Jul 16, 2020

Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript July 16

Mike DeWine Press Conference July 16
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsMike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript July 16

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on July 16. DeWine released a new health advisory system map for coronavirus. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.


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Governor Mike DeWine: (00:00)
Afternoon, everyone. I’m wearing a tie from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and say hello to all the alumni out there. I want to begin today, but talking about two friends that Fran and I lost this week, Bob Mills and Pat Flanagan, both from the Miami Valley, both dear friends of Fran and me and our family. Bob Mills had a true vision for his community. He really saw the future and made it happen. He saw what should be happening, 675 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University. He put it together. He made it happen.

Governor Mike DeWine: (00:55)
Miami Valley is different, is better because of Bob mills. He saw the opportunity to connect the really a post-brat growth at Wright-Patterson, saw that they were going to be more missions coming to the base. Connected that with what was going on at Wright State University, for both the public and private sector to have access to a pipeline of workers and just really envisioned it, he dreamed it and it came true and we’re better off for it certainly in Southwest Ohio and the rest of the state.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:38)
He was ahead of his time. He saw the future, he made it happen. Our sympathy goes out to his wife, Barbara, daughters Chanel, Melissa, and all of his grandkids who I know that he loved so very, very much. Also stepchildren Sarah and Alex. Let me also talk about Pat Flanagan. Pat died yesterday. Lawyer in Dayton partner with Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman & Swaim. provided me with good counsel many, many times over the years. Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party for a number of years, member of the Republican State Central Committee. An amazing trial lawyer, he and my friend Bill Schenck would team up. It was quite, quite a pair.

Governor Mike DeWine: (02:36)
And just say this about Pat. Pat was someone that when I was trying cases, you would love to try a case with him, but it all also just to be almost as much fun to be trying to case against him. He was a fun guy. He was very good at his craft and I’m going to miss him very, very much. We send our condolences, Fran and I do to his wife Florence, son Chris and his daughter Anne.

Governor Mike DeWine: (03:13)
Let me start today with Dr. Andy Thomas. He’s joining us by Skype. Dr. Andrew Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at OSU Wexner Medical Center. As he’s been advising me my team throughout this pandemic. He was involved in helping us develop our Public Health Advisory System, that color code that you’re now seeing every week that we talk about. And Dr. Thomas, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it very, very much. I appreciate your time.

Governor Mike DeWine: (03:46)
And why don’t you talk a little bit because we’re going to be talking later in this press conference about the color code and what the changes are. Every week we’re going to announce the changes usually on Thursday. And I know the data team went over the data yesterday and into today. But before we show everyone what changes there have been, I wonder if you could just describe for us how this system works. You have seven indicators. How did that all come about?

