Apr 23, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 23
Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on April 23, 2020. He said he will unveil plans on reopening the Ohio economy on Monday. Read the full transcript with all his updates.
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Governor Mike DeWine: (00:13)
Well, good afternoon, everyone. Dr. Acton is not with us today. Fran has been telling me for some time that I should try to convince Dr. Acton to take a day off, and this was supposed to be her day off. Although, I’ve heard she is texting and on conference calls. So anyway, Dr. Acton, I hope you take a little time off today.
Governor Mike DeWine: (00:40)
Want to start, recognize a dear friend of ours, Zoe Dell Nutter died yesterday. Zoe Dell was 104 years old. Also a friend of John’s. She was truly an amazing person, a real pioneer in so many, many ways. Upon receiving the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal at the White House in 2006, First Lady Laura Bush said this about Zoe Dell. “Few women can claim to be a dancer, a model, a huntress, an aviator, a philanthropist, and a pirate. Zoe Dell Netter is one of the few.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21)
Zoe Dell was one of the biggest promoters of aviation history, and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2008 as a living legend of aviation and was always part of the Hall of Fame’s board for many years, and was always at the Hall of Fame dinner. Her impact on aviation history in the entire Miami Valley will certainly live on. She was our friend. She embodied all that really is great about Ohio. And Fran and I will miss her very much.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:58)
Well, as you can see, tonight is the start of the NFL draft. So we thought we’d bring in a helmet from the Bengals and the Browns. It will be great to see a live sporting event, something that’s actually happening in real time on TV. And the thing about the draft, it is somewhat like spring training in baseball, hope springs eternal for every one of the teams. I have helmets, as you can see, from the Bengals, from the Browns. And I’m wearing a tie from Walsh University, which is located in North Canton. And of course Canton is where the Hall of Fame is, Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, on a personal note, Willow Gorman, who is my legislative director at ODOT, he also is a graduate of Walsh.
Governor Mike DeWine: (02:55)
Everyone likes to make predictions. I’ll make a very easy one. The Bengals will pick an Ohioan from Athens County to be their quarterback. That was an easy one, I hope. As far as the Browns, I turn to my son-in-law, Nick. He’s wishing for a left tackle and specifically he was talking about a left tackle from the cornfields of Iowa. We will see. That’s what’s fun about the draft, seeing, match your ideas up against the pros who do this and are picking for each team’s pick. Next year, the draft is in Cleveland. And we’re very excited about that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (03:41)
Let me start with a clarification from yesterday. We talked a little bit about hospital procedures. And let me just state it first. I would love to get back so that hospital could do any procedure that was needed, that was even elective surgeries. And we’re working towards that. Our goal was to get there as soon as we can. There’ve been two constraints. One is a concern about capacity and hospitals. Because of what you have done, that is no longer a concern, at least it’s not a concern now. The other is the personal protection equipment. And that remains a concern. So let me go through this a little bit. In late March, we released an order to postpone elective non-urgent procedures and surgeries. At that time we stated that these cases were permitted to move forward only if there was, one, a threat to the patient’s life if the surgery or procedure was not performed. Or a threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system if not performed, if the procedure was not performed. Or if there is a risk of worsening of disease or condition if the surgery is not performed. Or a risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms if not performed.
Governor Mike DeWine: (05:11)
What I was trying to say yesterday is that we want doctors and other healthcare providers in Ohio to reach out to patients who had a case postponed, to reassess the need for that surgery or procedure based on these criteria, and really to update that based on what was going on. During this assessment, the provider should consider the patient’s current overall health condition and the patient’s quality of life to assess the risk of proceeding with or further postponing the case. If the provider recommends that the surgery or procedure now proceed because the patient now meets one of the four criteria I just mentioned, and we want to make sure a full assessment is done before proceeding with the case. Beyond a reassessment of the patient’s health status, health care providers should discuss the risk of contracting COVID-19 if the procedure is done. Providers should make the patient aware of all of the things that are being done to reduce the risk of patients contracting, COVID-19 in a healthcare setting. With all of that information on-hand, the patient and the provider can jointly make the decision on whether to proceed with that procedure or with that surgery.
Governor Mike DeWine: (06:29)
Again, I really want to make clear that, if you need emergency care or if your condition is worsening, you should call your doctor or your healthcare provider. If you have chest pain, symptoms of a stroke, or other similar serious conditions, by all means, call your doctor, go to the emergency room.
Governor Mike DeWine: (06:48)
Our healthcare facilities across the state are doing a great job at implementing infection control practices within their environment to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. They’re making it as safe as humanly possible to be in a healthcare environment by doing the things that you’ve heard; wearing masks, practicing good hand hygiene, screening staff, screening patients, screening visitors for symptoms of COVID-19. And they’re doing many other measures at all.
Governor Mike DeWine: (07:21)
With all that said, we’re not ready for the entire healthcare system to instantly turn back on, but I’m anxious to get to that point. Again, I’ve asked the doctors, who these comments were based upon and what they told me. I’ve asked them to come back to me very quickly with a plan where we can outline exactly the steps that will take place until we can fully move forward with healthcare and particularly within our hospitals and our other places where procedures like that are done. We want to pull back, we want to get the government out of this just as quickly as we can.
Governor Mike DeWine: (08:06)
We still have the problem of the personal protection equipment, and that is just a problem that we have to deal with. We cannot have first responders, people in nursing homes, people who are dealing with people who try to help people who have COVID-19 and not have the protection that they need. So it’s a balance. We’re trying to work through that, but I’m very anxious to have things really move forward in this area. And I know the hospitals and I know the doctors in the state are as well.
Governor Mike DeWine: (08:45)
So we have a real treat today, and that is a conversation with Dr. Mark Weir. Ohioans, all of you have been doing an absolutely fantastic job in keeping safe, keeping others safe. The challenge though is that this coronavirus is still with us, it’s going to be with us for a while. And so what I want to have Dr. Weir talk about today is some of the guidance that he would give and some of the protection that he would recommend. This is not a marathon. Or this is a marathon, it’s not a sprint. We think sometimes that we got through this and we did well, but we’re not through it yet. We’re through one battle, we’ve done very, very well. But the monster is still out there.
Governor Mike DeWine: (09:45)
So today we want to share some of the underlying science behind the recommendations of social distancing, mask, other efforts that help make our homes, help make our workplaces, environment as safe as possible. We have a special guest, as I said, Dr. Mark Weir, an assistant professor from the Ohio State University. Dr. Weir earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering in 2009 from Drexel University. He is currently the Director of Ecology, Epidemiology and Population Program with the Ohio State Infectious Disease Institute. He is an expert in how the risks to our health change based on the changes we make to our environment. We’ve consulted with him, I was on the phone with him today, I was on the phone yesterday as well as a number of other people.
Governor Mike DeWine: (10:38)
He’s going to share with us today some basic principles and the science behind them that will help guide us in our continued effort to prevent the spread of this virus. His presentation will show how truly we are all in this together. And one of the things I think you will come away from after listening to Dr. Weir is the fact that it is so very, very important for all of us to take care of each other. Before we go to Dr. Weir, I want to ask John for any comments that he has, and then we’ll have Dr. Mark Weir who will be talking to us. John?
