Aug 11, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript August 11
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on August 11. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Mike DeWine: (11:20)
Good afternoon, everyone. We are back at our home in Cedarville. Lieutenant Governor is in Columbus, and we have three doctors who are going to be joining us from all over the states. We appreciate that very much. Because we’re in Cedarville, We can’t do our split screen with our American sign language interpreters. So, instead, today’s update in American sign language is available live from Opportunities for Ohioans With Disabilities. You can search “Ohio OOD” to find interpreting live on Facebook and YouTube, or you can go directly to these links. Directly, the links are facebook.com/ohioOOD or youtube.com/ohioOOD. Also, if you’re not able to watch live, you could access the videos later on these channels or on the Ohio channel.
Mike DeWine: (12:27)
I’m wearing a green tie today for two reasons. It was sent to me by Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. Lake Erie College can trace its beginnings back to Willoughby Female Seminary, which was founded in 1847. The seminary was then the only institution of higher education for women in the Western Reserve. As one of the oldest institutions for higher learning in the Western Reserve, Lake Erie College is certainly proud of its long heritage. From its start as a female seminary to a coeducational institution of today offering undergraduate and graduate degrees to individuals of all ages, now, the college has been a leader in higher education in Ohio for 160 years. I’m also wearing the green tie today to recognize that August is Child Support Awareness Month. And to all those who work in this area, thank you. What you’re doing is very, very important work. The Hot Shots Child Support Program serves more than a million children and collected nearly $2 billion in support for them over the last year.
Mike DeWine: (13:41)
On the good news front, I’m going to let you know that Director Annette Chambers-Smith, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections is better. She was diagnosed with COVID. She has now been cleared to return to work. Although, frankly, I know that she’s been working from home. We’re all very grateful that she’s recovered, and we continue to wish her the best for a great, great recovery.
Mike DeWine: (14:09)
This is a special press conference today where our focus is going back to school. We know in Ohio, we don’t have a set date for when kids go back to school. This was determined by the school. It’s determined by the school district for our public schools. We’re going to, today, hear from three prominent doctors who specialize in children’s health. Dr. John Barnard from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Dr. Patty Manning from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Adam Mezoff from Dayton Children’s Hospital. But first, let’s start with our normal numbers, and we’ll look at some other numbers as well.
Mike DeWine: (14:54)
We first start with our data slides, which should be coming up on your screen. Good news. We’re seeing a little downturn as far as the number of cases, 1,095 in the last 24 hours. Our deaths, sadly, were 35 that were reported. Hospitalizations are up 131, and ICU admissions are up a little bit as well at 19. Let’s go to the next chart, Eric. This is a chart that we showed you last week, and this is a little sneak preview. We’ve been putting these out on Wednesday, but you can see the states. This is what we call “the travel advisory,” just like when you go overseas, there’s sometimes a travel advisory. Well, this is a travel advisory for the six states. They’re at 15% positivity or above. In those states, you can see we start out with Idaho at 17%, Nevada is 19%, Arizona is 18%. Then, we go over to Mississippi at 26%. Alabama at 20%, and Florida at 18%.
Mike DeWine: (16:19)
As you know, we’ve been running a little bit over five, and five positivity. So, some of these states are five times what our positivity is. We just ask people to be careful when they come back. We would ask them if we have visitors from those states, quarantine. We’d also ask Ohioans who go there, when they get back, be very, very careful for 14 days and to quarantine. Eric, let’s go to our regular slide. This is not new. We’re going to be getting a new one in two days. But again, one of the things that we’re going to be talking about today is going back to school. We’re going to show a map in a moment prepared by the Ohio Department of Education, which shows what school districts are going back in person. Again, this shows the trend that we have been seeing. Again, the same map we had last week on Thursday, but you’ll see the red counties there. You can also see that we get fewer and fewer of the yellow counties. Eric, let’s go to the next slide.
Mike DeWine: (17:26)
We started, a couple of weeks ago, ranking counties by positivity. This is one through 88, and these are new numbers. These are new numbers as of yesterday. And excuse me, I misspoke. I didn’t mean to say “positivity.” These are actually ranked by order of how many cases they had in the last two weeks per hundred thousand population. It evens things out based upon the population, and what you will see… Eric, we can go to the next slide, which is the top 10. It’s a little easier to see. These are the top 10. We’ll hold on there a minute. Mercer County still number one. Champagne County, number two, and Darke County, number three. We start off with three relatively small counties or more rural counties that have the highest amount of cases per population for the last 14 days. We then go to Lucas. Then, we go another smaller county, not in geography, but in the population, and that’s Lawrence County.
Mike DeWine: (18:37)
Then, in central Ohio, Perry County. Again, another smaller county. Fairfield, a mid-size county. Then, Franklin, and then, clear over in the Eastern side of the state, Columbiana, and then, Seneca. Seneca County as well. Again, keep these in mind as we will be looking in a minute about where schools are going. In Columbiana County, two long-term care facility outbreaks. One facility had a large number of cases. They have concerns about large venue events including flea markets, where they were seeing no facial coverings or very few people and not much social distancing. Also, note that the junior fair, I hear from my friends in Columbiana County, went very well, and it was a very safe, safe, fair. So, we thank them for that.
Mike DeWine: (19:31)
Seneca County, also, we start off with a flea market. When I talked a few days ago to on Monday morning, I talked to all our health directors around the state, 113 health directors. I think there’s 80-some that were actually on there. But one of the things they talked about was flea markets, not just in Columbiana County and Seneca County, but in other other counties. In addition, we’ve seen some incidents in regard to Seneca County with weddings. Also in Seneca County, long-term care facility, we’ve seen an outbreak. Those are some of the things that we’re seeing with those two counties.
Mike DeWine: (20:13)
We’ll have more of all our counties on Thursday when we do our update. Just a comment about flea markets, we would just remind everyone that flea markets are a lot of fun, should be pretty safe. They’re outdoors. Usually, they’re outdoors. Not always, but usually outdoors. People can come and have a good time, and look around, but I would just remind everyone who’s in charge of the flea markets, please do everything you can to keep the social distancing. People should be wearing mask when they are there. Again, anyone who’s going to flea market, have fun. Anybody who’s running a flea market, hope you do well, but please, please be careful.
Mike DeWine: (20:57)
Eric, let’s go now to a chart, and this goes directly to some of the things that we’re going to talk about today, and this is young people. We’ve shown this chart before. This is an update in the chart. Let me get it out here. This is percentage of cases by age group. If you look at the age group of zero to 19, if you go back to March, it was only 2.4% of our total cases. Today, it’s almost 13% of our total cases, are young people zero to 19. If you go the next level down, age 20 to 29, in March, it was 12%. And now, it is about 19.4%, a little bit less than it was in July and what it was in June. Just interesting to see that breakout. Eric, let’s go to, again, the map. Okay.
Mike DeWine: (21:58)
This is our map again. And let’s flip beyond that, Eric, and we’ll go to a map that was done, education model map. This was done by the State Department of Education as of August 6, so some of you may have seen this. I know the Dayton Daily carried it. There may have been other papers that have carried this map as well. But let me go through this because this is… I had asked the department to prepare a map to show us how many of our kids are going back to school in person, how many school districts are going to start remotely, and then, how many are doing a hybrid. As you look at this, let’s start with what is kind of a light yellow, at least, on my screen. This is schools that are planning when they start back in to go basically live with students in the schools.