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (04:20)
Thank you, governor for the opportunity to be here today and to be involved in the process. I think a couple of important messages in summary about the Public Health Advisory System, one would be what you just mentioned. It’s not based on any one single metric. It’s based on a group of metrics that when you look at the trajectory of each and every metric, you see a trend that will for any one geographic area of the state provide an early warning, that there are issues related to COVID-19 that need to get the attention of either local healthcare providers, local businesses, local schools, really the population in general. It’s not meant to be a grade. It’s not meant to be any sort of anything beyond a warning, much like a weather forecast might be, a warning of a storm coming in the future. It doesn’t do much good to get a weather forecast when you can already see it raining outside. What this system is designed to do is to look forward where is the virus going in our community to make sure that the proper messaging, the proper steps are taken in that community to try and reverse any trends of worsening infection.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (05:35)
So it’s not just one metric, it’s a collection of metrics that way any one metric might be imperfect, but if you have three or four or five metrics all trending in a worsening direction, it helps make sure that you’re giving accurate information out to a region of the state. And then as I said, it’s really meant to be an early warning. Now there are a number of the seven indicators. There are that I would call leading indicators. They’re showing where the virus is going. What’s the trajectory of where it’s going in the last week or two and into the next couple of weeks.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (06:08)
The first, and probably I think in some ways the most important of the seven metrics, although they’re weighted equally is new cases per capita. What per capita means is normalizing the number of new cases based on the population size of the area. And what this metric does is takes the total number of new cases over the past two weeks and it looks at what is that rate per a 100,000 citizens.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (06:32)
So that allows us to normalize for a larger county like Franklin County, a medium sized county, like Stark County or a smaller County, like Athens County to determine what’s an equivalent rate of cases per 100,000 people. Based on CDC guidelines, anything above 50 cases per 100,000 in the past two weeks would be considered moderately high incidents of new cases.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (06:57)
And anything above a 100 is high and anything below 10 is yellow. So the impact on the system would be if your county is less than 10 cases per a 00,000, no matter what any of the other metrics say, your county is going to be yellow because the incidence is so low. If you’re above 50 into that moderately high category, then you are going to trigger this metric. And if you trigger it and stay above 100 cases per 100,000 over the next two weeks, then the metric will not untrigger and you’ll remain either red or higher.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (07:32)
So this is in some ways, a very important metric to look at what is the burden of this illness in our community over the past two weeks, and then the trajectory of where it’s been and where it’s going. Three other metrics that are also considered leading indicators deal with looking at trends of worsening data over a five-day period. Two of those relate to symptoms that patients describe when they either go to the emergency department or when they go to their provider’s office.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (08:04)
The symptomatic surveillance of viral illness is something that’s been used for years in influenza. It’s something that we have trending data on, and we can see if there’s a rapidly increasing trend over the last few weeks of five days in a row of sustained increase in either in the emergency department or in providers’ offices of people coming in complaining of viral illnesses that will flag those two metrics.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (08:32)
The other metric, which is also leading indicator is about sustained increase in new cases. So what this does is take all of the new cases as they’re reported based on the date that the swab was done, not the date that the test is returned. And it looks once again on a seven-day rolling average for a five-day trend of increasing cases over the past few weeks to see that the disease is escalating in terms of the actual number of new cases. So different from the first metric, which is normalizing it based on the population. This is normalizing that trend based on that county’s previous history. So if they’re increasing in terms of the absolute number of cases compared to their baseline, that would flag. And the last of what I would call a leading indicator relates to congregate setting.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (09:20)
So what we really want to try to measure with this alert system is what’s going on in the community, not particularly in a congregate setting, although we care very much what goes on in a nursing facility, a local jail, or a local prison. To some degree, that may not have a lot of impact on what’s actually going on in the rest of that community. So this metric is the designed to not flag if greater than 50% of the cases each week over the last three weeks have actually just been in congregate settings.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (09:50)
But if in any week in the last three weeks greater than 50% of the cases are in the community of the new cases, then this metric will flag, which shows that there’s community spread, not just in congregate facilities that may be driving the total number of new cases. Those are the five of what I would call leading indicators. And then there are two lagging indicators. And those mainly relate to hospitalizations.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (10:14)
We know based on data that’s been published that from the time someone contracts COVID-19, they typically don’t end up being admitted to the hospital the next day. They’re typically sick or symptomatic for a period of time, oftentimes seven to 14 days before they even present for hospital. What these other two metrics look at as somewhat lagging indicators look at the rate of new hospitalizations by the county of residence for the patients.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (10:45)
So it’s not based on the location of the hospital. It’s based on the zip code where the patient lives. And what that looks at is once again, the sustained five-day increase in the seven-day rolling average for new admissions to the hospital for patients with COVID-19, that will flag the metric. So once again, rapid increase over a five-day period.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (11:07)
And the last metric really relates to hospital capacity. It is about how many ICU beds are filled in an entire region. So for those who aren’t familiar, the state is separated into eight emergency management regions. And we have managed this illness through the Ohio Department of Health and through the medical community based on those eight regions, whether it’s supplies, whether it’s testing, whether it’s how we manage hospitalized patients.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (11:33)
So we look across those eight regions and if any region has had greater than three of the last seven days with more than 80% of their ICU beds occupied, that will flag the metric. Now they don’t have to be occupied with COVID patients, but what this is a metric of is how full are our hospitals? Because if of the other things are trending showing worsening signs of COVID-19 in our community, will there be hospital beds, not only to take care of those COVID patients, but also the patients who have been heart attacks, strokes, traumas, and other things?

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (12:06)
So if you get above 80% for an entire region, the counties in that region will flag for that metric. So once again to summarize, seven metrics, not one. It’s a mix and a balance of those. And it’s really meant to be an early warning system to forecast where it’s going in any one community so that the citizens of that community can take appropriate action to reduce the spread and bring it back under control.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (12:32)
I should mention that the way the color coding system then works is if your county flag zero or one of the metrics, you’re yellow. Or as I mentioned, if you’re less than 10 per 100,000 over the last two weeks, you’ll be yellow. If you have two or three of the metrics that flag, you will be orange. If you have four or five, you’re red. And if you have six or seven, you’re purple. Governor, I think if you have any questions, I’d be happy to go through them. But that’s my basic summary of the system.

Governor Mike DeWine: (13:02)
Well, thank you very much. I think that’s a great explanation, a lot better explanation than I did last week. So that’s why we asked you to come in and give the explanation.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (13:11)
No, you did wonderfully, sir.

Governor Mike DeWine: (13:12)
Let’s say I live in a county that’s a yellow, what should I think about all this? And then do the same thing for orange and red and purple. Maybe start with yellow. We still have a lot of counties that are yellow. We’re seeing things change today, but what should I be thinking about this?

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (13:41)
Sir, that’s a terrific question. I think one of the things you should note about the map, I know you’re going to go through this later in some detail, is that none of the counties are green. The reason none of the counties are green is no matter what county you live in, you are at risk for contracting COVID-19.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (13:58)
There is activity to some degree across the entire state. Until we have a vaccine or until we have a pharmacologic medication treatment that is known to stop the incidence of the disease and the spread of the disease, no county really will be anything less than yellow. Because no matter where you live, you are at risk for this. So I think as it escalates from yellow to orange, that will tell you that the incidents in terms of these metrics is showing that there’s more disease in our county. Now, I think last night, sir, in your speech to the state you made, I think a terrific plea to citizens outside of the red or purple counties to wear a mask. I think one of the key things that individuals can do to try and stop the spread of this disease is wear a face mask. It’s what we call source control.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (14:51)
What some small percentage of patients who have COVID-19 are what are called asymptomatic positives or in some cases pre-symptomatic. So for up to 48 hours prior to developing symptoms, you could potentially infect other people through no fault of anyone. In that case, if you have no symptoms and don’t know you’re ill, you could be spreading that disease to your neighbors, to your families, unless you wear a mask.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (15:16)
Keep six feet distance between you and others that you don’t live with routinely. Wash your hands routinely with either soap for greater than 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer. And then certainly cleaning high touch surfaces. That’s mainly something for businesses in terms of countertops, door knobs, elevator buttons, and so forth.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (15:36)
But no matter what county you live in, those four things face masking, social distancing, washing your hands and cleaning high touch services are the things that all of us should be focusing on to make sure your yellow county doesn’t become orange, red, or purple regardless of what the current rate might be.

