Aug 4, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript August 4
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on August 4. He said masks will be required for K-12 students returning to school. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Mike DeWine: (08:47)
Afternoon everyone, I’m wearing a tie today from Pelotonia, the bike race in central Ohio that raises money to fight cancer in the Ohio State James Cancer Center. This year, instead of a weekend race, individuals can set personal goals to raise funds for cancer research. And we certainly hope that next year the race will be back bigger than ever. One year ago today, sounds of laughter and music in Dayton’s, Oregon District were replaced with sounds of gunshots and screams of terror. Nine people were brutally murdered. Gunmen sprayed bullets into a crowd of people on the street that early, early morning. Nine people who went to the Oregon District to enjoy a night out, never came home. Nine people who were fiercely loved by their family and by their friends, nine people who we cannot and should not forget. Today we remember them and we remember the others who were wounded that early morning and all those who carry the emotional scars of that night. We offer our most sincere thanks to the heroic officers who ran towards, not away ran towards, the danger and they saved lives.
Mike DeWine: (10:27)
I’d like to pause now for a moment of silence in honor of those that were lost. And in honor, of those whose lives have been forever changed by that tragedy. Thank you. For Fran and for me, this is still a very emotional memory, as I know it is for so many and the emotions are still raw. For as long as I live, I will never forget going to the Oregon district that morning, along with Mayor Whaley, Chief Biehl, Fran, and myself, and seeing that crime scene. I’m an old, former County prosecuting attorney. I’ve been to a lot of crime scenes, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Blood on the street, the food vendor’s car still sitting there as if time had stood still. The funerals then later that week, Fran and I tried to go to most of them, but just seeing the loved ones who were there and mourning their loved one. We will never forget that. Fran and I of course hold the Miami Valley very close to our hearts. This is where we grew up. This is where we still call home. When the massacre happened, it had only been around two months since a series of devastating tornadoes swept through the area, causing a great deal of damage to a number of people’s homes, over 900 homes and buildings. So it’s been tough, but the Miami Valley is tough. Miami Valley is resilient. Dayton is tough. Dayton is resilient. And through all this Dayton, the Gem City shines bright. City of Dayton sent us this mosaic photograph, it’s made up of contributed photos from the Dayton community combined into a larger image, depicting a prayer vigil in the Oregon district, the following day. Fran and I were at the vigil that night.
Mike DeWine: (13:05)
I’ll never forget trying to get through the crowd and then going up to the stage and climbing up to the stage. And then when you got to the top of the stage, I looked out and literally down the street, as far as you could see, as far as the eye could see there were people, it was just amazing. I can still hear the heartbreak, broken and angry, yes, angry mourners, chanting, do something, do something and rightfully so. They had the right to be upset. They had to right to be mad. They had the right to mourn, demanding that our state do something to stop gun violence.
Mike DeWine: (13:51)
The words certainly moved me. And we vowed to answer that call. We enhanced safety resources in the next few months for our schools, we invested hundreds of millions of dollars in mental health assistance for our schools. We offered grants to help make our churches safer and funding to help law enforcement extradite dangerous criminals. Further our warrant task force work has led to 903% increase in the number of arrest warrants entered into the national warrant database since March 2019, a 903% increase. When warrants for dangerous wanted criminals are in these systems, it significantly increases the likelihood. If they try to purchase a gun, that sale will be stopped.
Mike DeWine: (14:53)
I am convinced that our work in improving the information that we put into the national firearms background check system has prevented criminals from purchasing guns and has in all likelihood saved lives. We are now building on these efforts by developing an e-warrant system to make the entry of warrants and protection orders into these databases as easy as possible. Lieutenant Governor will talk more about this system in a few minutes, but it is critical that local government agencies use this system, which brings me to legislation. We have designed this system. It will go into effect within a month. One of the counties where we’ll start this with 10 counties happens to be Montgomery County, nine other counties besides that. But we also need legislation to make sure that there is a requirement that anytime a serious felony is committed, a warrant is issued that that warrant goes into the national database, as well as the state database.
Mike DeWine: (16:02)
In October, we unveiled strong Ohio, a reasonable and aggressive package of legislation designed to protect the rights of Ohio’s law abiding citizens. Part of that bill is what I just mentioned. That requirement that if there’s an outstanding warrant for a dangerous individual, that must be entered into the national database. Our bill would better protect our citizens from those, with a propensity towards violence, it would better ensure that those who are a danger to themselves or to others get help. And also it better prevents the sale of guns to those who are prohibited from owning them. Today, one year since the shooting, one year to the date since the shooting took place that prompted our STRONG Ohio bill. Sadly Ohio’s laws are exactly where they were a year ago. Ohioans are saying to the state legislature, do something.
Mike DeWine: (17:10)
I’m calling on the general assembly to advance the STRONG Ohio bill. We must not let the deaths of these nine people be forgotten, nor can we continue to ignore the fact that we have a generation of young people who have been murdered on the streets of our cities on a daily basis. This brings me to another part of the STRONG Ohio bill, a part that sometime is forgotten or ignored. And that is gun violence that occurs on our streets every day in Ohio, predominantly not exclusively, but predominantly in our major cities. We went back and looked at the figures for this year. In Ohio’s eight largest cities, in the first half of this year, homicides have increased by total of 27% as compared to the same time period last year.
Mike DeWine: (18:06)
This year, 246 of our fellow citizens have been murdered. Most of them by guns in our major cities. More than 80% of the victims were African Americans, all were victims, all had a right to live. Most of the individuals, we know from talking to chiefs of police and from past experience that most of these individuals who committed these crimes did it with a gun. And most of them had no legal ability to own that gun. Our STRONG Ohio bill will impact this in a number of ways. One way is as follows, this bill will increase the penalty for repeat violent offenders who use a gun in the commission of a felony or who are found in possession of a gun. This is something that chiefs of police at our major cities have been asking for, for a number of years. We ask the legislature, please pass this along with the rest of STRONG Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (19:26)
We simply cannot continue to let this bill languish while people continue to die. Doing nothing, doing nothing is simply not an option. Eric, let’s go to our data slides real quickly, 21 day average, and you’ll see the numbers. Our cases, you can see what’s happened with our cases in the last 21 days. Yesterday, 1,143 cases. This number has been hovering somewhere between 1100 and 1500 for the last several weeks. Again, the deaths tragically 31 individuals. Hospitalizations are up based on the 21 day average as our ICU admissions.
