May 28, 2020

Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript May 28

Mike DeWine Ohio May 28 Press Conference
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsMike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript May 28

Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on May 28. Read DeWine’s full news briefing speech here.

 

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Mike DeWine: (00:31)
Well, good afternoon everyone. The tie I’m wearing today is from Wilmington College, not too far from our home in Clinton County. They are known for their outside the classroom experiences. They’re celebrating their sesquicentennial 150 years. They were founded in 1870. A great small liberal arts school in Clinton County. Well, the weather is getting warmer, people are spending more time outdoors and it’s time, I guess, for all of us to be reminded that if you’re getting on a bike or if you have a loved one who gets on a bike, here’s the helmet. [inaudible 00:01:17] the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds all of us that wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of death or injury and it also can prevent a trip to the hospital.

Mike DeWine: (01:34)
This year, the group plans to distribute 8,000 bike helmets around the state to promote safety. So we thank them for that good work. We’ll go to today’s statistics. Eric will put those up there. There are now 33,914 total cases that we’ve had, an increase of 476 from yesterday. The number of hospitalizations increased by 111 to 58,011 as the total hospitalizations. And ICU admissions are at 1,516 individuals, again, total historic. Number of deaths in Ohio increased by for sadly 54 for a total of 2,098, 2,098 of our fellow Ohioans have perished as a result of the coronavirus. And as we learned the other day from our doctor, two doctors who came in on Skype, people who don’t die can suffer greatly.

Mike DeWine: (02:42)
And the doctor indicated he was in the hospital I think for two months. Eric, you want to put those back up a moment again very briefly. More information could be found on the coronavirus website at coronavirus.ohio.gov. And Eric, if we can see the next one there. Well, that’s good. That’s good. All of these are up on our webpage. I’m just going to go ahead, Eric. Those are all up on the webpage. I want to talk today about testing and we’re going to continue to report to you what we’re doing to bring more testing to the State of Ohio. At the frontline of our healthcare providers are our pharmacies. Friend, I grew up in Yellow Springs. Our pharmacist was an integral part of the community, but in very Johnson from the time we were growing up and having a local pharmacist in your community and a pharmacy is just vitally important.

Mike DeWine: (03:56)
It’s one of the great things that you can have. And the pharmacists, whether they work in a chain or own their own store, they’re a vital part of our healthcare system in the state of Ohio. They truly are trusted community members, healthcare providers, they interact in our lives every single day. That’s why I asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to clarify and to make it very, very clear about what pharmacists’ roles can be in regard to testing for COVID-19. Yesterday, the Board of Pharmacy released updated guidance clarifying HHS rules allow pharmacists to order and administer tests for COVID-19. Access to these tests is vitally important and I’m working aggressively with the Ohio Pharmacists Association.

Mike DeWine: (04:55)
And I talked to them, frankly, just this morning, and our pharmacies to make sure that these tests are available. Pharmacies are an important part of our plan to fight COVID-19, especially as we look towards the future beyond testing and towards a vaccine. To help Ohioans find testing locations, we’re adding a map on our website that shows COVID-19 testing centers. This map includes community health centers as well as retail sites, such as CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid. And as we get more of these locations, more of the pharmacies decide to start doing this, we will obviously add those to that map as well. The webpage will also have links to community health centers and each retailer’s website where you’ll be able to find information about how to get a test referral or schedule an appointment.

Mike DeWine: (05:56)
This map will be on the coronavirus website at coronavirus. ohio.gov. We’ve also talked this morning again to Marine in regard to making sure that we are covered on Medicaid for people who are getting these tests at these pharmacies. So that is a work in progress, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure the pharmacies can do this and can do it as quickly as possible. Let me add, go into another area in regard to testing. We are today expanding the criteria, the allowable criteria for testing facilities and people doing testing that are directly related to the Ohio Department of Health. We’ve had three categories and we’re adding a fourth. Currently, category one is hospitalized patients with symptoms and healthcare workers with symptoms.

Mike DeWine: (07:18)
This includes nursing home employees and behavior health workers. Two, again, this is currently, people at high risk of complications from COVID- 19, including residents of longterm care facilities and congregate care facilities, patients 65 years of age or older with symptoms, patients with underlying conditions with symptoms, racial and ethnic minorities with underlying conditions, with symptoms. That was category two and remains as category two. Category three, individuals receiving essential surgeries or procedures not requiring an inpatient hospital admission. Priority four that we’re adding is individuals in the community who have symptoms. So individuals who have symptoms.