Mike DeWine: (23:08)
This is referred to as a five-day return, simply meaning that the kids are going to go back in school pretty much as they normally would. This is in-person instruction. Sometimes, the schedules will be adjusted, and of course, the configuration of the school may be adjusted. But this is kids who will be there in person. That’s the light yellow. The blue, that’s all remote. Those are students that are going all remote, and you’ll see a lot of our urban centers or our city schools are going remote, online learning. All students will receive only remote learning instruction, which may be teacher-led or student-led, but it will be remote, at least at the beginning. This is how they’re going to start off. Green, the green that you see there is a hybrid model, a mix of in-person and remote learning education, knowing that some grade levels may be all in-person or fully remote. So, it’s a real mix there.
Mike DeWine: (24:08)
Again, the yellow is in-person. That’s how they intend to start. The blue is they’re intending to, at least, start online learning completely. And the green is the hybrid or the combination of those two. Couple of things about this information and some qualifications to it. This is what we know today, actually, back a few days ago on August 6. It is public schools only, so we don’t have there the parochial schools or any kind of private schools. It only captures traditional public school districts, and it does not capture all the subtleties of our hybrid models where different grade levels may be going in-person or in fact, may be going remote. Based on what we know now, we have 325 school districts in the state…
Mike DeWine: (25:03)
We have 325 school districts in the state who are planning to return full time. That represents about a 590,000 public school students, or 38%, roughly. These are all rough figures, but approximately 38% of students would be going back to school in person. We have 55 districts for about 25.6% or 398,000 students that will be fully remote. So again, that’s 55 districts, 25.6% of the school population will be going, at least starting off online. We have 154 districts or 24.5%, which is approximately 380,000 students will be doing some form of hybrid schooling. 78 districts for which a few days ago we did not have the data on. And so some school districts are still deciding. In some cases, maybe we just don’t have that information. So that kind of gives you an idea, gives me an idea of kind of what is happening as schools are making individual choices.
Mike DeWine: (26:19)
And of course, as parents are making individual choices. Let me just talk for a moment before we get to our three doctors, I’m anxious to hear what they have to say, but as we look at our schools and I’ve talked to a lot of superintendents, I’ve talked a lot of teachers, and let me just say, I think our schools are doing a very good job getting ready. Those that are going to be online or those that are going to be in person, I think they’re doing a good job. They’ve been working very, very hard. For those who that are going to start either hybrid or totally in person, I think they’re going to do a very, very good job. Look, our teachers, our principals, folks that just work in the school, whether it’s in the cafeteria, wherever it is, every day, they work hard when there’s no code to protect our kids.
Mike DeWine: (27:25)
I’ve known a lot of teachers over the years, related to some, and they do a phenomenal job. And so I have every confidence that they’re going to do everything that they can and have taken every precaution they can to keep your children or your grandchildren safe when they go back to school. One thing I pointed out as I had some discussions this past week with school superintendents, and I’ve said to them, I’m totally confident that you’re going to do a great job. You’ve been focusing on this. You’ve been getting ready for this, but whatever is going on in the community will be reflected in your school. If it’s high COVID spread throughout the community, it’s going to be high in your school. And there’s really no way of changing that. So no matter how good the schools are, they basically get kids coming out of a community that may be high.
Mike DeWine: (28:25)
And so my plea today to parents and grandparents, and if you don’t have a kid in school, if we want our kids to go to school, we want them to be there in person, if we want them to play sports, if we want them to be in whatever club they’re in, whatever their passion is. There’s nothing better than having your child care a lot about something, that might be sports, it might be drama, it might be band, it might be art. If you want them to be able to have that experience, then it’s incumbent upon all of us, every single one of us, to do everything we can to keep down the spread in the community in which that school lives. And that’s the best thing that we can do, the most important thing we can do to keep our kids in school for those kids who are going to start in school and to keep them in school and keep them able to go.
Mike DeWine: (29:18)
What we do is going to really frankly, determine that. What that community does, what we do in our community. And for kids who are starting online, but the school is looking forward and saying, “Hey, maybe after a while we’ll be in a position where we think we can have kids in school.” Again, what we do in that community is going to determine whether that opportunity is there for our kids and our grandkids and our neighbors’ kids. So we all think that being in school in person is important and the way to ensure that is for us to wear a mask when we’re out, keep our social distance, not go to mass gatherings of people or large gatherings of people. And just to be careful, stop the spread of it, slow it down. It’s really exactly what we need to do and that’s the best thing that we can do if we have a real passion for having our kids in school and the passion for having our kids, whether it plays sports or engage in art, whatever the kid likes to do, young people like to do.
Mike DeWine: (30:15)
So that is kind of where we are this point. Let me now go, and I’m really happy to welcome Dr. John Bernard, who is the Chief of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and President of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. Doctor, welcome. Thank you very, very much for being with us. And I know that I’ve been told that you’ve been leading a team of physicians and researchers across some of Ohio’s children’s hospitals to analyze the prevalence of COVID-19 among children. And I wonder if you could just maybe tell us some of the things you have found and kind of what the status is of COVID- 19 among our young people in Ohio today.
Dr. John Bernard: (31:04)
Thank you, Governor DeWine. I am privileged to speak on behalf of Ohio’s six children’s hospitals, which are overseen by and work together under the auspices of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association for really many, many years, but certainly in the COVID era, we’ve been working much more closely together to share best practices and ideas, and also to collate data.
Dr. John Bernard: (31:33)
So for the past few months, we’ve shared our data with one another and I’ll review some of those learnings with you today. So first off, a few high level comments. Children get coronavirus infection, let’s just be really crystal clear. They get coronavirus infection and they get it not infrequently. Fortunately, most children are reasonably well with their symptoms of COVID-19. We know that about 90% of them do really exceedingly well, however, a smaller fraction, 10%, or maybe a little bit less, actually get sick and need to be in the hospital and children with certain medical conditions actually can become critically ill and have been hospitalized in our Ohio children’s hospitals and in our intensive care units.
Dr. John Bernard: (32:28)
So small number get really sick. Most kids do well. We’re very grateful for that, but just to make sure folks know, it can be a very serious disease in certain children. Now in Ohio children’s hospitals, we’re privileged to have six of the country’s best here in Ohio, we took a different cut at the data, and we were really interested in knowing what fraction of children, what percentage of children who have symptoms that are compatible with COVID actually test positive. So we’ve done, over the course of the past five-ish months, we’ve done about 14,000 tests for COVID in children that have symptoms that suggest to our physicians that it may be compatible with COVID. And we found 8.6% positivity.
Dr. John Bernard: (33:25)
We’re also interested in the test positivity in children that don’t have the signs or symptoms of COVID and we’re not out surveying in the community. So how can we get a best estimate of that? Well, most of us are testing all the children admitted to our hospitals, whether they have COVID-like symptoms or not, and we’re also testing children that are going to undergo surgery in the near future that’s an outpatient elective surgery. So that’s as close as we can come to a asymptomatic population, which has been talked about very frequently in the lay press and also in the medical journals. And since mid-March, when we first started testing, we’ve done about 20,000 tests in these asymptomatic children. And we find that a positive rate from the beginning of about 1.4%. Now I would like to point out that number has been rising in the past a month or so, and is now at about 2.9%, if you just look back for the prior week.
