Apr 28, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 28
Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on April 28, 2020. He changed course and said retail shoppers won’t have to wear masks on Ohio. Read the full transcript with all his updates.
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Governor Mike DeWine : (00:00)
I know, I mean we had a great conversation, I listened to her, and she talked about her son who is autistic, and she explained to me how he saw things, how he felt things, and that that presented a real problem for him. So I get it. I understand. And so we made a decision that for retail customers, this is not going to be mandated. The government’s not going to mandate that. It is best practices, and I want to spend a little time, maybe, talking about that, but again, to emphasize, I’ve heard you, and we’re not going to mandate this. We’re going to leave it up to the individual customer. But it is going to be for most people, for those who can do it, a recommendation, in fact, a strong recommendation that individuals do this.
Governor Mike DeWine : (01:07)
Let me talk a little bit about why we did this. First it was a recommendation from our business group, but I will have to tell you that in the last few weeks as some retail has been opened, grocery stores, for example, I’ve heard from a lot of my fellow Ohioans, and their concern has been about a loved one who worked at the grocery store, or maybe at the drug store, or some other business that was still open, and their concern was for that person’s health. And I even heard from some people who themselves were working in a retail establishment, and were worried about the COVID-19 virus and getting it.
Governor Mike DeWine : (01:59)
This is a particular concern when we know the fact that for some people, at least, they can be carrying this virus. A customer can be coming in carrying this virus, and the customer has no idea that they have it, not showing symptoms in any way. And again, we worry about that person of course, but we worry about the people who are working in this store as well. So it was for the protection of these employees, the people who are serving us every single day that we made this decision, that that original order was issued. And although it’s not a mandate now, it’s clearly in the best interest of Ohioans to wear a mask in retail. It gives added protection to others, and when you wear a mask, you’re protecting those around you from possibly getting sick.
Governor Mike DeWine : (02:58)
Dr Acton and others have explained that the wearing of the mask is not really so much to protect you but is to protect others. And then of course if everybody’s wearing the mask, then everyone is in fact protected. I’ve already stated this, but when I go out in public, if I go into a store, I will wear this mask or one of the ones Fran has made. But again, it doesn’t have to be one that has been made. It can be something that… Literally any kind of facial covering. I’ve recommended to the members of my family, asked them to do the same thing, because I think it is, at least in most cases, the best practice.
Governor Mike DeWine : (03:47)
I want to talk a little bit about the fact that throughout this it’s really been your individual actions that have truly made the difference. It’s how we flatten the curve. We’ve accomplished a lot of different things. And it’s been really your actions, things you’ve not done that have gotten us where we are today. And your individual actions collectively are so much more important than any order I issue, or Dr. Acton, the State Government in any way issues. And so as we go forward into this new chapter where we’re trying to get back, and we’re trying to get back in business and get people back with their jobs, it’s not only equally important, but it’s more important what you do and how careful you are during this period of time. Let me just conclude by saying it’s really been your decisions that have truly made the big difference. My wife Fran tells me always to trust Ohioans, and we certainly have done this as we’ve moved forward. She told me the other day, she said, “You need to trust Ohioans. You’ve trusted them going in as these orders were made, these, sometimes, suggestions were made, and Ohioans did amazingly well.” She said, “It’s important to trust them as you’re going out, and as we are moving forward, as we’re getting back into business.” And so we are in this together, we’re going to keep fighting together, and we can make it, we can do two things at once. We can come back, we can start business back up, and we can stay safe at the same time.
Governor Mike DeWine : (06:18)
I want to talk for a moment about a group of citizens that I continue to be particularly concerned about, and that is those who have a health problem, those who were over 65. I got a call this morning from a friend of mine in Cleveland, and he talked to me and he said, “I want to tell you a story about a mutual friend of ours.” And the mutual friend is certainly over 65, and he said, “I got a call from her and she told me, well, I’m anxious to get out. The governor has changed the orders and I can go out and do all these things.” And my friend who was making the call to me, he said, “I told her, you’re not, because of your age, because of your health, you need to be really, really careful.”
Governor Mike DeWine : (07:14)
Every morning I look at all the newspapers, the headlines of the newspapers, the major newspapers across the State of Ohio. And it’s just always instructive to see what those headlines are. And I looked at the headlines this morning, and it was not unexpected, but the emphasis was on reopening. And that’s good. We want people to be looking forward to the future. But also as people look to that, my concern is that that’s what they would see and only see that, and not understand that again, this is going to come back to individual decisions, and each person is going to have to take in their own hands their future. And for some people that may be going out, maybe go into a store they’ve been waiting to visit for some time, and that’s great. But for other people, if they assess their situation, they may say I’m staying here because it’s really a high, high risk. So again, it comes back to each one of us assessing what really the situation is for us and what the situation is out there.
Governor Mike DeWine : (08:33)
Dr Acton and I and John have been trying every week, every day to give you the best information that we had available at the time, and we’re going to continue to do that so everyone can be informed about the decisions that they are making. Let me turn to the Lieutenant Governor. Well Let me make one more announcement, which I almost forgot. Jon, excuse me.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (08:58)
I was hoping you were going to [inaudible 00:08:59].
Governor Mike DeWine : (08:59)
Yes, I got one more. I forgot. Throughout my time as governor and before that, for eight years as the Attorney General of Ohio, one of the things I found is really helpful and really beneficial and got the job done, was if we had a problem, if we had something that needed to be looked at, I put a citizens group, a group of my fellow Ohio citizens, together to look at the problem and to come back with recommendations. I’ve always told my team that there’s always Ohioans, whatever problem we have, there’s some Ohioans out there who know more than we do about this particular area, and we need to gather them together and get some results.
Governor Mike DeWine : (09:49)
The group that Frank Sullivan, that we asked Frank Sullivan to put together, the business group, has done that, and some of the announcements that we made yesterday came as a direct result of that. We did the same thing in putting a working group together on medical decisions and health issues, and continue to rely on that group. So I’ve reached out to members of the general assembly, and I’ve also reached out to others to put a couple of groups together. And one is a group to look at restaurants and how we reopened restaurants, what the safety precautions we’re going to have in place. And the other’s, barbershops and salons. And so these will be two separate groups.