Mike DeWine: (08:04)
And the exact language is individuals in the community to decrease community spread, including individuals with symptoms who do not meet any of the above categories. So this is an expansion, we are talking with hospitals to expand the hospital testing and the surgeries allowed. We’re not making that announcement today. That’s not quite done yet, but we will. We will be making that announcement. Let me turn to an area that has been, I know have caused a lot of pain to Ohio citizens. And that is when you have someone in a nursing home, on assisted living. One of the first orders that was issued in Ohio and across the country in other states was to stop visitation in these facilities.

Mike DeWine: (09:03)
We now have going on several months and we know that it’s becoming more and more difficult for people. They’ve been away from their relatives. We know this has caused, there’s a great deal of heartache inside these facilities with the individuals who are the patients, who are the residents, but we also know it causes a lot of heartache for individuals who want to come in and visit them. This has been a very, this is a very difficult issue because we know the problem is connected with COVID getting into nursing homes, and we’re trying to do absolutely everything we can to keep COVID out of the nursing homes. But we also know that people are suffering by not having these visits. So we’re going to try to do this in stages. We’re going to see how it works. We’re going to continue to look at our numbers and to see how the spread is occurring. So at the time that we are now starting to become much more aggressive because we have the testing, National Guard will start on Monday. Work has already been done this week, but they will actually start going into nursing homes on Monday morning and start doing that work as far as the testing. So I want to talk about the change in the visitation. And again, it’s going to be, we hope to start it and then continue to expand it. We’ve got to see frankly, how well it works. Beginning June 8th, intermediate care facilities for individuals, beginning June 8th, intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities and assisted living facilities that are properly prepared in both cases, can begin to allow outdoor visitation.

Mike DeWine: (11:04)
So we’re going to start with that. I know in our intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities, there’s been again, a real concern about people being able to connect with their family members, the same way in assisted living facilities. So we’re going to start with those two. We’re not to nursing homes yet, and I know that causes anguish for a lot of people who are watching this. But we’re trying to do this so that we don’t increase the COVID inside the nursing homes or the assisted living or the intermediate care facilities. So we’re going to start with a couple of them, the intermediate care facilities with people with developmental disabilities and the assisted living facilities.

Mike DeWine: (11:48)
We’re going to start on June 8th and we’re going to start doing this under protocol that the health department is putting out. And this will be for outside visitation, recognizing the fundamental difference between something that occurs outside and something that occurs inside as far as the possibility of spread. Our decision to move forward with outdoor visitation is really the culmination of many things including the impact on the quality of life and what a prolonged loss of connection could have on that individual. Obviously we receive requests from families and residents. And let me just say, we have many families, we’re hearing from both sides on this issue. People who want visitation, people say, “No, do not.”

Mike DeWine: (12:37)
Three, consultation with advocates and providers in the aging and developmental disabilities communities. And four, guidelines for visitation jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, LeadingAge Ohio, The Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Healthcare Association, and the Ohio Medical Directors Association. We know that each facility is different. So we have allowed flexibility with the reopening guidelines. However, there’s a minimum that all facilities must do. We’re asking facilities to develop a policy that includes screening for temperatures and symptoms reporting for visitors. We’re asking them to schedule set hours and the length of time for visits, proper social distancing measures, masks, and residents, family, and friends education about the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

Mike DeWine: (13:23)
Each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visitation for their residents in a way that works best for all of them. Let me just conclude that we will continue to examine, monitor, and adjust as carefully and thoughtfully as we can as we move forward in the future. Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, I’d like to announce help for our businesses through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. BWC will be deferring Ohio employer’s premium installments for the months of June, July, and August. This is the second deadline extension BWC has offered to our businesses. By extending these-

Mike DeWine: (14:03)
-has offered to our businesses. By extending these premium due dates, businesses can continue to focus on the safety and wellbeing of their employees and their customers. This is another step that BWC has taken to try and alleviate financial pressures on our Ohio businesses. Let me talk for a moment about our county fairs. Very sadly, of course, as you know, the state fair has been canceled and I know that some other county fairs have been canceled as well.

