Apr 22, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 22
Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on April 22, 2020. Read the full transcript with all his updates.
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Gov. Mike Dewine: (00:00)
First of all, I want to say happy birthday to our grandson, Grady. Happy birthday, Grady. Grady’s been born into a kind of divided family. Grady’s dad is an Indians, Browns fan. Grady’s mom is a Reds fan and a Bangles fan. So we’ll see where the loyalties go here over time. I’m also wearing a tie from the University of Akron. And go Zips. I want to give a shout out to Susan Conover, a dear friend of our family and she was a graduate of University of Akron. So say hi to Susan.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (00:42)
You may wonder what this is for all you Buckeyes out there. Fran dug this out of our yard. This is a Buckeye tree and where we live, the Buckeyes used to all be on our road. And we have a number of Buckeyes in our yard, but Fran dug this up and so we thought we’d have a little fun today. We know this has been arduous and tough and difficult for the press corps. And before I announced this, I want to tell the press corps, this has no value because Fran dug it up. So we don’t want anybody to get worried about that. But Lisa, who’s our director of communications has picked a number and a whatever the number, we’ll count the number of people who ask questions and we to get to that number I’ve got written down here. Secret number, but the winner will get the Buckeye tree and the person who wins from the press corps be the question number … I can’t disclose it, but a certain number that’s coming up.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:52)
Today marks a 50th celebration of the first Earth Day, thus the Buckeye. In 1970, 20 million people celebrate Earth Day across the United States. First Earth Day gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness of the state of our planet. Today, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide by people in more than 190 countries. Many communities, Earth Day events of course cannot happen this year. Many communities they usually do, but they cannot. But the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency found a way for its employees to celebrate the earth while staying at home. And there are many activities that families can do together as we’re staying at home. So let’s take a look at that.
Lori Stevenson: (02:41)
Hello, everyone. I’m Lori Stevenson and I’m the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. As many of you know today, April 22nd is Earth Day. But what some of you might not know is that today’s special because of marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Many people on my team at Ohio EPA have come up with creative ideas to celebrate Earth Day with their families from their homes and we’d like to share those ideas with you. We’re hoping that it might spark some ideas from you for you and your family to have fun, get creative, and make a difference. So thanks for watching, and from all of us at Ohio EPA, we wish all of you a safe and happy Earth Day.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (05:32)
Director Mary Mertz and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has some great news to share today on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day as well. In 1979, Ohio’s bald eagle population consisted of only four nesting pairs. The bald eagle was on the brink of being lost forever, and it was on both the state and the federal list of threatened and endangered species. But thanks to an intensive bald eagle conservation program that included habitat acquisition and protection partnerships with Ohio’s great zoos and wildlife rehabilitation facilities, increased public awareness and the national removal of DDT as an insecticide. Ohio’s bald eagle population has rather dramatically increased. In fact, the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007 and from Ohio’s list in 2012.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (06:28)
For the last two months, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has attempted to locate every bald eagle nest in Ohio. They did this based on nearly 2,500 nest reports submitted by Ohioans. Wildlife staff then followed up and verified each nest location. Today, we are thrilled to announce that they have a confirmed 707 bald eagle nests in 85 of our 88 counties. This is truly a great Ohio success story. The bald eagle of course, is a symbol of American strength and resilience and the eagles come back in Ohio and across the country proves that we can overcome any challenges when we work together. So good news from Mary Mertz and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (07:15)
Let me turn to some not so good news. This afternoon, our director of the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Ryan Gies notified me that they now have their first positive case of COVID-19 among the juvenile correction population. The youth started showing symptoms on Monday evening and it was immediately isolated. These living units do not intermingle, but all the youth in this individual’s unit are being monitored for symptoms. Contact tracing. Today they are contact tracing with the Ohio Department of Health and the Cuyahoga County health department has also already started. Activity at juvenile corrections location has been limited for some time and unnecessary individuals are prohibited from entering the facilities. Both youth and staff have also been provided with face mask and are required to wear them.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (08:22)
Some time ago, the Director Dr. Acton issued an order postponing elective surgery and the reason Dr. Acton did that well, as a concern about hospital space as we headed into this pandemic and a concern of the surge. Thank heavens we have avoided that. We still have a concern about critical personal protection equipment but she issued an order stopping elective surgeries. I can tell you that from, anecdotally at least, some of the stories that I’ve heard that some of the procedures, some of the surgeries that we had no intention of stopping had been postponed. And frankly, that has concerned me a great deal. So we’re starting back now. We’re starting back one step at a time and let me tell you and Dr. Acton can explain it in more detail exactly what we are doing. But we are beginning this long process of lifting the stay at home order and lifting the orders that we have.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (09:42)
I want to take a minute to talk about this order that Dr. Acton is issuing. As I said on March 17th, Dr. Acton issued an order postponing elective surgery and the goal was to preserve critical PPE and clear out necessary space in our hospitals. Because of your great work in our healthcare system coming together to share resources and work to meet community needs as a team, we have prevented the massive spike in cases that we feared. Now, we must begin the gradual [inaudible 00:10:19] phase process of reopening. My first concerns are the patients that have had procedures and surgeries delayed. They have been waiting and it’s time for them to catch up. It’s important their doctors and their hospitals now reach out to them. And we ask them to do that. So today I’m asking healthcare providers in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to reassess those procedures and surgeries that were postponed. To talk with the patient, to take a look at it, to see whether now the passage of time, the surgery is certainly something that needs to take place or the procedure needs to take place.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (11:04)
Now, we’re asking that they review any of the postponed procedures or surgeries with a patient in light of that patient’s current health situation and quality of life and make a joint decision about whether to proceed. In addition, for new or other chronic conditions that may have a significant impact on patient’s quality of life, providers and patients together may consider moving forward with diagnostic procedures. Patients must be informed of the risk of course, of contracting COVID-19 and that impact during the post-operative recovery process. Patients must have the information necessary to make informed decisions and greater attention to the effectiveness, to pay greater attention to the effectiveness of nonsurgical options that must be made.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (11:53)
Resuming surgeries and procedures I’ve described will take clinical judgment and will rely on our healthcare providers to make responsible decisions as we move forward, as well as responsible decisions being made of course by the patient. We’re going to continue to work with hospital systems, healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders to determine the next steps. Eventually, we reopen our doctors offices and dentist offices and together we will get back to normal. But I thought today it was important to get started on that. So we again, starting on the way back with our hospitals and ask the doctors to reach out to those patients.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (12:45)
Well, Ohioans have done a phenomenal job following the stay at home order to reduce the number of people who get sick. This is undoubtedly a stressful time for many Ohioans. For some, it is worrying about when they’ll receive their next paycheck. For others, it’s trying to balance working from home with helping children with distance learning. And for others, it’s managing their feelings of loneliness and depression because of isolation. We understand that Ohioans are struggling. I’ve asked our Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Lori Criss to rejoin us again. She was here before and to talk about a new effort that we’re rolling out to help Ohioans get through this time. Director.