Mike DeWine: (20:17)
I want to talk now about our schools. Throughout the state of Ohio, parents, students, school administrators, teachers, superintendents, all are thinking about going back to school. And the schools are making decisions and parents are making decisions about how to go back to school. And I know that there is a great deal of frustration among Ohio citizens today because of the uncertainty, the lack of certainty. This weekend, I spent some time talking to scientists around the country about the pandemic. One scientist told me this weekend and I quote, “This virus does not operate on our schedule.” Everyone I think, feels frustrated by the uncertainty of what is ahead. I certainly share that frustration. None of us has a crystal ball. None of us can tell what’s going to happen when we go back to school. We all are trying to bring certainty to something that quite candidly we cannot be certain about. And that is what’s going on with the virus.
Mike DeWine: (21:40)
We’ve never been here before, no Ohioan has faced this for 100 years, we’ve not done this before. We cannot know what the next three weeks will bring, let alone the next three months or six months or nine months of school. Each school district in this state faces a different reality because each school district is in a different place, different place because of their buildings, different place because of what’s going on in their community, different place because of the community spread that they have and how great that spread is. The reality is and what scientists continue to tell me, medical experts continue to tell me when we ask about schools and we talk about schools and we try to get some certainty or some ability to predict what’s going on. What I’m told is that the community spread in that community will be reflected in that school. I guess it just makes common sense.
Mike DeWine: (22:53)
So there’s really two variables. One is what the community spread is. And the other is what of course goes on within the school. As we go forward, the community spread may change. We’ve seen this with numbers that we have shared with you. And we continue to try to keep you up to date about what’s going on in your community. And when the community spread changes, the school reality will change with it.
Mike DeWine: (23:21)
We tried to come up with the best information that we can to help provide parents who are making decisions, superintendents who are making decisions and others about what’s going on in your community. We’ve done a color-code map. The color-code map, Eric is going to put up here in a moment. This is the one we used last week. We’ll change this again on Thursday. We do not have the new data computed, but this gives people an idea, a general idea at least of what is going on in their community and what the trends are. We also have… do we have the other slide too Eric? I’ve asked our.
Mike DeWine: (24:03)
You’ll have. Do we have the other slide too, Eric? I’ve asked our team to come up with another way of looking at this and we’ll make this available. This is a ranking of counties and this will change all the time, but it tries to give some idea of what is going on in the last two weeks. So it’s not historical data, it’s not going back. It is one way of looking at how community spread is in that particular community in the last two weeks. And so you get some kind of interesting things. I’ll see how good my eyes are. But what we’ve tried to do here, what we have done here, I’ve asked our people who do the statistics in the Department of Health and thank them for doing this. But what we’re doing here is ranking all 88 counties in order. Based upon the number of cases that they’ve had in the last two weeks.
Mike DeWine: (25:06)
But we want to compare apples to apples. And so what we have done is translated those numbers into a hundred thousand population. So what you will see is some surprises I think about, and again, this is only for the last two weeks. Next two weeks may change, but it sort of tells you where things are going. And Eric, I’m going to walk over here so I can take a look at this a little better. But you’ll see, we start off at least for the last two weeks with a county that has the highest number per 100,000, that would be I think a shock to most people, that would be Mercer County, a small county in Western Ohio. The next highest is Lucas, then Wyandot, then Franklin, Hancock, Champaign, Fairfield, Ottawa, Wood, Montgomery and on down. Again, it is simply one way of looking at this, but what it tells us is what the spread is in the community, at a particular point in time and that is the last two weeks. It does not replace the color code.
Mike DeWine: (26:24)
Color code has a lot of indicators and the color code is more future-looking than this. But when people are making decisions and I’m not telling them how to make decisions or what decisions to make, but there’s a lot of data out there. And I think what we know is we all can impact the school situation. Our teachers, our administrators have worked very hard to prepare for the school year and to make it as safe as they can within the school itself. But it’s incumbent upon us to make sort of the sea that we all are swimming in as safe as we can. And what is going on in the community as far as community spread will directly impact what is going on in that school, because those kids are obviously coming out of that universe.
Mike DeWine: (27:28)
And if you see widespread community spread, you will in all likelihood see widespread spread within that school. Look, we all have different goals for our kids and our grandkids and teachers have the goals, administrators and mostly, but more than anybody else, parents, we all do. Whatever those goals are, whatever goals you have for your children, if we’re going to achieve those, we have got to deal with the community spread. Community spread is in fact everywhere. As you can see by this chart and the chart we had up a moment ago, and these are the top ranked ones that Eric now has put up here. But take a look at all of them. You can see kind of where your county comes in. But the community spread will determine how well we do. If we start back in school, can we stay in school? If you start virtual, will you be able to move to in-person? All that is going to depend on community spread.
Mike DeWine: (28:37)
We told the schools early on, you got to be flexible. And so they all have come back with different plans. And again, this virus has a mind of its own. And so we have to be flexible, but we can’t impact what that future will bring. Again, two [inaudible 00:29:00] variables, community spread plus what is inside the school and what’s going on in the school. So let me move to that. As you know, a few weeks ago, we gave broad guidance from the Health Department and the Department of Education to all our 6OO and thirty something school districts throughout the State of Ohio. And there really weren’t a lot of probably a lot of surprises in there. The only real mandate that we put in there was that as is true with every other company or business in the state, anything else, everybody who works there has to wear a mask and that was a part of the requirement. And that was consistent with what we had done before. And that’s what that previous order.
Mike DeWine: (29:44)
We’re going to add today an additional order, and we’re doing it to frankly give our children, our teachers the best chance to succeed, the best chance for whatever dreams you have for your child, whatever goals you have for your child this academic year. We are doing this so that child has the best possibility of achieving those goals. Our goal must be to give a safe environment for our children, safe environment for our teachers, safe environment for the custodians, people who work in the office, people who work in the cafeteria, any adult who works there and all the kids, we want them to have a safe environment as possible. Doctors now advise that children K through 12 should wear a mask. Let me add to that. Just this morning and I actually talked to them at seven this morning on a conference call, the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics jointly now recommend masks for all children returning to school. And here is a portion of the letter they wrote in support of the masks. And this is actually the letter itself. And I will read from a portion of this letter, “Ohio Children’s Hospital Association supports the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for children’s use of face coverings and masks. The Ohio children’s Hospital Association recommends all children wear face coverings, mask when returning to school consistent with American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC guidelines, and specifically children in grades K through 12 with the following exemptions. And the first is children under the age of two, obviously it does not apply. It’s not relevant to K through 12. Number two, any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance. Number three exemption, a child with significant behavioral, psychological issues undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion, or a child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delays who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask.