Governor Mike DeWine : (10:44)
So this is something that I think that truly can make a difference. I’ve reached out to Speaker Householder, to Senate President Obhof, House Minority Leader Sykes, and Senate Minority Leader Yuko. We’ve reached out to them to help identify people who work in these fields everyday. Ohioans who may not be part of a bigger chain of businesses, for example, they may have their own barbershop, they may have their own salon, they may have their neighborhood restaurant, because we want to hear from them as well as the other people who are involved in the chains.
Governor Mike DeWine : (11:27)
So the legislative leaders and also the relevant business associations are going to reach out to their members, and the legislature, they’re going to reach out to their members and ask their members to identify people in their districts who might be part of this group. They will be meeting virtually. They’ll be meeting on the phone. Obviously they won’t be meeting in person, but we intend to pull these groups together this week, start some discussions, look at best practices. We’ll have some health people involved in that as well, and come up with some recommendations as we look to the future in regard to our next steps in this area. Lieutenant Governor.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (12:16)
Thank you governor. Good afternoon. Really all I want to do is add a little bit to that and say that the business group that we put together that helped us craft the announcement yesterday was very valuable because they talked to a vast variety of different types of businesses who operate in those different spaces, and could give us guidance, and the barbers, and the cosmetology businesses, personal care services, the restaurants and et cetera.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (12:54)
What we want to do is we want to hear from everybody all across the state, different types, because one restaurant is not like another, some are small operations, some are large operations, some have different types of clientele, and working with the health officials, we want to make sure that when that day comes, and the health data and other factors that go into these decisions that say that we want to move forward with this next phase, that we’re ready to go, that we don’t have to think about what this should look like, that we have heard the voices, that we have buy in on it, and we’re ready to proceed when that time comes. And so these voices are very helpful to us.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (13:36)
When we left here yesterday, when we walked out, I said to the governor, I said, “Well, we got this done. Now I know we’re going to have to go back to work at looking at all the other things that have been left unaddressed.” And I’m not going to go through all those because, believe me, we hear you. We hear the things that are on your mind, and we begin immediately trying to figure out what the future of the things that are still not allowed to happen in our society, in our lives, in our economies, where those things are, how we can think about doing them thoughtfully and more safely in the future, and to prepare for that future when life begins to continue to resemble what we want to know at least a little bit more little gradually as we work through this.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (14:26)
So we want you to know that we’re preparing for this, that we’re hard at work on it. Our work doesn’t stop. But is always important to remind the more we follow the protocols, whether it’s the distancing, the disinfecting, the mask, the things like that, the more we slow the spread, the more we maintain a healthy environment, and then the sooner the next phases come. So this all works together. It works together, and thanks to you, it’s worked together very well. Ohio’s in a lot better shape than a lot of other States who are of our size. And we appreciate all the great work and all the great input that we received from folks.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (15:09)
Remember as you see this, because I get a lot of these questions from folks, “Well, does my business, does my operation comply with the new rules?” Well, as those are released to you, remember it’s the same thing as we’ve always said, that you need to read them, you need to understand how they apply to you, you need to develop a plan to comply with them, and then you need to be able to justify them if you open up, because if you can comply, you can open, if you can’t comply, you can’t open. And as you open up, be prepared that if an employee, or a competitor, or a customer says you’re not following the rules, then they’re likely to, maybe, give the health department a call and then you would have to justify them.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (15:53)
So this is the same process we had in the past. We have a dispute resolution commission that can handle things when there are different opinions in different counties, but it’s the same process as we had in the past and that worked well. Ohioans, Ohio businesses were very compliant. They worked through these things. They thought through how to keep their employees and their customers safe, and they move forward. And that’s exactly what we expect will happen. But we’re not going to be done trying to figure out every aspect of this until we’re done, until we’re through this. And so know that your voices are being heard. And this is just another announcement today, another step on how we’re going to prepare ourselves for the next phases of this. Governor.
Governor Mike DeWine : (16:37)
Thanks Jon. Dr Acton.
Dr. Amy Acton: (16:40)
Thank you governor. Good afternoon everyone. I think we’ll take a little bit, look at the data today. So right now in Ohio we have 16,769 cases. That is up by about 444 that we’ve learned about since yesterday. And our deaths are now at 799, that increased 46 that we’ve learned about since yesterday. What is notable here is we are now at 88 counties. We have three cases in the last County, which is Vinton County.
Dr. Amy Acton: (17:24)
So we are now seeing cases, next slide, thanks Eric, in all counties. We still have that age range, less than one to 106. And we are continuing to skew slightly more male than female. We do know that 6% of all of our cases have required ICU admission, and 16% of our cases are healthcare workers. Again, this is who we’re testing at this point. People who are more sick.
Dr. Amy Acton: (17:58)
Next slide. And so our trends over five days, again, we’re still very, very level overall. We definitely like to look at trends over time, and we see our cases are really about flat overall. A little bit up just with the deaths that were reported. And we know, again, we shouldn’t always be surprised by some changes. We know, governor, that being sick follows getting infected and deaths are following. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see that hospitalizations slightly up over the five day average at 108, and then ICU admissions 26.
Dr. Amy Acton: (18:45)
So those are numbers today. I do want to note that some of the symptoms that the CDC has changed in their definition of symptoms, they’ve added to the usual things that we had all been looking for in COVID, were a cough, fever.
Amy Acton: (19:03)
COVID or cough, fever, shortness of breath, but we’re now seeing new symptoms being listed. So there are a lot of folks who get COVID that don’t actually have a fever or maybe have a fever much later in the onset of their illness. Chills and shaking even without a fever has been a symptom. Muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and you’ve probably been hearing about the loss of taste and smell. So those actual symptoms have now been added to the list of symptoms by the CDC.
Amy Acton: (19:37)
I do want to highlight the at risk groups that the governor mentioned. Heart conditions, lung conditions, hypertension, diabetes, liver and kidney disease. If you’ve had any kind of immunocompromised or you’re on cancer treatment, that can be a risk. Obesity is a risk and that puts over half of Ohioans might have at least one of those risks.