Dr. John Bernard: (34:30)
So we do think that there’s some increase in the number of children that are asymptomatic, but test positive for COVID. And by the way, I do want to say that the information that I’m giving you today is in children that are basically less than 18 years of age. We have also broken down our data by age. We’re very interested in the spread from age zero to age 18. And we have found that that older teenagers or really young adults at the age of 17 are the highest prevalence of test positivity amongst all the children that we test. And we believe that’s because 17 year olds are now often driving and they are socially much more active and tend to test positive statistically significantly more than younger children.
Dr. John Bernard: (35:31)
Now, let me talk a little bit more about the severity of the disease. So of all the children that we’ve encountered that have been positive across the state, 8% have required admission to one of our children’s hospital. And of those 8%, 1% have had to go into our intensive care unit and some have been really critically ill and on ventilators. So again, it can be a very serious disease in children. And some of these cases occur in children with underlying medical conditions, such as obesity and type two diabetes, type one diabetes, for example. And the last thing I would like to say just about the types of children that are getting COVID in our state is that we have learned that the prevalence of test positivity is four to six times higher in children from underrepresented minority groups, specifically Hispanic children and black children. That’s an observation that’s really played out across the United States and it certainly seems to be playing out here in Ohio and regardless of the cities in which our children’s hospitals are located.
Dr. John Bernard: (36:53)
So finally, I think many of us have heard about this multi-system inflammatory syndrome of children. And interestingly here in Ohio, we’ve had 13 cases that we’ve identified at our children’s hospital, far, far, fewer than some of the hotspots across the country, like New York, Miami, and others, so I think we’re fortunate in that regard. In fact, some of our hospitals have not even even seen a case. And I’ll just report today, happily, that as of this morning at about seven o’clock, none of our children’s hospitals had children in their intensive care units being cared for with COVID. So a good report for today, at least.
Mike DeWine: (37:37)
Well doctor, thank you. That’s very thorough and I appreciate it, and I hope you can stay with us as we may have some questions from the news media.
Dr. John Bernard: (37:48)
Mike DeWine: (37:50)
I appreciate that very, very much great overview of what we’re seeing in Ohio, what you’re seeing in Ohio and what all our children’s hospitals are seeing. And I agree with you. We are blessed with some amazing children’s hospitals in Ohio. It’s just a great, great thing for our families.
Mike DeWine: (38:08)
Let me now welcome Dr. Patty Manning. Dr. Manning is a chief of staff and a developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Dr. Manning, thank you very, very much for being with us. Wonder if you could tell us, maybe start off with what is the research telling us about kids being able to spread the virus?
Dr. Patty Manning: (38:36)
Sure. Thank you, Governor. It’s a privilege to be able to speak on behalf of such an important topic on behalf of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. We’re really just learning what children do in terms of spread, but I think it’s important to restate what you’ve already said and what Dr. Bernard said, and that is that children do get COVID. They are not immune from COVID. And when you have COVID, you can spread COVID. There’s some very early research that suggests that the type of spread may differ by the age of child, but it’s a preliminary, and it’s hard to really extend that research beyond just some initial thoughts about who might be more contagious.
Dr. Patty Manning: (39:12)
I think it’s safe to say that if a child has COVID, they can be contagious whether they’re symptomatic or not. And as we have more time, we’ll learn more about what types of children’s spread, who spreads more. It’s fair to say that younger children who need closer contact in their care might be at more risk of spread. And so that the younger you are, the more likely you may be to spread because your care has to be in more close contact.
Mike DeWine: (39:37)
But that comes about because of the length of time with that child, and maybe also because of the closeness with that child, and those are two factors that are important?
Dr. Patty Manning: (39:48)
That’s very important and very good point that we talk a lot about close contact and what close contact means with regards to transmission. So close contact, to remind everyone, is under six feet for more than 10 or 15 minutes. And so, as you’re obviously aware of most young children need close care, you have to hold them or you have to feed them. And you’re going to do that for longer than 10 or 15 minutes. But you can be distant from older children, more than three, four, five, six feet, and you can do that, or when you are close, it’s under 10 minutes, you’re at less risk.
Mike DeWine: (40:22)
And then doctor, you may have covered this, but what about kids over 10? The older, the teenagers, maybe early teens?
Dr. Patty Manning: (40:31)
So the older children and the teens, as we heard a little bit already, especially the teens and the mobile teens are at great risk for spread because they’re very active and they’re in close contact with each other. We don’t have a lot of evidence that says that they spread more or they spread differently. But again, that’s another area of important study that we’re waiting on.
Mike DeWine: (40:51)
Wonder if you can talk, the reason we’re doing this today, doctor, is people are getting ready to send their kids back to school. And I wonder if you have, based on your research and your knowledge, any kind of tips for students or parents, administrators, to keep school safe. And I know schools have been working hard, but we thought we would take this opportunity to have you talk directly to people of Ohio and tell them what you know based on your studies and your expertise.
Dr. Patty Manning: (41:29)
Absolutely. And I just want to echo what you said about the hard work that’s being done by all the school leaders and administrators. They have such a huge lift and they exposure that I’ve had to the work that they’ve done, it’s been just impressive what school leaders are doing to keep our kids safe. And we recognize that opening a school is a local decision. It’s a community decision. It’s based on many local factors. As pediatricians, we do support and are biased in the direction of in-person education when possible. And for that education to be safe, there are really four very specific strategies in order of importance that we want schools and families to be aware of.
Dr. Patty Manning: (42:09)
The first is masking. That everyone can wear a mask. Everyone should wear a mask. It’s recommended that children in K through 12 wear masks. That will protect everyone, teachers and students.
Dr. Patty Manning: (42:19)
The second is distancing. And so we talk a lot about the importance of distancing and six feet and six feet is optimal, six feet is great, but three feet is also good. And four feet is a little bit better than three feet. And five feet is better than four feet. And so we know there’s a continuum of safety that can be in place in schools. We also all recognize how hard it may be to keep children six feet apart at all times. So I’ve talked to many families and many teachers about doing your best, recognizing that some distance is better than no distance, and six feet is optimal, but it’s not always going to be achievable.
Dr. Patty Manning: (42:51)
The third aspect of safe care and safe education is hand hygiene. And so this is something we’ve all been hearing a lot about washing our hands, using hand sanitizer. This is something that should happen on a regular schedule in schools. It should be made fun and kids can be engaged in this type of activity and be part of that.
Dr. Patty Manning: (43:08)
And then the fourth most important factor is cleaning surfaces. And sometimes we place a lot of emphasis on cleaning surfaces as if it’s the most important factor and it’s important. But the good news is that COVID is not very hardy. It dies when it dries and it dies in the sunlight. And so we don’t need extensive, over the top, elaborate cleaning processes, we need our usual routine cleaning processes. We need to wipe down high touch surfaces and we need to really focus on hand hygiene because if our hands are clean. Then we’re all really protected.
Dr. Patty Manning: (43:40)
Another important factor is ventilation, and there’ve been a number of studies that demonstrate that areas that are better ventilated have lower risk of disease transmission. We know that schools vary in their ability to provide different degrees of ventilation, but at any time that a teacher can open a window, can take a class outside, when it’s appropriate, at the discretion of the teacher, those are activities that will help as well.
Mike DeWine: (44:07)
And those, I think you said at the beginning, those are cumulative. Do all of them is that the recommendation?