Mike DeWine: (14:32)
We have a number of great county fairs and independent fairs in Ohio. We assembled a task force from across the state to look at the possibility of holding junior fairs over the summer. And I want to thank all the people who served on that and as well as my friend, Jim Beatty, former state representative from Dark County who headed up this group. Jim, thank you for doing that and thanks everyone who was on that working group.

Mike DeWine: (15:01)
The group has come up with guidelines for how the county fair boards and agricultural societies can work together with their county health department. So this is a partnership between the local health department and the local fair board. And as someone who’s attended a lot of fairs over the years, I can just say that the local fair board does a great job. They work very, very, very hard all year long and then the week of the fair, how many days the fair is open is just… They’re all in 16, 17 hours a day.

Mike DeWine: (15:35)
We’ve asked them to come together to provide a safe outlet for kids to participate in limited livestock shows, showmanship skillathons, barn or building activities, the auction, as well as the non livestock exhibits and exhibitions. And I want to talk about that because we talk a lot about the lambs and the steers and all the livestock and that’s vitally important, but photography, other projects, rockets, the kids come up with some amazing 4H projects, and we want to encourage those to be able to take place as well.

Mike DeWine: (16:20)
We are releasing these guidelines today on the coronavirus.ohio.gov website. The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, and ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities, as well as the vitally important component of animal care and welfare. The decisions about county and independent fairs need to be made locally because each county and independent fair is unique and is different, and as I’ve said, Fran, I have been to every county fair and I think every independent fair in this state at one time or the other. Each one of them faces a different financial situation. Each one of them has different grounds and they’re laid out very, very differently.

Mike DeWine: (17:07)
Now, conditions may change over the summer, however, we’re asking all fair boards to comply with all the current health department orders that are in place and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, for example, food service. People might ask about food service. They would follow the regulations that have been put out by the health department in regard to food and we could go on through all the other activities at the fair. You would just be following what has already been put out.

Mike DeWine: (17:43)
Agriculture Director, Dorothy Pelanda, has also informed me that the Department of Agriculture is in the process of distributing all state funding available for a 94 county and independent fairs. So the Director will be getting that money out very, very quickly. So we hope, and this is going to be a decision made at the local level, but we hope, and I certainly hope, that every fair will be able to find a way, maybe unique to their particular fair, to be able to allow 4H, FFA and that junior fair, which really is at the heart and soul of the county fairs and it’s an integral part of what goes on in the summer for all of our counties. John?

John: (18:32)
Thank you very much, Governor. And I want to say good afternoon to all. One of the things that we said often is the month of May is reopening month. Many things have reopened during this month. We know that also, along with that, comes to the uncertainty of what that will mean in our lives regarding the coronavirus, but we also know it’s a time for hope that people have more hope about their futures. They feel like they can get on with their lives, at least in a new sort of way in this new reality that we live in.

John: (19:10)
Businesses are opening, employees going back to work. People are moving around and the economy is gaining some momentum. And one of my roles in the administration is to run the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, where we focused over the course of the last year and a half on trying to develop the tech skills and the right kind of skills to fit the needs of the economy.

John: (19:37)
And one of the things that we did, one of the things we created in partnership with the legislature is something called Tech Cred. Tech Cred was designed to help up-skill or re-skill people in the workforce so that they had the skills for what’s happening in the economy to position not only the businesses to have the talent that they need to succeed, but to give people the skills that they’re going to need to compete.

John: (20:01)
But to put that in context, we built that program with essentially a 4% unemployment rate where businesses couldn’t find enough people. Now in a COVID world, we have a 16% unemployment rate. People have had their lives disrupted and many things have changed, but we’ve learned some things during this process. We’ve learned that technology skills were important before, they’re perhaps even more important coming out of this. If you think about the fact that some of the things that have changed have been telehealth, distance working, distance learning, and as you talk with businesses and they look at what that future looks like for them, they’re going to be very selective in their hiring decisions for the near future and tech skills are going to be even more in demand.