Lori Criss: (13:33)
Hi, good afternoon, Governor.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (13:34)
The place that you are the last time.
Lori Criss: (13:37)
Yeah, I never move.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (13:38)
Painting behind you. It’s got taller.
Lori Criss: (13:42)
It is. It’s called The Hug. So I think it’s a good backdrop for these times. It is, yeah. Well, thanks for having me. We’re excited to be here to share this new opportunity. We’ve created a COVID CareLine, which is a new toll-free and confidential emotional support call service that is created by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Trained licensed staff will be available for callers to provide emotional support and assistance from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM seven days a week. And at 8:00 PM each day, the calls will roll over to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, so then Ohioans will have access to a trained responder 24 hours a day.
Lori Criss: (14:31)
And again, this is an opportunity for the CareLine to provide emotional support and assistance to all Ohioans who are struggling with the stress from this pandemic. All calls are confidential. We’re really grateful for the opportunity to provide the emphasis that mental health is as important as physical health. And we’re proud to bring this resource to all Ohioans. The number for the COVID CareLine is +1 800-720-9616. So thanks for having us here today to share this good news.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (15:10)
Thank you very much. When someone would call that number, what would they expect on the other end? How would that exchange work?
Lori Criss: (15:20)
Sure. We have trained staff who are licensed by the state of Ohio as counselors or social workers, other professionals who will be going through a conversation, really listening to what concerns are, understanding what stressors are. Helping maybe do some screenings and help give strategies for emotional management and support. And if a person needs additional support over the long haul, there’ll be connecting them to resources in their local communities where they can get the kind of counseling or other supports they might need over time.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (15:54)
That number again?
Lori Criss: (15:55)
Sure. The number is +1 800-720- 9616 and it’s open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM every day and rolls over to a national number at night.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (16:10)
Director, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Lori Criss: (16:12)
Yeah. Thank you.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (16:13)
Gov. Mike Dewine: (16:25)
Lieutenant Governor Husted.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (16:29)
Thank you, Governor. It’s good to be back with you. I’ve missed you. Even though we’ve been on the phone together nonstop all the time but-
Gov. Mike Dewine: (16:38)
You have the right poster to follow the … [crosstalk 00:16:41] area.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (16:43)
Mental health, I know that a lot of us have probably had a our moments during this difficult time. I guess I’ll start there because reflecting back to how this all started, I think it caught most everybody by surprise. They didn’t realize when they heard coronavirus may be appearing in Wuhan or other places, what it would mean to them eventually, when it became a health crisis here in America. When Dr. Acton started out, she was warning us about all of the consequences of it and the Governor, to his credit, took swift action. I truly believe and will always believe that those swift actions put us in a great position today in forever going forward because we didn’t get overwhelmed by the coronavirus. That those protections and to the credit of everybody in Ohio, your just team spirit, doing what you needed to do to keep yourself safe, your neighbors, your family safe. Those policies and practices squash the curve but we know it’s not going away. You’ve heard all of these things before. It’s going to be with us for a long time throughout 2020 and Dr. Acton has been very articulate expressing the fears surrounding that. I know that this weighs heavily on the Governor’s heart and mind as he has to make decisions about these difficult policy issues. But I have spent a lot of my time as it relates to the economic side of the crisis because it’s not just a health crisis. Over time, it has become more and more of an economic crisis. And I want to today spend a little time putting that in perspective for folks.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (18:45)
In March of this year, just at the beginning of March, we had 5.6 million people in Ohio working. That’s how many jobs we had in our state. The economy was robust, we had a record low unemployment rate and the biggest issue that businesses had was that they couldn’t find enough people to go to work with all of the great opportunities that they were creating. And boy, how things have changed in a very short period of time. Since March 15th, we’ve lost about a million jobs in Ohio. Nationally, that number is well over 25 million, will be by the next time the jobs numbers are reported. Probably going to grow much higher than that. It’s projected nationally by the people who look at this, and we all know modelers, modelers on the health side, modelers on the economic side, they think that unemployment could go to 20%. It could be as low as 15%, could be as high as 25%, no one really knows, but those are some of the best estimates about where things are.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (19:51)
To put it in perspective, during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, the highest unemployment rate we experienced in Ohio was 10.9%. Just 10.9% seems reasonable compared to these other numbers in these other projections, and we know what the economic consequences were during that time. We also know from past recessions, from what we’ve learned, that as unemployment goes up, so to the rates of suicide, drug addiction, domestic violence, depression, homelessness, as well as other health consequences like diabetes. Bad economic conditions lead to bad health consequences. And this is the reality that we face. Not to mention, that in every economic downturn it hurts people the most who are at the low end of the economic scale, not just on job access, but on wages and wage growth and being able to pay the bills. It weighs heavily on that part of the population as the statistics right now, bear out.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (21:07)
And this is not to mention that there are many small businesses out there and I’ve talked to lots of them who are within days, weeks, of running out of money, running out of cash, and many of them will potentially close, not just for a while but forever. And there are other consequences of this. Economic consequences spread across a lot of what we do in life. If businesses are not operating and people aren’t working, then state and local government don’t have the revenue to serve our collective constituents. State and local governments cannot borrow. We must balance our budget based on the revenues that we have. As for mayors and cities, I had a regular conversation that the Governor and I often have with mayors from across the state. Some of them told me today that in their budgets, they’re expecting-
Jon Husted: (22:02)
Some of them told me today that in their budgets they’re expecting between 15 and 25% cuts, and that will mean police, fire, and other vital services. For many cities there will be no other place to go. As far as the state, we rely largely on income and sales tax, income and sales tax. And we know that if people aren’t shopping and they aren’t out buying things in the economy, our sales tax dramatically suffers, as well as when people lose jobs, the income tax revenue suffers. During a normal recession, the $2.7 billion we have in the Rainy Day Fund would suffice. But based on current projections, and we know we can change the curve. Just like in healthcare we can change the curve, we can change our economic curve, but based on current projections, that $2.7 billion, well we might need twice that amount just to balance the budget over the next 15 months.
Jon Husted: (23:03)
But this is not about government, not about public officials. This is about people. This is about the people that those resources serve. It’s about their lives, the things that they depend on. And we know that most of state government, well most of state government funds things like education, our K through 12 schools, and our system of higher education, whether that’s community colleges or our four year schools, scholarships and things like that for young people. We also know it funds health and healthcare from Medicaid to the many other services that Dr. Acton’s health department and people are provided as well as public safety.