Dr. Patty Manning: (44:16)
They’re cumulative, but they’re an order of importance. So the masking is the most important, followed by distancing, followed by hand hygiene, followed by surface cleaning, but together they create a very robust package for safety. And I want to also echo what you said earlier, and that is that what we do in our community will impact our schools. We are all connected. We are all in this together. And so what happens in our communities will impact our schools and what happens in our schools will be reflected in our community. If we want children to do these things, if we want children to wear masks, we have to wear masks. We have to model that behavior for them as the adults and the parents in their lives. And so it’s really all for one in this type of climate that we’re in.
Mike DeWine: (45:01)
Doctor, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the stress. This has been a stressful time for adults, stressful time for kids. Kids are going to be starting back in school. Some of the protocols that they’re going to have to follow will be different. Some kids will be wearing masks, maybe for the first time. Any advice for parents, any advice for teachers as we kind of start back in this great unknown or something at least different for us.
Dr. Patty Manning: (45:33)
Exactly. One piece of advice I’ve given a lot of families, including just this morning when I was in clinic, is to let children know that it’s okay to be uncertain. There’s a lot of uncertainty and we’ve been dealing with a tremendous amount of uncertainty and sometimes children look to us for recognition and approval of that uncertainty. Yes, we know it’s different, we know that things have changed and that’s okay, but we’re going to learn together as we go. So parents talking to their children and giving them some warning and some heads up about what may be coming, doing a little bit of rehearsal around mask wearing, about hand hygiene. We talk a lot in my field about using stories and social stories to kind of illustrate here’s what’s going to happen, here’s what it might look like.
Dr. Patty Manning: (46:15)
Most children and most people really benefit from structure. So preparing children who may have not had a lot of structure over the past several months, preparing them for the restart of some structure, of sleep schedules, wake schedules. I talked about that literally all morning with families about the importance of getting back onto a schedule and how much schedules and predictability help everybody. And so I think there are a lot of basic things that families and teachers can do, starting with just talking to children and trusting that they’re actually going to understand and be able to comply.
Mike DeWine: (46:47)
Dr. Manning, thank you very much. Very, very helpful. I wonder if you could stay with us a little bit and we may have some questions from the news media, but thank you for those good, good instructions and those good tips. We appreciate it very, very much.
Mike DeWine: (47:02)
Let me now welcome a third doctor, Dr. Adam Mezoff, Chief Medical Officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Doctor, thank you very, very much for being with us. I know that you’ve been working with physicians at Dayton Children’s to develop a protocol for how schools respond, if and when COVID appears in their schools. So, first of all, thanks for joining us, but I wonder if you could kind of maybe run through some examples of how schools should react, maybe a drill, so to speak. You got this circumstance and this circumstance, and then how does the school react to that? So, thanks for joining us.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (47:46)
Thank you, Governor. It’s a pleasure. And I’d like to echo the comments of my colleagues. They’re very important that the best things we can do start at home and showing our kids how this can be and how predictable we can make it. So I appreciate the question. We have some slides that I’d like to show you. We have been working closely with the school systems, with the health department, and with our primary care doctors to try and help develop a path forward, if you will. An evidence based guide, an algorithm, a way for people to start thinking about how to manage these problems as they arise, because we know that as school starts up, there’ll be a lot of questions, a lot of concerns, and a lot of things that may change.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (48:31)
This slide is part of our algorithm and so my intention is not to walk through this in great detail, but just to highlight a few things for you, the first is, if you look at the top left corner, the box is where people start, which is “Have you been exposed to somebody with COVID?”
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (48:48)
And if the answer is yes, it goes across the screen and asks the question, and Patty referred to this, that “Were you within six feet and there for longer than 15 minutes?” The CDC defines that as a significant exposure. And if so, we know the standard approach, the protocols to this. The challenge often comes with symptoms that aren’t as clear. So this algorithm, if you will, walks through what may be considered high-risk symptoms, low-risk symptoms. And one of the points I wanted to make was that not all the illnesses we will see this fall are COVID, but having said that, one of the messages we’ve given to our hospital staff and I would give to the schools is if you’re sick, stay home. It doesn’t have to be COVID. So whether it’s a staff person or a student, if you have a fever and you’re sick, first and foremost, please stay home. That will help protect others in your school and other families. So that will be part of this protocol. So to address your question, perhaps the next slide we’ve come on. Go ahead, sir, I’m sorry.
Mike DeWine: (49:55)
I’m sorry, doctor. Let me interrupt. Eric, are the slides up? Okay. They’re up. I’m not seeing them, but they’re up. As long as people who are watching this can see them. Okay.
Mike DeWine: (50:03)
… but there out. As long as the people who are watching this can see them. Doctor go ahead. I apologize.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (50:05)
Yes, sir. So we have more than a dozen scenarios and I have three that are incorporated in this slide deck. And this is to help folks sort of walk through and understand how this algorithm can help them and how they can approach students, faculty, and others as the fall evolves. So in a Scenario 1, a child’s riding the school bus Monday through Friday, not wearing a mask all the time, but only on the bus for 10 minutes, feels ill over the weekend and then comes up positive for COVID. And the two main concerns are, who needs to be isolated and who perhaps needs to be evaluated. And so if you go to the next slide with these scenarios that we’re sending and sharing with the schools in our regions, and we’re going to talk as a group at Ohio Children’s Hospital, we walked through how you would answer this.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (50:58)
So who is isolated? Bus driver, no. In this case, the student was in the back of the bus and not near them. And again, foundationally, because they are not within six feet for 15 minutes, therefore they don’t need to be isolated. Again, if the students were around them for less than 15 minutes and more than six feet, then there is no need for isolation. But I would point out that we assume when a family member is positive, whether you have a positive test on other family members, that we treat the whole family as if that’s a significant exposure and they are positive. And we know that testing could be a challenge so we’re trying to be good stewards of that resource. So who should be evaluated by a provider? Who may need testing? Again, the second piece of the scenarios that we have constructed have to do with, if you walk through each member of this scenario, who needs what? And in general, if you have no symptoms and you didn’t have a significant exposure, then just watching and making sure you’re okay is sufficient. The next slide is a second scenario. Again, this is now in the classroom. It is closer to six feet. The student develops symptoms. And again, I’ll remind you that within six feet and for more than 15 minutes is considered a significant exposure. Different people will use different definitions of sufficient personal protective equipment. But without getting off on that tangent, if we go to the next slide, we again, answer those kinds of questions. So who should be isolated? Yes. Classmates and teachers, if they were, again, within that distance and for the timeframe that we’ve described. And in general, without symptoms, it’s okay to watch. But if there’s any concern about the symptoms that are developing, we are partnering with our primary care doctors to make sure that they have the information they need to help manage these patients. So yes, all of these folks would be isolated because they were in that six foot and 15 minute mark.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (53:06)
And depending on their symptoms, depends on who would move forward with more of a healthcare evaluation. The final scenario, we’re going to talk a little bit again about what is come up before, which is, how does this work as far as sports are concerned? Once again, there are basic tenants that we’re going to, the student participates in volleyball. They have face coverings at the beginning, at the end of practice, but certainly not during practice. If they’re closer to six feet and the teammate does end up with symptoms and the test is positive, how do you handle this? So again, the questions are, who should be isolated and who may need further evaluation? If you go to the next slide, the team that was close to this person would need to be evaluated since that test is positive.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (54:00)
Another one of the take home messages, though, is that if you are in contact with a contact of somebody who had COVID. So it’s once removed, that person does not count as somebody who has been actively exposed to the infection. I’m happy to walk through the answers to this, governor, but in the interest of time, I’m happy to turn it over to you and see if there are specific questions. These were meant to be just, though, examples of the scenarios we’re trying to construct to help people walk through an appropriate way of handling the problems that are going to arise as schools return.