John: (20:54)
So what we are doing is we’re going to modify the Tech Cred program because previously it was only for people who were employed. Now, we’re going to allow that for people who are not employed, who may be coming, could come to work for a company if they had the right kinds of skills. And so what we’re announcing today is that change and the latest round of awards we should’ve announced this in April, but because of the coronavirus, we weren’t able to, we weren’t able to do that because the training opportunities and the alignment just were not there as we were confronting the shutdowns and the situation we all faced in April.

John: (21:38)
But today we’re announcing 150 companies have been approved for $1.2 million in that round of funding, which will allow for credentials to be developed for 1045 Ohioans. A total of 500 employers have been approved for reimbursement under the Tech Cred program and is allowing 4,232 tech focus credentials to be earned by people around the state.

John: (22:03)
And we are also announcing the launch of the fourth application period, which is designed for… which will open on June the first through June the 30th. So employers can visit techcred.ohio.gov. Right now we have 753 approved credentials, remember these are industry certified credentials. 411 of them at least, can be completed through distance learning or approved workplace learning and so please take advantage of that if you’re interested. We will reimburse an employer up to $2,000 for a technology focused credential and to be eligible they need to be short term, which means less than one year, tech focused and industry recognized.

John: (22:53)
And that’s the new future in the economy. Businesses, the nature of work is changing quickly. Technology is changing quickly. People skills need to change quickly along with this. The program that we have with Tech Cred is designed to do that. So in this COVID world, in this post-COVID world that we are looking toward, these skills are going to be more vital than ever. The program is being modified to account for people who are not working right now, so they can get those skills and move forward.

John: (23:21)
And there is really a reason for hope, because even though we’re going still going through a difficult time, businesses are starting to think about that future. People are starting to think about the future of their careers and this is a tool for you to use, to take advantage of the programs that are available, the resources that have been made available, and the opportunities that the two combined can create.

John: (23:45)
So we encourage employers to take advantage of that. We encourage prospective employees to do so as well. Governor?

Mike DeWine: (23:53)
Thanks John. We’re ready for questions.

Molly Martinez: (24:05)
Hi Governor. This is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. Secretary of State Frank LaRose is trying to bolster our state’s vote by mail system with things like prepaid postage and easier access to absentee ballots. But the President has sowed seeds of doubt saying that a vote by mail election is bound to be rigged. I was wondering if you or the Attorney General could weigh in on this.

Mike DeWine: (24:31)
Well, I’m going to pass the Attorney General. I will say that because he’s the former Secretary of State, but I’ve been asked this question a number of times, not here, I don’t think, but we have a long history of being able to do absentee ballots by mail and so Ohio has done that. John can tell me how many years, I’m not sure how many years, but a long time. And we do that for basically a four week period of time. So we do have that experience and to my knowledge, we have not had really a problem with that.

Mike DeWine: (25:16)
It is not exclusively by mail, but Ohio has a pretty open voting system in the sense that you’ve got four weeks, you can do it absentee ballot. You can do it, go to your local board of elections, and then of course the election itself is held on election day. John?

John: (25:37)
Thanks, Governor. Molly, this is actually, I think this answer can make everybody look good, honestly, because I think what the President is talking about is an exclusively vote by mail election and that’s not being discussed in Ohio for the general election this fall. We have had a, basically, all of the above opportunity where people have been able to vote by mail, they have been able to vote in person early, and they’ve been able to vote in person on election day, and to the best of my knowledge, everybody is saying, that’s what they want to do in Ohio for the future.

John: (26:16)
This system where we’ve had mail-in voting for more than a decade in Ohio. We call it “No Fault Absentee Vote By Mail” and it is a perfectly secure system. It is a system where you have to… it’s checked when you both receive your ballot, when you receive your application, when you receive the ballot. I think in other States, they’re doing something a little differently where they’re mailing everybody a ballot. That’s not what we do in Ohio. You have to request an absentee ballot. We make sure that you are who you say you are before that ballot gets sent and then it’s validated when it comes back in.

John: (26:53)
So we shouldn’t confuse the two. They’re very different. I think what some States are talking about is just sending everybody a ballot. Doesn’t happen that way in Ohio, you have to request it. It’s checked twice to make sure that the person who received the ballot is the one who actually voted, and we also preserve the variety of other tools. And by the way, that system is not changing and president Trump won Ohio under that system originally. So shouldn’t be a problem for anybody.