Thanks, Governor. Couple things that I wanted to touch on. First of all, very excited about the draft, that we know the Bengals are going to go. Let’s hope the Browns get some great draft choices as well. And wanted to shout out to Adam Troutman from the University of Dayton who’s expected to be an early round draft choice from the [Uniflyers 00:11:46]. Additionally, one of the things that I talk a lot about are the jobs that are out there, particularly in the food supply chain. We have, at coronavirus.ohio.gov/jobsearch, I think the numbers are up over 50,000 jobs available from 866 companies who are trying to serve all of us as the marketplace changes during these unique times. And yesterday these two worlds came together.
My wife, Tina, had the privilege of working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to evaluate and grant a scholarship to several young people. And one of those young people was a young man named Malik from the Boys & Girls Club of Dayton. And he won the Ohio Traditional Youth of the Year award winner. He talked about his story of overcoming difficulties, about wanting to have a career and get an education and to move forward with his life. He’s been part of the Boys & Girls Club for 11 years in Dayton. In these clubs, the Governor I know has talked about with me many times, they do such wonderful things at helping young people overcome obstacles and get a better shot in life.
But one of the things that Malik said yesterday is that while he doesn’t have school every day in terms of physically going there, and a lot of his hopes for the spring were set aside, he’s made the best of it. He’s continuing to get his education, he earned this scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club, and he also went and got a job at Kroger. He said that he wanted to contribute during this difficult time, that he just wanted to find a way to make a little money and to do something for his community. And so, Malik is a really inspiring story. And we know that there are a lot of seniors out there who are maybe not going to have their senior year end the way that they had hoped, but Malik’s story is an inspiring one of somebody who continues to overcome and overcome challenges and who is going to have a bright future as all of you out there who are seniors who stay the course and get through this are going to have. And so I want to congratulate Malik and all of you out there who are persevering and overcoming during these difficult times.
I know that we’re going to have Dr. Weir on. And just prior to him being introduced, I’ll just say that I’ve really valued his input to our process of trying to make sure that, as businesses open up and operate, that we’re going to make sure that it’s safe for their employees, for their customers, and for all of Ohio by creating the right kind of environment for those things to happen. And I know that, just as a reminder, businesses have been operating during this entire process, if you’re an essential business. And manufacturers, construction industry, highways and buildings and roads, distribution to get these products out to us, and retail, grocery stores, hardware, garden, auto, all of them have been operating under a set of safety protocols, and they’ve worked very well. But thanks to Dr. Weir and a number of other health professionals, we’re going to build an even better regime to keep people safe, best practices, things that everybody can do to empower themselves and their colleagues to defeat coronavirus. And so, look forward to hearing more from Dr. Weir as we move forward.
Governor Mike DeWine: (15:49)
Thank you very much. We will turn it over to you. Thank you.
Dr. Mark Weir: (15:58)
Great. So, all right, well we’ll start off. So, at my slide sharing here. What’s an academic without his slides? So, I’m a core faculty member with the Sustainability Institute as well as being part of the Infectious Disease Institute. And part of that is because a lot of what we do by way of how we build these models are a deeply collaborative arrangement. I need to make sure I’m on the right page. There we go. So, in order for us to understand how we come about the recommendations that we make, when we’re looking at either multiple hazards or in this case only focusing and drilling down specifically on SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. We want to have a bit of an understanding of what science entails for us to be able to do this.
Dr. Mark Weir: (16:50)
So, what we do is we focus on the virus. And when I say we, it is a multi-institutional, multi- state set of teams that we put together to try and build these models and move them forward. So, what we do is we focus on the virus. And in this case the virus is emitted through your cough or your sneeze outward, kind of in a cone-shape, as a droplet. And a droplet is an important characteristic because a droplet will fall out of the air at a quicker rate than something that will stay in the air and will actually circulate in the air for a longer period of time. So that’s an important distinction when we make these kind of recommendations moving things forward.
Dr. Mark Weir: (17:35)
Surfaces are really important. If you touch a surface that’s contaminated, now you’ve contaminated your hand and now we have to deal with that contamination of your hand, and we’ll see an example of that in a little bit. Then we have cross-contamination from you contaminating your hand and then contaminating other surfaces or other items along the way.
Dr. Mark Weir: (17:55)
So, all of these different dynamics have to be looked at. And so, what we want to do is we want to answer what are the impacts to society that the virus is having? How do we eliminate or limit the impacts that those can be to the society. In order to do that, we focus on the environment and the virus, because the environment is something that we can use to kill the virus. And if we can kill the virus then it can’t get inside of us. And if it can’t get inside of us, it can’t impact us. It can’t create an infection. So that’s what we want to try and do. We want to try and interrupt this that you’re seeing here, the infection process.
Dr. Mark Weir: (18:32)
So, the modeling that you’ve heard about before is trying to track and predict how the disease is going to move within a population. That’s a much larger picture than what we do. We’re getting down to the micro scale to be able to look at what’s happening with the virus.
Dr. Mark Weir: (18:48)
So, what we have is we have it where you cough and then let’s say that you forget to cough into your elbow, like we always recommend that you do. Or you’re not wearing a mask. And so, what happens is you either cough into your hand and now you have a contaminated hand, or you cough into the air and then it can land on a surface or then you touch a surface. Once you’ve touched the surface, then somebody else can touch it and you have inadvertently led to some of these possible infections by not preventing this infection process from happening. And preventing the infection process is really quite simple. It is a matter of multiple parties working together in concert to be able to limit access of other people to the virus. If you can’t contact the virus, it can’t get inside you and it wouldn’t be able to create an infection. So it really is really quite simple.
Dr. Mark Weir: (19:46)
So, this really simple case, infected person coughs and then they’re wearing a mask. If they wear a mask, the mask will capture a large number of those droplets. If you reduce the number of droplets that have viruses, that’s even less that will get on a surface and then they are eventually going to die on that surface, either by cleaning the surface, which is what the business owner or somebody else can do, or by you washing your hands before you touch a surface or using hand sanitizer or something else to remove the virus before you touch a surface. Then that means that, if the other person who touches the surface also then washes their hands before touching their face, then they’re not going to become infected.
Dr. Mark Weir: (20:27)
So you can see where we can block this movement of the virus to create an infection at multiple locations by us as citizens and customers having our own agency and using our own agency of infection control to do so, and then also the business owner and operator being able to protect us and their staff at the same time.
Dr. Mark Weir: (20:49)
So it’s really important. That’s what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to say, “How do we model what these options are?” Because what we can do is we can have a whole list of possible interventions that we could use. Some of them expensive, some of them very, very cheap. How do we choose one or the other? How do we then justify the choice that we have made? So the models that we develop are really targeted at how do you make these decisions under the uncertainty of something like an awful virus. And all a model is, is it’s just math trying to play as the real world, in a way. It is mathematics trying to represent the real world as closely as possible.