Mike DeWine: (54:40)
Doctor, you want to comment a little bit and thank you, that was very helpful. About different scenarios based on whether you’re outside or inside. How much that impacts that. And I think what may be a little confusing, is a little bit to me whenever I hear, it is the standard of how long you’re with a person and how that plays out and what the other variables you might look at to determine whether or not you think there’s a problem connected to that person. And sports is a great example. Contact sports, whatever you call volleyball but if you’re close to the net with somebody on the other side, maybe you have some contact with them. So you want to just go through the different variables.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (55:36)
Yes, sir. Happy to. First and foremost, and I know Patty mentioned this when she talked about ventilation, there’s no greater ventilation than being outside. So how much breeze gets to pull droplets away from people. Anything we can do outside would be great. And Patty has in the past, talked about even you can get a classroom outside that natural outside ventilation is always very helpful.
Mike DeWine: (56:05)
In fact, doctor-
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (56:05)
Mike DeWine: (56:06)
In fact doctor, you may have seen the picture that I saw, I don’t know, a month or so ago. There’s some articles about the 1918, 1919 and they had classes actually outside in some places.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (56:16)
Yes. And I’ve been accused of being in some of those classrooms but I am not that old just yet sir. In addition, part of the challenges is being able to determine the contact level, if you will. And so we’ve had questions that arise about intermittent contact. Is it cumulative or consecutive? Is the contact for 15 straight minutes, or if I’m in contact with somebody five minutes every hour, five times. And I must tell you, there is no hard and fast evidence on the exact path to take. So we, again, are trying to make a judgment based, if you will, on the intensity of the exposure. And that’s where one of the things that we’re all working on is a hotline where people can call and we can help them sort through that when that arises.
Mike DeWine: (57:07)
So general principles, but the science gets a little iffy if you’re trying to compare, for example, if five, five, and five or 15 straight.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (57:20)
Yes, sir. And I’d be happy to have my other colleagues weigh in. But my understanding in all that we’ve read is it’s very hard to discern one versus the other.
Mike DeWine: (57:31)
Okay, good. Well, doctor, thank you very much. If you could stay with us as well-
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (57:35)
Mike DeWine: (57:35)
We’re going to now go to lieutenant governor for some comments and then we’re going to go to questions. And if we could hold the three doctors here in case there’s some questions for them. Lieutenant governor.
Lieutenant governor: (57:49)
Thanks governor. I was making some notes as the doctors were talking. All three of them did a fantastic job of explaining the different situations they were all describing. I know that from the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed at night, I’m consuming information on these topics, particularly a lot of it related to school. And I thought they all did a great job of explaining. Because we know that every family or every superintendent who’s making a decision is just struggling with getting all the health data right, thinking about all of their academic options. Family circumstances. We know how those things are difficult choices as it relates to work and health and mental health, and trying to make the best choices for your children. So all of this information that we get helps, and it’s important to remember that we’re all consuming this during a very difficult time.
Lieutenant governor: (58:52)
It’s hard on the school officials and the teachers that are contemplating their future, the families that are contemplating their particular futures. I know we’re all in a little bit different circumstances. In my case, my wife and I are comfortable with our daughters heading back to school this fall but we know that there are many families and many circumstances where that may not work out and may not be the best thing for those families. And we know how… because we talked to them. We talked to all the folks who are doing this, the governor and I do, and we know how people are struggling. Nobody knows how this is going to go. Nobody knows exactly if you’re in school, if you’re not in school, how this is going to work for the fall. That’s why I just want to remind people that the governor has given Ohio a choice in this.
Lieutenant governor: (59:49)
What he’s asked is to say that the local schools are going to make the best decision based on their community standards. Families get to make the decisions based on their circumstances. And I think we’re going to learn a lot from that. We will learn from that process, which will inform next steps as schools, families, and parents continue to learn. But I will say there is something that we do know. We know how to slow the spread of the virus. And whether you’re in school or outside of school, you do these things right and we’ll make it more likely that all of this gets to happen in our futures because we will slow the spread of the virus. And as we often say, back up, mask up and wash up. Those are the things that work. And if we do them, we’re going to get a chance to do more things because we will have slowed the spread. So I really appreciate the doctors’ advice there and counsel. And governor, thanks for giving me a few minutes to share some thoughts. And I know that families and schools are like are struggling with these decisions. And so we all have to be patient and caring and understanding as we all work through this.
Mike DeWine: (01:01:11)
Thank you very much. We’re ready for questions. We still have the doctors if anyone has a question for one or all of the doctors, or if you have a question for lieutenant governor or for myself.
Speaker 1: (01:01:24)
Governor, our first question [inaudible 01:01:25] at WBNS-10TV in Columbus.
Speaker 2: (01:01:32)
Hello, governor, can you hear me?
Mike DeWine: (01:01:35)
Well, we’re getting a little echo there but I can’t hear you. Yeah, I think.
Speaker 2: (01:01:39)
Can you hear me?
Mike DeWine: (01:01:41)
Speaker 2: (01:01:42)
Okay, great. Franklin County remains in the red and it’s been there since the beginning of the health advisory. What are you hearing as to why that is? And if it stays in red, do you think that will prevent high school football from happening? And to the doctors, how do you feel about children riding the school bus? If you had children in school, would you feel comfortable with them riding in a school bus to and from school considering the social distancing concerns?
Mike DeWine: (01:02:13)
Doctors, I’ll start. I’ll do the Franklin County one. You guys can do the bus one. Look, I mean, I can only speculate a better person to ask that would be one of the health directors or medical doctor as far as Franklin County. Mayor Ginther and I have talked about this a lot. And if you look at Columbus itself, it probably is the youngest community. And Franklin County probably is the youngest county as far as population. I don’t have the data, but it’s a younger group of people. And one of the things that we have seen is that particularly with 20 to 29 year olds, they’re picking it up at a much heavier rate than they were.
Mike DeWine: (01:03:02)
And I think, visually, you can just see that they’re out and about a lot. That’s understandable. So the fact that Franklin County has more young people is probably a great advantage for the county, but it probably also is a reason that you’re seeing the spread continue there in Franklin County. Let me go to to the doctors and they can take the question about riding a school bus.
Dr. Patty Manning: (01:03:38)
I’m going to take the school bus questions. So I think it’s always fair to say, hey, would you let your children do this? And my answer to that question is, “Yes, I would.” I understand that bus riding feels different. It feels more constrained. It feels like children are in very close contact, which they are. But the good news is children are facing forward. If they’re behaving on the bus, they’re facing forward. If they’re wearing masks, if they are not sick, if they practice hygiene before and after being on the bus, then I think children can ride the bus safely. And I think that riding the bus to school is the only way that some children get to school. And I would hate to limit access to in person school because of some kind of transportation constraints. So I think we can make bus travel safe for children and I think that I would support that. Yes.
Mike DeWine: (01:04:27)
Okay. Any other doctors? Okay. We’ll go to the next question.
Speaker 1: (01:04:32)
Next question is from Geoff Redick at a WSYX in Columbus.