Amy Acton: (20:04)
Another thing I’d like to point out are a couple of things around WellCare. Tomorrow and going forward, the governor is going to be talking about the same sort of layered approach to our healthcare sector, but I want to point out a couple of things all along, Help Me Grow program has been open and remains open. That is our well child checks for our home visiting. So I do want people to know that they’re doing it in new ways. It’s important to get that advice around feeding and sleeping and taking care of a baby and having better birth outcomes. But they’re using video, they’re doing it over the phone, there’s some creative ways, so if you have interest, again, Help Me Grow is our home visiting program here in Ohio and you can go to coronavirus.ohio.gov to learn more.
Amy Acton: (20:53)
I also want to note that it might be a good time for parents to make those well-child appointments. We have postponed some things that we’ll be adding in some of those low risk things like getting mammograms or getting well kinds of procedures that don’t really require a lot of PPE or you can be very careful about that. So I really think there have been some articles about you know, how we’ve missed immunizations and we know it’s really important to make sure we’re preventing against the diseases that we can prevent against. So definitely think about contacting your primary care provider, your pediatrician to make those appointments. They will be doing some unique things going forward. There are some looks at morning visits, waiting in your car to get those shots, even house calls, so you might want to talk to your doctor about that.
Amy Acton: (21:45)
Another point, another area of public health is around water quality and safety. So I’ve been asked to remind people if they are starting to use a building or someplace where you haven’t been for a while, it’s really important to flash your cold and hot water. This is a partnership with the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health. We know that lead can build up in water pipes that have not been used as well as diseases like Legionella. So we have advice on our website about how to make sure your building is safe if you haven’t been using the water.
Amy Acton: (22:20)
Another thing that doctor Weir had mentioned last week is about air circulation. We have seen some studies that talk about Coronavirus in the air and some very simple things you can do like making sure with your spring has we should be doing with our furnaces to change the filter, add a very thick filter. Another thing he had mentioned to us on a call we were on was the air circulation in your house, of course, getting those windows open is always a good idea in the spring. But also another thing you can do is make sure that you’re not reusing your air either in your house or in your business. You can talk to your heating and cooling person about that, but sometimes if you put it onto recirculate and that’s a way to kind of keep our energy bills lower, but what we really want to be doing now with Coronavirus is actually drawing in more outside air. So maybe taking the setting and making sure that you’re not just recycling air in your house or maybe even in your car, but that you’re getting that fresh air. And so those are all good tips moving forward.
Amy Acton: (23:21)
One last thing I’d really like to talk about, first of all, it’s really important to know that our hospitals are very safe places to be right now. I think people are scared. Hospitals have very strict guidelines of infection control going on. And when they’re taking care of coronavirus patients, that’s often being done in a special area in the hospital. But I know that people have been a little bit afraid to go to the hospital just for routine things or go to the ER. And I just really don’t want anyone getting sick from something else or God forbid dying from something that they could have gone to the hospital for. So please know that there are really great infection, probably better than ever, infection control going on in a lot of places, from nursing homes to hospitals.
Amy Acton: (24:07)
But I want to talk about the providers for a second. I read a very sad story today about an ER doc in New York city. She had been in the thick of things, treating coronavirus patients nonstop and unfortunately took her own life. She wasn’t someone who had struggled with depression or anything, at least in the story from her family. For healthcare workers out there, all of us aren’t seeing what you’re seeing. And sometimes as we move on and you see us trying to sort of bring our life back, I know that there are many of you who are fighting the battle on the front lines every day, whether you’re a first responder or healthcare worker or you’re a nursing home worker or you are one of the folks working in our prisons. And it can come up on you.
Amy Acton: (24:56)
I just want to say, when I was young in my career, I started out in New York city in the Bronx. So it was the middle of the crack cocaine epidemic and people were dying. It was a very, very rough time in New York, not unlike here where half of my kids were going to be dead by the age of three from contracting AIDS in utero. And there were just rooms full of babies with no parents and incubators with no parents.
Amy Acton: (25:24)
And day after day, I worked there and I didn’t notice, slowly week by week I lost weight. Before I knew it, I had lost 25 pounds. And I was starting to feel anxious. I didn’t know I was feeling anxious because I would run up and down the stairs from the emergency room and the more I ran, I’d get rid of that anxious feeling. But when I would sit still, I would go home at night, I found I couldn’t sleep. And I started to have panic attacks, which is something I had never had in my life. I’d been through a lot as a kid, but I think seeing other people suffer and die, that I felt like I couldn’t help them, that helpless feeling caused that for me and I sought help.
Amy Acton: (26:04)
I just really want to say to everyone out there, please seek help if you’re struggling at all. Don’t be afraid to, it’s nothing we need to be ashamed of. And we do have our text for hope line. It is 741741, text for hope 741741. You’re not alone and just reach out. We are not forgetting about you. As we talk about getting out and about, we’re still thinking about you. Thank you.
Governor Mike DeWine : (26:37)
All right. I see Mr. Adi is ready for the first question.
Thanks for doing this.
Governor Mike DeWine : (26:41)
A senior member of the press Corps.
Thank you sir. You stepped back and done a course correction on the mask mandate. I wanted to see if you had figured out yet what to do about childcare. I ask the question on behalf of Monica of New Carlisle, Ohio, who’s telling us she’s got to have good access to quality childcare before people go back to work, her and many other people, not after they’re supposed to go back to work. What could you do for her and everybody else?
Governor Mike DeWine : (27:12)
Well Jim, it certainly is a big question. We fully understand that there are people who want to go back to work and they need the child care. As I pointed out yesterday, it is a particular challenge for a couple of reasons, but one reason is that we closed down the schools and the childcare, not so much because we were concerned about those children. What we found with this virus is that it is not that tough on kids, still want to be careful. The real, real concern is when you have a group of children, whether they’re in kindergarten or whether they’re in childcare, one of those children goes into that setting and if they are carrying the virus, then it’s no time until maybe all those kids have it, and of course then those kids are going back to the respective homes.
Governor Mike DeWine : (28:19)
The same principle in regard to schools also applies to child care. And that’s why trying to figure out how we can do this in a way that helps people get back to work. To go back, what we did as we closed down childcare, we did allow childcare to take place in regard to our first responders, our medical community so that they could be sure to continue to work. And what we did there is we dramatically changed the size of the class and so we cut that down significantly.