John: (27:25)
I think Ohio’s system of elections serves everybody’s needs. And by the way, in a COVID world, nobody has to go in person to vote. What secretary of LaRose wants to do is to enhance and improve the ability for people to get that vote by mail ballot. Most all that I’ve seen on that seems perfectly reasonable, and so nobody will have to go out.

John: (27:49)
But it’s important that we all know what the rules are way in advance so if there are going to be changes, we don’t want any changes that are last minute. We want these changes to be done in plenty of time so that everybody knows the rules and it can be done fairly and I think that-

LT. Gov. John A. Husted: (28:03)
Everybody knows the rules and it can be done fairly. And I think that Ohio has a tremendous system that’s built for these times that will allow us to get through this very well.

Shane Stegmiller: (28:16)
Hello Governor. This is Shane Stegmiller with Hannah News Service. I’ve got a two part question. First of all, where are you at on amusement parks, zoos, museums, those types of entertainment? And then the second part is have you been talking with the different professional sports teams about allowing them to hold games in person in Ohio, and where are these discussions at?

Mike DeWine: (28:36)
I’ve had conversations with the Indians, with the Reds, and with the commissioner of baseball, but no conversation in the last few weeks. So I had conversations about the commissioner called me sometime ago and wanted to kind of outline what they wanted to do as far as baseball in July, without fans. And of course, as you know, that matter is, last time I checked, still being negotiated by the players association and the owners. As far as amusement parks, zoos, et cetera, we’re going to try to address that next week. That’s still being worked on. So we’ll be back in touch with everybody next week.

Ben Schwartz: (29:42)
Hello, Governor DeWine, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. We got a question sent in this week from a man whose wife owns a daycare facility. He says, as of now, her options are to either not open or open back up and lose money, as they’re not allowed to operate at full capacity. I understand that there are good reasons behind not letting daycare centers operate at full capacity, but I want to know if your administration has given any thought to potential ways to help out people like that.

Mike DeWine: (30:18)
It is my recollection that I know that we are actually subsidizing these daycares to the tune of about $20 million a month. So this is a substantial amount of money. I don’t question your callers computation of whether they can make money or not. I’m sure if they say they can’t make money, that that’s correct, but we are subsidizing it, and the reason we’re subsidizing it, quite candidly, is because we think it’s for the safety of the kids, and the safety of their families, and the safety of the people who work there, to have much smaller ratios, to have much smaller classrooms, fewer kids who are intermingling with each other each day.

Mike DeWine: (31:17)
So we recognized the importance of childcare for workers who are going back, but we also had to balance that with the safety for those same workers and their families who are using childcare. So we’re going to see how this works. We’re going to see if there are problems in people not being able to get childcare. We have committed to adjust as we move forward, if in fact there are problems. We’ve got to see exactly where the market is and exactly how things are going to work out. So I sympathize with your viewer, your caller. I understand they have to run a small business, but we have a responsibility to try to protect people and keep people safe, and these are extraordinary times. This is not a normal time where you can have the same ratios that they have had in the past.

Ben Schwartz: (32:17)
Thank you, Governor.

Jim Provance: (32:22)
Hello, Governor. Jim Provance with the Toledo Blade. And this question is for you and for the Lieutenant Governor. Both of you are delegates for the Republican National Convention, that’s supposed to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina in August. That will be the ultimate mass gatherings, tens of thousands of people in a single arena. If that convention proceeds, do you plan to attend? And if it were being held in Ohio, as it was four years ago, would it go forward under a Dwayne administration?

Mike DeWine: (32:55)
Well, I’ll start. I don’t think we know exactly where we’re going to be. The thing about this virus, and if you just think back when we had no cases in Ohio, it wasn’t that long ago, a few months ago. Fast forward to the time of the convention, the world is going to fundamentally change between now and then, we just don’t know how it’s going to change. We don’t know where this virus is going to be. We continue to learn things about this virus every single day.

Mike DeWine: (33:26)
If the question is, could that convention occur in Ohio today? No, it couldn’t. You couldn’t have that kind of a mass gathering and have it be considered safe. What we don’t know is ultimately what that convention will look like. So we’re speculating about where we’ll be with the virus, we’re also speculating what, Republican National Committee, how they decide to actually hold the convention. I don’t think we know that. So I’m not going to speculate beyond that. And whether I go and Fran goes, again, it’s going to depend on all of those things and what the situation is at that point. John?