Geoff Redick: (01:04:41)
Hi governor. Thanks for running this again. For the doctors, I believe it was last week or a week and a half ago when the state’s mask order was issued for schools and students, K-12 specifically. It was mentioned that the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association said that asthma allergies or sinus infections would not be considered exemptions from wearing a mask. And I know those conditions specifically become touchpoints for parents with children who have asthma, allergies, sinus infections, regularly. Why won’t those get you out of wearing a mask if you’re K-12?
Mike DeWine: (01:05:22)
Then let me just jump in before they answer. [inaudible 01:05:25] these determinations are going to be made by the principal. They’re going to be made by the teachers. What the doctors offered and what the American Pediatrics Association, the Ohio Chapter offered was the best medical advice they could give. So let me turn it to the doctors for that.
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (01:05:44)
Governor, I’d be happy to try and answer that. And what I can tell you is when that document was constructed, we asked for help from a lot of experts. And one of the groups we asked for help was our pulmonologists. And our pulmonologists are our lung doctors. And those are the doctors that manage these patients. And they were very clear that most patients with those disorders, a mask would not interfere with their ability to breathe or their ability to function well. And they felt that the importance of masks protecting those patients from getting an infection in their lungs far exceeded any risk that there was in wearing them. So there was a lot of thought, it’s a very good question. There was a lot of thought put into that, but we actually reached out to experts who take care of these patients and they felt strongly that these kids needed the protection of a mask.
Mike DeWine: (01:06:37)
Okay. Next question.
Speaker 1: (01:06:40)
Next question is from Andy Chow at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Andy Chow: (01:06:46)
Hi governor. Thanks for having this press conference. I wanted to talk about the definition of close contact being within six feet for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. What we’ve seen in other states that a lot of controversy starts to pop up when pictures of crowded hallways start to circulate. Are crowded hallways dangerous at schools?
Mike DeWine: (01:07:09)
I’m going to refer to the doctors. So who wants to take it?
Dr. Patty Manning: (01:07:15)
I can take that question. So I’d say quickly, yes. Crowded hallways are probably not optimal for a lot of reasons, not just COVID. It gets again, back to the length of time in that hallway. And so if you remember back to your own high school days, it was unusual to be traveling in a crowded hallway for more than 10 minutes. So I think that’s an aspect of duration that we have to consider. I mean, ideally, schedules would be staggered in a way so that kids weren’t crammed up next to each other. So the short answer is, yeah. They’re not optimal. They’re not great, but they shouldn’t be to prohibitive to school participation and they should be managed. We can manage those better.
Dr. John Bernard: (01:07:55)
And if I may say that a crowded hallway with masks is a different calculation than a crowded hallway without masks. [inaudible 01:08:05] back to Dr. Manning’s assertion earlier, that masks are priority number one.
Mike DeWine: (01:08:11)
Okay. Thank you very much. Next question.
Speaker 1: (01:08:15)
Next question is from Scott Halasz with the Xenia Daily Gazette.
Scott Halasz: (01:08:18)
Hey governor, how are you doing?
Mike DeWine: (01:08:19)
Scott Halasz: (01:08:21)
Thanks for taking my question. So the doctors have all said that being outside and having good ventilation is an important thing and that there’s no way to kind of discern whether five minutes of contact three times is better or worse than 15 minutes at once. The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association sent you a pretty comprehensive plan as far as how they plan to cleanse things and how they plan to try and keep things safe if there’s a season. So how much of this information the doctors have said today regarding ventilation, everything is going to help sway your decision one way or another with regards to football this fall?
Mike DeWine: (01:08:59)
Well, I’ll start off and I’m going to refer and see if any of the doctors want to make any comment about that. Scott, these decisions are not made in a vacuum. And by that, I mean, it’s not a question, does that young person play football? Is that person playing the band? Is that person do whatever they’re doing? Part of the question is what do they do if they’re not doing that? And so I think one of the arguments for sports is it does have a discipline to it. And we’re still working on the orders in regards to sports. We’ll have that shortly. It won’t be too much longer. We’ve basically taken sports and let it play out during the fall. But the final decisions, that will be coming very, very shortly.
Mike DeWine: (01:09:53)
But part of the argument for sports that is, I think, a strong one. Is first of all, there’s a discipline to sports. Part of that discipline this year will be they have to be different than the normal discipline. Part of the discipline this year will have to be being safe. And I think our coaches, those who are assisting, those who are working with our young people, whether in sports or whether in drama or whatever they are in, they are role models. It’s not only important what these young people do in school, what they do in practice, whatever that is they’re practicing, but what they do the other rest of the day. And so our coaches, our teachers have a great opportunity to help these young people understand that the choices they make at 9:00 o’clock at night or 10:00 o’clock at night or some other time on the weekend when they’re not practicing or they’re not with the coach, that those life choices that they’re going to make this year, they’re always important, but this year they’re more important than they’ve ever been before.
Mike DeWine: (01:11:06)
And that the choices they make may determine whether or not their team is going to be able to continue to play that sport. And so everybody literally on that team is in it together. And if one gets sick, maybe many will get sick. And so staying away from situations where you may get sick, or at least doing the best you can, wearing that mask when you’re out and keeping the social distance and doing the other things that we have been talking about here. Coaches have a great ability to get that message across in a way, sometimes, that even parents don’t have a way of doing that. So I will turn it to the doctors and see what comments they have. But that’s my kind of some comments that I would have in regard to this whole decision. That parents will make, that schools will make and what kind of guidance that we’re going to put out. I don’t know if any of our doctors have any comments in regard to the question.
Dr. Patty Manning: (01:12:06)
I don’t think there’s too much to add, governor. I think you covered it very well and you really emphasized this point that we’re trying to hit hard, which is that what we do outside of school affects what we can do in school. It’s clear that there’s going to be a lot more discussion around sports and that those decisions. And I think we just have to wait on those discussions.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:28)
Anybody else? Okay. Next question.
Speaker 1: (01:12:31)
Our next question is from Marty Schladen at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Schladen: (01:12:36)
Good afternoon governor. I want to just switch over to the economy quickly. Yesterday your administration announced that it was going to try to out work with the Trump administration on a $300 a month, federal unemployment supplement. Would it be easier, administratively, and quicker just to continue the $600 supplement that was in place until the end of the month. And also one of the sticking points between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration is $900 billion for state and local governments. Where would you come down on that argument?
Mike DeWine: (01:13:17)
Well, first of all, I am the eternal optimist. I spent 20 years in Congress. I’ve seen hopeless cases where no one thought there could be a deal and there was a deal. And I saw it time after time after time. So I’m an optimist. I think there’s a deal to be had between the House and the Senate and the administration. And I urge Congress to get about the job of getting that done. I think they can. Second, I think what the president did was the right thing. President was looking at a stalemate. He wanted to move the ball, maybe get some people to negotiate more, but also try to do something that was to be a positive thing. And so the $ 300 that he’s talking about, we have people in Ohio who really need that money, and we want to get that. If that’s where we end up, if that’s what the final thing is from the administration, then we want to get that money out to people as fast as we can.
Mike DeWine: (01:14:16)
As far as Ohio adding to that, you talked about $600. We don’t have the ability to do that. We’re looking at an economy that while we’re optimistic about it, while it’s coming back, our unemployment is gone down. We hope it will continue to go down, but we also know that we are facing the COVID, we’re still fighting the COVID. We know what impact that has on the economy. And so there’s no money in the unemployment fund to do this. We would have to take the money from someplace else. We’re looking at keeping money set aside for testing and things that we absolutely have to do to keep people safe so that not only do we keep people safe-
Mike DeWine: (01:15:03)
To keep people safe, so that our not only do we keep people safe so that our economy can continue to move forward. So, number one, to recap, Congress needs to get this done. And they need to get it out and get the whole package done. Two, I thank the Trump administration, I thank them for doing this. They have indicated to us that we could take this $300, and get this money out. And that’s what we intend to do. We’re awaiting instructions, specifically about how that would work. So, thank you.