Dr. Mark Weir: (21:34)
And so, what we want to do is we want to be able to say, once we have this model, and we have a bank of them going forward, what do we say by way of what if someone doesn’t wear a mask? What if somebody doesn’t wash their hands? What if we don’t clean the shelves nightly? And what are these things that will happen if we’re not taking our own personal responsibility and we’re not also taking our responsibility as business owners as well? So the main thing…
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (22:03)
… business owners as well.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (22:03)
The main things that are really quite important, if you look to the right at those box plots, what those are showing is, there’s an opportunity for us to be able as business owners to have a direct impact on whether or not people have a chance of getting sick. We can prevent a lot of infections by simply cleaning surfaces on a regular basis. What kind of regular basis does that mean? That’s what some of our models are going to try and answer as soon as possible. What does this also mean by way of focusing on different types of services? We can look at how often people touch those surfaces, what they’re made of. We’ve heard before that gyms are shut down because of how long SARS COV-2 last on stainless steel and other metals. Well, now that we know that we can incorporate that into our models and say, do we need to clean them more frequently or what do we have to do to be able to maintain an appropriately low-level of viruses so that people don’t get sick?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (23:03)
Then what this means is if we think about it in the concept of overlapping fields of control, we have our personal areas of control. I will mirror a mask. I will wash my hands. I will make sure I don’t touch my face. These are all behavioral actions that we can make a habitual practice in our own lives for us to be able to maintain our safety and our family’s safety. Then the businesses can protect themselves, their staff, and also its customers by saying, well, this is what I can do. I can clean surfaces, I can make sure that I monitor my employee’s health to make sure that they aren’t sick and possibly spreading things around. We have the opportunity to heavily sterilize shelves at the end of the shift. Things like that. They are relatively simple things for us to be able to do that just have to become this habitual thing for us as the virus eventually does die away in the environment, but it will take time for that to happen.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (24:00)
Then there are the building owners, what can they do? That’s more of an infrastructure question. Do they have the ability to alter the HVAC system? Do they have the ability to change out their filters on a more regular basis, put in thicker filters, make sure that the filters are HEPA filters? There are a number of options for you to be able to go through. But if you manage an infrastructure or you manage a building for you to be able to say, I can have this now global effect on being able to help both the business owners and the customers at the same time. It’s really an idea of this is a team effort. It’s team Ohio, making sure that what we can do is protect ourselves, our families and each other all in the same process. Our models are looking at that to be able to try and say what are our best options in order to do this moving forward.
Governor Mike DeWine: (24:59)
For those who cannot see this, I’m not sure this is showing up on TV, you want to describe this a little bit? In fact, I’ll try to read it. Ceramic, plastic, stainless steel, wood, combined.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (25:17)
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:18)
Then what are these, Doctor? What do these represent here then?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (25:23)
On the X on the bottom axis on the horizontal …
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:26)
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (25:26)
You’re seeing different surface types, so ceramic you would get on countertops and things like that or sink surfaces. Plastics, bed rails and things, other items. Stainless steel is stainless steel. Wood laminate would be things like table surfaces and other items like that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:46)
Well, excuse me, Doctor, but I don’t think they can read this. But on the side you have probability of infection.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (25:52)
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:52)
I assume that the higher this is the more probability of infection is that …
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (25:57)
Exactly. Yeah. You don’t want that to be any higher than is reasonable. What you’re seeing there is all of those other than the plastics in this simulation that we ran, there was a 1 in 10,000, actually less than 1 in 10,000 chance that the majority of the population would run into by way of getting this particular infection. In this case, what we’re showing is that plastics were, well in way we found two things in this case. Plastics are a little harder to clean as well as you contact more plastic surfaces than non-plastic surfaces depending on your environment that you’re in. That’s just an example.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (26:38)
Then combined is you don’t just touch one surface in a given day, you touch multiple surfaces and each one of those has a cumulative impact on the amount of viruses that gets on your hands and then eventually into you as well. [crosstalk 00:26:55]
Governor Mike DeWine: (26:54)
Yeah, Doctor, I didn’t understand. I didn’t at least understand the 1 in 10,000. I didn’t get that at all. Sorry. You gave a statistic a minute ago, I don’t understand what that pertains to.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (27:07)
Think of it as if there’s 10,000 people, there will be one person that would possibly get the infection at that level. If we did this for a building or a particular store, that store would have to have 10,000 people come through for a likely infection to occur. Again, when we say probability or likelihood, we’re not saying that that’s definitive. We’re saying is that there is a chance that an infection would occur. But there is-
Governor Mike DeWine: (27:42)
Doctor, I apologize, but if what happens? I got the result but what are we talking about? If such and such is done. If what is done, then we get down to those odds?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (27:55)
Yep. This simulation was a person being in, we actually built this for a hospital room, being in a hospital room for a day and a half or two days, depending on that span of time, touching different fomites and then touching their face and ingesting the pathogen that way.
Governor Mike DeWine: (28:17)
But that assumes cleaning though, right? That what you’re saying?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (28:21)
Yeah. There is intermittent cleaning happening as well. In this particular simulation, what we did to have is we can start at different levels of contamination on the surfaces. It can be you have one person, five people or however many in the room and they’re all coughing and they’re asymptomatic carriers. We can start as that as like a worst case kind of scenario and then move backwards to just one person over the entirety of a shift and be able to look at the whole spread.