LT. Gov. John A. Husted: (34:12)
I don’t have much to add to that other than we’ll make sure that whatever the rules are that we follow them. We’ll have more information at that time. Look, we make decisions every day here, based on new information we get, we’ll make decisions about the future, but I know we will fulfill our duties to make sure that whatever we need to do to make sure those electors, the delegate ballots are cast, that we will ensure that whatever the rules are that we’ll follow them.

Max Filby: (34:47)
Afternoon Governor. Max Filby with the Columbus Dispatch. This weekend it was noticeable that a lot of Ohioans were flocking back out to restaurants and bars and things like that. And I’m curious what your thoughts are on that, given the warnings that we’ve heard from experts around the country about how cases could increase dramatically two weeks after a State reopens. And I’m also curious what it would take, do you think, to reinstate some of those restrictions that we started with two months ago?

Mike DeWine: (35:20)
Well, we’re watching numbers every single day. I got, specifically in regard to restaurants and bars being opened first full weekend, first weekend being opened, I got reports back, and the reports by and large, frankly, were very good. There’s a normal liquor control agents who were out reporting back. I looked at what their summary was, and the vast, vast majority of restaurants, the vast, vast majority of bars were following the guidelines, the procedures that we had set forward. So I think that’s very, very important. We’re continue to share with the public as we reopened what the numbers look like. We look at hospital admissions. That’s something that’s very significant.

Mike DeWine: (36:20)
The other figure that Dr. Acton has talked about, the R nought number, which is a significant number. And that is one person who is positive infects, on average, how many people. And at some point we were at two, three persons that that one person was infecting. We’ve been hovering around one to one, certainly, for a few weeks. We’ve got some disturbing news, frankly, out of Hamilton County, Butler County, that those numbers were starting to go up in those two counties. I don’t have for any other counties. But I think one was at 1.2, and one was at 1.19. We don’t like to see that. That is not a good movement.

Mike DeWine: (37:15)
So again, virtually everything is open. My job is to bring more testing to the state of Ohio. We’re working on it. The announcements we made today, we think will help, but we have ways to go, and we know that the more testing can help us track down this virus, and then separate it from people. It’s not a panacea. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s a tool, and so we need to get that tool up. But more importantly, candidly, is what the people of the state of Ohio do every day in their own lives. We’ve got some, what we consider to be top of the line, procedures to stay safe in business. If you’re an employee, when the company, the restaurant, the bar, the manufacturing company is following the procedures and the orders that were laid out by the health department and by people in their industry, we think people are as safe as we can make those people in those situations. So that’s a very positive thing.

Mike DeWine: (38:33)
But where the real rubber meets the road, so to speak, is in regard to what people do every day, and will they continue to keep the social distancing? I think most people will. I think most people understand, in Ohio, that we are in this for the long haul now. That barring some miracle, this is not going to go away. We got to live with this. And so the question is, how do we live with it? How do we proceed about our business, continuing to make a living, continue to see businesses grow, but at the same time, protect ourselves? And so that social distancing, that mask, Fran made this mask, I like it, it’s got the Ohio banner there, a flag. But doing things like this is going to determine how well we do in the months ahead.

Mike DeWine: (39:31)
So these are things that are in the hands of the individuals, 11.7 million people, men, women, children, in the state of Ohio. And what we do is going to determine how well we do. So a lot of different variables, a lot of things going on. I’m confident that Ohioans are going to continue to do what they need to do, but we have to be mindful of it. And we have to talk about, and we have to think about it.

Laura Hancock: (40:06)
Hello. This is Laura Hancock from Cleveland.com. We’ve discussed earlier that the department of health is working with EPA to possibly start testing sewage in Ohio, and this week there was a study out of Yale university that indicates testing sewage can help determine COVID in a community. So we’re just wondering, where does Ohio stand on this testing with EPA?

Mike DeWine: (40:37)
Laura, I was having trouble understanding. The echo in that room sometimes gets me, and I apologize. I heard you talk about a Yale study, but I didn’t understand what the study was.

Laura Hancock: (40:51)
They found that testing sewage for Coronavirus is a good indicator of the virus in the community. And we know that the department of health has been talking to EPA about doing this testing. And so we’re just wondering where it stands.