Mike DeWine: (32:13)
And five, a child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction. So that is going to be the policy. We are going to make that an order from the Health Department. I have great confidence that the teachers will work this out with kids, but this is what the norm should be. As you can see with the exceptions, if a child has a reason for not worrying that, obviously that child needs to be accommodated and everyone needs to respect that child. So that’s the important thing as we move forward. Frankly, this gives us the best shot that we can, along with the other things that schools are doing, which is keeping the distance, separation, working on that and added to that, the other things that they’re doing in regard to sanitation. It gives us the best shot that we have, frankly, to be able to have children in school.
Mike DeWine: (33:19)
Let’s talk a moment about the masks. We’re working with the Federal Emergency Management, FEMA to distribute two million masks to schools for use by students and staff. We’ll deliver these to the regional education service centers who are serving as our distribution partner. I’d like to thank them and FEMA for their partnership as we try to make sure schools and families have access to the resources they need to plan for the coming school year. Let me continue in regard to schools on another related topic and that is sports. Let me just talk for a moment and then I’m going to throw it over to the Lieutenant Governor. From personal experience, all eight of our children have been involved in sports in school. Our grandchildren, those who are old enough to go to school have been involved in sports. We understand how very, very important sports is to children. And we all could go through the list and Jon and I have talked about this a lot, and Fran I have talked about it, about all the things that sports brings.
Mike DeWine: (34:28)
A couple that come to mind I wrote down this morning. Self-discipline. No substitute for that self-discipline which will bode well for that child throughout their whole life but developing that self-discipline. Working for a cause bigger than oneself. Working on a team, you learn how to be not selfish, but pull for the whole team and work for that team. That’s a great lesson. Sports brings order and discipline to children’s lives. Sometimes children who might not have that. And I guess finally, the thing I wrote down this morning is the age old expression, what sports teaches you is when you get knocked down, you need to get up and move on, and get back up and get back in the fight, get back in the game. So, tremendous advantages in regard to sports. There is a great frustration, I know, among parents today about uncertainty about school, but also uncertainty about sports, might be uncertainty about drama might be uncertainty about band, whatever your child likes to do, and whatever is an essential part of that child going to school, there still remains uncertainty.
Mike DeWine: (35:47)
And that is something that is frustrating to me. I know to the Lieutenant Governor and I know it’s very, very much frustrating particularly to parents. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen as we move forward. We have been working, Jon has been specifically working with Ohio High School Athletic Association, working with coaches to try to get this thing figured out. We have provided for the continuation of practice and other things that are normally done. The thing we’ve not done yet, because frankly we want to get a little bit closer to the date and see where this situation is with the COVID, we have not provided for the final go as far as fall sports particularly in regard to contact sports. We want to get a little closer in time to that before making any kind of final decisions.
Mike DeWine: (36:48)
We also know that some schools who are not going back in-person and going online have made a decision already not to go back in regard to sports. That’s their decision. Let me now turn it over to the Lieutenant Governor to kind of bring you up to date exactly where we are and to kind of give you some indication of where we’re going in this regard. And again, I just would say, I share your frustration. We have to see where this COVID is. We have to see what the situation is in your community and you have to see that as well. Jon.
Jon Husted : (37:27)
Thank you Governor. Appreciate the opportunity while we’re on schools and sports to provide a little clarification about where things stand. I know there’s been some confusion out there about what the rules are. We’re going to go back through those right now and talk about where things stand. First of all are non-contact sports. Non-contact sports have returned to competition since early June. All sports deemed non-contact can compete presently. This includes, but is not limited to baseball, softball, golf, volleyball, tennis, track and field, swimming and cross country was recently added to that list. So these have been operating and can go forward. On June the 22nd, we announced a return to practice as being allowed for contact sports, but not competition. So contact sports have been allowed to practice since the June 22nd announcement. Those sports include but are not limited to football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, and field hockey.
Jon Husted : (38:36)
Now on July the fourth, there was a temporary order that was put in place allowing the return for competition for contact sports, okay, that was issued. But it was under very, very strict guidelines that included quarantine period and mandatory testing and that order was renewed last weekend by Health Director, Lance Himes. There has been some confusion about this in that the renewal of the order somehow represents the plan for return to play this fall. I want you to know that’s not the case. That’s not the case. We are still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to finalize that plan and we’re still considering many options. We’re trying to keep the options open because we want student athletes to return to play. We’re trying to accommodate both the health and the practical considerations that must go in to any decision for the athletes, coaches, and fans.
Jon Husted : (39:46)
We understand the uncertainty in the anticipation surrounding the hopefully forthcoming announcement of that new guidance here in the near future. And I can tell you as the governor alluded, there’s nobody in Ohio that I think wants to get this accomplished more than I do. We are working thoughtfully though, to make sure that we get these plans finalized in the right way. Because I understand from personal experience, as an athlete, a coach, a father, a competitor, how important sports are to the lives of and development of our young people. All extracurricular activities for that matter. They provide the physical and mental health benefits that you get from them. Life skills, character skills, a constructive outlet for young people, teenagers, especially in their lives. And it’s a source of hope. We understand that. And we’re being very, very diligent about trying to get this accomplished for you and we understand.
Jon Husted : (40:57)
It’s also worth noting that in the past week, we have received the plans from and had phone calls with the Browns and the Bengals to discuss their return to play season, a return to play this season I should say. While both teams are likely able to return to competition under the existing order that I previously discussed, we are reviewing their plans as it relates to safely accommodating fans. And that is not yet complete, but it’s a work in progress. And then finally, in this spirit of everybody wanting to have a season, I want to highlight a video that we have, that we received ,that was put together about the I want a season social media campaign. This is coaches and athletes calling on each other to act responsibly as it relates to masks and distancing and slowing the spread of the virus because they know that slowing the spread is essential for all of us to enjoy this year’s sports season. So let’s take a look at the video.(Video)
Mike DeWine: (43:39)
Today I’m sending a letter to Ohio’s faith based community to share important health information with our churches, our synagogues, our mosques, to share ways to better protect those who worship there. This slide shows the spread of the virus to at least 91 different people resulting from just one person with COVID-19 who attended a church service. It spread like wildfire. Very, very scary. We know that our faith based leaders want nothing more than to protect those who come to worship. We want to provide our faith communities with all the information we can, from doctors and health experts to arm them with the tools to conduct services safely. Our religious faiths or at the core of our great state and our great country. We thank our faith based leaders for all they do to serve God and God’s people.
Mike DeWine: (44:42)
We’ve been very careful throughout this pandemic to exempt religious services from any regulations and the only exception to that is that we’re now asking people who attend church to wear a mask. But it’s vital that to control the spread of the virus, that anytime, anytime people get together, including for religious services, that everyone wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash their hands. And also while indoors make sure there’s good ventilation and air flow. So we’ll be sending a letter out with more details to all our churches and just asking them to take a look at that and trying to keep them up to date about what the latest information that we have from doctors in regard to this.