Governor Mike DeWine : (28:55)
Now, obviously you have costs that go with that. And so I was talking in fact about an hour ago to the speaker, Senate president, about kind of how we start back in regard to childcare. So that’s a long answer to say we understand it’s important, we got to get it right, we’re going to do it, but it’s a work in progress and we’re not quite ready to get this done.
Speaker 2: (29:31)
You lifted the mandate on customers when it comes to face mask in stores. Does the employer still have the right to turn customers away if they arrive and aren’t wearing masks? And secondly, whose responsibility is it to supply masks to the employees? Is it the employer’s responsibility?
Governor Mike DeWine : (29:56)
The answer is the employer in both cases. The employer can make a decision as the employer, it’s their business that they’re going to require everybody that comes in the door to have a mask on. In fact, there are companies now that have continued to work throughout this process that have that in place, is my understanding. And again, the recommendation came from the business group who was looking at how do we get back to work, how do we get, people moving forward, but also to protect the employees. And so protecting employees is certainly very, very important. But to answer your question, yes, the business group, let’s say as a retail company, they can make a decision that everybody that comes in the door, whether it be a sales person or delivery person or a customer that they need to wear a protective covering.
Governor Mike DeWine : (31:01)
John, you want to add something about that?
It is the same mask as this face covering, and lots of things can comply as long as it’s going over your nose and your mouth. And this is what Dr. Acton and if you want to add some, this is what we want over this. My daughter made for me last night and she got a new sewing machine, she’s learning how to sew during the break that she’s on right now. And so there are a variety of ways you can comply with it, which is important. We will also be, and this is an important thing to know because I get a lot of questions from businesses, we will be developing a frequently asked question document to give specific guidance on these kinds of things in the coming days, which we hope will clarify these things in the minds of businesses and the people who need to comply with it.
Hello governor. Ben GoBreck with ABC6 and Fox28. One common question we keep getting from viewers is asking about graduation ceremonies. I understand large gatherings are not allowed still, but many of you are wondering if social distancing was observed, that there was a smaller group, maybe inside of a football stadium where they’re outdoors and they’re not within six feet of one another. Would it be possible to have graduation ceremonies with some of these precautions in place?
Governor Mike DeWine : (32:26)
I think again, everything always comes back to distance. Everything always comes back to protecting people. And so whatever question we get asked, that really is kind of how we have to look at this. So as far as I’m concerned, if a school can do the distancing, if they can figure out how to do that, they can certainly do graduation and they can do something else. So again, it’s up to the school. Some of this is going to be driven by how many students they have obviously in graduation. It’s going to be driven by what facility they have. So there’s a lot of different things, but could there be a way that a school puts together a graduation? I would certainly think so. Again, they’ve got to be careful. It’s got to be well thought out and they’ve got to figure it out.
Governor Mike DeWine : (33:19)
Some schools just because of how many students they have in graduation class probably can’t do it very well or can’t do it, but if they can do that as far as I’m concerned, that’s correct. That would be fine. And I think the state department of education did put out some guidance. I didn’t see it going out, but I think it was consistent with the things that we have been saying that talked about not having graduation. So that would have to be something that we’d get clarified through the department of education. But just seems to me as a parent and grandparent who’s been through a lot of graduations and I know how important they are, that if we could figure out a way, if that school can figure out a way to do it, that might be an okay thing to do.
Good afternoon. It’s Laura Bishoff, Date Daily News. My question is for Dr. Acton and governor DeWine. Obviously this pandemic is a harsh reminder of the importance of vaccines. Should Ohio eliminate the catch all in state law that allows parents not have their kids vaccinated for reasons of conscience?
Governor Mike DeWine : (34:42)
I don’t think we are ready to do that. What is concerning is that during this period of time, people have pulled back and they’ve also pulled back from getting vaccines and doing, as Dr. Acton talked about, the basic health care, well-baby clinic checkup, et cetera. And that has included, I’m sure vaccines. And so vaccines are something that I understand that some people don’t want to have their children do that, but from a medical point of view, the evidence is abundantly clear that it’s important for society for that to take place, and it has to take place at a certain level really to be able to protect everyone.
Governor Mike DeWine : (35:32)
So something we will watch, but I don’t think that is something that we… That’s not a bridge that we have to cross at this point.
Does Dr. Acton have anything to add?
Governor Mike DeWine : (35:45)
The level maybe that’s needed as far as vaccines and maybe some of the science behind all of this?
Amy Acton: (35:56)
Well, as you know, I think vaccines are something that coronavirus is giving us a sense of appreciation for how life-saving they are. When you look at how many Americans we have lost, I know there are many, many people wishing they would have had access, their family member would have had access to something like that. One of the hard things about vaccines is that when we didn’t have them, when you are a parent and you are afraid of your kid going out now in the spring time, you wouldn’t let them go out to play because of polio. You were scared they could end up on an iron lung. And I think when we have something, and it’s like so many things in public health, when you can prevent it and you don’t see it, I think the fear of the risks and as the governor always says, there’s always slight risks and benefits to things. Most vaccines are very, very safe. So I think vaccines are an important thing for children. We still lose a lot of children to preventable diseases. Children still die from chicken pox, they still die from measles. So I certainly do encourage families to talk to their doctor about what’s right for them and get vaccinated.
Governor Mike DeWine : (37:21)
Let me just add Laura, I’m old enough to remember as a child, my parents talking about the great fear they had of polio. And I remember them saying, “Well, we can’t go to the ball game or we can’t do this. There’s been an outbreak of polio.” And so it really inhibited people’s lives to such an extent that I think people really probably didn’t understand until we’ve had this Coronavirus. But those of us old enough to remember the polio scares, literally, and the great fear that parents had about going places and you couldn’t go here, you couldn’t go there, couldn’t go the swimming pool, couldn’t do that…
Governor Mike DeWine : (38:02)
… go here, you couldn’t go there, you couldn’t go to the swimming pool, you couldn’t do that. And so, what these vaccines have done, as we obviously are seeing… What we hope comes up with vaccine in regard to the coronavirus is, they basically free people to live their lives. And I saw that with polio. I remember when we got literally… They got the first shot and it was… You can’t believe how happy people were to think that they had a way to prevent polio, that their child would not risk that, and that they could go about and live their lives without that knife hanging over their head all the time. Just… We haven’t really seen anything like that until we had this… The coronavirus.