Governor Mike DeWine: (28:52)
Doctor, I wonder if you could talk for us about masks and what kind of protection that gives, what kind of protection it doesn’t give. Maybe when nobody has a mask. One person has a mask of two people. Two people have masks. What kind of protection does that do, or how would you describe that then?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (29:15)
Sure. When it comes to these kinds of interventions, it’s best to think of it as multiple barriers or multiple shields. Just because you can get through one barrier doesn’t mean that you’ll get through other ones. If one of those barriers doesn’t work as effectively as you think it is or will, then there’s other barriers to protect you along the way.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (29:43)
If you are wearing a mask, you are protecting those people around you and you’re providing yourself an additional layer of protection as well. What the mask is made of will tell us what the level of protection is. We have some research going on looking at different non-traditional mask material types, so comparing cloth to other options. We’re still gathering that data now on what the range of risk protections you get from them are, but we can look at each one of those materials.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (30:19)
Now if you on your own are the only person wearing a mask, you are protecting yourself. If you are an asymptomatic carrier or you are mildly ill and don’t even really know it, you’re protecting other people around you at the same time by way of not expelling out those pathogens. Now imagine if everyone in the store had a mask. If everyone in the store now has a mask, you now have everyone in the store providing their own shield of protection for their face, plus you have them protecting everyone else at the same time, being able to to increase the overall level of support to the community.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (30:58)
Then that’s just one aspect of it. Add on top of that regular hand-washing and controlling and thinking about whether or not you’re touching your face or you’re touching your phone, then bringing it up to your face and so on. If you think more about what actions you are doing, then you’re going to be able to control your actions that little bit more.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (31:19)
But in masks, when you’re talking about it, you’re talking about I protect myself and my family and my neighbors. My neighbors protect themselves and their family and me at the same time, as it really is a team sport
Governor Mike DeWine: (31:33)
Team sport. All right. Let’s talk a moment if I could ask you about just in support and how that interplays with the mask. Dr. Acton has talked about Swiss cheese where we lay one level layer on top of another. Tell me about the spacing, how far people should be apart and how a mask plays in into all that.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (32:02)
There’s a lot of really interesting physics that goes into where we get those recommendations on how far apart for people to be that I won’t go into. But the basics of it are, if I tilt to the side a little bit, when I talk there is a cone of projection that comes out from me and you’re going to hear that by way of the vibrations of my voice as they come out. That’s how you’re going to hear things. But also there’s a certain amount of particles, salivary particles and other aerosols that will come out from my mouth every time that I’m talking.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (32:42)
What ends up happening is whenever I talk, this happens, but I’m not talking with such force that it’s going to eject out in a far distance away from me. But when I cough or when I sneeze you are going to get a similar cone that occurs that comes outward from your mouth. What’s going to happen is that you are going to have those droplets spread through the air and then eventually fall out due to gravity because some of them are heavy and some of them are lighter. The lighter ones will go a little bit farther a field from your mouth than the ones that are heavier and those are going to deposit faster. That’s what we call a droplet.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (33:18)
You’re going to have these droplets that fallout from the air as they move forward. A lot of science has been done over decades looking at how aerosols, bio-aerosols, so if you have an organism inside the aerosol, how they move around in the air and then eventually deposit. What we’ve seen is that when you’re talking about this kind of respiratory disease that you get with, which is COVID-19, you’re each ejecting out a pretty well-documented size range of aerosolized particles. They’re going to travel about six to ten feet depending on environmental conditions. Environmental conditions being how warm is it, how cold is it, what’s the humidity, air current flows, things like that are all going to impact that. But the six to ten feet, that’s where that comes from, is decades of bio-aerosol work, and it’s still ongoing now through a number of different people trying to make sure we have the exact right values for SARS COV-2.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (34:20)
What that means is even if you’re wearing a mask, you really still want to keep that distance between people. Obviously, you’re not going to be rude to each other, but you’re going to make sure that you keep that distance so that you have this additional barrier, but it’s not a silver bullet. It’s not the thing that is definitely going to always work all the time. Again, like I said before about multiple barriers, multiple layers, that distance between people is still going to be a barrier that we can use. Then we also have all the other barriers that we can put in place as well.
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:00)
Eric, do you have the ability to put the doctor back on the screen or try to get him back up? Doctor, can you switch back?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (35:09)
Sure. Take the slides off the screen?
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:11)
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (35:12)
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:13)
Unless you need that one.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (35:15)
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:16)
John, you had a question?
Sure. Thanks, Governor, Dr. [Weir 00:13:20]. Some of the interactions and discussions we’ve had, it’s great to hear the science behind it. But as we’re giving advice to people, because one of the things I’ve loved about our conversations, you talked about how an in- [inaudible 00:35:34] and as we try to simplify it, it’s really distance, disinfecting and masking it, meaning that we want to keep that six feet apart, we want to disinfect by washing our hands and washing down high-touch surfaces and then we make that more effective when we put a mask on. Is that a simple guideline that we could give people to how they can think about it?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (35:59)
It’s a really good set of simple solutions. Simple solutions are always the best because they can be followed most easily and typically at very, very low cost. It really does come to this idea that you have multiple layers of control or you have multiple barriers, however you want to think about what we’re talking about, but one of these on their own has its own level of effect. Washing your hands regularly, we’ve always been hearing about this, wash your hands regularly. That has its own level of effect that we know how much of the virus it will remove or kill in the process and we can model that forward and we do. On top of that you prevent its access to your face and your nasal passages and your mouth by an actual physical barrier. That’s that extra layer of protection.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (36:58)
That’s really where we get the most effect overall is stacking these interventions on top of each other in a reasonable manner so that we can get that. That’s going to allow us to be able to move around with more freedom, be able to get Ohio back working, but also maintain our safety at the same time. It really is going to take the individual agency of each Ohioan to seriously consider themselves and their neighbors health when they’re making decisions and they’re going about their daily lives.
Governor Mike DeWine: (37:38)
Doctor, I wonder if you could give us some indication how long the virus will live. For example, I have a podium here made out of wood on different surfaces. You had different surfaces up there before. Is there any rule of thumb? I mean, because this would go back to how often would you recommend wiping the surface off, sanitizing the surface. Any help for people who are watching you today, sitting at home and wanting to have some guidelines there?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (38:20)
The data that we have now, there’s a concept called persistence, how long does a microorganism, in this case, the virus last on the surface. On its own left alone, you don’t do anything to it, it’s going to die of its own life cycle because it’s a virus doesn’t last that long in the environment typically. That’s what you’ve been seeing, if you’ve seen any of the news reports or data that’s been quoting that. It can stay viable in air. It’s not that it suspends in the air for three hours, but it can stay in a relatively dry air environment for upwards of three hours. Some surfaces it can last up to 72 hours and so on. Plastics and stainless steels, it lasts the longest amount of time on, but that’s persistence. That’s if you don’t do anything to the virus.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (39:11)
If you take an EPA or CDC-recommended disinfectant and you use that on the surface, whatever that rating is on the bottle, so if you turn the bottle around and you look at what’s on it, if it says 99.9% or a two-log reduction, those are basically the same thing. What you’re saying is it’s going to remove 99.9% of the viruses, which means only 0.1% of whatever viruses were on that surface will be remaining if you use that wipe properly. Read the instructions on the wipes, wipe the surface down, and you’re going to get that log reduction that’s on that wipe. If you follow the instructions. If you’re using your own homemade approach to try and do that, maybe think a little bit more about using the recommended products. We recommend them for a reason, because we’ve tested to make sure that they actually do work on this particular virus.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (40:11)
That would be my main suggestion is follow the instructions on whatever disinfectant you’re using, make sure that disinfectant is appropriate for SARS COV-2, or coronaviruses in general, and then just follow the instructions. Yeah.
Governor Mike DeWine: (40:31)
Doctor, you and I Fran had a discussion on the phone this morning about food. You want to relate what you told us about freezing, what you told us about cooking?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (40:45)
Yep. When you freeze something, you damaged cells. Most people who have tried to freeze fruit have been able to tell that, especially juicy kind of fruits. When you damage a cell, it’s no longer viable. Something similar is going to happen to viruses. You remove their ability to replicate or you destroy another part of them in the freezing process. The slow kind of bench freezers that we have at home are going to do more damage to cells then is like a blast chiller or something like that. The freezing is going to have some level of an effect, but it’s not the begin-and-end-all.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (41:26)
Anytime anybody talks to me about recommendations, I either go back to the history of time to start the explanation or I make sure to talk about the uncertainties of it because it’s important to understand that it’s a range of effects that we’re talking about. There are no silver bullets. There are no sure-fixes on things. It’s consistency and vigilance.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (41:50)
Freezing is going to have some level of an effect, but cooking’s going to have even more of an effect. There are decades of food science and food safety research that have been ongoing, that have been able to show different levels of cooking, have different effects on different cells. Viruses do not survive heat well at all.