Mike DeWine: (45:34)
We’re continuing to have a spread problem of the virus because of informal gatherings among family and friends. We all I guess need to remember that just because it’s your family just because it’s your friends, they could still be carrying the virus. The truth is that it’s easy to be scared of a stranger than a friend. Maintaining social distance and choosing to not gather for parties or barbecues might feel like you’re not being friendly, but it really is a sign of friendship. It is a sign of love. It really says to that person, not that you’re afraid of them, but that you want to protect them, protect them from getting ill. For the past few weeks. I’ve been sharing stories at this press conference about the virus and how it preys on Ohioans. I don’t share these to cause alarm nor to blame anybody, but I think sometimes they are illustrative of situations that we ought to try to avoid. I want to talk about a few of these today. On my weekly call with our health commissioners around the state, one of them summed it up well yesterday.
Mike DeWine: (46:52)
Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you’re immune from catching the virus from them. Let me tell you about three situations that we learned about this week. In one instance, a son lived with his father who was in hospice care at home. For the two days before his dad died, not of COVID. But two days before the father died, the son was coughing. His family members came in and came out of the house to pay their respects to the dad. The son thought he had bronchitis. Other family members though then started getting sick, they were tested for the Coronavirus. Out of that family, the father’s brother, two sisters, a sister-in-law and great nephew, all tested positive.
Mike DeWine: (47:41)
A party with four attendees was held at the great nephew’s house. After that, then someone there also became sick and tested positive. Since then two other people, including a child have tested positive. In addition to these people, there are also 17 other contacts were being monitored to see if they have the illness. In a different County, there was a wedding-
Mike DeWine: (48:03)
In a different County, there was a wedding, the brother of the groom had symptoms, but he attended the wedding and reception. Now today, 15 people are sick, including the bride, the groom, and the grandfather. Local health department is still investigating, but other family members also have gotten sick. In a third county a bridal shower led to six confirmed cases. In this situation, someone who tested positive attended the bridal shower and the virus spread to several others. Now there are six households impacted by this outbreak. None of us want to stay away from our family. None of us want to stay away from our friends. And it’s natural when you go see them to try to show affection or want to show affection, but the virus is working. Please try to remember that you’re showing love by protecting the other person, and protecting them means social distancing, wearing masks around even our family and closest friends to keep them safe and prevent the virus from spreading. For the past week we’ve conducted an average of about 22,000 tests a day. That certainly is up from where we were six weeks ago or so, we’ve more than doubled it, but we know that we have to continue to increase that. We need these tests, not just to diagnose individuals, but as a screening tool to help control the spread of the virus. One of the ways to do this is by expanding the use of rapid point of care tests. These tests are faster, simpler, and less expensive than the so-called PCR tests that we are processing today in our labs. If we could scale up the use of these rapid point of care tests, they could serve as an important screening tool and a critical addition to our plan to limit the spread of COVID-19. So, I’m pleased to announce today that we are entering into a multi- state purchasing agreement to expand the use of rapid point of care tests.
Mike DeWine: (50:05)
We have joined Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia, to ramp up the use of this type of test in order to help detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround times, expand testing and congregate settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and to make testing more accessible for the most high risk and hard hit communities. This interstate purchasing agreement with the other states demonstrates we believe should demonstrate to testing manufacturers that there is a significant demand for this type of tests and has a potential to help us by these tests and associated supplies, a more cost effective and in a sustainable way. As new developments and testing availability evolve, we will continue to pursue a variety of tools to help us limit the spread of COVID.
Mike DeWine: (50:57)
Let me now turn to Dr. Acton. I want to give everyone an update on our friend and our advisor. In June when Dr. Acton resigned as Director of the Ohio Department of Health. I asked her to stay on our team as my chief health advisor, in addition to advising me, Dr. Acton took some time for rest and reflection, and also spent a lot of time preparing for her role testifying and lawsuits brought against the state of Ohio. In fact, she has continued to do that, up and including this weekend, when I talked to her several times and some of the people who she advised me to call, I had the opportunity to call. Dr. Acton told me yesterday that she has decided to leave state employment, and return to her work at the Columbus Foundation, which is where she worked before we asked her to be a member of our cabinet.
Mike DeWine: (51:59)
It saddens me for her to be leaving our office. She has assured me though that she’s just a phone call away or a text away, and she’ll be available to continue advising me and our office as we move through this pandemic. Fran and I, again, want to thank Dr. Acton for everything that she’s done for the state of Ohio and for the people of the state of Ohio. Her knowledge of, and passion for public health helped position Ohio, as well as we could be as we faced the early stages of COVID-19. Her wealth of knowledge combined with her calming bedside manner helped many of her fellow Ohioans and in the face of criticism, she remained strong, resolute, determined and brave. As I have said before, not all heroes wear capes. One wears a cape with a name on it, a white coat with the name on it of Dr. Amy Acton. So Dr. Acton, we wish you well. We look forward to continuing to talk with you and see you in the future. Thank you for all the help that you’ve given the people of the state of Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (53:15)
I’d like to introduce David Reichert, who is the fire chief for the city of Fairborn in Green County. He’s been with the fire department for 27 years. The chief is married to Melissa. They have two daughters, Madeline and Kaitlin. The chief and his wife recently had, both had, Coronavirus. They’ve been recovering for the past few weeks. So, chief, thank you very, very much for joining us and how you doing?
David Reichert: (53:51)
Absolutely, sir. I thank you and good afternoon, and I appreciate the invite. We’re doing quite a bit better now. It’s definitely been a bit of an adventure for us. We both became pretty sick with the virus. And that’s been about a little over three weeks ago. We both have… My wife is a healthcare professional and we’ve taken this seriously from the beginning, for the perimeters and any of the barriers that we tried to put into place to try to keep it out of our household from, again, we’ve been religious with wearing our masks, as well as we set up a lot of plans here on the department and within the city, we try to set up a lot of parameters safety, and we’ve done it at our same household. And unfortunately there was a gap somewhere and the virus got in. My wife, again, as a healthcare professional is very adamant about cleaning and disinfecting and changing out of her scrubs before she comes home. But it found its way through. But unfortunately we both ended up getting pretty sick with it.
Mike DeWine: (55:01)
So, it looks like you’re back to work?
David Reichert: (55:03)
Yes, sir. Second day back.
Mike DeWine: (55:04)
Second day back [crosstalk 00:55:06] How’s your wife [crosstalk 00:55:07] How’s she doing?