Governor Mike DeWine: (15:55)
Orange as opposed to yellow. What’s that tell me?

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (16:00)
Well, I think orange means that the storms getting closer. It means that the wind’s getting a little stronger. It means that there are either more cases or an increasing incidence of individuals saying they have symptoms of COVID. It may flag because suddenly what used to be a problem in a local nursing home is now a problem in the community.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (16:22)
So it’s once again going from either zero or one indicator flagging to two or three, just tells you that on average, the data is getting worse for your area. Not enough to be red, but certainly worse than yellow. So I think once again, more focused on those four interventions, wearing a mask, keeping your social distance, washing your hands routinely, and then washing high touch surfaces.

Governor Mike DeWine: (16:44)
And red?

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (16:46)
Well, red based on the public health order from a couple of weeks ago, red requires a face masking when out in public, when you have a reasonable expectation of being around other people. So if you’re out walking your dog on the sidewalk and you’re not going to stop and talk to your neighbors, you don’t need to wear a mask. But certainly if you’re going into local businesses or you’re going to be directly interacting with others. Kind of outside of those you live with in your home, you really need to be wearing a mask in those red counties.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (17:16)
You know, when you think about it, governor, there’s a reason why surgeons have worn masks in the operating room for over a 100 years. It’s not really particularly to keep the surgeon from being infected by whatever they’re doing with the patient. It’s because we know that when the surgeon breathes or the anesthesiologist breathes or the nurse breathes, they’re breathing out bacteria that can cause a wound infection.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (17:38)
So the source control of a mask is really important if you’re one of those asymptomatic positives. It keeps you from having others be at risk of spreading the disease is primary use of the face mask. At the same time, if someone else either doesn’t have a face mask on or even if they do, but maybe they’re not wearing it perfectly, they’re wearing it below their nose or whatever it might be, you wearing a mask also can protect you for those droplets that are in the air because that person’s either not wearing the mask correctly or not wearing one at all. So mainly the mask is to protect others, but it also provides protection for yourself.

Governor Mike DeWine: (18:15)
And purple?

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (18:17)
Well, I think purple is we haven’t had that experience yet. We’ve had a couple of counties that have been flagged for potentially moving to purple. I think almost by definition, that means that you are flagging the two hospitalization metrics either your hospital ICU beds are generally full across an entire region or the residents of your county have an increasing hospitalization trend.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (18:42)
I think it’s obviously the most concerning set of circumstances. The disease is not only trending worse. It’s kind of already there and bad. And I think purple is where certainly local health leaders, local community leaders really need to think about other options that they may take to try and stem the tide of the disease beyond where we’re at with the face masking order for red.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (19:10)
I think in no uncertain terms, it means that the storm is there and the winds are blowing really hard. And if something isn’t done about it, it will just continue to worsen somewhat like what we’re seeing and in Florida or Arizona, or some parts of Texas. It’s there and it’s going to take a while for that storm to recede. So the goal is to have no one ever have to get to purple. Like I said, this is not a grade. This is a warning system and alert system that will help people understand when they need to step up there.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (19:41)
I mean, I personally wish people would wear face masks as I said in the yellow or orange counties without needing to be ordered to do so. I think that would be one of the most effective and I think most medical experts across the state would agree with that is one of the most effective ways to prevent you from becoming red.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (19:58)
But the goal, this is not a grade. This is a warning system and a chance to allow local people in the local community to understand what’s going on so that it’s not one score for the state, but it’s really tailored to what’s going on in your local environment.

Governor Mike DeWine: (20:11)
Great. Dr. Thomas, thank you. We appreciate it.

Dr. Andrew Thomas: (20:17)
Thanks for having me, sir. Take care.

Governor Mike DeWine: (20:17)
Thank you very much, governor. Lieutenant governor.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (20:20)
Thank you, governor. Good afternoon. I do you want to thank Dr. Thomas for all the work that he and the team put into that system, just to try to help people understand where things are going and to give them that early warning that things are trending in the wrong direction. And also, hopefully if we do things right, we’re trending in the right direction.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (20:43)
Today, I want to just spend a few moments on talking about the connection between health and interventions in our economy. And if you recall early on in the process, one of the contributing factors that led to the shutdown of many of the things that we hold dear, what’s the fact that we-