Adrian Robbins: (38:59)
Adrian Robbins, NBC4. And my question is for, Dr. Acton. People are going to be heading back to work soon and now customers won’t be mandated to wear a mask, how much risk is associated with caring for somebody if you’re working at one of these stores without a mask? And how do we make sure that people continue to do these guidelines when they’re losing the fear of the coronavirus that they maybe had before?
Dr. Acton: (39:31)
Right. So, you obviously can probably realize that my biggest fear is that people won’t hear the subtlety and what the governor is saying about, we need to respect the virus, we need to respect this threat. And I think not mandating, which… I support the fact that we are not mandating wearing a face covering or a mask, but I strongly suggest we do when we can. And again, the governor talks a lot about our choices and how what we do greatly puts those employees at risk. And we might not know we’re carrying the virus because we’re asymptomatic. So, we’re feeling good and… Again, you’re talking to a person who doesn’t love wearing something over my face, but I have to remind myself again and again, this is for a period of time. And if I can think about this person or the three other people remove that might get infected, I can do this, I can don the mask, don the cape, just a little bit longer.
Dr. Acton: (40:41)
And so, I do think… I mean, we… The business guidelines are… There are a lot of guidelines here and it is strongly recommending this. So, I hope people weren’t thinking that the governor was sort of saying, “Oh, I’m going the opposite way.” That’s not it. And the other thing I would say is, offices are considered in this more low risk category, but I strongly encourage that anyone in any business who can allow employees to still telecommute, that that would still be the first choice right now. We’re still flat and not really out of the woods yet. And so, I think in any way, we’re going to be talking a lot about healthier at home, safer at home. I just want us to use that judgment where we can and when we do have options, to keep most of the movement still down. It’s really important right now. Because this is a difficult time and I just would hate to see us having to go backwards.
If I could add a little bit to that from the conversations with the businesses that I’ve talked with. And what the governor said and understand this, just because it’s not mandated does not mean it’s not a best practice, and many businesses are doing this and will do this because they want to attract employees and then customers. I talked to one business owner in Northeast Ohio, who said that his goal was to make his business the safest place to work and to serve customers and all of that part of the state. And so, I think a lot of businesses because they want to build trust with employees and customers, will do these things. But there’s just a difference between a mandate from government that you do it and a best practice, and I think many businesses will go above and beyond this to create a great environment for their employees and for their customers.
Governor Mike DeWine : (42:33)
One of the challenges that we’ve heard from business, and Jon alluded to that, is businesses have told us, “Look, we have a hard time getting people to work because they’re afraid.” And so, businesses that want to protect their employers or employees, this is going to be one of the reasons that they will be doing this. It is, the distancing itself, as Dr. Atkon says, this is like Swiss cheese. The distancing is very important but you layer on top of that both parties having a mask, both parties having some facial covering and you’ve added another layer of protection. And this came about because of my concern and other’s concerns about employees. The people who every day get up, go to work, particularly if they’re in a retail business, they’re coming in contact with a lot of different people and they feel that risk. And it is a risk, but it’s a risk that can be mitigated and can be dramatically reduced if a lot of different things occur. And having people who are wearing masks, wearing a facial covering, is one of the ways to rather dramatically reduce that risk, one of the ways.
Speaker 4: (44:03)
Windsor, WMFD-TV, Mansfield. My question is for, Governor DeWine. Governor, good to see you again today sir. Our viewers are asking where they can find data to support the continuation of the emergency orders. They’re telling us that they can’t find the information discrediting that the curve is flat and that capacity is full. We’re also being told that requests for information are being stalled due to a provision in House Bill 197. So, can you tell our viewers where to go to read up on the data that’s driving the orders continuation as well as yesterday’s plan? And I just want to check in on our requests for contracts between the state and Thermo Fisher, Road Dental, Partners In Health and OSU Wexner Medical Center.
Governor Mike DeWine : (44:55)
[inaudible 00:44:55] give you those contracts. I’m not even sure all of them have been actually signed. But we have certainly understanding, I think… Maybe some of them have been signed. I think one of them may not be, but we’ll certainly get those out. Those are public information and we’re happy to supply that. As far as the data, we’re producing more data than it’s ever been produced in the history of the State of Ohio, and certainly more than the Health Department has ever put out. I’m going to let Dr. Acton, specifically answer your question. But, our goal all along has been to put out the information. We have given out all the data that we had, make that available. And what we have seen, big picture, is that we have certainly taken that curve down. It was going like that, it’s now like that. We’re looking at data every day.
Governor Mike DeWine : (45:58)
Anybody can tune in at two o’clock and see a lot of the data or they can go onto the webpage. But, I’m going to let Dr. Acton answer the rest of the question about what shows the justification for us still to be concerned. But, I would just add one more thing. Every day, every morning, I look at the numbers and I see more Ohioans who are dying from COVID-19, and I see more Ohioans who were going into the hospital, and more Ohioans who are going into ICU. So, anybody who thinks that this is some sort of conspiracy or this thing is made up, you need to talk to some of the members of the families of those who have died. This is killing people every day in Ohio. Ohioans have done great, we fought back, and we’re going to fight back more with the testing that we have, and we’re going to fight back more with the tracing that we’re going to do.
Governor Mike DeWine : (47:03)
But anybody who thinks that this is some sort of hoax or this is not occurring, has not talked to some of the family members who have lost someone, or the family members who have not been able to go visit their relative because of this COVID-19, and their husband or their wife, and they’ve died without anybody being there with them. So, this is nasty stuff. And I think anytime that we act like there’s some conspiracy or somebody is making these stuff up, that is not really doing a service to the people of the State of Ohio. Dr. Acton.
