Aug 6, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript August 6: Tested Positive for COVID-19
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a press conference on August 6 after testing positive for COVID-19. He said the virus is “very dangerous and it’s very contagious”. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Governor DeWine: (05:44)
This has been an interesting day for the DeWine family. I left right here in Cedarville, left at home at about six o’clock this morning and drove to Cleveland. The idea was I was going to get tested, which I did. Everyone who sees the president is tested. So I was tested. I went from there to the airport and when I got to the airport, found out shortly thereafter, that I had tested positive.
Governor DeWine: (06:19)
So that was a big, a big surprise. Obviously could not see the president, could not greet the president. It had been my intention to be there to greet him when he flew into Cleveland. Called Fran and headed back and stopped in Columbus and Fran and I, and some of the people who work very, very closely with me were tested. It was not a rapid test. So we don’t do not have the test back yet.
Governor DeWine: (06:54)
I feel fine. Have a headache, but I get a lot of headaches throughout my life, so headache is not anything that unusual. So besides that, I feel well. So a big surprise to me and certainly big surprise to our family.
Governor DeWine: (07:19)
When I found out I called Fran, then I called each of our seven children cause I figured the news would be out pretty quickly, so I wanted them to hear that directly from me and I was able to reach all of them, so here we are. Fran and I just got back here in Cedarville, I guess about a half an hour ago.
Governor DeWine: (07:39)
So more than happy to take any questions,
Speaker 1: (07:43)
Just a reminder for reporters you’ll remain on mute until your question is called. If you wish to ask a question, please mention so in the Zoom chat. Governor, our first question will be from Kevin Landers at WBNS 10 TV in Columbus.
Kevin Landers: (07:57)
Hello governor, can you hear me?
Governor DeWine: (07:58)
Hi Kevin. I can hear you well, Kevin. Thank you.
Kevin Landers: (08:02)
Very good. I hope you’re doing well. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Kevin Landers: (08:06)
Governor, do you have any idea where you may have contacted this virus and considering your age, what have doctors told you about your recovery from it? Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (08:18)
Well, they haven’t told me anything but I’ve read enough about it to have some idea of what we’re dealing with. So we’ve not had any discussion with any doctor about, about that. So, where did I con get it? I have no idea. You’re watching me on the front porch at our home, home that we’ve lived in since 1974, and I basically, since the virus came on, since we started dealing with the Coronavirus in March, Fran and I have lived out of here. We were living out of here every week during the weekend, but…
Governor DeWine: (09:02)
We were living out here every week during the weekend, but we left the governor’s residence, we came here. We have a farm that goes down that way. So we’re very, very careful with who we see. We have two daughters that live down the road, we have four grandchildren. But even with them, we wear a mask, we walk down there, we keep our distance. Both our daughters are pregnant, expecting babies, and we’re very excited about that. But we keep our distance there. As far as our office, there’s really four people. See these four people only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or Eric, who’s behind the camera who you hear me always talking about, is also behind the camera today. He was also tested today. I’ll see him if we do a remote TV shot. We did Cuomo last night, CNN. We did it from right in here in the house. And he was there. So with those four people, that’s really about it.
Governor DeWine: (10:11)
(silence) We’ve got a little a pause here, I guess. Whoever has the next question.
Speaker 2: (10:52)
The next question is from Jason Lalljee at USA Today. Jason, please unmute and ask your question.
Jason Lalljee: (11:00)
Hi Governor, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Governor DeWine: (11:02)
Jason Lalljee: (11:04)
Have you been getting tested regularly before now as a matter of your government’s protocol? What does testing look like for you other than when you publicly demonstrated a test in June and in preparation for the President’s visit today?
Governor DeWine: (11:19)
That’s the only other test I’ve had. So as of right now, I’ve had three tests. Two today and that one that we did publicly, that was it. I mean, I had no symptoms. I had no indication, no reason to think I had COVID-19. So I’ve not done any other testing.
Speaker 2: (11:42)
Our next question is from Farnoush Amiri at the Associated Press.