Jon Husted: (23:47)
The effect of this, these consequences, will weigh heavily on children, particularly at risk children. It will affect the cost of college and our ability to protect our neighborhoods. So economic consequences are not just about businesses, they’re about the people that rely on these services. The reopening strategy is, as I just mentioned, not just about those businesses. It’s about the economic engine that our social safety net depends on. And so we’re going to fight back in many ways. The Governor’s been talking about ways that he’s been working on to fight back. And Dr. Acton is going to talk about things that she’s going to fight … she’s working to fight back on. And in the coming days we’re going to talk about some of the things that we can do to fight back as far as best practices that employers have executed successfully around the world and in Ohio, because we know that many businesses have not shut down during this timeframe.
Jon Husted: (24:56)
Many of them have been operating and they found strategies to operate safely. Now we know when we talk about the reopening and rollback of certain restrictions, that, and I’ll reiterate this again because it’s important, because I know how important this is for people to understand. That doesn’t make the coronavirus any less dangerous. Not at all. Particularly if you’re over 65 and you have health issues, you’re going to have to remain ever vigilant and we’re all going to have to remain vigilant to make sure that we’re protecting each other.
Jon Husted: (25:33)
But others will be able to rejoin the economy and fire up the economic engine that will help us get through this. This is a fight. We use these terms. Fight, battle, war, but you will be armed in this battle with masks and sanitizer and soap and disinfectants and six feet of safety and the various strategies that we know work at protecting people in workplace settings. And we all need to lead by example. We need to lead by example by demonstrating in our workplaces that we can do these things the right way. The road to recovery will certainly be long and gradual, but with the right precautions, businesses can create a safe environment for their employees and customers. And reiterating again, coronavirus is going to be part of our life for a while. We just need to learn to live safely with it in our lives, protecting people’s lives and livelihoods. Governor.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (26:34)
Thank you very much. [inaudible 00:26:37] Dr. Acton.
Dr. Amy Acton: (26:39)
Thank you. Hi. Thank you, Lieutenant Governor as well. Good afternoon everyone. I think we’ll start with the numbers for today. So at this point we do have 14,117 cases recorded in Ohio. That is 87 of our 88 counties. 54 of our counties have had at least one death, and we are now reporting 610 deaths in the state of Ohio. Other than that, on our next slide, we see that our numbers stay roughly the same, although we’re seeing, and I’ve seen this for two days in a row, a slight skew toward the male in cases, which will be an interesting thing to follow. We’ve done 97, almost 98,000 tests in the state of Ohio, and we continue to see the same age range. Next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (27:44)
Similarly, our trends are continuing, but we did see in the last 24 hours a dip in our cases to 392. Again, we’re following our five day trend lines. On … similarly, we’ve gone up a little bit on our deaths. We know that our deaths are lagging behind our illnesses, so that is not as surprising. We’re also seeing an increase in our ICU admissions. Next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (28:13)
So this is something that I just wanted to explain in more depth. We were really excited yesterday to announce the governor has asked and paired with … and I have to say personally, it’s an honor to have been on the phone with three governors at once, Governor Celeste and Governor Taft, and of course Governor DeWine. But we’ve really put together a team of people the way that the Governor said and Lieutenant Governor, that we’re not sitting back idly. We really are trying to make and have been making all along the most aggressive moves we can in dealing with this global pandemic. And so one of the things we’re doing is trying, first of all, to maximize who we test so we can make the most of the testing we have, and then a team is endlessly working 24/7 to try to find the ability to scale up our testing.
Dr. Amy Acton: (29:07)
We all know by now how absolutely important testing is as we try to move forward, our ability to put out those hotspots as they have, to identify people, and more and more so people with mild forms of illness. If you think about it, if we can find people when they’re mildly ill … right now we’re seeing people mostly by the time they need hospitalization. If we can catch you earlier when you’re mildly ill and follow you and the people that you’ve been in contact with more carefully, more accurately, not only will we decrease the spread of the virus, but we’ll also be watching you and checking in with you and seeing if you’re taking any turns for the worst. Our biggest thought is how can we prevent people from taking that usually week two turn for the worst.
Dr. Amy Acton: (29:54)
We really see people, interestingly, the science is showing that are walking around, they walk into emergency rooms, Governor, and it’s not until they put the pulse oximeter on … it’s that little machine that goes on your finger and let you know how much oxygen you have in your blood. Usually they’re seeing levels of oxygen so low that you would typically be intubated by the time you had that level of oxygen, but people are actually, because of the unique way this is affecting oxygenation in the body, people can be almost like a walking pneumonia. They’re walking around not knowing.
Dr. Amy Acton: (30:26)
So there’s a lot we’re learning about the virus and we’re really trying with our future testing to be even more clever in how we really come around people who have this disease. So important for everyone to know, and I say this to all hospitals, all clinicians out there in this state, we’ve always been prioritizing who we test, but it’s very important, and I’m insisting on this, that we all prioritize the same way. We have a limited amount of testing and we always want to do by these tiers. And these tiers are going out once again to all providers. We’ve made some adjustments because we think we have enough testing to expand slightly who is in the group.
Dr. Amy Acton: (31:07)
So priority one is always people who have symptoms and who are either hospitalized or healthcare workers. Priority two has been individuals with symptoms who are living in longterm care congregate settings. These also include any of our congregate settings, whether they be prisoners, you mentioned we do have a first case in a juvenile prison. We are looking around at psychiatric hospitals, assisted living, any place that people are living together. And our first responders and our critical infrastructure workers are also in this tier two, people who are 65 and older because they’re very high risk, and all of those with underlying complicated medical conditions.
Dr. Amy Acton: (31:52)
We have a 2a priority, and these are for individuals and staff who are without symptoms but are being exposed in a high risk situation. So this included some of our … in the prisons, when we extended our testing, we saw that people were asymptomatic, so we’re being able to further out those groups, and we’ll be doing the same thing in nursing homes. And then priority three is other individuals with symptoms who are more mild but are in areas and communities in which we see one of these hot spots.
Dr. Amy Acton: (32:25)
So little by little we’re trying to get out farther and farther with our nets of testing. So again, I really appreciate our hospitals. They have taken on being not only about what is in their walls, but they’re extramural. They are taking on their communities as their hospital and they’re working in partnership with all their community organizations and with their local health departments. Right now as we speak, we’re using our zone plus region approach. We have one case, and in that case and outstanding local public health department is doing all the epidemiologic disease detective investigation.
Dr. Amy Acton: (33:06)
Our hospitals are working close in hand, our testing is working. We’re making sure the right PPE is there, making sure all the best practices are done. And as we little by little turn that dial and open up some of the things that we can do, whether we see an outbreak in a business or in a community, ultimately someday in a school, we will use those same principles to surround that. Similarly, our contact tracing, our talks … we had a wonderful talk with partners in health yesterday, Governor. We’re very excited about the workforce we’re going to be building of both traditional public health epidemiologists, but also community health workers we have used in other contexts, people from the community who can reach into the community and help us all through this difficult time.