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (21:03)
One of many of the things that we hold dear was the fact that we did not have an adequate supply of PPE, of testing, of all things that are essential for healthcare workers and for public health officials to manage the disease, the virus, the pandemic. And today, well, in that process, we had a number of manufacturers who stepped up, who helped fill the gap, but we know that we don’t want to find ourselves in this position again. We want to sustain the production of PPE in our state so that those businesses can supply other places, but also mostly so that they can help make sure Ohio and hospitals and first responders and nursing homes and places like that have the adequate supply of PPE. So we’re announcing today a $20 million grant funding program through the development services agency to help manufacturers produce much needed personal protection equipment.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (22:07)
Now, Ohio PPE, retooling and reassuring grant program. For employers across the state, we know that they need it. We know that they need access to the PPE, and many Ohio companies have reached out and look to get that supply. And we’re going to continue to try to help these businesses build that supply chain. It’s important that all aspects of the supply chain are part of this production. And we are confident Ohio companies will continue to innovate and find solutions for this shortage. And we’re announcing grant funding for 68 Ohio manufacturers that will help make that happen. So 68 companies are going to receive these grants up to $500,000. Not all of them are $500,000, obviously, but up to $500,000. To retool or expand existing facilities in Ohio so that they can purchase equipment, and upgrade the technology to produce and compete in this space.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (23:06)
And projects are expected to create 829 new jobs and retain 1,133 existing jobs. And more than half the awards went to small businesses with less than 25 employees. So this is an important part of the economic development strategy that supports the health strategy, that helps keep Ohio open for business and people employed. And while we’re on the topic of PPE, we had a great call this morning with JobsOhio and under secretary from the state department, and a number of businesses from around the country to talk about reassuring more of this production to America and to Ohio. And JobsOhio and the people, the state of Ohio has procured approximately 65 million pieces of PPE, including masks, gloves, gowns, coveralls, thermometers, and the like through the department of public safety. Ohio Emergency Management agency, Department of Administrative services. And of course the Department of Health.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (24:12)
More than 50 million pieces of that PPE have been distributed across the state to the people who need it in business, in healthcare, on the front lines. And we’re working to fill, we have worked to fill the most urgent requests with those acquisitions. And we want to acknowledge the work of JobsOhio, that to date has allocated nearly $70 million for more than 40 million units of lifesaving PPE. Additionally, what JobsOhio is going to be starting for Ohio small businesses next week is that they will put together kits with their six network partners, JobsOhio partners across the state, to distribute 15,000 PPE toolkits for a total of 1.5 million, three – masks, 150,000 K N95 masks, and 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. Trying to get that out there so that we’re not only distributing it, but we’re using it.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (25:13)
Because we know particularly in these hotspots, it’s important. And we’re going to be working in the Chamber of Commerce’s and urban leagues across the state to get that distributed. There is no doubt, a connection, a big connection between our effective response to COVID on the health side and our economic growth as a state. And I want to emphasize something that the governor said last night. I thought that he did a really nice job of talking about the health of our citizens and healthy economy and a couple of studies. So the one, the Goldman Sachs research that talked about expanding masking by just 15% compliance could prevent the need to bring back stay-at-home orders and otherwise costs estimated 5% of the U.S. gross domestic product, which would be close to a trillion dollars. Those are numbers, and we talk about GDP and big numbers, but what we’re really talking about here, these are jobs.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (26:13)
We get this right, we continue to keep the coronavirus under control and move that curve instead of up, but in the other direction, as we’re experiencing this surge. It’s incredibly important to keep businesses open. And to keep those jobs available for people, because a job is the way you pay your mortgage, the way you pay your rent, the way you take care of your family, the way that you pay for your essentials and look out for your future. So we talk about big numbers and GDP and things like that. It’s about real people. It’s about their jobs, it’s their lives and livelihoods, and finding a way for both of those to flourish. And all of these things are connected, and Ohioans have been getting it right. You look at what’s happened in other places, but we just got to keep getting it right, not get complacent and see this through. And when we do, our health and the health of our economy will benefit. So appreciate all the work that is happening out there to make this happen. And governor, turn it back over to you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (27:17)
Thank you very much. Eric, we will go right to the numbers. So we have today’s numbers and we will put that up on the screen. As you can see from top cases, 1,290 new cases. Much higher than it was a couple of weeks ago. Its been trending in that area. The deaths in the last 24 hours, 28 deaths, which is higher than the 21 day average. Also, the hospitalizations, 115 higher than the 21 day average of 87. And ICU admissions are up as well. Let’s look at the next slide, Eric. This is a trend that we are seeing. This is COVID patient account in Ohio hospitals. These numbers, as you can see, are going up. You are also seeing a trend going up in regard to those who are in ICU. Not a sharp increase, a higher increase in numbers of those who are in the hospital. So this is again, a snapshot, how many COVID patients are in the hospital in one given day.

Governor Mike DeWine: (28:49)
So let’s go to the new map, Dr. Thomas talked and explain this. I think did a very, very good job. And what you will see is there is good news and there is bad news. So let’s start with some good news. You will see Hamilton County, Butler County, Cuyahoga County are still red, but they are off what we call, the watch list. Off the watch list that would lead us going towards purple. So that is good news. And I will go through each one of these counties. Also, good news that Trumbull County in the Mahoning Valley has dropped down one notch as well. We certainly hope that people in Trumbull County will continue to wear masks, but that’s the good news. We have bad news as well. But what we saw, for example, in Hamilton County. Hamilton County, I just talked for a moment about Hamilton County. Because more people are wearing masks by every account.

Governor Mike DeWine: (30:07)
Everyone I talked to, I just got off the phone with health commissioners throughout the state of Ohio. You also had in Hamilton County, the business and have the business community coming together, Proctor and Gamble supplying masks. Their mask on campaign. So a lot of good things coming together in Hamilton County as far as people wearing masks, and becoming more cognizant, becoming more aware of the social distancing. And so what you really have seen is, the level was going up. That level may now be approaching, I’m not sure it’s quite there yet, but it may now be approaching a plateau. So still a high level, but slowing that increase down. And that’s why you see with Hamilton County, for example, they’re not in fact moving up and we’ve taken them off the watch list.