Farnoush Amiri: (11:48)
Hi Governor, thanks for taking the time today. What message do you hope that this sends to Ohioans? I mean, you’re someone who has very, very publicly worn a mask and advocated for masks and social. And like you said, you’ve not left your residence, you’ve avoided a lot of public gatherings, even when the Vice President was in town last month. So what does this kind of say to Ohioans or to the American public that someone who took all the precautions still got it?
Governor DeWine: (12:24)
Well, it’s nothing really new. I mean, it’s what we’ve said and what the experts have said. And that is that it’s very contagious. It is here, it lives among us. We know you’re always simply dealing with trying to improve your odds. And when you wear a mask, you’re improving your odds dramatically. But that does not mean you won’t get it. You restrict the number of people you see. That improves your odds dramatically. But it simply does not mean that there’s no guarantees. There’s no guarantees in life. So I don’t think people should read a whole lot into this. It is, other than what we already know, which is this is very dangerous and it’s very contagious.
Speaker 2: (13:20)
Governor, your next question is from Orie Givens at Spectrum News.
Orie Givens: (13:29)
Here we go. Good afternoon, Governor. First of all, I want to wish you well, I hope you recover quickly. I want to ask about the test. What type of test was it that you took that gave you the results so quickly? And I’m curious how available those tests are.
Governor DeWine: (13:43)
This was a test that was arranged by the White House. And frankly, that’s all I know. I really did not ask. I didn’t think much about it. The protocol, of course, is at one point I had an appointment to see the President in Washington. They explained that I would get a test right then. They would get the results back, and then I would be able to go see the President. That did not take place. That meeting did not take place. I think we had some conflict. But so I don’t know. I mean, obviously it’s a rapid test. I mean, they got the results back right away. But beyond that, I can’t tell you. I’m sure the White House can tell you exactly what the test was. I don’t know.
Speaker 2: (14:28)
Our next question is from Laura Caso of WKYC in Cleveland.
Laura Caso: (14:32)
Governor, I’m glad to see you are doing well. I do have a question. Social media kind of going crazy right now. A lot of people saying, “This is an example of why I don’t need to wear a mask. I thought masks worked.” What would you say to those people who are now doubting that whether or not they should wear a mask since clearly you have been wearing one?
Governor DeWine: (14:58)
Well, I’ve already got a few texts, not so nice texts from people about that. Sort of, “We told you this was all fake and we told you that wearing masks didn’t matter.” But look, we know it does. If people take that lesson from the fact that I apparently have it, that would be the wrong lesson. It would be very, very sad. And that will upset me quite a bit because that’s not the lesson that should come from this. Lesson should come from this is that we’re all human, there’s viruses everywhere. This virus is very tough. And yes, you can contract it even when you’re being very, very careful and even when you’re wearing a mask. But your odds are just dramatically better. And my odds obviously weren’t good that day that I contracted it. And there’s some things that are out of our control, but I’ve had some people in the past who have made mention of God and that we should trust in God. And I kind of go back to what my wife Fran always has said as long as I’ve known her. And that is God helps those who help themselves. And so, you try and you do those things. And usually, we know it improves your odds. It improves your chances of not getting it or decreases the chances that you get it. But there’s nothing certain in life. And there’s just no guarantees in life.
Speaker 2: (16:46)
Our next question is from Matt Wright of WJW in Cleveland.
Matt Wright: (16:52)
Hi Governor, can you please tell us exactly where and when you were tested here in the Cleveland area today? And then also, on the second test you had, have you received those results? And if so, what’s the result?
Governor DeWine: (17:03)
No, the second test was not a rapid test so we’ve not received those results yet, would not expect to for awhile. They said we might get those later tonight. But I don’t know. We didn’t expect to have them back this soon at all. As far as the location of the test, I was not driving. The highway patrol was driving. And quite candidly, I didn’t even look to see where we were. I was answering emails and on the phone and paid no attention. I got out, I got the test, I got back in the car and started working again. So I’m sure that we can supply that information for you. It was a place where testing was occurring and it was public testing that day.