Dr. Acton: (47:39)
Absolutely. Thank you, governor. So we do have data on our website, coronavirus.ohio.gov, there’s also how data on a bunch of different… In the news, a lot of the newspapers are doing investigative reporting and they’re doing the data, as well as at the CDC. So, Ohio Department of Health is a small version of the CDC. We have lots of metrics and actually more and more metrics that we’ll be following all the time, especially when we have more testing. We’ll be able to follow prevalence numbers, we’ll be able to look at rates of infection. We’re going to keep track of how much contact tracing is going on, how much testing we’re doing. We’ll be looking, again, still at the oldies but goodies like the ones I just showed around hospitalizations, and not just new hospitalizations each day, but how many people are actually hospitalized? Which is a number that’s going up currently.
Dr. Acton: (48:40)
We will follow deaths and we know that much of this data is going to lag. Even deaths we know are underestimates of what’s out there because there’s also data out there right now looking at all the states, showing that death rates are up just in general above where we would normally be at this time of year. We also look at data about movement of people. We track data on social distancing. And so, things like traffic patterns and how much people are out and about. So, there are a lot of different ways that scientists and others are trying to measure the impact of coronavirus and I suspect there’ll be more and more as time goes on. Thank you.
Ben Schwartz: (49:22)
Good afternoon. Ben Schwartz, with WCPO in Cincinnati. Governor DeWine, we’ve been hearing from a lot of local places like campgrounds and canoe rentals, who say they’ve been planning to social distance for some time now and are very confident in their ability to properly social distance if they were to open up. So, I want to know if you have thought about any plans around campgrounds and rentals like that, if they are able to properly socially distance their customers if they’d be able to open up soon.
Governor Mike DeWine : (49:56)
Yes. We’re going to certainly look at that. I think that campgrounds for example, there’s certainly ways that people can do that. Again, to kind of get back to the basics of what you… What we worry about. And what we worry about is groups coming together, particularly groups that are not of the same family or as Dr. Acton says, the same tribe, we all kind of have our own group of people. And when you go out of that, then you’re introducing one group into the other. So, I think what you worry about in campgrounds, is not people being in their trailer or the camper or their tent. But what you worry more about is, common areas. And so, figuring out how you can do that where you can still have a great camping experience, [inaudible 00:50:49] and I, have camped all across this country, we’ve camped a lot of places at Ohio, it’s something… It’s a great thing to do with your kids, with your grandkids.
Governor Mike DeWine : (50:59)
And so, figuring out how to do that in a way that is safe is certainly something that’s desirable, and I’m sure something that we can figure out working with the people who run the campgrounds. Now in addition to the private campgrounds, obviously you also have the state campgrounds and our state parks, remain open. I talked to Mary Mertz a couple of nights ago when I was out walking on my farm, I called her, and said, “How are things going in the state parks?” One is closed just because of the great number of people who come there, and it was impossible to keep the social distancing. But the other ones… She says that the number of people coming to the state parks is significantly up, people who’ve never come to a state park before… And what we hope is that even when the coronavirus is over, those folks will continue to come back to our state parks.
Governor Mike DeWine : (51:59)
Because we have some state parks that are not utilized very much and they’re great places to go and just get away and it’s… They’re absolutely beautiful. So, that’s… We’re talking about camping, I just thought I’d talk about a little bit about our state parks too. But, we’re going to work on that band and that’s something that is… We’re working on this month.
Ben Schwartz: (52:22)
Thank you, governor.
Kevin Landers: (52:25)
Kevin Landers, WBNS-10TV. My question is for the governor. Governor, we’ve spent more than a billion dollars in unemployment. The lieutenant governor has said that the 1.7 billion, I believe in the Rainy Day Fund, we may need twice that to last the next 15 months. How close is the state towards bankruptcy?
Governor Mike DeWine : (52:51)
Well, the state has to balance its budget as you know, by law. And so, we will balance our budget because that’s what the law requires us to do. And some of us think that’s probably a good idea. The state cannot print money. The federal government does print money, they don’t… They have… They can run a significant deficit and certainly do run a significant deficit. But we have to balance our accounts. And we’ve already made cuts, we’re going to have some announcements at the end of this week, by the way, in regard to additional things that we’re doing. We’re consulting with the four leaders of the legislature, minority and majority leaders, and we’ll have some announcements later on. So, we will balance the budget, we’ll do what we need to do. Jon, do you want to add something?
Governor Mike DeWine : (53:43)
… governor, I’m sorry. You covered it well, the state will balance its budget, we will get through this. It just going to take time and going to take collaboration.
Governor Mike DeWine : (53:54)
Jesse [inaudible 00:53:59], The Cincinnati Enquirer, for either the governor or Dr. Acton, maybe both. I guess, given what we know about lags in information about deaths and cases and so forth and the data, how will we know the effects of the manufacturing and office workers lifting on… But the time that we’re lifting retail about a week later? I guess, do we have enough time to see the effects of these changes we’re imposing?
Governor Mike DeWine : (54:27)
[inaudible 00:54:27] going to be layered in the ones we announced, but we’re… Dr. Acton has said, and she can correct me here, which is fine, we’re talking about two to three weeks before you really start seeing anything. And so, we’re going to have to… Obviously, we’re going to be watching these things. And we know that as more people start coming together, even if they’re doing it in a very responsible way, that the spread does increase. And we want to keep that to a minimum as much as we can, but we’re going to be watching these numbers. And we watch these numbers every single day, but, as you point out, it takes a few weeks before you start seeing the results. Dr. Acton, you want to add something to that?
Dr. Acton: (55:15)
No, I would agree. I think the incubation period is about two weeks on average, and then you wait another week to see sort of how long it takes to collect the data and come back. So, three weeks and two, six weeks and eight weeks out, I think is when you start to see some of the changes. And depending on the number, once again, you might see cases early on if they’re diagnosed with testing. And then you would see hospitalizations lag that by another, almost two weeks, and deaths lag about four weeks behind that. So, it’s always sort of lag time, just do the long incubation period of this virus. And that’s why it is so important… And I can tell you, all over the country and all over the world, folks are talking a lot about what are the best metrics… I keep talking about, we’re dialing the dimmer switch, we’re not flipping the switch like we did on the way in, we’re kind of trying to do some things and we’re always scaling it by best practices, as the lieutenant governor said.