Mike DeWine: (41:09)
We have been talking, in fact, I was talking to the mayors in the major cities of Ohio this morning, and I told them that we would like to be able to do this in each one of their cities. So it is one more indicator that we think will work, and will just help us continue to understand exactly where we are. So we hope to do that in every major area of the state.

Luis Gil: (41:42)
Hello Governor, this is Luis Gil with Ohio Latino TV. And thank you for the interview, today we’re getting a lot of nice responses from it. So I appreciate it. Governor, this question was about the testimony. I think he was talking. This question is about the testimony from the couple, from [inaudible 00:14:03].

Speaker 2: (42:10)
This question is about the testimony from the couple from Tuesday-

Mike DeWine: (42:13)
What, I’m sorry?

Speaker 2: (42:13)
Can you hear me? Okay. This question is about the testimony from the couple from Tuesday. I know that the testimony is very informative, but does it help you to verify that the decisions you have made keeps track of it, or simply to tell us how bad the virus is of any other information you’re getting from people with their testimonies?

Mike DeWine: (42:39)
Not sure I got that.

Speaker 3: (42:40)
It was very difficult for us to-

Mike DeWine: (42:43)
We’re having trouble today. I don’t know and I apologize. I heard testimony, but what I didn’t understand is what testimony we’re talking about.

Speaker 2: (42:53)
On the couple, the doctor that was ill, this past Tuesday.

Speaker 3: (43:09)
Tuesday testimony, but I don’t know what the topic is. We couldn’t hear that.

Speaker 2: (43:17)
If the testimony that we are seeing is for us to see if the decisions that the Governors is making through this crisis, is it helping to keep track of it? The decision were made the right way or simply to tell us that the virus is dangerous as it can be, or any other information that you’re gathering from testimonies?

Mike DeWine: (43:50)
We’ve just got a problem today and I apologize and-

Speaker 3: (43:59)
Maybe if you can have Dan text that question.

Mike DeWine: (44:02)
If Dan could text to John, we’ll take it and we’ll try to get it done real quick and then we’ll get somebody else up here to do a question now, and then we’ll come right back to you.

Speaker 4: (44:16)
Ohio Capital Journal, on Tuesday, President Trump tweeted this. “We made most governors look very good, even great, by getting them the ventilators, unlimited testing and supplies, all of which they should have had in their own stockpiles. So they look great and I just keep rolling along doing great things and getting fake lame stream news.” So my question is, did the federal government provide Ohio with unlimited testing?

Mike DeWine: (44:52)
Well, let me say this, the President and Vice President, every time that I have called them, they have been very responsive. I talked yesterday to the Vice President twice. He was down for the launch in Florida, which of course didn’t take place, but we talked a little bit about that, but we talked about testing. He got back to me last night. I had further conversation about testing. So they had been exceedingly responsive.

Mike DeWine: (45:24)
When we’ve reached out to them, they have come through and been of great help. So that’s been my… All I can tell you is what my personal experience has been with the President and with the Vice President. We’re on conference calls with the Vice President every week, sometimes twice a week, very candid discussions with Governors, Democrat or Republican and their focus has totally been on trying to help us the best way that they can.

Speaker 4: (45:55)
Federal government supplied Ohio with unlimited testing and if we have unlimited testing, why [crosstalk 00:46:11].

Mike DeWine: (46:06)
… hear him say that, that it’s unlimited testing. Look, I think we all started off with not enough testing nationwide. I think the White House has done what they can to increase the testing. I think that if we want to pull back and look at big picture, what we take away from this coronavirus, and once we get beyond it, I think two things are going to come out, at least two. These are my two takeaways. One is, we have to invest in public health, both at the federal level and the state level. We have neglected that, Democrat and Republican administrations for a long, long time. We have to invest more in public health. The other thing is, I think what we’ve learned is, we got to make some of this stuff ourselves.

Mike DeWine: (46:54)
I mean, we cannot be relying upon China and the supply chain, which is just driving us all crazy, trying to get stuff out of China. We have to make this stuff in Ohio, and John’s been working on that. I’ve been working on that, Ohio manufacturers have come through. So we’re starting to make some of this, not everything, but we’re starting to make more of this stuff in Ohio. Those to me are the big longterm lessons that we come away with. There wasn’t testing, there was not enough testing, federal level, state level, anywhere, as we started in on this thing. Everyone’s been scrambling and everyone’s been trying to get it up.