David Reichert: (55:10)
My wife? Melissa is doing good. She’s back to work today as well. And again like I said we’ve taken this seriously. We work hard to try to keep it away from our friends and family, as well as inside of our home. But again, like I said earlier, it’s just, unfortunately, it’s made its way through. So the thing with the virus that we learned is, this has solidified the approaches that we’ve taken here at the city to try to protect our most invaluable resource, which is our employees, but how the virus can be from having the virus, but without any symptoms to the point of being fatal and for us, it affected us pretty good. I think we both went through about every, every symptom that was on there. The thing with the virus, it didn’t hit us all at once, but it spread itself out over about three weeks.
Mike DeWine: (56:10)
Wow. So, you were off about three weeks? Is that how long or?
David Reichert: (56:15)
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. About three weeks. Again, for us, I can’t thank the Green County Health Department enough they’ve been a huge help for us, but again, it was making sure that we were symptom-free, obviously, before we came back to work and what we’re learning, that varies from each individual that comes down once a virus, but unfortunately for us and it took a good three weeks to really get it out of our symptoms or out of our system to ensure that we definitely weren’t bringing it back to work.
Mike DeWine: (56:49)
Well, chief, thank you very much for sharing your story. We appreciate it. And best wishes [crosstalk 00:56:54] to you and your wife. And anything else you’d like to tell everybody?
David Reichert: (57:00)
What’s that governor?
Mike DeWine: (57:00)
Anything else you’d like to tell?
David Reichert: (57:02)
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I definitely want to just to give a shout out and talk about the city staff here. This is a global pandemic that we’re dealing with. Knowing what to see we’ve worked extremely hard from the top, from the mayor, city council, city manager, all my chief staff, as well as local 1235, we’ve worked hand in hand and we’ve done our best. We’ve done everything we can do. And like you had alluded earlier, there is no instruction manual with this. We’re learning as we go, taking it seriously. We have to work together. We have to work collaboratively in order to get through this. I think everyone has had their fill of it and is ready to try to get into a new normal. But I think that’s exactly where we are as a new normal, but continued the collaborative approach inside, and outside throughout the state, throughout the country to try to get through this. We have to work together. Governor, I appreciate the time and the invite talk to allow me to come on and talk a little bit today about it.
Mike DeWine: (58:06)
Well, chief thanks to you and the men and women of your department for keeping us safe and…
David Reichert: (58:13)
Thank you, sir.
Mike DeWine: (58:14)
Stay safe, and thank you for sharing that with us. We appreciate it very much. Lieutenant governor?
David Reichert: (58:18)
Very good, sir.
Jon Husted : (58:20)
Yeah. Thanks governor. Good afternoon, again. As the governor mentioned earlier, it’s been a year since the tragic Oregon District shooting in Dayton that hit us all pretty hard. It was very personal to me in the sense that I used to work in that same area for a period of time in my life. And we all keep the victims in our memories, but we also want to use their memory as motivation to get some things done. And the Strong Ohio Plan, which the governor mentioned has many components, but the Innovate Ohio team, the Department of Public Safety and Department of Administrative Services have been working on one aspect of it that the governor mentioned that I want to dig into a little bit deeper, so you have the background on it.
Jon Husted : (59:12)
It’s a technology solution. That’s why the Innovate Ohio team is involved. And it’s something that everyone should support. This solution is known as E warrant or the warrant system. Let me just briefly explain what problem that E warrant system solves, because right now, if there’s a warrant or a protection order issued, it’s a paper process. It’s a slow paper process that requires a second step of entering the data into the leads or the NCI databases, which these databases allow law enforcement to know whether there’s a warrant out for someone’s arrest or a gun store owner, it allows them to know whether a potential customer can lawfully purchase a firearm. And since the shooting, while we have seen significant improvements in the two step paper process of compliance. We need to modernize the system, there is no doubt about that, and make it free, easy, and mandatory.
Jon Husted : (01:00:14)
This is important because background checks are only as effective as the information in the system and it’s for a long time, I know all my career, second amendment groups have been calling for this type of reform in the area because it keeps out the guns out of the hands of the criminals without infringing upon the rights of law abiding citizens. For gun shop owners, a streamlined warrant protection order system would improve their ability to see all warrants, and protection orders in the background check in real time. And I know this, I frequently talked to gun store owners. I have one gun store owner, every time this happens, he emails me and says, “Look, we have our 72 hours that we have to wait before we sell the person a gun.” The 72 hours comes and goes, they get no indication about whether or not the person is lawfully allowed to own a gun or not.
Jon Husted : (01:01:08)
And then weeks months, sometimes never. They get the background check verification and it shows that they should not have sold that gun to the person because they weren’t legally allowed to own it. The system has many holes in it. It doesn’t work. And the E warrant system will help prevent this from happening. It’s also about officer safety. Under the current system, a person could have an outstanding warrant and then an officer in another jurisdiction doesn’t know that, and they approach a car, or a situation that could be very dangerous because as they do the background check, they don’t know the person they’re confronting actually has a warrant out for their arrest. And an officer unknowingly goes into that situation because there are holes in this system.
Jon Husted : (01:02:04)
E warrant will help fix that. Innovate Ohio, as I mentioned, has been working with the team at public safety and DAS to create this free, easy and mandatory system for all of law enforcement judges and clerks, the award phase of the project is done. And we’re beginning the building phase of this project. Our team will begin working with the first counties before the end of the year, and we’ll have our initial partners go live in early 2021. So, we’re still about six to seven months from having this active, and it’s worth noting, it’s worth emphasizing again. This process, this technology, we will take care of the technology side of the problem, but we still need action from the general assembly to make it mandatory, as the governor talked about earlier. Without that important step and action from the general assembly, we won’t have a requirement that the data be entered through the E warrant system.
Jon Husted : (01:03:09)
And this is not a controversial issue. E warrant has been long supported, as I mentioned, by second amendment advocates and gun owners, it’s simply an enforcement tool of existing law and it needs to happen, and we hope the general assembly will act before the end of the year. And then finally, workforce development update. Workforce training and development continues to be a priority for our administration and the presence of COVID in our lives continues to reshape the skills that people need to succeed in the workforce. TechCred, as I’ve talked about many times TechCred has been one of our strategic responses to this to quickly reshaping the skills of our workforce and the importance of this as highlighted in our most recent application period, quickly, a reminder on how the program works. TechCred helps Ohioans obtain new skills by reimbursing employers up to $2,000 for a technology focused credential earned by a current or prospective employee.