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (42:12)
OSU is very lucky to have Dr. [Kowalczyk 00:42:16] in the food sciences office. She is world-renowned as a food safety expert. As we think more and more about food safety and food risks related to this, which for a virus, if you cook it, are going to become minimized, I’m sure we’ll be able to engage with her and use her expertise to a great degree. If questions come up in the future about food safety, I’m very confident that we’ve answered them to a great degree with research we’ve already done and then we’re in good hands in Ohio with the expertise we have.
Governor Mike DeWine: (42:55)
I told Dr. Ware that a Fran had some strawberries and she picked some rhubarb and she solved the problem very well that she made a pie. I thought that was a great …
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (43:04)
Governor Mike DeWine: (43:06)
… a happy resolution for me. Doctor, I got one more question then I’m going to turn it over to the news media here, see if they have any questions for you. Talk to us real quickly if you could about air conditioning, heat and kind of how that works and what should we know?
Dr. Mark H. Weir: (43:26)
Air conditioning is basically, the simplest way of thinking of it is you take air from the room, you either remove energy from it or you put energy in. If you’re removing energy, you’re cooling it down. If you’re putting energy, you’re heating it up. Heating systems will add heat to the air and then run it back to you. Then cooling systems will remove energy, remove heat from the air, and then run it back to you. That’s how any of them work. But it’s what’s called a recirculation system. Your building or your room is going to have the air recirculating through it because it’s more efficient to run it that way. It’ll cost you-
Dr. Weir: (44:03)
Be circulating through it because it’s more efficient to run it that way. It’ll cost you less. It’s more efficient from an energy and cost sustainability standpoint and especially costs, it costs a lot less than constantly cooling down the outdoor air, especially in the summertime, but that recirculation means that you can recirculate the viruses as well. And again, we have many years of research has gone into answering what are the ways being able to mitigate bioaerosols or pathogens in indoor air, in room air. And again, simplest solutions are the ones that are usually the best, filters do a very good job. The thicker the filter typically we’ll get more removal of viruses through that. A HEPA rated filter means that it is a high efficiency particle filter, so it’s going to be able to remove very small particles of which your bio aerosols are very small particles. And so, the better the filter, the more protection you’re going to have.
Dr. Weir: (45:07)
On top of that, you have options to be able to change the mixture of indoor and outdoor air that you use. There’s a bit of an energy and cost balance that you have to go through with that, these fall within that facility and building controls bubble that I had on there as well. And it does take a little bit more by way of analysis and thinking to see whether or not you can actually do these options, but that’s an additional layer where the building owner, operator or manager is going to be able to protect a large number of people. And so, if you own a building and you decide that I’m going to increase the size and, if you can, the number of filters that are in my HVAC system or you’ll take another step forward and look at some of the air treatment technologies that have mixed efficiency. So, make sure that you’re choosing appropriately for your own system. So, if you decide to take that step, you can be protecting hundreds of people or more in a day. And so, that’s that extra level of safety that on top of all the things that everybody does on a daily basis to protect themselves and their neighbors, on top of everything else that the business owners are going to do to protect themselves, their staff and their customers. It’s just a better outcome if we can do that too.
Governor Mike DeWine: (46:34)
Dr. Weir, If you can stay with us for a few minutes, we’re going to have some questions and Jim [inaudible 00:46:41] has the first question.
Thank you, governor. Thanks for doing this. I have a question about getting Ohio back to work and your approach to this. If you haven’t announced your details yet, how closely do you plan to follow what the white house and the CDC has already posted in their phase one? That approach of going phase one, phase two, phase three and being specific about businesses can open first, do you follow them or your own path?
Governor Mike DeWine: (47:05)
I guess that’s to me. Is that to me, Jim?
Governor Mike DeWine: (47:12)
Look, we’re following the broad white house guidelines the president has set down. I think they’re consistent with what we were doing or were consistent with them, vice versa. But the president’s made clear that this is always… Each state has got to adjust things for their own situation. And so, we’re going to make that announcement on Monday. Tomorrow, we will have an announcement not in regard to businesses, but it will be an announcement about what we’re doing as we get ready for that, and one of the boxes that we felt we needed to check to move forward. So, we’ll be talking about that that tomorrow, but our actual announcement, just to let everybody know, will be on Monday.
Jack Windsor: (48:09)
Hi, Jack Windsor. WMFDTV.
Governor Mike DeWine: (48:11)
[inaudible 00:48:11] ask if you can just indicate whether the question is for Dr. Weir or for me or for lieutenant governor.
Jack Windsor: (48:18)
Absolutely. Jack Windsor with WMFDTV in Mansfield. Governor DeWine, my question is for you, sir. On March 23rd, you signed a state order built on two pillars, we needed to flatten the curve and we needed to buy time to ramp hospital capacity. A month later, we have significantly more data and if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share a few of those data points that our viewers have shared with us. Just this morning out of New York, it’s projected that 2.7 million New Yorkers are carrying the antibody, reducing their death rate from 7% to below 1%. outcomes in places like South Dakota, Florida, and Sweden where leaders relaxed mandates are producing lowercase levels and mortality rates. New evidence out of Israel suggests that regardless of sheltering or not, the virus runs its course in about eight weeks. Our hospital vacancy seems to be at about 92%. it appears the reasons to be under lockdown are satisfied. So, my question to you, sir, given realtime data instead of the early conjecture we had to rely upon and given that whatever we do will require people doing the right things, why not fully open Ohio today?
Governor Mike DeWine: (49:33)
Dr. Weird, could you hear that question?
Dr. Weir: (49:37)
Part of it. I heard a quote about the Israeli study looking at no matter the approach, there’s a certain period of time for the virus to be active. Is that what I was hearing?
Governor Mike DeWine: (49:57)
That’s part of it. The question was to me, and I will answer it, but I wanted to see if you had any comments, but I will answer the question for you. Go ahead, Dr [inaudible 00:06:09].
Dr. Weir: (50:07)
So, a couple of things with that is that the study that you’re talking about with regards to from out of Israel, not taking anything away from the scientist who did the statistics, he’s a very [inaudible 00:50:23] biostatistician. But it is a very specific data analysis of limited data. It’s very difficult to be able to take into account asymptomatic rates, mild cases, co-morbidities, meaning other conditions that somebody might have that can increase their risk of a severe outcome, as well as a lot of the dynamics of what happens in an environment. So, that’s a data point with regards to an analysis that can come through one of many that we can take as a way of being able to synthesize that into some decision-making moving forward. One thing that we have seen throughout this is that this is a novel virus and these are novel approaches to try and to fight the surge of medical need.