Speaker 2: (17:52)
Our next question is from Andrew Tobias at cleveland.com.
Andrew Tobias: (17:56)
Hi Governor. My question are why Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted continued with the event today-
Speaker 3: (18:03)
Why, Lieutenant Governor John Husted, continued with the event today, if you’re concerned that he was exposed. And then also generally I was hoping that you could address how you envisioned this may affect the functionings of state government.
Governor DeWine: (18:13)
Well, John was tested too it was a negative test for him. So there’d be no reason for him not to move forward, I guess. I’m going to continue to be quarantined for at least 14 days, see how this goes, but anybody knows me, knows that I’m going to continue to do what I do. So, I spend most days right here anyway and I’m on the phone a lot. I’m on conference calls a lot. And so far my work is not going to be impacted. Obviously we’ll see, I don’t take anything for granted. And this virus is a nasty thing. We know that it impacts some people one way and some people in other ways, some people much worse. You know, we fully realize that, so we’ll see. But John Husted, the Lieutenant Governor, has been intimately involved in everything that we do. He and I are on the phone every day, I don’t know how many times, but some days six, seven, eight times. So that process, everything’s just going to continue unless for some reason it cannot.
Speaker 3: (19:43)
Thank you. Our next question is from Marty Schleiden at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Schleiden: (19:47)
Good afternoon, Governor.
Governor DeWine: (19:49)
Marty Schleiden: (19:50)
Hope your case is one of the asymptomatic ones.
Governor DeWine: (19:54)
Marty Schleiden: (19:56)
So a lot of the nasty social media traffic seems to be predicated on the assumption that one wears a mask to keep from getting the virus. It’s my understanding that cloth masks are more intended to keep from giving others the virus. Would you talk about what you understand from your health experts about that?
Governor DeWine: (20:16)
Well, the experts have told me that you wear a mask primarily to protect others. There is some evidence and look, they’re continuing to learn about the spread, but there’s some evidence that it has some benefit to you as well. You know, basically everybody I’ve been around has had a mask on and I’ve had a mask on and that’s kind of been our protocol. So, going back to five questions ago, I don’t know where I got it. We’ve kind of replayed through where that could have occurred and frankly, we just kept can’t figure it out. Now everybody around me who, as I said, the kind of the people that are in my bubble were tested today. It’s not a very big group. So highway patrol, those people who are assigned directly to me who would be in the same car with me, because of the virus we installed, there’s a shield now between the front and back.
Governor DeWine: (21:21)
It’s not what we had before, but what we have now. So, with the highway patrol also with, as I said, the people sort of in a bubble of the four or five people that are in the bubble that I interact with in the office, obviously I’m with I’m with Fran, Fran’s brother is here some. I only interact with her brother, John, but trying to rack our brain, trying to figure it out, we haven’t really figured it out. I think when we get the test back and we get results for other people that may give us some indication.
Speaker 3: (21:59)
Governor, your next question is from John London at WLWT in Cincinnati.
Governor DeWine: (22:05)
Speaker 3: (22:10)
John, can you unmute your line please?
He had to leave for a live shot.
Speaker 3: (22:18)
Okay. Right. Curtis, you can, you may ask a question then.
Sure. He was going to ask what more the state can do so the average Ohioan can get a result like he did today. And how confident is he about reliability of rapid tests given percentage of false-negative results?
Governor DeWine: (22:42)
Well, I think, I don’t have any more information than anybody else does about the reliability. I mean, that’s been published, that’s been debated, that’s been talked about. we know there are generally false-negatives usually, was what I’m told, but I don’t pretend to be the expert. Look, we’ve done everything that we can and we’re not stopping to make sure there’s more testing available. You know, six weeks ago, five weeks ago, we were at about 8,000 tests a day. We’re now averaging about 22,000 tests a day, but we have things in the works with contracts. We announced the other day, a joint effort with Maryland, Michigan and other states to purchase more. So we’re going to continue to do everything we can to ramp up testing in the state of Ohio. One of the things that we’re going to do, in fact, I was on the phone I was going to talk to the President about today is pooling. White House has been urging pooling for some time in conversations.
