up there today protesting, but they have every right to do that. And with a lot of consultation and a lot of help to guide us in a pathway that gets us through this, with losing as few people as we can, and at the same time try to put our economy back together. That’s kind of a delicate balance that we’re after and that’s what we’re doing every single day. And you win the prize for the best mask or at least the most colorful mask. Those of you on TV can not see it, but it is a rainbow.

Molly Martinez: (01:23:56)
It’s actually popsicles. And thank you to my wonderful industrious mother, who’s been like a sweatshop making these. So, thanks to her. Thank you, governor.

Noah Galindo: (01:24:11)
Governor, Noah Galindo with Hannah New Service. It seems to be that you’re saying that school is going to be disrupted in some way in the coming year. Even if they do reopen, it will not be business as usual. So I’m wondering if you think schools should expect the same kind of latitude on testing and state report cards and things like that or if they should be expecting to get back to normal in that regard next year?

Mike DeWine: (01:24:34)
I think we’re going to have to see. Look, the most important thing is for kids to learn and that’s what we’re going to focus on. We’re going to focus on kids’ learning. We’ll see where we go with testing that. We kind of want to know where kids are. We want to help inform parents. But the most important thing is some of the things that I outlined. How do we make sure every child is getting the best education that they can and is safe? And those are the two things that we’re focused on.

Noah Galindo: (01:25:09)
Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (01:25:14)
I see our time is about up. Again, I apologize for the interruption, for those of you on TV. And I’m sorry we had that. We have one more question, I guess. I thought I was wrapping, but I guess not. Go ahead.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (01:25:27)
Hi, governor. I, Andrew Welsh-Huggins with the AP. I’ll go quickly. We know we’re going to see more positive cases because we’re doing as much more testing as possible. We know the prison numbers are spiking the number of cases, but how does that fit into the idea, especially with the president’s plan, that before we begin any reopening, we want to see a downward trajectory of positive tests. For the average Ohioan, are we any place close to seeing total cases go down before May one?

Mike DeWine: (01:26:00)
The opening that we’re talking about is going to be a gradual opening. We’re going to monitor it. We’re going to be very careful. We want to do it right. And that’s, we think it’s consistent with what the president has laid out. The president made it very clear that every state’s got to kind of do their own thing and consistent with a broad overview as outlined by the president, we’ll be consistent with that. But it will be an Ohio plan for Ohioans, which I think is what Ohioans want. Thank you all very much. We will see you back tomorrow at two o’clock. And we hope we have no interruptions and things go well tomorrow. Thank you all very much. Have a good day.

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