Speaker 1: (01:15:36)
Our next question is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH in Columbus.
Adrienne Robbins: (01:15:42)
Hi Governor, thank you for doing this again. A new CDC analysis showed that Black children and Hispanic children were far more likely to be hospitalized, if they do contract COVID-19 than white children. Are you concerned with the [inaudible 01:15:56] children back to school could take on the minority communities that have already suffered disproportionately during this pandemic?
Mike DeWine: (01:16:05)
Yes. I’m going to refer to the doctors for any comments in regard to our African-American young people, or Hispanic young people. And doctors cited and you cited the large number of young people who end up in the hospital, much more likely to end up in a hospital, and it’s the same way with adults. So, it’s tragic. It’s very, very tragic. Let me see if any of the doctors want to make a comment.
Dr. John Bernard: (01:16:37)
Just a couple of comments. True, what we see in Ohio is seen nationally, underrepresented minorities are much more likely to test positive, and they’re much more likely to bear the burden of the complications in the disease, including hospitalizations and maybe even ICU stays. So, it is something to be very concerned about as schools open. And I do think this is the governor’s strategy in allowing schools to make local decisions based on their local conditions. But the challenge with our [inaudible 01:17:12] and minority patients is how often multifamily living situations, or use of public transportation, frequently essential worker status. And so, it’s just a real challenge and an unfortunate dimension to this pandemic.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:37)
We continue to have disparities in health based on race. And there’s absolutely no doubt about that. We’re going to be talking about this sometime in the next week in more detail, Dr. Acton and I, and the Lieutenant Governor talked about this on several different occasions. We had other doctors who came in and who talked about it. So, it is one of the tragedies that we live with. And we all have an obligation, a moral obligation to change that. And so, we’re going to continue to work with the state legislature to do everything that we can in this area. And we’ll have more to say about this probably later this week. It’s a great tragedy, and I am concerned.
Dr. John Bernard: (01:18:21)
And Governor, if I might say this is also the same demographic that will have challenges with access to web services and virtual school as well. So, it’s just a real catch 22.
Mike DeWine: (01:18:39)
It is. It is, absolutely. Next question?
Speaker 1: (01:18:44)
Governor. Your next question is from Jackie Borchardt at The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:18:53)
Good afternoon, Governor. Thanks for making the doctors available to us today. We’ve heard from many people who have waited a week or more to get their coronavirus test results. Public health officials say that anything past about two days is not helpful as far as tracing and stopping additional transmission. Your PCR test came back the same day. What is your plan for making that kind of testing turnaround available to all Ohioans?
Mike DeWine: (01:19:21)
Yeah. Look, I’ve work on this every day, my team works on this every day. We’re not unique, other states have this problem. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem. It is a big, big problem. And you’re right, the longer it goes before the data comes back then the less the tracing, and the contact tracing value that it has. And so, when you’re at five days, six days, seven days, that’s just not where we want to be at all. So, we’re doing a number of things in regard to getting more testing. Where we’ve seen some of the long lags, a couple things going on, I’ll just name two of them. One, some of the testing that’s being done in Ohio is going to national labs. It’s not us, we welcome all the testing, but some of it’s going to a national lab, and they’re they’re behind. Quest, for example, is behind. They know they’re behind. They’re doing everything they can to close that gap. Some of the other national labs have started to close the gap and are doing a much better job.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:28)
In addition to that, we have some of our hospitals who are frankly being strangled because they can’t get enough reagent. Reagent is being allocated to states that are hotter than Ohio. One of the good things, but also has a disadvantage. Never have we been a really, really on fire state. We never were New York, we never were Texas and California and different other states at different periods of time. We’ve always been at … while we’re, certainly, higher than we want to be, we’re not near what the positivity rate … we’re at 5.2 or something. And you saw on the map, we’ve got some states that are much higher.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:10)
So, many times that gets directed to those states that are hotter than we are, which lessens the amount of reagent, or whatever the product is that is going to some of our hospitals. So, we watch these numbers and we’re going to continue to try to expand our testing. And the more options we have for testing, the more opportunity we’re going to see with that back. We’re talking with a company right now in regard to doing some trials. And if those trials work, this is saliva, and if trials work for that, we might be able to expand that rather dramatically and in Ohio. So, it’s a problem, we know it’s a problem. And we’ve been doing everything we can to cut the time down, and to get more testing. Next question?
Speaker 1: (01:22:03)
Our next question is from Max Filby at The Columbus Dispatch.
Max Filby: (01:22:11)
Hi, Governor, your administration has every week released information, including the number of new cases and deaths at long-term care facilities. And I’m wondering, if that’s something you’re considering requiring school districts to do and why or why not that might be?
Mike DeWine: (01:22:28)
Well, that’s an excellent question. It’s an excellent question. We will look at that and get back to you. I think, generally, more information is better. It enables parents to make decisions, particularly in the small school districts, which I have more experience with. As a parent you know what’s going on pretty much in the district, you know if there’s a problem in third grade, there’s a problem in seventh grade, or something like that. In the bigger districts, I understand that information may not flow as easily out, or automatically.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:07)
So, that’s something we will look at. And that’s something that we would hope would come really from the schools. But we’ll look to see if there needs to be any kind of regulations in regard to that. But schools have an obligation to keep parents informed about how everything is going, whether they’re remote, whether in person. And part of how things are going, obviously, has to do with if there are cases, and kids who are out of school and who’ve been diagnosed with COVID. Obviously, you have to protect individual rights and individual privacy, but looking at it from a big picture, and knowing what’s going on in these schools is important.
Speaker 1: (01:23:55)
Our next question is from Jim Provance at The Toledo Blade.
Jim Provance: (01:24:01)
Hello Governor. I wanted to get your reaction to the word that the Big Ten is postponing its fall sports season until at least spring. And would you expect that more will follow?
Mike DeWine: (01:24:14)
Well, as a football fan, and we have a lot of them in Ohio, and a lot of Buckeye fans that certainly is not good news. Ultimately, this is a decision that has to be made by the schools. They weigh many things and I’m sure they start off with the safety of their players, but they weigh other factors as well. So, I think it’s a disappointment for Buckeye nation. Probably, more importantly, it’s disappointment for the young men who play football, and who are on Ohio State, and whatever year it is. So, I talked this morning with Jean Smith, and I know they were looking at maybe doing it in the spring, and seeing how things go in the spring. That poses more challenges. So look, as a fan, I’m disappointed, but this is a decision that was made by the Big Ten, this was made by the schools. And we have to respect that decision.
Speaker 1: (01:25:31)
Our next question is from Molly Koweek at WHIO in Dayton.
Molly Koweek: (01:25:38)
Hi Governor, with the Big Ten’s decision, has that heightened your concerns about high school athletes, and will the Big Ten’s move influence your decision moving forward when it comes to high school athletes, and athletes at other levels?