Jon Husted : (01:04:17)
The eligible criteria is it must be a short term program. So we got to earn this in less than a year. It’s got to be technology focused and industry recognized. In the June application period, which, which recently closed. We saw a 101% increase in the credentials funded from the January round, which was previously our most successful period. In January, we awarded 1,611 credentials. Well, in June, 3,241 credentials were awarded. This demonstrates the demand out there and how the technology focused credentials are becoming more and more important. 302 companies have been approved today that we’re announcing with $3. 4 million in funding earning 3,241 technology focused credentials. So far 695 employers have used this in our state, a total of 7,473 technology focused credentials have been earned. And we’re announcing today, the next round of funding for TechCred that will close at the end of August. You can find out more information at TechCred.Ohio.gov and that’s for employees, employers, and service providers.
Jon Husted : (01:05:32)
But the bottom line is, with COVID especially, technology is becoming more and more important in the workplace. Employers are really, really quickly trying to adapt with this by upgrading the skills of their employees. And so please take advantage of this program, it helps create a situation in Ohio where employers have the skills that they need to compete, and employees have more job security, more earning power, and a better and brighter future for themselves. Governor?
Mike DeWine: (01:06:01)
Thanks, Jon. We’re ready for questions.
Marty Sladen: (01:06:16)
Good afternoon, governor. Marty Sladen Ohio Capital Journal. At the same time Dan McCarthy was lobbying for First Energy. He was president of a dark money group that funneled millions of dollars into Larry Householder’s dark money group, which federal law enforcement said was integral to the biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history. Knowingly or unknowingly, doesn’t that make McCarthy a clear link in this chain of alleged corruption. And how do you justify keeping him in your administration? And also will he lobby lawmakers to pass a replacement nuclear bail out if HB6 is repealed?
Mike DeWine: (01:06:52)
He will do what I asked him to do and what I tell him to do as far as how he lobbies that’s the way it works. Look, I think it’s always very important in this great country of ours, that we not leap to any kind of conclusions or guilt by association. If you went back to what the US attorney was asked, and I think you all asked him collectively this twice whether there’s any connection with the governor’s office and the answer was no. These 501c4 independent expenditures are perfectly legal. They’re used all the time. They’re used by Democrats, they’re used by Republicans, they’re used in every state of the union. Probably everybody that ran for US Senate this year used them. Everybody ran for governor and every state probably used them. So the mere existence of that does not mean someone is guilty and certainly far, far from it doesn’t mean they’ve done anything wrong. So there’s no facts that would indicate to me that Dan McCarthy has done anything wrong. If we see facts that anybody in my administration has done anything wrong, we’ll deal with that. That’s not what we’ve seen.
Marty Sladen: (01:08:17)
Ask them to [crosstalk 01:08:17].
Mike DeWine: (01:08:18)
…confidence in him. And I think people who know Dan McCarthy, have known him for many years, believe that he is a man of very great integrity.
Marty Sladen: (01:08:30)
Will you ask them to lobby on a replacement bill?
Mike DeWine: (01:08:36)
Well, look, I decide the policy for this administration. And what we have said is that this should be repealed and I will have further discussions with the Senate president, Larry Obhof, and with the new speaker, and my friend Bob Cupp. And we’re going to have those conversations this week. We’ll talk about a number of things. And certainly this is… I want to get their opinion about what should happen after this bill is repealed.
Max Philby: (01:09:15)
Hi, governor, Max Philby with the Columbus Dispatch. It appears that we’re going to be nearing 100,000 cases in the coming days. So I wanted to ask you to reflect on that and what it means. And then also we’ve heard from several teachers, as people prepare to go back to school this week, several complaining that they feel that the prisons have gotten more attention in regards to COVID then schools have, and I was hoping you could respond to that as well.
Mike DeWine: (01:09:43)
Well, that’s not true. Look, we have an obligation to protect people who are in our prisons and do the best we can just, as we have an obligation to help our veterans who are, there are two veterans homes, just as we have an obligation to protect anybody who’s in a nursing home and do everything that we can to help them. When this started we certainly did not have the testing that we needed to have. We still don’t have as much testing as we would want. So we believe that human life should be protected. What we did today in regard to requiring that every child in school have a mask on, is something that will directly benefit every teacher. Superintendents have heard me say that, and I know that they feel the same way, that they need to worry about their teachers. They need to worry about their custodians. They need to worry about all the adults who work in the school as well as worrying about the children. So mask up, everybody mask on, is going to make a big, big, big difference.
Max Philby: (01:10:52)
And any thoughts on the 100,000 cases as we approached that this week?
Mike DeWine: (01:10:59)
Yeah. I’m sorry. Yeah. Look, it’s a mind boggling number. I think about the deaths. I think about the people who have died by themselves. I can’t think of anything worse. There’s many bad things about COVID, but that’s certainly one of them. The other part that we can’t measure, frankly, or don’t have good data on is in regard to those people who have suffered. They’ve lived, but they’ve gone through hell for a month or two months or three months. We can’t really measure by number those who have longterm medical problems, those whose organs have been damaged. Yeah, this is not anything that any of us expected. Certainly when I ran for governor did not have any idea that this was coming, but I think about them, and look, I also think every day about the other people.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:03)
Look, I also think every day about the other people who are out in Ohio that we need to do everything we can to protect, so. The people who have suffered already and the people who we’re trying to protect, none of that ever leaves my mind ever.
Karen Johnson: (01:12:19)
Hello, Governor. Karen Johnson. WLWT in Cincinnati. I’d say the likelihood of students in kindergarten, first grade, wearing mass all day long is very low. So are schools now looking at either being the mask police and teachers spending much of their day forcing kids to keep the masks on, or open themselves up for civil liability if someone gets sick? Also, does this apply to schools with Pre-K as well? Or is it just K through 12 students?
Mike DeWine: (01:12:54)
It’s K through 12. Look, the jury is back on the issue. There is a broad, broad, broad consensus among experts in this country that the way to protect teachers, the way to protect fellow students, is for everyone who can to wear a mask. I have grandchildren that age and I’ve had many children, eight children, that age. I fully understand challenges. None of us want to have a mask on all day. Kids are kids. Look, teachers and kids will get this worked out. There’s no police that’s going to come around. There’s no one going to look over the teacher’s shoulder. And no one’s going to look over administrator’s shoulder. But we have an obligation to take the best science that we have and to get it out to schools and say to them, “This is the norm. This is a goal. This is what we would like you to achieve because this is the best science that is available.”
Mike DeWine: (01:13:56)
And without a vaccine, without a vaccine, we are limited in the ways that we can protect people of the state of Ohio, protect our kids, protect the adults. The other way is not to go back to school at all. And some schools are making that choice and they’re doing that based on all the evidence and they make that decision. But the schools who have decided to go back, for them to have a chance, a fighting chance of being able to stay open with community spread all throughout this state, some more than others, but it’s everywhere, is unanimous verdict of every expert, every person in the medical field that wearing masks provides that added protection, and that the distancing and the masking.