Governor Mike DeWine: (31:06)
A new County, unfortunately, let’s go over to Athens. Athens County, situation there has rapidly accelerated with isolated outbreaks that have resolved from a concerning community spread. Athens County has more COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks than they’ve had over the entire time of the pandemic. Really shocking. People visiting their doctors with COVID-19 symptoms have skyrocketed, gone up by 700% over the last three weeks. Local health officials reported at least three outbreaks at local bars, all of which have temporary closed due to their staffs having cases. So, as I talked to the health director today, a health director described that area right downtown has been a huge problem area. We will go up to Allen County, Northwest Ohio. Large surge. Had a surge of 76 cases over the last two weeks. This is not just from increased testing as more and more Allen County residents are seeking care from their doctors and from the ER for COVID 19 symptoms.

Governor Mike DeWine: (32:25)
The early indicators that Dr. Thomas talked about. Local officials have noted isolated outbreaks at a restaurant and at another workplace. Allen County has reached a tipping point regarding this virus hitting majority of our indicators. Delaware County. We’re seeing a surge of cases, Delaware County in central Ohio. Delaware County with 174,000 residents has had 233 cases over the last two weeks. Just for an interesting comparison, this is more than the entire country of Ireland. Population 4.9 million had over the same period of time. Over the last three weeks, we’ve seen the amount of people going to the doctor with COVID-19 symptoms in Delaware County double. This is why Delaware County is triggering so many of our indicators, local officials, also. Noting number of travelers who have contracted the virus they think while in Florida, and coming back from Florida.

Governor Mike DeWine: (33:29)
Also in central Ohio, Licking County. Licking County is in a similar situation to almost all of central Ohio. Licking County with 166,000 residents has had a surge of 159 cases over the last two weeks. While some cases have come from longterm care facilities, almost three fourths of the cases have come from outside congregate settings, indicating significant community spread in the County. Local officials also note a small outbreak at a house of worship. Lucas County. Lucas County is a higher populated County, obviously, but their numbers have moved into an area of concern with 393 cases over the last two weeks. The average number of cases is more than quadrupled over the last three weeks. ER visits have doubled. People seeing their doctor with symptoms have tripled. Lucas County has reached again, a tipping point. Local officials note an outbreak at a longterm care facility, as well as at a recent funeral.

Governor Mike DeWine: (34:37)
Richland County. Richland County is also now a red County. They’ve seen their daily case average double over the last few weeks, while they are a smaller County, 124,000 residents. Richland County has had more cases over the last two weeks then the entire nation of Jamaica. Population, 2.9 million. More and more Richland County residents are seeing their doctor and going to the ER for symptoms. These signs all point to Richland County reaching a critical stage in this pandemic. Local officials note outbreaks associated with a restaurant and a birthday party, in addition to multiple longterm care facilities. Scioto County, Southern Ohio has seen more cases in the last two weeks than it has over the course of the rest of the pandemic. More cases in the last two weeks than has seen over the course of the rest of the pandemic.

Governor Mike DeWine: (35:34)
Almost all of these new cases were from outside congregate settings, not any congregate setting. Indicating widespread community spread. More people are going to their doctor and being diagnosed with coronavirus. Local officials noted outbreak at a daycare center, and at least one other workplace, as well as just general community spread. Union County back to central Ohio, mirrors that of the rest of central Ohio. Daily average cases have quadrupled over the last three weeks. More and more residents are seeking medical care for COVID-19. Almost all new cases have been outside congregate settings, indicating significant community spread in Union County. Union County has experienced new cases due to travel outside Ohio, including to Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, as well as routine travel to and from neighboring counties. Let me go back to Butler County. As I said, some good news. Butler County has moved off the watch list this week. They’re still on red, but off the watch list. However, the County continues to be red as it has been. Now, the number of cases in Butler County is still increasing, but at a slightly lower pace than during the previous week. Butler County residents are continuing to seek medical care for COVID symptoms and emergency departments and outpatient settings. Butler County with 368,000 residents has had more cases during the past two weeks than the entire country of Denmark population, 5.8 million has had during the same period of time. Clermont County continued to have a concerning increase in spreading cases. During the past two weeks, Clermont County has had 130 new cases, which is 24% of their total cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Governor Mike DeWine: (37:25)
Additionally, outpatient visits have tripled during the past three weeks. To put in perspective, Clermont County with 197,000 residents has had more cases during the past two weeks in the entire country of Finland, population, 5.5. Almost all the new cases have occurred outside of congregate settings, indicating significant community spread in Clermont County. Up to Cuyahoga County, still at a critical stage. They are averaging 179 new cases per day, an increase of 49 additional cases per day, since June 23rd. Outpatient visits for Coronavirus, more than tripled during the past three weeks. The County is very close to meeting the threshold for new hospital admissions. Some new cases are being driven by out of town travel and recreational activities. It’s critical the residents of Cuyahoga County remain vigilant, and do all they can to reduce their risk and exposure to the Coronavirus. We’re continuing to monitor that as well.