Speaker 4: (47:34)
So you’re not going to comment on whether the President’s tweets is true [crosstalk 00:47:38].

Speaker 3: (47:37)
… testimony from the two doctors who Skype’d in on Tuesday, verify your decisions, in terms of being on the right track, or did it help you see how bad the virus really is in terms of what did you learn from what the doctors had to say?

Mike DeWine: (47:50)
What I learned from the doctors, I mean, you can look at statistics, you can look at numbers, but when you see a human being stand up there and tell you the hell he went through, he didn’t use that term, but I don’t know any other way to describe it for two months. What it brings home is that it’s not just the people who died. It is the people who have died, their families, but it’s also the people who have suffered and suffered grievously. So that’s part of the story, I think, that we need to understand as we try to evaluate what we do in regard to this virus. So yeah, I thought it was very gripping, frankly.

Jack Windsor: (48:32)
Jack Windsor, WMFDTV in Mansfield. My question is for the Governor and Governor, I understand I’m the last question. Numerous articles published this week about data related to COVID. The common theme is that information that is released, may not be giving a full picture of what’s going on real time. Last night, Representative Grendel released a statement about her support for COVID statistics legislation, requesting information, such as, actual daily deaths instead of reported, as well as age and comorbidities, focus on the number of COVID patients in hospitals each day, versus historical data, number of recovered patients, whether people tested reside in congregate settings, things like that. Governor, how will you respond to the request for more accurate information? Then do you intend to fulfill Freedom of Information Act record’s requests, some that have been denied and others that have been delayed.

Mike DeWine: (49:28)
We’ll look at anything that whatever the law tells us that we’re supposed to release, we’re certainly going to release. But beyond that, this administration has laid out in graphic detail for day after day after day throughout this, all the information that we had, I will look at that letter. We’ll determine if there were things in there that we can put together, that we can help paint a bigger or a more accurate picture, or a more complete picture. But virtually none of the data that we are releasing a year ago would have been available. We have put it together by getting the hospitals to give us the data, plugging them into our system and being able to report this data in real time. But if there are other ways and other things that we can get, we’re happy to do that.

Mike DeWine: (50:25)
One of the complaints that I hear you say, has to do with people who have recovered. Look, these people are not tracked, but you can pretty much do the math and look at the number of people who enter the hospital, number of people who died, take that away from it and the number of people who are in there, take that away from it and the rest of them obviously have recovered. So you can just kind of do the math almost on your head, so as far as the recovery. We’re not trying to hide anything about people recovering. We are blessed when people recover. We’re very happy when people recover. The director of our prisons, the other day said, “Can tell you how many of people work for her, how many of the people who are the prisoners have recovered.” She’s got them right there and so she can count them. So we made that information available and we’ll continue to do that. Thank you.

Jack Windsor: (51:30)
Not factor separating out congregate setting, versus general population so that the general population has a real accurate indication of what the spread is outside of places like congregate settings, where it’s accelerated?

Mike DeWine: (51:43)
I mean, those numbers are certainly available and we certainly can do that. I thought actually, we were doing it, but we can certainly do that. I mean, look, we’ve come up with percentage of people who have people who had died, for example. That is a widely reported figure, the percentage of those people who are in nursing homes, that we’re not trying to hide anything. We’re trying to just share all that information. And we use that information too, we use it to go make decisions that we’ve got to focus here, or we’ve got to focus there. We will be back to brief you all again on Tuesday, unless there’s something that occurs between now and then.

Mike DeWine: (52:33)
Today, we’ll close with a video of a song, Called So far Away From You that was written and recorded by a collaboration of Columbus area musicians who were part of the Columbus Quaran-Tune, Quaran-Tune Collective, which is an open Facebook group platform where you can see local musicians perform. Many of our musicians across the state have seen their performance opportunities shrink or totally go away as venues for live music have closed during the pandemic. If you can donate to help our musicians during these times, I know it’ll go a long way to help them and let’s listen, to close this out today.

Mike DeWine: (54:24)
(singing). Great, we’ll see you on Tuesday, thank you very much!