Mike DeWine: (01:14:55)
Look, everyone’s going to need a break from the mask. Teachers can handle that however they want to. Kids go out and recess, they can do something different. They can take the mask off during that period of time, whatever. That’s up to that individual teacher. But we have an obligation to put out what the norm is. We have an obligation to let everybody know this is how you keep safe, or this is how you increase your odds of staying safe. This is how you increase the odds of parents being able to see kids actually go back into school and stay in school. No guarantees, but this increases our odds.
Jim Otte: (01:15:38)
Hi. Jim Otte from WHIO-TV in Dayton, The Miami Valley Educators. What I ask, this question, does this new mask order you are issuing today for K through 12 students, does that define the mask? Does it have to be a mask? Could it be a face shield? And then who sets the specs for this? Is that your local health department or your local board of education? What constitutes a mask that would fall into this?
Mike DeWine: (01:16:05)
Well, everybody should work with their local health department. There’s 113 health departments. They certainly should work with their health departments on many things. But again, great leeway here. You may have some people who, for any reasons are more comfortable with a face shield. The doctors who I had on the phone told me this morning, it’s not as effective as a mask, but a face shield for some people may be what is the most appropriate.
Mike DeWine: (01:16:34)
Again, not trying to micromanage this, trying to set the norm. And as far as the mask, look, people could go on the internet. They can look it up. Some masks certainly are, “Better than others,” but I think the majority of the people in the medical field who I have talked to have basically said, let’s just say a mask, let’s say a covering that covers your nose, covers your mouth, and yeah, some are better than others, and you can look that up, and if someone wants to get the best, they can do that. But the goal is to have the vast, vast majority of people in a room who have some facial coverings on.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:16)
And I think the consensus in the medical community is let’s no nitpick, let’s don’t be judgmental, put something on. And I think that’s what the goal should be. It’s a situation, Jim, where it’s the cumulative impact. It’s the cumulative impact of what we all do and all of us putting something on. And look, when I talk to the medical professionals, I call upon my own experience with kids and what kids can do and what they can’t do.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:52)
And look, if for some reason it doesn’t work with the child, it doesn’t work with the child. But the point is that the vast majority of people in that room, they can have a mask on. It’s going to give them protection. It’s going to protect the other children. We know that schools are facing a challenge. This is not easy. It is not easy to have the distance. It’s not easy on a bus to have the distance. So these are challenges. These are not easy things at all. So we got to do what we can do, and do the things that we can do that we know will make a difference and that are actually doable, and this is something that is doable.
Christian Hauser: (01:18:42)
Hey, sir. Christian Hauser with Local 12 News out of Cincinnati. For the past couple of questions, you’ve actually talked about the importance of masks and how students K through 12 will be wearing them. Well, right now there are many that aren’t. The athletes that are practicing aren’t required to wear the masks or follow the social distancing guidelines while they’re practicing right now. So how do you envision being able to come up with guidelines for sports when you said it yourself, that masks and social distancing are the keys. How do you find a balance between those and sports?
Mike DeWine: (01:19:19)
Well, it’s like everything else in life. You have to try to find a balance. You have to find something that works. You have to try to figure out what your goals are, what you’re trying to achieve, and then how you can best achieve them. So there’s no magic formula to how this gets done. But I think having the norm and having what the goals are, look, there are certainly some times athletes would certainly be able to have a mask on. That may depend on the sport, but certainly there’s opportunities for that. Certainly when an athlete is going on a bus to a cross country meet or whatever it is, certainly the athlete could have a mask on. These are things that have to be worked out. We don’t have our final orders in regard to sports yet.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:06)
But that certainly are things that we will take into consideration. But look, it’s all a balance. It’s all trying to figure out what you practically can do and still achieve whatever the goal is. I mean, let’s take a teacher in a classroom. If there’s some reason that that teacher, because the age of the kids or other things, cannot wear a mask, maybe a face shield will work part of the time. People can adjust to this. But I think if they know mask is the norm, mask is the best, face shield is a maybe a backup, people will figure out how to do these things, and they will.
Christian Hauser: (01:20:50)
By not wearing masks.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:55)
I’m sorry. I missed the first part.
Christian Hauser: (01:20:56)
Is that risking these athletes’ safety by not forcing them to wear masks?
Mike DeWine: (01:21:04)
We’ve not put out a final order on that. I don’t know. Jon, you want to say anything on that or not, but?
Jon Husted : (01:21:09)
Look. Clearly when you’re in the midst of competition, you can’t wear a mask. That’s what makes competitive contact sports difficult. Right now, when participants are not on the field, they’re supposed to socially distance. They’re supposed to follow all those protocols. That’s what the hashtag I want to season is all about. It’s about helping young people understand that if they want to participate, if they want their teammates to participate, if they want to have a season, they have to own these responsibilities to make sure that they’re protecting themselves. The coaches have to enforce these things so that they can have a season.
Jon Husted : (01:21:50)
This has been effectively working by and large in non-contact settings. But we know that contact settings are more difficult. That’s why it has been a challenge to come up with the proper protocols to do these things. But we are working daily with coaches, with the athletic association, to make sure that we can provide as safe of an environment for those student athletes and coaches as possible.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:22:25)
Good afternoon. This is Jackie Borchardt from the Cincinnati Enquirer. Governor, earlier, you mentioned certainty in relation to schools. Several schools are starting in the next couple of weeks. You haven’t ruled out a state order closing schools. At what point or by what metric would you take that action?
Mike DeWine: (01:22:47)
Well, we’re not contemplating doing that. I mean, look, the pathway to go to school this year and to make it and to be back in school, it’s not going to be easy. The COVID is here. We know that. But the best shot that we have at doing that is if we do two things. One is we control the environment in the school the best we can. And what we announced today, while maybe controversial, is based on medical science, and that is that if the kids can all wear a mask, teachers all wear a mask, custodians, everybody wears a mask, we’re going to be a lot safer in that building. So we know that.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:31)
The other thing that we can control without a vaccine, you’re limited to what you can control, but the other thing we can control is community spread. Collectively we can control that. This virus cannot go from one person to the other unless we help it get there. And so the wearing of masks and the distancing is vitally important.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:53)
I made a big point last week when we put up the map, statewide map, looking at the number yellow counties, and then we looked at how many of those yellow counties had turned orange. And what I said was, look, if we want to control this community spread, we can do it in these small counties, but we’ve got to get on it. And we got to have more people wearing masks.