Governor Mike DeWine: (38:23)
Back to Hamilton for a minute. Again, it remains red. Local health officials have said that that number may be plateauing or getting close to plateauing. While leveling off, the number of cases in the County certainly remains high. During the previous week, the County registered more than 1,400 new cases. Number of people seeking medical care has increased two and a half times during the past three weeks, and three fourths of new cases are outside congregate settings, including an outbreak at a high school, multiple workplaces and restaurants. So those are the Counties, as we said, that are red. The order will be that at six o’clock tomorrow night, as we have done in the past, those counties will have a mandatory mask order. That will mean that approximately 60% as of six o’clock tomorrow night, approximately 60% of the population of the state of Ohio will be living under a mask order.

Governor Mike DeWine: (39:34)
I also want to do a shout out for Walmart and Kroger. And there may be more, I may have missed, but just in the last day they have all required masks to be worn. We talked about masks a lot, but as I said last night, the jury is in. The verdict by everyone really, who has looked at this in the medical community and the health community overwhelmingly, that masks do make a difference. I am cautiously optimistic, what we’ve seen particularly out of Hamilton County, that that is moving and it’s moving in the right direction. And so my message to my friends who are in the yellow counties or orange counties, please wear those masks. We’re not putting an order on yet, but this is how you can keep it where you are, or maybe even go to a lower degree of spread. It looks like it is working in Hamilton County. Still early, but we’re making progress.

Governor Mike DeWine: (40:48)
So this is the right thing to do. We’ve got to slow this thing down. Let me make one more comment. There will be liquor control hearings on August 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. The Ohio investigative unit is a unit that normally focuses on liquor violations in the bars, across the state of Ohio. They’re a part of public safety. They’re also, of course now enforcing the rules regarding social distancing and mask wearing in these establishments. So we had a conversation today, as I said with the Department of Health, also had a conversation with the Ohio investigative unit team. And so they will be following up continuing to do their work, focusing on bars. Let me just say, most bar owners are doing a good job, but we do have bar owners out there who are not doing a good job. And so we’ve asked the Health Department to pinpoint those. And that will be work that’s going to continue to be done by.

Governor Mike DeWine: (42:03)
… and that will be work that’s going to continue to be done by the Ohio Investigative Unit. We now open up for questions.

Marty Schladen: (42:11)
Good afternoon, governor. Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal. First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us in the press, I know you don’t have a lot of it, but this is important. You said that you’re not going to enforce your mask orders, saying instead that the intent is to get people to comply voluntarily. By that logic, why should I be arrested if I slam a six pack and drive down I-70?

Governor Mike DeWine: (42:35)
Well, I don’t think we quite said that we’re not going to enforce. What we said is, we’re not looking to lock a lot of people up, that’s not the idea. The law can be a teacher. We have seen that, for example, in some of our counties today where the mask order has fundamentally changed people’s behavior. I think that, without an order from me, people are beginning, I think, to understand the gravity of the situation. I think they’re seeing the importance of wearing a mask. We are enforcing this. And as I just talked about our investigative unit, is… Will be out again this weekend. They’ll have additional people. They will be going into bars and making sure that the bar is complying with social distancing. And again, I think this is… It is a change in culture that we’re looking for.

Governor Mike DeWine: (43:30)
We’re not a people, historically, that wear mask. That’s just not what we do. But, we all are adjusting now to the new world that we live in. And the new world is that if we’re going to make it, if we’re going to continue to have businesses open, if we’re going to continue to be able to do some of the things that we want to do, wearing a mask out in public is very important. So, the answer to your question is, the law is a teacher, we’re not saying that there won’t be occasions of flagrant violation of this, that something might not happen. So, again, we’re asking people to do this. I think it’s the same situation that you’re finding in other states as well, and people are doing it.

Marty Schladen: (44:20)
Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (44:21)
[inaudible 00:44:21] the state now is under… Will be under, by tomorrow night, under that order.

Laura Hancock: (44:28)
Governor DeWine, this is Laura Hancock with Cleveland.com. And we’ve talked a lot about counties needing to work hard to head off becoming purple, you acknowledged that in Southwest Ohio that’s been prevented. And I was just wondering, what goes into place when a county becomes purple that would be different than when they’re red? Besides the mask order, which they already have if they’re red, what happens when you become purple? Why is that so bad?

Governor Mike DeWine: (44:57)
We have not tied anything to that. And I go back to what Dr. Thomas said, who was involved in putting this together. We have heard for some time from counties who said to us, look, we’re different, we’re a rural county, we don’t have as many COVID cases, et cetera. So, what we decided to do is to really be able to inform people every week, every week on Thursday, it looks like, and we’re going to tell you where your county is. And as Dr. Thomas said, this is an early warning sign. This is like getting the weather report. This is saying, Hey, there’s a flood moving, it’s coming. You better take shelter or you better start doing something. What’s different about in the weather, is that the weather we can’t do anything about. We can take shelter and that’s about all we can do to impact the weather.

Governor Mike DeWine: (45:47)
In this case, we can do something with this information. Not just take shelter, not just look outside and say, “Hey, it’s going to rain in an hour, I won’t go out and water my plants because they’re going to get rained on anyway.” But, it’s very different with this type of information. This type of information is usable. And what it really says to people is, this is where my County is. So I know that right now around Ohio there are people who have said, “Well, that can’t be.” They looked at their spouse and they said, “Well, that can’t be. Our county can’t be red.” Well, they are red. And they’re red for a reason. And they’re red because we are seeing these early indicators. And so, this is to inform people in Ohio, in a specific county, here is what your situation is.