Dr. Amy Acton: (33:57)
As the governor said, we have also … I’m making a change in an order on our how our hospitals are working. This is not an extensive change in order. We are still very much in the process of working with the hospitals and with all sorts of private providers out in the community, so that work is still ongoing. Similarly to business, we’re looking at what are the lowest risk healthcare things we can be doing to the highest risk. And we’ll be doing that in every industry as we gradually return and try to learn to live with the virus.
Dr. Amy Acton: (34:31)
But one of the things we’ve noticed, and it’s very disturbing to me as a physician, it’s very disturbing to the governor, to learn about situations in which there are people who have had some symptoms that I do not think are not essential. It’s really important that our clinicians reevaluate that. And to that extent, I’m putting some clarifications into an order. There are some people … we call this forgone care. There are people who are first in line to have some diagnostic procedures and some procedures that are really needed.
Dr. Amy Acton: (35:05)
It’s been a while now, over a month, that we have postponed certain procedures for very vulnerable and complex situations, so we’ll be addressing that in the order, but we have a lot more work we’re doing in partnership with providers all over and with hospitals on how we’ll be eventually doing more and more. That is a very slight tweak to the order we have done. We will be clarifying that order. It’s really, really important, and if you’re at home and if you’re having a change in your clinical condition, please reach out to your doctor. And doctors, don’t … if you have questions about that guidance, please do reach out, coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Dr. Amy Acton: (35:46)
We still have our hotline, always behind us on the screen, and I want you to use that and ask the questions you need to ask. I don’t want anyone out there should not be suffering or having a worsening condition and not have that condition reevaluated. I really want to do a shout out to our federally qualified health centers. There are a number of free clinics in addition. People are really stepping up. If you are not finding care and you’re out there, go to your emergency room if you have no other provider. Really nobody should be left suffering. And I have just found a few stories I’ve heard of people being denied care just unacceptable. So please, that is what my new order is about. Two other things to quickly show, Governor, I Do believe we have a video to show. So we can go ahead, Eric. This was … I’ll just, to preamble it, Eric, I’ll just say this is a video that was made by our team at ODH and the governor’s team to show again as we move forward, I’ve heard people talk about stay at home and we’re saying still safer at home. As we move into the world, home is still our place. I will start it again, I’m so sorry. And I really want you to know that this video has gone viral all over the world. It’s been requested by people all over the world. States are starting to use it to show again the impact of our social distancing.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (37:46)
How many fingers were snapped?
Dr. Amy Acton: (37:48)
I know, there’s been some fun articles. I don’t know if you could hear the volume at home. If you couldn’t, I couldn’t hear it here, so you can go to our website to see it. It took me two times seeing it to fully experience the effect of it, but it’s clever. It was done by a company in the Dayton region, so it’s a local Ohio group, and it’s an exceptional talented thing and we’re going to be doing more of these because we know we really need to get the word out and we’re working with fellow states.
Dr. Amy Acton: (38:17)
One last thing. I don’t know Eric if you can pan in, but I’ve had the blessing during this time to receive a lot of artwork. This here is from Seth and Dahlia, mommy and daddy as well. This was one of my favorites I just received Eric, I don’t know if you can see it. I’m getting a lot of like cartoon coronaviruses with little anti signs.
Dr. Amy Acton: (38:43)
So to this extent, our emergency operating system … center lives in a place without a lot of windows and light. We’ve been working for a couple months straight. So on our website for you at home and for all the young people at home, we have a way you can send us your artwork. You can mail it to us or you can email it to us, and I’ll take adult artwork as well. We have some pretty boring walls at the Ohio Department of Health, and we’ve been wanting to display people’s artwork. So I see there’s so much going on during this time. Art is really a tremendous way to express and say more than we can often say in words. And whether it’s how our kids are experiencing the situation or how you are experiencing it, we’d love to receive that, coronavirus.ohio. gov. We’d love to see what you’re creating. Thank you.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (39:35)
Jim Otte: (39:38)
Thank you, Governor. Jim Otte from WHIO. To the doctor or the governor, I want to be clear about timing. Those procedures that were almost being when the order came down and we had to put this all on hold, can those people now get back with their provider and start to schedule those? When might those actually happen? When can we begin?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (40:01)
I suggest they do that. And we’re going to have, Jim, a more expansive order coming up in the next several weeks. But we felt really that we should get this out right away. And again, as Dr. Acton said, both she and I have heard stories that are a little frightening about people that had to have, needed to have something done, a diagnostic analysis, and it was postponed. And that was really not the intent of the order. So we thought that this was one way to go back and have the physicians take a look at the patients, take a look … you might’ve had someone who had a … was supposed to have hip surgery. Maybe it got postponed, but now the pain is significant. It’s affecting the quality of life. We certainly do not want to delay that person’s surgery in any way. So I know these are individual judgements that are made by the doctors, but we’ve kind of wanted to give a little push and kind of open this thing up and encourage people to take a look at that and for the patients to get back with their doctors.
Molly Martinez: (41:19)
Hi, this is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. My question today comes from the young tenacious journalists at the Eye of the Gale, which is Lancaster High School’s newspaper. They say, “Our school students are in limbo and worried about their futures. What words of encouragement do you have for the thousands of high school graduating seniors who are missing out on traditional rites of passage such as graduation ceremony, as well as younger students who are worried about their future educational experience?”
Gov. Mike Dewine: (41:54)
Well, I can only imagine how tough that is. Fran and I have eight children. They’ve all graduated from high school and college and I know what a big deal that was, both the high school and the college. We’ve had grandchildren in the same position who have already graduated. So I know that that’s difficult, missing your senior prom, junior, senior prom, not being able to participate in spring sports. All of these things are just very, very difficult, and I’m so very, very sorry that they’re having to miss these things.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (42:33)
I know that they’re also looking towards their future and what they might be doing. Those who are looking to college, I’m sure are wondering what college will look like in late August or whenever they’re set to go. And that’s something that we don’t really know yet. We don’t know exactly where we will be at that time. So it is for our young people, particularly those who are now seniors in high school, certainly a time of uncertainty. And I just want to thank them for doing what they are doing, not doing what they’re not doing because it makes a difference. They are protecting other people’s lives, and that’s very, very, very important. But it’s tough.