Governor DeWine: (23:53)
And so we’re working to be able to do that pooling so that you can speed the testing up, not the results that you get back, but you can do more tests. And so you put in four or five tests or maybe 10 tests in and you run them. If it comes back negative, it’s negative. Everybody clears out. So, we’re working on that and to do more of that. So, the other two tests I’ve taken are just been the standard tests. The one that the White House provided today was the only rapid test that I’ve taken.
Speaker 3: (24:28)
Governor, your next questions from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Governor DeWine: (24:32)
Hey Jack, how are you doing?
Jack Windsor: (24:34)
Hi, Governor. I’m well. My daughter and I are praying for your good health, sir. Stay strong.
Governor DeWine: (24:38)
Thank you very much.
Jack Windsor: (24:39)
Yes, sir. This will dovetail the last question a bit. Since this was a rapid test, if this does come back as a false-positive, does this give you pause to continue with the ramping of the rapid testing program you spoke about on Tuesday, particularly as it relates to if there’s a false-positive in school or on a sports team, it could really shut things down or do you just feel like we have to go forward because of the raw number of tests that you feel like we need to do.
Governor DeWine: (25:10)
Well Jack, we’re going forward with all kinds of different tests and going forward pushing the rapid test, but we’re also doing the other more conventional tests. Look, I think it is a constant reevaluation of everything. We constantly evaluate where we are with the virus. What we know about the virus. We know more, I don’t mean me. I’m not a scientist, but I mean, collectively we know more about the virus today than we did in March. Same way with testing and the testing is evolving, so I’m not going to prejudge. We’ll see what happens. I’m sort of hoping that it was a false test, but I certainly don’t assume that. And I assume that it was a correct task, but we’ll see. And when I get my results back and Fran gets her results back, we’ll certainly share those with everybody.
Jack Windsor: (26:15)
Thank you, sir.
Speaker 3: (26:18)
Governor, your next question is from Jackie Borchardt at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Governor DeWine: (26:21)
Jackie Borchardt: (26:23)
Hi, glad to hear that you’re doing well. I also have a followup on the rapid test as your case is unique compared to most Ohioans in that you were able to get a result in the same day and quarantine without coming into contact with additional people. The White House has been using these kinds of tests since April, should the federal government have done more or could you have done more at the state level to make that testing more widely available here?
Governor DeWine: (26:48)
I don’t speak for the White House. I’ll speak for me. Look, we will look back on this I’m sure and there’ll be things that we look back and say, gee, I wish we’d done that. I wish we’d done this. All I can tell you is that we have pushed as hard as I know how to get more testing.
Governor DeWine: (27:03)
All I can tell you is that we have pushed as hard as I know how to get more testing. And it has been a problem, but again, we’re at 22,000 tests on an average today. It’s a lot better than we were. We got to double it, and then we got double it again. So that’s been my message as I’ve talked to Senator Portman, Senator Brown, when I talk to the White House, the Vice President, any help you can give us in the funding of testing because the private sector is moving. Things are happening, and there’s going to be more and more tests available. And if we have the money to pay for it, and we’ve set aside a lot of money, a lot of the CARES Act dollars we’ve set aside for testing, not just for this month, but in the coming months.
Governor DeWine: (27:48)
But that’s what we have to do. We have to do more and more testing and you’re right, the faster you can get the test back, the quicker you can make a decision or, you know that the person needs to isolate, and then you can move, you move forward. So yeah, we need them quicker and we need more of them.
Governor DeWine: (28:05)
But you know, we’ve put a full court press on for a long time on this. And some of this is taking longer. But as I said, driving to Cleveland this morning, I spent a couple hours on the phone talking about testing, and what else we can do, where we can go, and what the progress is. There’s a lot of balls in the air, lot of things that, some things at least we have not talked to you about because we want to wait until we’ve got them, until we know that they are ready to deploy and ready to move forward. And that they’re actually, we can do that.