Dr. Acton: (56:23)
I cannot express to you enough how much goes into each of these policy decisions. But then, we also are looking at a spectrum of layering from the lowest risk, the least of us getting around and mixing around, because we still really do want people to mostly stay very distanced and mostly stay at home or out in your yard or at a park where it’s similar to what we’ve been doing. But then you go from the sort of less of that to increasingly things where you have more and more contact. And so, that’s a strategy that we’re doing all over the world. We’re learning as we go, we’re watching what happens very closely. And we’re looking at…
Amy Acton: (57:03)
We’re watching what happens very closely, and we’re looking at metrics. Like I said, new metrics all the time, and some very steady ones that are very classic cases, and positivity rates, and other things like hospitalizations. Because we want to always keep an eye on capacity as well. Thank you.
Speaker 5: (57:24)
[inaudible 00:57:24] with [Hannah 00:57:24] News Service, and this question is for the governor. Yesterday, speaker householder gave a statement where he said Republican members felt “disrespected,” that some of their ideas on small businesses hadn’t been included in a stage plan. What’s your reaction on that speaker?
Governor Mike DeWine: (57:47)
I’ve had a very good relationship with members of the General Assembly. Republicans, Democrats, House members, Senate members. I kind of joked, but it’s not a joke. I think every one of them has my cell phone number. Every one of them has my email. I read their emails. I read the text that they send me, or the phone calls that I get. It’s a very, very open relationship.
Governor Mike DeWine: (58:16)
The problems that we are encountering are problems that we seek the members of the General Assembly’s help on. I’ve always said that nobody knows members … excuse me, a member of the General Assembly’s district better than the member does. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and I think that’s the way it is. We seek their help. But as we go through this and make these decisions, I don’t expect everyone to agree with every decision that we make. But I have the ultimate responsibility through the Health Department on issues of health.
Governor Mike DeWine: (59:01)
But we certainly are very open to ideas, suggestions. Had conversations today with both the senate president, with the speaker. We talked about a number of different things. Talked about where we’re going to go forward. I’ve asked for their help in regard to the barbershops salons. Putting a group together of people out there in the communities that are members of the delegation they know. So, they’re going to do that, and we’re going to work on these problems together. We’re going to work on the problem with the budget together. That was mentioned a moment ago. Very, very much something that we worked together on, and we’re going to continue to work on and solve the problem.
Hey there, everyone. This is Orie from Spectrum News and Spectrum News 1. I have a question around unemployment. It could be for the governor or lieutenant governor. And we’ve had a lot of viewers that have written in because they either have penalty weeks, or they’re in arrears for their unemployment. They’re looking for some type of relief, and they’re wondering if there can be anything done so that they can get at least a partial payment. And then we have people still wondering about this new call center … whether it’s up, and why they’re still getting delays on the phones.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:24)
John, you want to go through the numbers on [crosstalk 01:00:27]?
Jon Husted: (01:00:28)
Let me go through the numbers today that I have. So far, 459,375 people have been paid since this all started basically on March the 15th. That total amount regarding the regular unemployment and the $600 bonus payments is $1,346,291, 403.77. We are now up to 1,657 employees answering calls and processing at the call center. They handled 54,000 calls yesterday, and the average wait time was 23 minutes. We recognize that during certain times a day especially that it’s busier than others. They’ve continued to build capacity.
Jon Husted: (01:01:34)
Individuals who are eligible for the 1099 or the independently employed people, they can now go to the website and begin the process of applying. Although those benefits will not be eligible for processing for another few weeks, probably around May the 15th. As you can see, there’s a lot of activity going on. They’re processing, and answering calls, and solving problems as quickly as they can.
Jon Husted: (01:02:04)
Every time the question comes up, I will add that even if you haven’t been able to get through and get your eligibility established, you are eligible for the benefits from the very first day. So, they will be backdated. You will ultimately receive the money that you’re eligible for. It’s just in some circumstances is taking longer than others. If, for example, you have mismatched employer data or mismatched social security information, sometimes there are other questions they have to answer and those things take longer. But that’s the process. That’s the most recent update that I can provide.
Jon Husted: (01:02:52)
I would have to get that information from director Hall on the penalty weeks, and so we’ll get that information back to you.
Hello. It’s Andrew Welsh-Huggins with the Associated Press. This is a general prisons question for the governor or Dr. Acton. We’re starting to see some numbers tick up at some other prisons. These are positive cases. I mean Belmont and other [corrections 01:03:22] reception center. And I’m wondering based on the experience of the other prisons, can we assume that probably most inmates at Ohio prisons now do have a positive test? And if so, especially with two employees now having died and 19 inmates having died, is there anything more that can be done to protect employees and inmates in all the Ohio prisons?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:03:50)
I think it would be a good idea. We’ve been meaning to do this, and we have not done it, but to bring the director in. We’ll Skype the director, because the director has been doing … not only as the director, but she’s got a lot of help. Been doing a lot of different things. We’ve surged in there with a lot of tests. We brought in the best experts that we can find. As far as the housing of the prisoners, we’re seeing the prison population continue to drop. We’ll have those figures for you tomorrow. We do that once a week. So, a lot of different things are going on. Dr. Acton, you want to take any of those?
Amy Acton: (01:04:38)
Yeah. I don’t have any of the numbers with me, but we can certainly get that or from the director. I think it would be really good for everyone to hear from her, because I can just say having sat in on calls, having many members of my team be a part of this … I’ve given her name to health directors all across the country because of the kind of work she is doing. I think it would be wonderful to hear from her.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:10)
I’ll give you a good … I think a good comprehensive report when we do that. We’ll try to do that in the next few days.
Hi, governor. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. On the issue of face masks and mandating face masks, I heard you talk about the reason why you wanted to change it for customers. But can you talk a little bit more about changing the mandatory face mask for employees and for workers?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:38)
Oh, I’m sorry. For the employees and the workers?
Yeah. They’re no longer-
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:52)
This is still a part of the order. Again, this was the request of business. Many businesses have been doing this. We saw, for example, Kroger a few days ago went to mandatory for every employee. I think it’s going to be fairly standard in the workplace. There are some types of business that cannot comply with that. I know, Jon, you had a conversation you might want to share with Andy and everyone.