Kevin Landers: (43:27)
Kevin Landers, WBNS-10 TV. Hello, Governor. My question is we’re nine days away about from opening some businesses in Ohio, but there are many people who question why the rush to May 1st? Why that date? Without the ability to rapid test or even contact trace and no real rapid decline in cases, deaths, or hospitalizations, what specific guidance are you using that tells you that this is the right call?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (43:54)
Well, we’re trying to get the best evidence, just like we made the …
Gov. Mike Dewine: (44:03)
Well, we’re trying to get the best evidence, just like we made the original health decisions from the best evidence that we could find in Ohio has really came through and flattened that curve and did the job. The job’s not over, but as lieutenant governor indicated, and I think he went into pretty good detail, there’s a great price to be paid and that is not only an economic price, but there’s a health price that Ohioans are paying and will pay for this drastic reduction shutdown of the economy. So, we weigh those things out and try to make the decision that’s in the best interest of Ohio and the people, the state of Ohio. And I’ve said all along that this is going to be an Ohio decision made by Ohioans for Ohioans with Ohioans. I consulted and continue to consult. I actually continued a call yesterday morning early with a number of doctors and health experts, but just as we’ve consulted throughout this with the health experts, we also put together a group of businessmen and women, some bigger companies, but frankly some companies that you probably never heard of. The CEOs of those companies as well and tried to come up with the best practices that when we start back, that we can do it in a safe way.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (45:33)
And we will have more this week about how that’s going to work, but it’s imperative that as we start back, we do it carefully. It’s also imperative that we do it in the best way possible from a medical point of view and from the point of view of trying to protect the employees and trying to protect any customers who might come into a retail business. So, it is a balance, it is trying to strike that balance where we keep the number of coronavirus incidents, number of people who get it, down. Where we try to protect people who are older, people who might be more vulnerable but also have very strict and understandable guidelines for businesses that do in fact want to open. As Dr. Acton indicated and I indicated yesterday, one of the things that we know we must get moving at a much higher rate is testing. And I don’t have any announcement today, but I will share with you that as you know I asked former governor Celeste, former governor Taft to head up a group to really focus on testing.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (47:08)
They were on calls late last night with our team and with others this morning. I had a very significant call this morning. We’re going to have something to announce about that, so we have some good news. It’s not done yet, not signed and sealed, but the ability to test and to test in depth, do the tracing, do what is the right thing to do not only for that individual but for everyone. And that is when we find someone who tests positive to be able to interview that individual if they’re willing to do it and most people are, and then find out who they’ve been in contact with and then go down and try to make sure that we get aggressive about this disease, about this virus. And so, I’ll have more tomorrow, day after about how we’re doing that. But we are much more optimistic today than I was even yesterday about our ability to test and optimistic about our ability to do the proper tracing with local people, with health workers who will be paid to do this and who will be doing work that is vitally important to keep us all safe. So, I’m optimistic, we’ll have more tomorrow.
Ben Garbrook: (48:36)
Hello. This is a question for the lieutenant governor. This is Ben Garbrook with ABC 6 and Fox 28. Lieutenant governor, you mentioned the strain this pandemic is putting on state and local budgets. Can you give us a sense for, as the state is trying to prepare for those budget shortfalls, what is on the table? What may be off the table? What things might people have to live without as we try to pay our way out of this debt?
Jon Husted: (49:02)
Well, I don’t want to get into any specifics in terms of that, that’s governor’s decision. I just try to help bring the information to bear. What I’m sharing with you are the facts that we know. We know that the economic consequences will have real world consequences for government and the people we serve, and that’s the balance that we have to contemplate as we’re going through this. It’s going to have an impact on local government, it’s going to have an impact on state government and we’re just really trying to frame that to prepare people for what the reality of all this is. And to help understand that there are health consequences on both sides of these decisions and the economy, if we’re going to continue to a vibrant world for people to get educated and to get the best healthcare in the world and all of those kinds of things, it takes an economic engine to do that. And we have to do the best we can to accomplish both, but as far as specifics, the governor’s already ordered 20% cuts and we don’t have anything else unless the governor wants to add something else to that.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (50:31)
More later. But the 20%, and we’ve made it very clear to our directors, they need to start whacking away at this. We have to do it.
Adrienne Robbins: (50:41)
Adrienne Robbins, NBC 4. My question’s for the governor or the Lieutenant governor. We’re hearing from a lot of small business owners who are wondering if they’re going to be part of this reopening come May 1st. When can we expect a better idea of what this reopening will look like, and what would you say to some business owners who say, “Should I be preparing? Should I be buying masks? Will I reopen on May 1st?”
Gov. Mike Dewine: (51:09)
We want to lay this out, and that’s a very good question. I understand that people are frustrated. Everybody’s frustrated and small business certainly are frustrated with what is not going on in their businesses. What we want to do is to be able to outline for them and make it very clear, make it easy to understand exactly what will be required when they start their business back. And the big principle is going to be protect your customers if you’re retail and protect your employees and protect yourself. So, that’s the basic guideline, but we’re going to have more details. So, when we do make this announcement, and that will be coming up shortly, it’ll be clear. People we hope understand it. They’ll be able to do what we ask them to do and in that sense it is a bargain. If you can do these things and keep everybody as safe as possible, there’s always risk, nothing is completely free of risk, but if you can take the necessary steps then people will be able to move forward. But we’ll have more information in the next coming few days.
Jon Husted: (52:35)
If I can add a little bit. [inaudible 00:52:36] understand what we went through is that yes, small businesses will be included. We have consulted with small businesses, we’ve consulted with large businesses. We look at the CDC guidelines, we look at OSHA guidelines, we look at Homeland Security guidelines, we talk to the businesses about the practical implications. Then we run it through a health filter. Everybody from Dr, Acton’s group to other experts who we’ve been connected with to help give us some perspective. Then we run that back to business to make sure that it’s a practical regulation that they can comply with and we just have been going through that process to make it the best business friendly health secure plan that we can get. And we’re getting very close to having it to the point where the governor can can sign off on it and announce it.
Richard Province: (53:27)
Richard Province with The Blade. This question is for lieutenant governor Husted. There’s been a lot of talk about the small businesses, and so this is a question about the large factories. The Toledo GE plant’s going to restart operations on May 4th and we’ve been hearing from cheap workers who are worried about whether that would be safe, particularly since many of the workers come from the Detroit area, a virus hotspot. Can a massive plant like this adjust to accommodate social distancing with so many employees, and should a worker feel comfortable filing a complaint with the local department of health if they don’t feel safe?
Jon Husted: (54:06)
Well, what I can answer in that is that they’re going to have to comply with all of the regulations or they won’t be allowed to open. That’s the bottom line. We’re going to be very firm about this. We want economic activity to happen, but we want workers to feel safe. We want customers to feel safe. So, the protocols that will be in here have been tested and run through health filters to make them as safe as they can be. There’s no absolute safe situation unless you’re isolated by yourself and not near anyone. But there is a way to make it reasonably safe, to mitigate risk and to give people a sense of confidence in where they’re going. And if businesses follow these practices, and I want to reiterate, many businesses have been operating in Ohio all the way through this. From grocery stores to hardware stores to manufacturing to construction, and they’ve been doing it with very little incident.