Dr. Weir: (51:21)
And so, all of these decisions are decisions that are made under uncertainty with limited information. And so, we learn as we go along and then we adjust, at least in the models that we build. We take that information and we say, what can we learn about it? It’s how modelers other than myself as well at [inaudible 00:51:44] are saying on these what if scenarios, what if we open in this type of way? What if we have these kind of outcomes? And we can simulate a number of different occurrences in the computer before they would actually occur, allowing us to be able to examine what are those best options for us to move forward. So, there’s a lot of different types of analyses that are done, that can be done and all of them have their limitations. And so, that’s the only thing I wanted to add with that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (52:15)
Let me just try to answer the question. One of your points was that studies have shown, the New York study, that more New Yorkers would test positive, had the virus, which means that that probably is true in Ohio. I have stated up here when we looked at what happened at Marion in the prison, that we had 39% of the people who had showed no evidence that they were sick had the virus. So, we have always felt that, and Dr. Acton has been very clear all through this, that there are more and more people who have this than ever knew they had it. And many people who had thought they had something else probably had it. So, what that does, as you pointed out, is that means that of the people who have it, the percentage of people who die has gone down.
Governor Mike DeWine: (53:10)
That’s a natural function of increasing the whole, but it does not change the fact that this is still very contagious. There is no indication that I’m aware of that it’s stopped being contagious. It does not alter the fact that as of today, 656 Ohioans have died. Doesn’t [inaudible 00:53:39] that fact. So, percentages are interesting. As we move, and we’ll be announcing this on Monday, to open up more of Ohio and get more people back to work, we want to do it in a careful way and we want to do it in a way that engenders confidence in people. So, that’s how we’re going to proceed and that’s what we’re going to do.
Kevin Landers: (54:05)
Kevin Landers, WBNS 10 TV.
Governor Mike DeWine: (54:07)
Let me ask, if I could, if there is a continuum. We talked a little bit about this this morning, but the last question brings this up, at least suggests it to me in regard to expectation, if you open up in different ways. One would be you start having mass meetings and mass gatherings and just really do everything like that. The other would be that you do things less than that and I’ll let you fill in the blanks, because the last question really is asking us to make a projection about what will happen if we do different things. That’s really what the public policy discussion that is going on now. So, if you can from a scientific point of view add anything to that, that would be great.
Dr. Weir: (55:03)
Well, I think there’s two things about that. One is that we have teams at the Infectious Disease Institute and through the Translational Data Analytics Institute at OSU, as well as the Sustainability Institute. All three of them have combined forces to be able to try and say, what are these what if scenarios and what are the outcomes from them? Sometimes the science just reflects a lot of what we’ve known for a while, but now we have mathematical evidence for it or we have proof that shows that this will work in this case as well. And the old adage is of slow and steady wins the race or not opening up the floodgates. So, if you would go from everything is tightly locked in, right? So, everything is tightly locked in and you have a good amount of control over who can infect another person. That’s the point of why we did what we did and we’re doing what we’re doing.
Dr. Weir: (56:11)
If you immediately open all of it all at once. Now, what’s going to happen is everything that you’ve done, is the controls are lifted completely, mass gatherings happen and all these other things, you’re almost inviting another peak to occur because that is just completely opening up the flood gates and deluging yourself with people who might be carrying it yet, and people who might never have contacted it can now become infected with possibly severe outcomes. So, the idea of you have everybody set and barriers in place and then you slowly open things up, it’s a much more controllable environment. You can gauge what’s happening. It gives us time to say, did we make the correct decision with regards to a particular type of business or a particular action? It gives us the ability to say, are we seeing cases going up?
Dr. Weir: (57:14)
If we’re seeing cases going up, then we have control measures that we can put in place and we’re stimulating those control measures at OSU. And it gives us that ability to say, are we making the right decision? Do we have to change things? Do we have to adapt things? What is it in our toolbox that we can use to make sure that we have as healthy and as safe an opening as possible? And so, it’s an important layer for us to be able to make sure we have, by way of assessing in real time whether or not the safety that we think we are going to achieve is actually being realized.
Governor Mike DeWine: (57:53)
Thank you, next question.
Kevin Landers: (57:55)
Hello, governor. Kevin Landers with WBNS 10 TV. My question could be either for you or for Dr. Weir. Dr. Weir seemed to suggest that distancing, sterilization and protection are really important and it seemed like he was making the case almost for mandated masks. And I’m wondering if that’s something legally you can do, and in that same vein, opening stores May 1st, Dr. Acton had said that we’re going to see new cases as a result. And for the doctors and nurses treating existing patients, they want to know how fair that is to add more patients to an already stressful workplace on top of the fact that PPE rationing is happening. Thank you.
Governor Mike DeWine: (58:34)
Dr. Weir, were you able to hear that?
Dr. Weir: (58:37)
A little bit, something about the fairness of-
Governor Mike DeWine: (58:40)
The last part of the question was simply that Dr. Acton and actually myself as well have said, when you begin to open things up you would expect to see more cases. And the question is, is that fair to the frontline defenders? Is that a fair summary, Kevin, what I just said?
Kevin Landers: (59:09)
It seemed like he was making the case for mandated mask wearing and I wanted to know from you if legally if you can enforce that and how fair that is to add more patients to the system who are already dealing with existing-
Governor Mike DeWine: (59:20)
[crosstalk 00:59:20] It sounds like what you’re saying, Dr. Weir, is you’re making a case for mandated mask and then his question to me was do I have the power to mandate masks? So, why don’t you take your part of the question and then I’ll take mine?
Dr. Weir: (59:32)
Sure. So, really important concept in any kind of risk analysis field is that risk can never be zero. You can have as low of a risk as possible and you can get really, really close to it, but you can’t actually zero out risk. The virus is in our environment and so, whenever we open up the economy, the virus is going to be in our environment to some extent. Waiting out for the… So, the concept behind stay at home directives was to prevent the surge from getting to a specific level that could overburden our medical system. The intent wasn’t to eradicate the virus by starving it of people. That would take a very long time for any virus. And so, it is important to note that when we open things up, and Dr. Acton and governor DeWine, you yourself as well being honest with everyone in saying that there are going to be cases as this moves forward, it’s also a residual of it may not be related directly to the opening that those or that particular case occurred. Their incubation period of the virus in them could have actually just been a little bit longer than what we typically are running into. So, there is a bit of uncertainty on whether or not it’s because of the opening.
Dr. Weir: (01:01:10)
And then once the opening has happened for long enough, then cases that develop because of that are attributable to people being able to move around. But it’s a really important thing to think about is that risk can never be zero. You just need to do everything in your power to minimize it as much as possible, and then your neighbor has to do everything in their power to minimize as much as possible, and it’s this collective effect. You build up more of a barrier, the more people who take the responsibility and the agency to be able to protect themselves however they can.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:01:48)
And I would just add to that, to answer your question. I think the more that we all are able to do to protect each other, the faster we’re going to be able to open up the economy. And I think there’s a direct relationship there between what we’re going to be able to do, what we do do and how fast we can move things forward.