Governor DeWine: (28:40)
So, a lot’s coming and we’re going to keep pushing.
Speaker 4: (28:46)
Governor, our next question is from Danielle Malagarie at Fox 45 in Dayton.
Danielle Malagarie: (28:51)
Governor DeWine, we’ve seen over 74,000 Ohioans recover from the virus. Are you remaining positive? And do you feel like your case will help you better keep Ohioans safe?
Governor DeWine: (29:03)
I lost the audio. Sorry.
Danielle Malagarie: (29:06)
Hi Governor DeWine, can you hear me?
Governor DeWine: (29:08)
I can hear you now if you could start over.
Danielle Malagarie: (29:10)
Governor DeWine: (29:10)
Yeah, thank you. Thank you.
Danielle Malagarie: (29:11)
Thank you so much. Thank you so much. We know that over 74,000 Ohioans have recovered from the virus. Are you hopeful? And do you feel this will give you a better understanding of how to keep Ohioans safe?
Governor DeWine: (29:24)
Well, my experience in life is that you learn from every experience. And so I’m sure this will be an experience. Not one I was looking forward to, not what I wanted, but you always learn. And I certainly will look at it from not just from the eyes of a patient, but look at it from the eyes of the Governor and a better understanding of what other people go through.
Speaker 4: (29:53)
Governor, your next question is from Molly Koweek at WHIO in Dayton.
Molly Koweek: (29:57)
Hi governor. How do you plan to effectively lead while you’re in quarantine?
Governor DeWine: (30:05)
Well, I’ve been leading Ohio from the place you’re looking at, this house, since March. I go to Columbus any day for the press conference. So for weeks, that was every day. Now we’re usually doing two a week. So I go to Columbus for the press conferences. I go to Public Safety, go there for that. But most of the work I’ve done is right here. I mean I walk on our farm, many times people don’t don’t know I’m walking on the farm, but I’m out walking on the farm and talking on the phone. I talked yesterday to number of school superintendents, did it right here. Did a couple hour walk on our farm. So this is the modern world. And we can certainly do that. It’s not what we want. We’d like to pull everybody together in a room physically, but that’s just not possible today.
Governor DeWine: (31:02)
So, we do this. And so as long as I’m feeling okay, obviously we’ll be okay in doing this. I’ve got a great team around me. I’ve got a great Lieutenant Governor. I’ve got a team that is, for many of them been with me, some for decades. So it’s a team I have a great deal of trust in, a team that I know the people of the State of Ohio can have trust in.
Molly Koweek: (31:28)
Speaker 4: (31:30)
Governor, we have time for one last question. Next up is Laura Bishop at the Dayton Daily News.
Governor DeWine: (31:37)
Laura Bishop: (31:38)
Hey governor. Thanks for doing this. And thanks for doing these socially distanced pressers over the past several weeks.
Governor DeWine: (31:45)
Yeah, I guess you you’re happy about that now, right?
Laura Bishop: (31:48)
Exactly. Can you tell us if you have any underlying conditions other than being over age 50 that could put you at risk for complications?
Governor DeWine: (31:57)
Yeah. I’ve had asthma probably since I was a teenager. It’s under control, but I take an inhaler regularly in the morning at night, but it’s under control, but it is there. Sure. Really no other outstanding, nothing really. I feel good. I think anybody that’s watching me whether they agree with me or not, will at least say I have plenty of energy. So, I literally start the day by 6:00 in the morning I’m working and we kick off about 8:00 at night, usually, or 7:00 or 8:00.
Governor DeWine: (32:46)
So that’s it. Well, Eric is giving me the sign, I guess that is it. Thank you all for joining us. This is kind of an unusual. As I said, we’re on our front porch here. And I know some people, at least across Ohio have been here before because we do our annual ice cream social here. So sometimes in the summer, we didn’t have it this year, but in the summer sometimes we have up to 2000 people here. So many of you have had a chance at least to visit this, our home before. So look, we’ll be back. My intention is to do a part of the press conference somehow tomorrow. And look forward to talking to you all then. Thank you very much.