Jon Husted: (55:05)
I talked to a business the other day who’s an ag business, 2300 workers. They only had one person during this whole process that contracted coronavirus. They isolated them, the person recovered and now they’re back at work. So, there are safe ways to do this. Businesses have to follow it and yes, employees if they feel like they’re not safe, then they can contact the health department and health department will be able to enforce those guidelines. They should feel very comfortable calling the health department and making sure that that happens.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (55:39)
Just to add to that, Jon said that many businesses have done a very good job during this period of time. We have learned from what those businesses have done. I would also say that our initial orders were not as detailed as these orders are going to be. So, these orders are going to apply to even businesses that were never closed. And so, these would be more stringent, very specific orders than maybe some of them voluntarily are using them and we’re very grateful for that. But there may be some that that are not, we’re going to outline that. So, that’s going to apply to businesses that are currently closed, but also businesses that are currently open.
Ben Schwartz: (56:29)
Good afternoon, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. I would like to direct this question to Dr. Acton. Dr Acton, this is a question sent in from one of our WCPO viewers. This viewer wants to know about the Marion County state prison and how there are nearly 2000 cases. And at the time of this there were no deaths, but we are hearing right now that there may be some deaths right now, but either way with 2000 cases and so few deaths, if that is an indication that the death rate for COVID-19 is lower than we originally thought or if there’s a different reason for something like that?
Dr. Acton: (57:19)
Yeah, so first of all, I think it probably would be best to direct your question to the director of prisons to get more details. So, I’m not hearing, at least I’m not aware, of what you’re saying, but I will say this about just the epidemiology of it. We know we have a lot of cases. We actually think we have a lot of cases all about us, but it’s a place where we tested and we tested more extensively. And what we know is a certain percentage of people, many were asymptomatic in the prison, some will go on to develop symptoms. Some of those folks will be sick enough to actually need hospitalized. Weeks or two goes by, maybe ICU, and we know just by how this works that the deaths will fall later. So, we really don’t have the kind of population level data until we have the testing, until we have some time to see numbers over time, to make any conclusions about fatality rates in this country. Thank you.
Andy Chow: (58:31)
Hi, everyone. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television State House News Bureau. I guess this is a question more for the governor and lieutenant governor. The idea of reopening businesses and the idea of workers can be protected because of masks and hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. When people go out to stores, those supplies are not there. They’re not available. How confident are you that the supply chain will be ready for businesses who need to get these supplies and what can companies do if they can’t get it?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (59:02)
A very good question. We’ve been working very hard. We have a team that is focused, both people from the private sector and people in our administration who are working every day in regard to those supplies. So, it is a work in progress. It is possible that some of the requirements will not be able to be met, but I’m confident that most of them can and in a short period of time, all of them will be able to. What you’re seeing with masks for example, the masks that we’re talking about are not the N95 masks that are difficult to get. Some of these masks can be made and some of them are actually being made in our prison. Some of them are being made by companies in Ohio. Some of them are being made by just private citizens. So, we think that once everybody sees the requirement, the market will basically take care of this, but it’s possible that the day it starts, some of this they may not be able to get but we’re optimistic about it.
Andy Chow: (01:00:13)
Jack Windsor: (01:00:18)
Hi, I’m Jack Windsor with WMFD TV in Mansfield. I have a question for Dr. Acton followed by a question for governor DeWine. I’ll begin with Dr. Acton. Dr. Acton, yesterday you said in some countries they’re looking at certificates to say that you are immune and therefore able to go about your business and I think that would be a dream thing if we can get something like that. My question is two parts. First, do you see this as a violation of our constitutional right to privacy? You must be aware, Dr. Acton, that your statement set off civil libertarian alarm bells across the state. And secondly, given that sentiment, do you still support mandatory vaccination and immunity certificates, despite that they seemingly contradict our bill of rights and constitutional protections?
Dr. Acton: (01:01:04)
Okay, fair question and I’m actually glad you raised it because as a doctor, a scientist, I’m often not aware of the things that set off those triggers for people. So, I was actually referring to it in a different context. I was referring to it in the context of business and one of the things that had come before us as we were really trying to look at ways businesses could reopen and we could support the economy. About two weeks ago, one of the things that was really gaining a lot of traction was the ability to do antibody testing, which means not the testing that says you have the disease, but the testing that says you had it. And the dream about it is for of all us, we’ve known that having a vaccine against this disease would keep you safe and you could go about your life. You wouldn’t have to worry about passing it on to someone else or catching it yourself. You’d be safe on both ends.
Dr. Acton: (01:02:05)
Immunity, typically in a viral infection, is another way that happens. If you are actually immune, you’ve had a disease and you’ve recovered, but you’ve built up antibodies in your blood. That also will protect you. It’s almost as if you are vaccinated. So, one of the business solutions that was being hoped for was that if people really did have immunity that they could have proof of that. And by proof of that, it would be a doctor’s note or a record that they had taken the test and they’d have test results. I agree, that is a policy discussion that is worth talking about and if people would want to implement something like that, but my focus in the discussion was more on the wish, I think that dream, that all of us have. Many of us have had this disease and possibly asymptomatically but we have no way of knowing we ever had it and that would be really useful information I think we all would like to have, but that’s in a relationship with our doctor, not in the relationship with the government.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:03:06)
Let me answer it a little bit as well from the policy point of view. This virus is going to be among us. And so, what we’re really looking to try to do with medical science is to give people, the individual because all these are individual choices, the individual as much information as possible about their particular health situation. So, no one would be compelled to do this, but it might give them some information that would allow them to make their own judgment about what they do. Let’s give an example. Let’s say there’s a 70 year old woman, man, they have a job that they love. They don’t want to stop working. They may have some medical challenge. So, in the new world that they’re going to be living in for the next probably a year or so, they’re going to make an individual choice and their choice is going to be do I go back to work? Do I go back to this job I love? How risky is that?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:04:24)
And so, having infer more information… For example, if they knew that they had actually had this but didn’t realize it, and one of the things that we’re seeing more and more, more evidence that there are people out there who have had it but really didn’t know it. And if science would tell that person, well, that’s going to give you immunity, and again that’s still not known for sure, but that would be a piece of information that that person might want for themselves. So, this is individual choice. This is trying to inform that individual’s decision and that’s really what we’re talking about. It’s individual rights. It’s an individual taking their life into their own hands and making their own choices and trying to help them get more information if they want more information.