Molly Martinez: (01:02:20)
Hi, governor. This is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. My question is either for you or for the lieutenant governor. We’ve got a lot of concern from the dental community about what work will look like when Ohio reopens. They’re more susceptible to infection just by the nature of their work. With a shortage of PPE, what plans in place are there to protect them?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:02:45)
[inaudible 01:02:45] the PPE. We have to be able to protect them. And again, we have many dentists I’m sure who would like to really go start back hard and take care of patients. That’s what they do. We also have the limited PPE that we have and so, those two things are the two things that we have to balance. So, we don’t want people being in a position where they can’t protect themselves, and that’s part of getting back. So, we’re continue to be in a struggle. I talked on the phone with some doctors this morning and some hospitals this morning in regard to that quest to get more PPE. There are some hospitals that have it, there are some hospitals that have a three day supply, seven day supply, 10 days supply. And then, you get down into nursing homes and you get into dentists and you get into other individuals. So, we’re not where we want to be certainly with PPE. And that is the limiting factor for us to be able to get back in the whole medical field and start doing things that should be being done. So, that’s the challenge we face.
Jon Husted: (01:04:03)
And just a little bit to that, when you see the standards, they’re going to be very solid standards and talking with Dr. Weir and following the CDC, OSHA, other guidelines. These are going to be very strict standards to open and I would add that nobody will require anybody to open. We’re saying these are the standards that you must meet to open, you don’t have to open, and we would encourage people not to go out if they didn’t feel comfortable or if they didn’t feel safe. And that’s an important part of it as well.
Jim Provance: (01:04:46)
Jim Provance with the Toledo Blade, and this will be a question for the governor or for the lieutenant governor. You had been signaling for the last couple of days that today would be the rollout of the business plan. Could you give us an idea of why that didn’t happen? Has it proven to be a little bit more difficult than you-
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:00)
… I signaled today was the day, but maybe I did. Look, we’re trying to get this right. We’re also trying to look at where exactly we are in regard to testing. So, there’s a lot of variables that we’re looking at. Lieutenant governor has done a great job working with business community. These are things that I need to frankly review further and we’re just not quite ready to do it. That’s what it is. We’re just not quite ready. It’s just, these are significant decisions that impact people’s lives, both from a health point of view and from an economic point of view, and trying to balance those in a way that allows us to continue to move forward and do it in a way that we’re not going to have to turn around and go back. We want to-
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:06:03)
Not going to have to turn around and go back. We want to start out. We want to move forward. We want to do it in a logical way, and there’s some other ingredients in there, and one of them we’re going to be talking about tomorrow, which is actually, tomorrow will be a very good news story, but it will not be about the opening, but it will certainly be related to that.
Speaker 2: (01:06:26)
That businesses will have enough advance notice that there’s a date coming up for them to be reopened.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:06:33)
Well, I think people will have enough advanced notice. I mean look, I mean, we all want as much notice as we can get. But as Dr. Weir said, this is a virus and a situation. It is constantly changing. What we have tried to do, Lieutenant Governor, myself, Dr. Acton, is to advise the people of the state of Ohio what we knew every day. But it is changing as the virus changes, as the impact of it changes, and we have to continue to assess things and try to use the best available data that we can. I will tell you also that in trying to figure out when businesses open, which businesses open. You know, we have relied on people like Dr. Weir, with many others, to try to give us the best information available about the spread of the virus, about the impact of that spread. We have to be concerned about a lot of different things. So we’re working on it and we’ll have that announcement on Monday.
Adrienne Robbins : (01:07:45)
Adrian Robbins, MBC4, and my question’s for the Governor. When it comes to travel plans, Ohio is planning to reopen as are many other states. At what point can Ohioans plan to travel out of state without the 14 day quarantine being needed afterwards?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:06)
I don’t think we know that yet. We don’t really know that yet. I wish I could tell you. I mean, we’re taking these things, trying to get information out to people as fast as we can. We’re trying to make sure that this monster doesn’t come back up. It’s still here. It is still something we have to deal with, and so we’re trying to balance all of those things.
Adrienne Robbins : (01:08:34)
Date, but do you think it will depend on how states, especially the surrounding States of Ohio, are doing?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:43)
Well, last night I talked to the Governor of Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. And so not all the States that surround us, but some of them, and we continue to compare notes, we continue to talk about how things are going in our states. Each state is different. Each state has a different demographic population, different with cities. And so not every state is the same. But you know, we’re certainly comparing notes and we’re certainly talking to each other, and we certainly know that the population goes back and forth, particularly if you go down to Cincinnati, the tri-state area, it certainly does there. It certainly does in Youngstown and over in northwest Ohio and Indiana and Fort Wayne. So there’s a lot of going back and forth just naturally.
Adrienne Robbins : (01:09:33)
Ben Garber: (01:09:36)
Hello Governor, Ben Garber with ABC 6 and Fox 20. I have a question from one of our viewers. This person writes, much of the economy is powered by dual income households with children. Considering schools are going to be sticking with remote learning for the next few months here, are we setting parents up to make impossible choices by telling business they can send them back to work?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:59)
Well this is difficult and you’ve put your finger your caller certainly did a real challenge. One of the first things that we closed were schools and that was based on common sense data but also on what we have seen and what we have learned over the years. Same way with daycare, daycare was a little later, but you have the same issues. And again, that is distancing. I kind of joke, but it’s true. Distancing is a little difficult in kindergarten. And so you’re taking kids who are put in a room, let’s say there’s 25 kids in a room, and these kids are all from different families. And what we’ve seen with this virus is this virus is not lethal for young people generally. And so there may be fine, but one of them comes to class, and one of them has it maybe not even knowing it.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:07)
And that spread to 24 other kids in class or part of them at least, they go all home to their families and they’re infected. So, that congregate, putting people together, whether kids or adults in that situation, particularly when they’re with each other all day, is just a real spread and it causes a very, very quick spread. And so that’s the challenge.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:32)
When you get into a factory, for example, it is a much more controlled environment. If the company is following the best practices and doing what they need to do, doesn’t mean something might not happen there, but people are there for eight hours or however long that they’re there in their space, and companies have been able to really clamp down on the virus under those circumstances. Those are just very different circumstances.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:58)
So as we look at what we’re going to start back on, we’re going to start back as fast as we can, but we also are told that it takes two to three weeks, three weeks really, to see the impact. And so we don’t want to be in a position where we’re going the wrong way. Once we start down the pathway of opening, we want to be able to continue to do that. So those are kind of the tough choices that we have to make and they’re not easy.
Ben Garber: (01:12:30)
Ben Schwartz: (01:12:35)
Hello, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. I’d like to ask this question to Lieutenant Governor Husted. Lieutenant Governor, I want to ask about unemployment and if the state is going to continue to offer it under the current rules as we begin to gradually open up, just as people, certain people will still be unemployed and others might not be making as much money as they normally would.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:13:07)
Well, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by your question. Could you give me a specific about what you’re talking about?
Ben Schwartz: (01:13:17)
Yeah, just that I know at the start of all of this, you expanded some aspects of it and made, I remember people not having to wait a certain amount of time before filing for unemployment after losing their job and things like that, if that’ll continue now.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:13:33)
We don’t have any plans to change that at this point.