Mike DeWine: (01:25:52)
Well, no decision is ever made in a vacuum. And all information is important that you get. So, I’m sure that there’s discussion right now going on, people are having about that issue. What I said before, I will say again, because I think it’s, at least for me and for the Lieutenant Governor, as we look at this and we talked to a lot of people in regard to these decisions about high school sports. But they are decisions that cannot be made in a vacuum. It’s not a question of, are they going to play football, or not play football? Are they going to have wrestling, or not wrestling? Or whatever the sport might be, volleyball, a sport our family’s a lot more familiar with, which would be cross-country. But the basic facts don’t change because of what the Big Ten has decided to do.
Mike DeWine: (01:26:55)
But what I said before, again, I will say because I think it’s important. You can’t make these decisions in a vacuum. Parents, can’t, schools can’t, our administration can’t. I think you have to look at what are the things that that student would be doing? What discipline can be gained by being in a sport? And that’s one of the things that we usually associate with sports. There’s a discipline, self-discipline, discipline for the team. And part of that discipline this year for teams that play is going to be, let’s have a season, let’s have a full season and what we do, not just on the playing field, or on the practice field, but what we do as team members in our spare time, and when we’re home, and when we’re out is going to determine what chance we have to have that particular season.
Mike DeWine: (01:27:51)
So look, it’s, it goes into the mix. It’s part of what people are certainly talking about. And that’s about all I have to say at this point anyway.
Molly Koweek: (01:28:02)
Speaker 1: (01:28:05)
Governor, your next question is from Noah Blundo at Hannah News Service.
Noah Blundo: (01:28:10)
Hello, good afternoon, Governor. My question, I believe, is for the doctors. I’m wondering how much information they feel that they’ve had access to in their studies of this that focuses directly on the possible spread of COVID in environments that are akin to school? Because students haven’t been in school up to this point, and they’ve been maybe even more isolated as a group than adults because they don’t have jobs to go to, and such. So, how much experience is there out there to look at when you’re evaluating the risks directly on point to having students [inaudible 01:28:51] school?
Mike DeWine: (01:28:55)
Who wants to take that?
Dr. Patty Manning: (01:28:59)
That’s a great question. Because we haven’t had school in place during the bulk of the time we’ve been living with COVID, we don’t have a lot to go off of from a direct experience. But we do have some camp stories. And there’s a story of a camp in Georgia, published recently, that went through a very detailed contact tracing report of what happened when one camper came down with COVID. And I think what we learned from that story, at a very high level, is that children who are in close quarters, these are children many of whom were overnight campers, so those who were at higher risk. It wasn’t clear how rigorous the masking protocol was. So, we learned from that one large story that children are at risk. And that children, who are participating in activities where they’re in close contact and not practicing those four practices that we talked about with vigilance and rigor, that a lot of individuals will get sick very quickly. But that’s all we have to go off of. We don’t have a lot of other large volume, large grouping of children experiences. So, moving forward with school there’s a lot of uncertainty about how this is going to go. And I think a lot about our early days as Children’s Hospital’s leaders, and children’s hospitals in general, and hospitals in general dealing with COVID. We learned a lot in the first few days and weeks and months in terms of our own dealing with COVID. And our schools are going to do the same. And we’ll have to support them as they learn, and maybe pivot, and shift, and make different decisions than they started with as they learn. I think that’s the best that we can hope for.
Mike DeWine: (01:30:36)
Thanks doctor. Anybody else?
Dr. Adam Mezoff: (01:30:38)
Patty, I’d also like to add that … and, first of all, Patty is spot on with her response. Schools have opened in other countries. And so, there are also lessons we’ve learned from some of the things that have occurred. Some have done it successfully. Some of it not as successfully. I think you get back to what Dr. Manning has stressed you have to do it, but you’ve got to do it right. And it depends on the community’s effort to keep the infection at bay, not just what the school is doing.
Dr. Patty Manning: (01:31:07)
Sorry, I’ll just chime in. Adam, thank you for the reminder because there was an excellent report from Israel about a school that opened and many high school students came down very quickly with COVID. And in reading that study, that report, it was very interesting how many things that they chose to do in the moment because of a heat wave, how that really hurt their efforts. Closing the windows, taking off masks, worsening ventilation. It was like a recipe for COVID. And so, we learned from that, not to do that.
Mike DeWine: (01:31:40)
Dr. Manning, you want to give your five things again quickly? Because that’s the summary.
Dr. Patty Manning: (01:31:47)
That’s the summary. And I really have to thank our infectious disease colleagues, who have led the way on this learning. But four things in order of importance, plus number five. The first one is masking. The second one is distancing. The third one is hand hygiene. The fourth is cleaning surfaces. And then, when you can do some work around ventilation, in addition to all of those, you’re going to have a very good, robust package of safety for your students.
Mike DeWine: (01:32:13)
Thank you. Let me just add, we’re also monitoring what’s going on in Indiana. Indiana starts school in some places significantly earlier than we do. We also have real staggered openings of schools. So, we’re going to be seeing schools opening fairly soon, and we’re going to be seeing what happens in those schools. So, we’re going to monitor this very, very, very closely. Next question?
Speaker 1: (01:32:41)
Governor, this is the last question today, and it’ll be from Tom Gallick at Gongwer News Service.
Tom Gallick: (01:32:47)
Hey Governor, we’re hearing anecdotally, and then seen some reports from teachers unions that a significant number of teachers might either seek some kind of medical accommodation, retire, or leave the profession. Are you worried about the ability of school districts that return in person to be able to staff classrooms at a safe level?
Mike DeWine: (01:33:06)
That’s certainly a possibility. It’s also a possibility once school starts that we get teachers who get sick. And so yes, absolutely. Our belief is that the superintendents, the school boards, people at the local level can best gauge that and make that decision. But look, as Dr. Manning said, there’s no real playbook for this. We’ve not had anything like this in our country since 1918. We’ve seen what’s happened in some other countries, we’ve learned some things, but we’re just going to have to see. But sure, it’s absolutely something to worry about. And look, one of the things that we’ve talked about before is the importance for every school to try to identify the students, but also particularly they’re adults, whether they’re a custodian, whether they’re a teacher, whether they work in the kitchen, wherever, who might have some medical reason to be particularly vulnerable. And so, we have to continue to focus on those individuals.
Mike DeWine: (01:34:16)
And as I’ve talked to superintendents, many times they have told me, “We have separated them out. This teacher will teach remotely because he or she has this medical problem.” So, I would just ask all our people in all our schools to continue to watch out for each other, and to watch out for the people who are the most vulnerable. And we know who those are. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:34:42)
That was the last question. And thank you, the three doctors, thank you very, very much. We learned a lot from you today and thank you. We’re very, very grateful for you being with us.
Mike DeWine: (01:34:56)
Let me show, as we wrap up a short video that our Bureau of Workers’ Compensation video group put together for going back to school. It is quick, it is fun. And it’s a reminder of the critical things that our students, and school staff do so that everyone can have the safest back to school humanly possible. And, again, this is what our teachers do every day. And this is what our administrators do whether COVID is out there or not, they work to protect our kids.
It’s back to school time, and time for Ohio students rise up. Just remember, back up, mask up, wash up.
Back up. Try to stay six feet away from others. At the bus, at lunch, when playing, and especially indoors. Mask up. Covering your nose and mouth with a face covering helps prevent germs from getting on people close by. Wash up. Wash your hands often and for about 20 seconds. You did it. See, school’s going to be a breeze. Just remember back up, mask up, wash up.
Mike DeWine: (01:36:20)
Well, mask on and thank you all very, very much. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday at two o’clock. Thank you very much.