Jack Windsor: (01:05:18)
Thank you for answering that so thoroughly. So, my second Q is for governor DeWine. Governor, on March 23rd you issued a state order built on two pillars. One, we need to flatten the curve. Two, we need to buy time to ramp hospital capacity. A month later, data points from sample tests around the country…
Speaker 1: (01:05:35)
Jack Windsor: (01:05:36)
I’m sorry? May I continue?
Speaker 1: (01:05:38)
Okay, [inaudible 01:05:41].
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (01:05:49)
Hi, it’s Andrew Welsh-Huggins with The Associated Press. This is a question for Dr. Acton. Hi, doctor.
Speaker 2: (01:06:02)
Hi, doctor. This is a, if I pronounce this correctly, a hydroxychloroquine question. I’m just wondering, has the state bought any hydroxychlorine treatments? If so, how many? Basically, how was that decision made? And then, what would be the plans or the use for those treatments?
I’ll look into that. I don’t know the answer to that. I know there was a shortage early on, and I’m not sure where that went. But I do know we did issue an order. It’s an anti-malarial drug, of which I get tongue tied, so don’t feel bad about that. It’s hydroxychloroquine, it’s an anti-malarial. Governor, we took it going to Haiti, if you remember. And that drug has also been in short supply, as are many drugs in many parts of our supply chain right now. And it’s actually a drug that’s very needed by people who have autoimmune and rheumatologic diseases as well. It’s very essential to them. So when we had shortages, we saw that there was maybe some hoarding going on, so we limit it to a prescription with a doctor to 14 days. But I’ll look more into the rest of your question. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (01:07:31)
Is it for coronavirus itself? Do you think that’s something the state has done?
I remember that being under discussion, but I’m not sure if it happened or not, so I’ll find out for you and we’ll get back.
Speaker 2: (01:07:45)
Laura Bischoff: (01:07:49)
Good afternoon. It’s Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News, and my question is for Governor DeWine. You’ve said that the right of protesters to be out at the state house is clear, it’s a First Amendment right. But what do you have to say to their message that the threat of the coronavirus isn’t real? And also, what do you have to say to some of the folks who were circling the state house with an antisemitic sign on Saturday?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:08:19)
Well, I saw the antisemitic sign. I didn’t see it in person, but I saw it somewhere on the internet. Everything’s on the internet. It was disgusting, it was vile, and it should have no place in this discussion or any other public discussion. So I thought that was very sad. People have a right to protest. They have a right to say they don’t like Mike DeWine, or they don’t like what Mike DeWine is doing, or anybody else. And that’s fair game. But that’s not fair game. That’s wrong, and I think everyone has an obligation to denounce it.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:09:02)
I talked yesterday about my dad, who, on the second or third day after it was liberated, came to a concentration camp in Germany. And I remember what he saw. I don’t remember what he saw, but I remember him telling me, since the time I was a little kid, what he had seen. And he never forgot it his whole life. So this is just vile and it’s disgusting, and it’s wrong. But look, people have a right to protest. If they’re carrying anti-Mike-DeWine signs, they got a right to do that. But antisemitic signs, they’re just wrong.
Laura Bischoff: (01:09:45)
Thank you, and happy Earth Day. [inaudible 01:09:51] No! [inaudible 01:09:55] No!
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:09:58)
By my count, you are number 11. Number 11 is the number picked by Lisa, and so you get Fran’s buckeye. And Laura is holding her hands up. Is that a O-H-I-O you’re doing there?
Laura Bischoff: (01:10:21)
[inaudible 01:10:21] as a proud graduate of the University of Michigan.
Louis Gale: (01:10:26)
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:10:27)
[inaudible 01:10:27] the colors, I did. Well, it’s appropriate. It’s appropriate that you would maybe have this in your backyard or front yard, so we will make sure you get this. Go Buckeyes.
Laura Bischoff: (01:10:37)
All right, thank you.
Louis Gale: (01:10:43)
Very nice, governor. Louis Gale with Ohio Latino TV. Thank you very much for the great job [inaudible 01:10:51] stuff. This is a question followup Jim from Toledo Blade. As we enter the new phase of companies start to open up and calling employees to come back to work, and employees have to make a determination whether it’s safe or not, [inaudible 01:11:07] the determination is, “I don’t feel safe,” and they start losing their benefits, health insurance, life insurance, and so on, that they might need during this crisis? And for example, some of them might be getting the COBRA options. So what are the options at that point?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:11:38)
The orders that we’re going to announce will establish what the best evidence shows is the most, what can be done, the best practices to keep a place safe. Vast, vast, vast majority of employers want to take care of their workers. They want to make sure that they have a safe place to work. If a worker feels it is not a safe place and it’s not compliant, for example, with our orders, they have every right to contact and should contact the local health department.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:12:17)
Again, most employers want to make sure that they’re following the orders, and companies that I have talked to have said, “Look, just outline what they are, tell us what they are, and we certainly will follow them.” But I suppose there’s always an outlier who does not follow what the best practices are, and they have every right to complain about that, to go to the health department, and have the health department come out and check to see whether or not that company is in fact following those orders. Jon, do you have anything to add on that?
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:12:53)
Thanks, governor. I would just say this: when we were designing these, we took the best advice we could. But I will tell you this: I would feel comfortable working in any of the conditions that are being discussed, and I would feel comfortable telling somebody I loved to do that. With the exception is if you were over the age of 65 and you had a health condition, or you had some reason that you had that you shouldn’t be there, then those people should take extra caution, and I would suggest that maybe that not be appropriate for them. But for everybody else, I would encourage my own family members to go to work under these conditions that we’re going to outline.
Louis Gale: (01:13:34)
Through that process, should they be loosing their benefits?
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:13:41)
Look, an employer only can provide benefits if they actually are generating the revenue that they need to keep the doors open. So it’s that circumstance that we are trying to get the economy moving so that people can have jobs and can have benefits, because we know how important those things are for their lives.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:14:09)
This is Jackie Borchardt from the Cincinnati Enquirer. My question is for Lieutenant Governor Husted. We’ve heard a lot about people who can’t get through to the unemployment insurance system. I’ve actually heard from quite a few who have gotten through, and they are waiting for their claims to be approved sometimes three, four, five weeks. I’m wondering what is taking so long to approve these, and why doesn’t Ohio automatically approve the first claim like they do in Kentucky?
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:14:38)
Well, we have Director Kim Hall on the line to answer that. I want to make sure Kim heard the question, is about automatically approving the first claim like they do in Kentucky. And I’ll let Kim answer that question, then I’ll provide some other statistics that I know I have available. Kim?
Director Kim Hall: (01:14:58)
Thank you, lieutenant governor. We are aware that some states have those flexibilities built into their state law requirements. We are actively examining right now all of the different ways we can alleviate some of the restrictions around those claims in order to move them through more quickly. And so, we’re diligently focusing on that at this time.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:15:26)
Great. Thank you, Kim. And I do know that, as of yesterday, they had paid $858 million out in claims to 349,176 people. That was as of yesterday. Thank you, Kim.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:15:48)
[inaudible 01:15:48] on the end of that number?