Governor Mike DeWine: (46:38)
And what we’re starting to see, is… Look, it’s early. But what we’re starting to see, for example, in Hamilton County, some in Butler County, other counties is, they’re starting to get it and say, okay, we do have a problem. We don’t want to be Florida in three weeks or four weeks. And if we don’t want to be Florida, we got to do something now. So, it is to inform people. And I’ll go back to something that I’ve said time and time again. And I said this last night, we fixate a lot, understand that, on what Mike DeWine orders or what the Health Department orders or what your local health department orders. But the truth is, no matter what I order or don’t order, the most important players in this game are the 12.7 or so million people in the State of Ohio.

Governor Mike DeWine: (47:26)
You control where Ohio is going so much more than I do. And we have these colors because we want to be able to tell you, for example, Central Ohio is red hot. We want to be able to tell you Southwest Ohio, we have some challenges here. And then we got a surprise probably. If you’re in Scioto County, you may not have seen this coming, but this is early warning, Hey, we got a problem in Scioto County. And you could go around to Athens and you could… Every other county, Richland County. And so, that’s the purpose of this, it’s to inform the public in that county so that they can take action. And we ask them to take action.

Andy Chow: (48:15)
Hi, governor. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Your message last night was about pleading with people to take the virus seriously, to do what they can to wear a mask. How will you know if that message sunk in? What kind of metrics are you looking for to tell you that it is shifting in the right direction and what will you do if the numbers continue to get worse?

Governor Mike DeWine: (48:41)
Well, I think we can see a difference. And I’m not saying we can see a difference since last night, but we can see a difference in some of these counties. I think you’re seeing more people who are wearing masks. So one very tangible way is to see how many people are wearing masks. And look, I get calls, I get texts from people that say, “Look, my child can’t wear a mask, there’s a medical reason.” So I would just say, look, if… We’re all in this together, if there’s a child or there is someone who is not wearing a mask, do not assume that they are in defiance of what the order is. And don’t assume that they don’t care about other people. So… But, I would say, the vast majority of us can wear a mask at least when we go into a store.

Governor Mike DeWine: (49:29)
And that’s really what we’re asking people to do, is to make a minimal commitment, a minimal sacrifice, a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain. And the long-term gain is, kids will be back in school in the fall. Long-term gain could be our kids can play football, our kids can play basketball, whatever it is. Look, we don’t know what the future is, but we can impact that future certainly by what each one of us do. So, that’s really what we’re looking for, we’re looking for people and what they do every day. And again, when I see significant companies in the State of Ohio who are saying, you come into our retail establishment, you will wear a mask. Everybody is starting to get it. And again, you may have a small number of people who for some reason can’t, God bless them if they can’t wear a mask, that’s fine. But, the vast majority of people can wear a mask and we’re asking them to do it. And I think we’re starting to see some, certainly, movement in that direction.

Andy Chow: (50:38)
What’s the or else scenario of… Do this or else… What’s going to happen if the numbers don’t get better?

Governor Mike DeWine: (50:46)
Look, as I said last night, as Governor of the State of Ohio, I will do what I have to do to protect the people of Ohio. And that’s what I’m going to do. Now, we’re going to constantly look and see. I had a good conversation, for example, today on the phone, we had most of the health directors from all over the state. And just asking them, what are you seeing? What type of things are causing the problems? So these are the notes I wrote down. These are my notes. I wrote them in the car. And I’ll just read them in no particular order.

Governor Mike DeWine: (51:22)
And I don’t think they’re… They’re not meant to be in order. But this is what came up. Block parties, literally people getting together in block parties, neighborhood get togethers, bars, churches, mentioned of course about young people, and the data is clear, 20 to 29 year olds, the numbers have gone up dramatically, travel, people coming back from traveling, and from hotspot states, restaurants. These are just some of the things that I wrote down. Jon, I don’t know if you had any more, you were on the same call I was but…

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (52:07)
It was… Look, it’s… As you listened to that list, and I heard… I was listening to the same call the governor was. What people are saying is that… We’re hearing from health officials, it’s just people’s individual responsibility that in some cases they’re not living up to it, in the sense that they are not following the rules that we all have encouraged people to follow, of the distancing and not gathering together in large groups. And I get it, it’s like you see your family like, well, this is my family they don’t… Well, your… Members of your family, my family, anybody’s family, who hasn’t been following the recommendations and exposing themselves, can then turn quickly and expose 10 of their family members to it. And it’s what people do. You may say I’m doing great, eight hours a day at work, there’s a great working environment.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (53:01)
But, if just one of you in that group kind of deviated from that, went out, did something that maybe was a little more risky, contracted coronavirus, you’re walking around asymptomatic, you’re shaking hands, giving hugs, doing the things you’ve always done, that’s a recipe for disaster for the spread. And it can happen just like that, where one person gives it to four, four give it to 12, and it can spread pretty quickly. So, what… It’s just everybody in their personal lives, making good decisions that they don’t put each other at risk. And that’s what we were hearing from the Health Department officials today, that we just… They were really on the governor about just share that message about people needing to do these things, and he does it every day. Now, I don’t know that the governor could implore people to do this more than he has. He does it every day. And the more we listen to his advice, the better off we’re going to be in the long run.