Ben Schwartz: (01:13:38)
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:13:41)
The reality is is that even when you open things back up, it’s not going to come back fast. From a health point of view, I know that that that is a welcome sign. From an economic point of view, it’s a troubling sign, but that’s just the reality. It’s not like on May 1 that the things that open up that it’s just going to pop back like you’re throwing on a light switch. This is going to go very, very gradually. Not because of anything that we’re doing but just because of the nature of the economy, that employers slowly bring back people when they get to the financial circumstance, they can feel confident in doing that, customers, particularly those in vulnerable health populations, are going to come back very slowly, and so we don’t expect that that on May 1, or May 15th, or June 1, that the economic circumstances for those folks and many of them are going to change all that dramatically.
Ben Schwartz: (01:14:44)
Appreciate the answer.
Ron Hamey: (01:14:49)
Ron Hamey with WLIO in Lima. Governor, my question is for you. Many in our area have been very concerned with the nursing homes and specifically those homes that have been hit pretty hard. Is there anything the state can do to provide support to them, whether that be staffing or more supplies?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:15:11)
We have a kind of group of people that we get together as soon as the nursing home has an outbreak. We get them on the phone. We work with them. We also, when necessary, supplying a personal protection gear equipment in there. As we expand testing, one of the reasons that we feel so urgent to continue to expand testing is to be able to give that assistance to a nursing home and to be able to quickly go in and test everyone and make a determination exactly who has it, who does not, and it’s never a perfect system because sometimes people are not far enough along and they don’t test positive but they may have it. But that’s something that we want to be able to do more of, and it’s something that the near future I hope we’ll be able to do. Congregate living, the nursing home, the assisted living, our prisons, these are things that we worry about every day with the hotspots and it’s people living together.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:20)
It is a challenge and when COVID-19 gets inside the door, it has very tragic results. Our goal is to try to make sure that our hospitals are not overrun, they’ve not been so that people can get the care that they need, but also get the help into that nursing home. We have also done something that’s never been done in Ohio before. Every nursing home now has a brother or sister hospital, and that hospital has an obligation to work with that nursing home in regard to PPE or whatever kind of medical assistance that they need. This is something brand new, never happened before to my knowledge in Ohio, and we’re proud of it and we think it will really help.
Andy Chow: (01:17:13)
Hi Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television State House News Bureau, for the Governor and possibly Dr. Weir. When it comes to the CDCs guidance on reopenings, one of the key metrics is seeing a decrease in positive coronavirus testing. But with a limited amount of testing, how does Ohio kind of carry on with that and what other key metrics are you looking at, and do daily hospitalization numbers factor into that?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:17:43)
Well, I look at the daily numbers every day and if you look at over the last several weeks, you can see those numbers are down some. They’re not going down as dramatically as we would certainly like, but they are going down some. Any part of that question for Dr. Weird, I’ll repeat it. I don’t know if you’ve heard the question, doctor.
Dr. Andrew Weir: (01:18:08)
Actually, I heard that one. I think I wouldn’t add anything to what you just said.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:18:15)
Andy Chow: (01:18:16)
So, what are the key metrics that you’re looking at when it comes to reopening?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:18:25)
It’s a lot of different things. Hospitalization that is now going down, and I want to make it clear, and we’ll have this announcement on Monday. When we talk about reopening, what we’re talking about is starting down a pathway that we can get people back to work, and we’re going to start in areas where it is the least risk, so we can get more people working with less risk. The other thing that we’re going to be doing when we go down that path, I’ll just share a little bit of what we’re going to say on on Monday, but what we are classifying as essential businesses, they’re already working. The rules and regulations that we put out, or the best practices, they will have to follow as well, so you’ll have some businesses already out there that are working, many of them, and many of them already following all these practices, but we’ll have the standards set, and so some of them will be actually upping their game at that at that point as well.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:19:34)
But we’re looking at hospitalizations certainly is important. We certainly have flattened the curve. We’re not seeing things go up. We’re seeing and go down a little bit in hospitalization. Look, part of part of what we’ve wanted to do is to make sure we had testing capacity and that’s something that we’ll discuss the next few days, making sure we had that testing capacity, which we think is obviously very important, that we have an ability to try to move in when we need to move in in a hot spot, as I talked about in the nursing homes, and to try to really go after it there.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:20:15)
Governor, can I add one little point to that? And Andy, another thing is that we have over a month’s worth of actual evidence from businesses that have been following the guidelines that Dr. Weird talked about, where they have successfully operated their businesses without seeing a spread of COVID in their workplace. So that’s a really important element of this, that businesses have both these many of these businesses globally and in Ohio have done this successfully, which is also a confidence builder.
Danny Eldredge: (01:20:50)
Hi, this Danny Eldredge with Hannah News Service. My question is for Governor DeWine. Can you talk about the budget a little bit and how much of the rainy day fund you might use, and what you’re looking to get from Congress or the Federal Reserve, et cetera?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:06)
I’m sorry, I really missed the first part of that question. I’m sorry.
Danny Eldredge: (01:21:09)
So my question is on the budget. Can you talk about what your plans are for the rainy day fund, what you’re asking Congress for, the Federal Reserve, et cetera?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:22)
You know, we were working on the budget this morning. We’ll have more information. You know that we have asked departments to take a look and make some very significant cuts. Well, we’re going to be announcing those in the next several days. So it’s coming, it’s not quite ready, but we have to do that. We have no choice. The rainy day fund, it is raining, but it’s probably going to, as John said, it’s probably unfortunately going to continue to rain for a while. So when we pull that money down from the rainy day fund, we want to be prudent about it. We want to be careful about it. We want to look at that as something that we don’t want to touch until we have to. We know we will have to during this biennium. So if we can get by for a while without pulling that down, I think that’s the more prudent thing to do. But as we plan for the next 15 months, we know that that money is there, and it’s going to take though a lot more than that to fill the gaps that we have.
Danny Eldredge: (01:22:22)
What kinds of things you’re asking the federal government for funding wise?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:22:31)
Well, some of our departments are certainly having discussions with the federal government, but you’re aware of the bills that Congress has passed. What we’re really asking the federal government for is more flexibility with that money. More flexibility will allow us to fill some holes that we see that are being created. When you have a downturn in the economy, two things happen. Your costs go up as far as social services and the income goes down dramatically. So this is going to be a dramatic change for local government as well as the state. What we would like from the federal government is more flexibility.
Speaker 3: (01:23:07)
That’s our last question, Governor.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:16)
Okay. Well, Dr. Weird, first of all, thank you. We appreciate you being with us.
Dr. Andrew Weir: (01:23:23)
My absolute pleasure.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:28)
As we close, today marks the beginning of Ramadan, which is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. And Islam fasting is important because it teaches discipline, sacrifice, mindfulness, reflection and empathy for those who are less fortunate in our society. This is a holy time and one of reflection for our Muslim brothers and sisters and we would like to recognize and honor them on this sacred day.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:05)
As we wrap up today, I’d like to share an uplifting video by an Athens based band, Amethystone, highlighting people in businesses in their area who have been quick to help each other. And I think it is also appropriate as we wait to see who the Bengals draft, this be focused in Athens, so home of Mr. Burrows, so we hope we see his name, hear his name called tonight. So let’s play the video.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:37)
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:26:43)
A quote from Fred Rogers. Thank you all very much, and we will see you all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thank you.