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:15:50)
349,176 claimants paid from March 15th until yesterday that had been processed, and then, that total amount is $858,499,009 and 6 cents.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:16:14)
[inaudible 01:16:14] you’re being precise, how many claimants have not been paid yet but have filed that claim?
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:16:22)
That’s a number we’re trying to track down because you have the number of claims that are filed, the number of people that may be eligible, may not be eligible. I don’t have that information at my disposal. Kim, do you have that?
Director Kim Hall: (01:16:35)
I do. Thank you, lieutenant governor. One moment. I’m … pulling that up. We are at 401,214 as of last night allowed, claims that are allowed. And so, those are being, that are being paid right now, and preparing to be paid. 353, 000 pending, 148,321 denied. So our numbers right now, we’re not obligated with DOL, et cetera, to report all of that detail, but we are able to share those different categories. 3,910 had been withdrawn. Those numbers change every day as more and more claims are processed.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:17:33)
Hi, this is Laura from cleveland.com. My question is about daycares. Working parents have shared the struggle of trying to work with supervising their kids’ education and their workloads needed to stay employed, particularly parents of young children. They’ve said that daycare needs to be tied to any opening or they’re going to suffer at work. What is the plan for daycares?
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (01:18:14)
I couldn’t quite catch that. Could you repeat your question again?
Parents are struggling to supervise their children’s at-home education with their workloads to stay employed. So as the economy opens up, what is the plan for childcare? Because schools are going to be closed and yet parents are struggling to work and supervise our kids’ education.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:18:47)
We’re not ready to announce anything yet. I understand the imperative and I understand the impact this has on families. The decision to close the schools and the decision to close daycares are very related, because in both cases, you have young people who are gathered together. And the real concern is not directly for them, because unless they have a medical condition, the odds are they’re going to be okay throughout if they get this. Not that we want anybody to get it, but the real concern is that they take that back to their families. And so that is true certainly in daycare, just as much as it is in grade school or high school. And in daycare, it is difficult to get any kind of social distancing there. So that’s the real challenge that we face as we head back.
Randy Ludlow: (01:19:50)
Good afternoon, governor. Randy Ludlow with the Columbus Dispatch, and I guess I have the honor of asking the last question. Governor, you seem to have built a case here of economic justification and health precaution information on the reopening, but what we’re not hearing is the health justification. The White House guidelines call for two weeks of steadily-declining numbers. Ohio is not there. How do you justify going forward?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:20:21)
Well, the thing that we’ve been missing, that we’ve been looking for, and I’m going to say more about this tomorrow, is the ability to seek out and be aggressive in regard to this virus. We have not had the testing. I have been candid about that. We’ve not the amount of testing. I talked yesterday about a new relationship we have with Partners In Health, a group that I have worked with in the past, in regard to tracing. So the tracing and the testing, those pieces are starting to come together, and I’ll have more to announce in regard to that tomorrow. In regard to the numbers that we have hit a plateau, we would like to see them decline, but the plateau seems to be holding. So again, we’ll have more on that tomorrow.
Randy Ludlow: (01:21:19)
Quickly, the nursing home database is back up today, nearly 800 cases. What do you hope that disclosure helps Ohioans with?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:21:34)
I’m sorry, Randy, I didn’t hear the first part about it.
Randy Ludlow: (01:21:37)
The nursing home case database is back online, shows nearly 800 cases amongst staff and residents. What do you hope that helps Ohioans achieve?
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:21:52)
Well, I think all information is important. Ohioans need to weigh all of that information. We’re trying to get every piece of information out of that. Let’s talk, good news close here. Another thing that Ohioans can do together on Earth Day is to keep our state beautiful by not littering. In this Earth Day message we’re going to play, you will see Ohio Environmental Protection Director Laurie Stevenson, who you saw earlier, along with Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz, who I referenced, and Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks. We’ll play the video.
Director Jack Marchbanks: (01:22:33)
Litter is a big problem along our roadways. It’s especially bad in urban areas. You’ve probably seen ODOT crews, inmates, private-sector organizations, an adopt a highway volunteers picking up litter along the road in the past. On average, these groups spend countless hours collecting about 400,000 bags of trash from along our roadways each year. 400,000 bags of trash a year! That’s enough to put four bags of trash in every seat of Ohio Stadium. Think about it. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, only ODOT crews are removing that trash right now, so it is more important than ever to make sure that you are doing your part to prevent this pollution and keep Ohio beautiful. Please do not throw trash, including gloves and masks out of the window of your car. Please make sure if there is anything in the back of your truck, it is secured and cannot blow out while you drive. Please help by keeping others from doing the same.
Director Jack Marchbanks: (01:23:24)
These are small things, but they can make a big difference. Let’s work together to keep our state healthy and beautiful. Let’s end this self-imposed blight. Ohioans can keep Ohio beautiful.
Director Mary Mertz: (01:23:35)
At the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, we want to make sure that every time you visit one of Ohio’s state parks, nature preserves, forests, or wildlife areas, that trip is both safe and beautiful. But nothing ruins the exploration of Ohio’s natural wonders more than coming across a landscape that’s scattered with trash, or a scenic river where debris is flowing down the river or along the river banks, or even a beach covered with litter. We work really hard to keep Ohio’s beautiful public lands clean and trash free, but we need your help too. So if you’re planning a visit to one of those places, plan ahead. Bring your beverages in reusable containers, use other reusable products, and bring a trash bag. Clean up after yourselves and your pets. Everything you bring from home should go back home. Leave no trace. Together, we can keep Ohio’s public lands beautiful, clean, and trash-free. Thanks.
Director Laurie A. Stevenson: (01:24:35)
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, it’s a day for us to remember how important it is for all of us to do our part to protect the environment. But everyday can be Earth Day, if we take a few simple steps to make sure that we keep Ohio beautiful and litter-free. When we throw trash out our car windows or on the ground, not only does it create an eyesore and a burden for others to address, but it also threatens our wildlife and creates public health concerns.
Director Laurie A. Stevenson: (01:25:01)
In addition, many of us have seen the devastating footage of trash as it makes its way into our waterways across the globe. But the good news is, is that we can reduce these negative impacts by taking the simple step of ensuring that we throw our trash away the right way. It’s a great thing to do for the environment, for our great state of Ohio, and for the earth. From all of us at Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources, thank you for doing your part every day to help keep our state litter-free, and for making Ohio a better place for us all.
Gov. Mike Dewine: (01:25:40)
Happy Earth Day, everybody. Happy birthday, Grady. We’ll see you all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thank you very much.