Mike DeWine: (01:24:16)
So my message today, if you’re in a smaller county, I mean, what we’ve seen is in our urban areas and most of our suburbs, we’ve seen the number of people, the percentage of people wearing masks out in public has gone up dramatically. We have not seen that as much in our rural areas. And so if we want to get kids back to school in the rural areas, if we want to have sports, again, it’s what we do in regard to retarding community spread. And the way you do that is by distance and by masking. So these are the two variables that we are playing with, two variables that we can impact and it’s up to all of us, what we do every day, what the odds are that we’re going to be able to have kids in school.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:25:02)
As of today you do not have plans to-
Jon Husted : (01:25:05)
Look, we’ve learned what works. We know that masks work. And what you’re going to see from schools is that some are going to be doing five days a week, some are going to be doing a hybrid model, some are going to be doing distance learning. And none of us know what to expect from any of those situations because we’ve never been through it before with COVID. We will all learn from what’s going to happen in the coming weeks, and schools and families and leaders will be able to adjust to what we see happening on the ground. And as we learn, as we get more information, we make decisions that adders the situation that we confront.
Mike DeWine: (01:25:48)
I just also say, Jackie, that what goes on in an individual school, the people who are in that school are going to know it first. And frankly, they’re going to make the first decisions. We hope we have no incidents, but we know with the COVID virus out there, there will be some spread. There will be some in school. I mean, we just know that. And so I think it’s so very, very important for those schools to have a plan now. Plan now about what they do. And I know I was talking from superintendents, they’re all working on that or already have a plan. They’re focused along with the local health people, the local health department, what do we do if we have a problem? How do we isolate? What do we do?
Mike DeWine: (01:26:27)
And so they all are looking at that. But you could envision a situation where you got a problem because of sports, you got a problem because of who knows what, and schools will make a decision and they’ll make it long before we’ll make those decisions, probably, because they’re on the scene. And they’re the ones who are directly accountable and are seeing what’s happening to their kids and to the adults in that school system. That’s where you’re going to see first.
Adrienne Robbins: (01:26:56)
Adrienne Robbins, NBC4. Governor DeWine, Dr. Fauci said the U.S. needs to get a hold on the virus and get down to 10,000 new cases a day by September. Do you think it’s realistic to think that here in Ohio, we could be down to somewhere around 200 new cases, when right now we’re seeing well over a thousand in just months with the current orders we have in place? And do you feel that same urgency to get ahold of the virus before flu season and cold temperatures send people back inside in this kind of timeline we’re on?
Mike DeWine: (01:27:30)
Well, thank you for the question. Look, there has to be a sense of urgency. What we’ve found with the virus is you don’t turn it on or turn it off overnight. And the steps that we are taking are incremental, but they’re pretty strong steps with the masking statewide, with the masking in all the schools, with the masking with all the students, cutting the bars down to 10 o’clock. There are certainly other things that we can do. But in spending the weekend talking to experts from throughout the country, the majority of people that we talk to while being very honest and saying we can’t predict where this virus is going, but most of experts when you talk to them, are concerned about what happens exactly what you said, when winter comes. What happens in winter? You got the flu season. In addition to the flu season, you have the COVID. You have people moving back inside.
Mike DeWine: (01:28:33)
One of the things Jon talked about how much we’ve learned in the last four or five months. One of the things we’ve learned is how very, very, very much more dangerous it is for people to be inside than outside. And particularly if they’re in a crowded room, the more people in the room, and that’s the recirculation of that air. So that is a very dangerous thing. And it’s one of the reasons candidly that schools should really, really, really look hard at getting their kids outside as much as humanly possible. We’ve got tough Ohio winters, but our Septembers, and our Augusts and Septembers and Octobers, they’re not too bad. In fact, they’re lovely. And so thinking about how to have class outside, thinking about how to do other things outside for the kids, it is so much safer. There’s a study that was just completed indicated it was 19 times more dangerous to be inside than outside.
Mike DeWine: (01:29:33)
And so that’s a part of reality that we can have an impact. But look, we’ve got to get these numbers down. If the scientists are right and winter’s going to be tough, we can’t go into this winter with these high numbers. We’re making some progress. We’re seeing our positivity rate go down. It continues to go down slowly which is a good thing. And we’re seeing some of our early indicators go down. The other side of that is we’re seeing spread out into our rural areas. We’re seeing spread virtually throughout the state of Ohio which is very worrisome.
Kevin Landers: (01:30:17)
Hello, Governor. Kevin Landers, WBNS 10TV. I am the last question of the day. The order you signed on August 1st, the health order, stated that athletes need to be tested 72 hours prior to competition. Was that intended for high school athletes, and do you believe testing should be mandated prior to competition? And also President Trump will be in Cleveland on Thursday for a fundraiser. Are you concerned at all about that gathering? Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:30:46)
Well, look. I’m always concerned anytime anybody gets together. If that is inside event, I don’t even know if this is an inside event or an outside event. I think it’s the Shoreby Club. I just don’t know. So you always would worry, but I’m going to assume that they’re taking very, very, very good precautions. As far as the order, you’re right.
Mike DeWine: (01:31:11)
As the Lieutenant Governor indicated, it was not intended for high school students. That was not intended. We just continued an older. People looked at that and got understandably upset about it. Look. Testing, if you’re trying to keep COVID out of someplace or outside a particular group, the more testing you can do, the better. We don’t have the ability to do that kind of massive testing today. Now obviously, if you did have the ability to do it, then that would be up to the individuals if they wanted to be tested. And it’d be up to the schools whether they could actually even do that. We don’t have the capability of that today. So it’s simply not on the table to do that at all. Jon, you want to add something?
Jon Husted : (01:31:59)
Yeah, I would only add that in talking with some of the testing people who work on this every day, due to the supply of testing, they’re not even recommending testing asymptomatic people. And so that was not what that was intended for.
Mike DeWine: (01:32:19)
We look forward to seeing everyone. We will have a close here in a minute. But in case I forget, just announce we’ll be here Thursday, but it will be at three o’clock, Thursday at three o’clock. Our friends at Nationwide and the Memorial Tournament are helping us as we close today to encourage everyone to keep up the great work. And I want to thank all Ohioans for the great battle that you’ve been carrying on. Thank you very, very, very much. These PGA tour professionals are helping us amplify this very important message. So let’s take a look.
Tony Finau: (01:32:57)
Ohio is open.
Ryan Palmer: (01:32:58)
But the fight against COVID-19 isn’t finished.
Gary Woodland: (01:33:00)
Wash your hands.
John Rahm : (01:33:01)
Keep your distance.
Rory McIlroy: (01:33:02)
And wear a mask.
Mike DeWine: (01:33:03)
We’ll see you all Thursday. Thank you very much.