Jon Husted: (01:06:32)
Yeah. We’re going to come up with a list of frequently asked questions on this, because we know that it’s complicated. For example, some of the food processing industry who are not by FDA standards … as I understand it, as it was explained to me, allowed to wear cloth masks. We’re going to have circumstances where it’s not going to be either practical or allowed by other regulations, and so we’re going to attempt to address those unique situations.
Jon Husted: (01:07:05)
And as the governor might have mentioned yesterday, if you’re sitting alone in your office, we’re not going to require people to wear a mask while they’re sitting alone in their office. But we will provide further guidance on this, because I know … I’ve talked to every industry group, and there is many … when you announce something, there are a lot of questions about these things. We’re going to attempt to clarify them in a FAQ so that we can give that specific guidance. But look, in every circumstance where it’s feasible, masks need to be worn.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:07:39)
I mean, again, Andy, that the goal is to protect the employees. I mean, that’s it.
Good afternoon, governor. Randy Ludlow with the Columbus Dispatch. Yesterday masks were mandatory, both in retail shopping and for employers. Today they’re not. You say they are a best practice. You highly recommend them. Why back off that stance? What medical reason do you have for reversing that position?
That’s a good question. I thought I explained it a little bit, but let me try again. We have issued dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds of orders throughout this period of time. Yesterday we made a lot of announcements. A lot of different things. But I also listen to what people say, and I told you about the call I got from the mom, but that wasn’t all of it. I heard from a lot of different people who felt that I may wear a mask, or I may not wear a mask, but the government should not be telling me what to do.
We believe that in almost every case it is safer for everyone if both people wear a mask. But we also know that this was offensive, and it just … people looked at this and they said, ” That’s one government mandate too far, and it’s just too much. This is wrong.” And so part of my job is to lead Ohio through this the best I can.
And the most important part of that is not what I do, but what the people of the state do. It’s important that people have confidence in me, have confidence in this administration, think that what we’re doing and the things that we require them to do are reasonable, and the things that we require them to do are not too obnoxious to them. This was one where some people felt that it was just one step too far. I believe that we’re going to continue to talk about this, and it’s my belief that the majority of Ohioans when they go into a retail place will wear a face covering, because I think it’s in their interest and I think they also are going to find it in the interest of people who are working there. I think we’re going to get most of it, but maybe not all of it. And that’s why we made the decision. [inaudible 01:11:07] continued confidence in people of the state. Jon?
Jon Husted: (01:11:12)
Yeah. I would also add that when we talk to some employers, they felt very good about the policy, and they felt very good about having to inform a customer that they need to do it. They felt very comfortable about how they would actually physically ask an employee to mandate it on somebody, and some of the concerns around that. So, we listen. We listen to people, and I thought the governor articulated very well about finding that balance. And then the lastly on the unemployment compensation question regarding penalty weeks, that is a federal requirement that was not waived at the federal level.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:52)
Well, we thank you all very much. I look forward to seeing everybody tomorrow at … well, I got cut off. I’m sorry. I apologize. We had one more question, but I was getting the hook here. We’ll start with you next time … or do you want to do it? Go ahead. Go ahead.
Speaker 6: (01:12:18)
… motor vehicles and libraries. What is the plan for that?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12:25)
Libraries and what? [crosstalk 01:12:26] [Bureau 01:12:28] motor vehicles. Look, we’ll talk with the director of bureau vehicles. Again, we’ve stopped the requirements. We’ve kind of let people go over time periods in the bureau of motor vehicles. Libraries … look, we all love libraries. Libraries are a great place. Again, what we want to do is be able to have the information from libraries, but the gatherings of people together is what the concern is. We’re still concerned about space. We’re still concerned about gathering a lot of people together, and that is just part of the challenge. But we’ll continue to look at things and evaluate things.
Speaker 6: (01:13:14)
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:13:15)
Thank you. See all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thank you.
Karen Kasler: (01:13:22)
All right, and there we are. Governor Mike DeWine’s daily update on coronavirus in Ohio. He leaves us with plenty of time to talk about all the changes in policy here, and we’ll take this till four o’clock this afternoon. So, we could talk a little bit about what happened today, and also to kind of go over some of the things that happened yesterday.
Karen Kasler: (01:13:39)
Yesterday was the big announcement where the governor talked about the way that he wants businesses to start opening up in Ohio. Starting on Friday, May 1st, which is the day of the stay-at-home order was supposed to expire. He had said the stay-at-home order would continue, but also that there would be a healthcare opening. And that would be where hospitals and healthcare facilities could allow for elective surgeries that did not require a hospital stay. They can go ahead and the procedures can go ahead and go forward.
Karen Kasler: (01:14:10)
This has been a concern because, first of all, hospitals were supposed to be concentrating on building capacity in case of a spike of coronavirus patients, and also the conservation of personal protective equipment or PPE. It was a real concern that there would not be enough PPE for healthcare officials and for healthcare providers to have if indeed that spike did happen. And so on May 1st, this coming Friday, elective surgeries that do not require a hospital stay will be allowed, and also dentists and veterinarians were able to do some procedures that they had been putting off because of, again, that desire to hold on to that PPE to make sure that it was there when it was needed.
Karen Kasler: (01:14:51)
Then moving forward into Monday, May 4th, that will be when construction, distribution, and general offices … those will be the opportunities for them to open up. A lot of those did stay open already, and certainly offices have been doing work from home. But the governor said starting on Monday, May 4th, those businesses can start operating and they will have to provide … they will have to go through very strict standards. For instance, cleaning and disinfecting, and also social distancing. That’s important for those businesses that had not been opened so far, and then the wearing of masks.
Karen Kasler: (01:15:26)
And that’s an interesting point that I’ll ask my colleague Andy Chow about in just a minute. But then moving forward into May 12th … this is Tuesday, May 12th, another opening. This will be an opening for retail establishments, for consumer businesses, for service businesses. They’ll be allowed to open. Many of them have been closed for quite a while, so they will need some time to put together that social distancing and maybe to look at what-