Governor Mike DeWine: (54:03)
Andy, let me just answer the question this way. And one of the things that we’re seeing, and this came up on this call, and that is, people say, well… People’s own home, and they have in the backyard or inside, obviously more dangerous, 75 people. And because we don’t restrict what people do in their own home, people look at that and say, “Well, that’s not part of the order and I don’t have to do it.” And so, what we’re really asking people to think about is, don’t think so much about what the order is, but rather think about, does this make any sense for my family? Does this make any sense for everybody else? And so, to answer your question directly, I will do whatever it takes to keep people in Ohio safe.

Andy Chow: (54:59)
Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (55:00)
[inaudible 00:55:00] before, I’m not going to hesitate again. But, the better pathway, obviously, is if people will look at these colors. If you’re yellow, try to keep from going into orange. And if you’re orange, try to keep going in from… Into red. If you’re red, do everything you can to push it back. So, we’re trying to inform people with this.

Kevin Landers: (55:29)
Hello, governor. Kevin Landers, WBNS-10TV. I’d like you just to clarify again what purple means, does that mean a county could possibly shelter in place? Does that mean you would institute a quarantine for people who are leaving the state, for example, going to Florida? What exactly does that purple trigger? And then, we have a state of 11.7 million people, we had a thousand new cases today, that’s not a large percentage of the population. Can you explain why that is such a concern?

Governor Mike DeWine: (56:01)
[inaudible 00:56:01] which is such a concern. Kevin, I’m sorry.

Kevin Landers: (56:05)
We have a thousand cases, 11.7 million people, that’s not a large percentage. Can you explain why that is such a concern?

Governor Mike DeWine: (56:13)
[inaudible 00:56:13] talked about this last night. And I understand it doesn’t look like a huge number, but we are basically where Florida was a month ago. Florida was at this level, if you look at positivity, if you look at number of… Look at all kinds of different ways. And see where Florida is today. And so, look, we see these things coming. This system was designed… Color red was picked for a reason. It is a danger. We have challenges. It’s a warning system. So, what we’ve learned throughout this pandemic and what, frankly, the scientists told me very early on in February, is that, you have to move well before it looks like you have to move. Because, it just… It goes out and multiplies out like this. So, for example, if you live in one of these counties, one of the yellow counties, now is the time to cut this thing off.

Governor Mike DeWine: (57:20)
It’s so much easier to do it, so much easier to do it with… Somebody comes down with it, tracing, the person is isolated for the period of time, anybody they talk with or they come in real close contact with, and you just cut it off, you cut at the knees, and it’s so much easier. When you get here, it’s harder. And when you get here, it becomes much harder. So, you got to look down the road. Now, look, we are losing a lot of people every single day. And we not only have people who are dying, we have people who have long-term health issues. So, I would not… If we look at the number of people who are coming down with this, I would in no way minimize that. But I would also say that the real concern is, the future and what… How this bodes for the future, and how this stuff multiplies and just goes out like that.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (58:25)
Governor, can I say something that I heard Dr. Thomas say? And I listened to a lot of these calls when it was being designed. It wasn’t necessarily designed to be a triggering tool. It was designed to be an information tool. It was designed as an early warning system. He talked about it as a weather forecast. It’s like, look, you may have some severe things coming at least, but unlike a weather forecast, you could actually do something about this. You can take the precautions individually and collectively to change your future. And that’s what it’s… That’s what we want it to be.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (59:02)
We want people to say, “Hey, this is happening. Maybe I ought not go do that family a reunion.” Or whatever it might be, “…that we thought was a good idea a few weeks ago. Because we’re seeing a spread and…” “Hey, there’s a lot of 20 to 29 year olds in this group. We know that they’ve been out doing a lot of things, they could be asymptomatic, maybe we’ve got to rethink what we’re going to do.” That’s what we hope people will use it for, to inform, making better personal decisions, taking more personal responsibility in the ownership of the solution.

Governor Mike DeWine: (59:35)
So, for example, if you’re in Hamilton County today, you know more, a little bit more at least, than you knew this morning. And what you know is, Hey, we’re doing a little better, maybe some of these things that we’re doing and we’re putting in place, and the mayor and the county commissioners and other people urging us to do, maybe some of that is working a little bit. And you know that you’ve, at least, you’ve slowed that rate of increase down. That tells you something. And tells you something if you’re in Scioto County and you say, “I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that this was bad.” So, again, these are indicators for people to be able to react to.

Kevin Landers: (01:00:13)
Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:14)
[inaudible 01:00:14] the question of the next level, the fourth level, we have nothing tied to that at this point. Doesn’t mean we might not in the future, but we have nothing tied to that at this point.

Susan Kratzer: (01:00:28)
Hello, my name is Susan Kratzer with Hannah News Service. And I was just wondering, what’s the National Guard… What’s the status of their operations right now? And do you have any plans for once aid from them and in certain areas like nursing homes? Will there be just any kind of support after them?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:55)
[inaudible 01:00:55] National Guard is today, I believe, doing some community testing, the pop-up test. They also are in nursing homes. They’re going to stay with the nursing homes for another week or so. They’re making very good progress with the staffs there. We then will, at that point, move to a new… A different system, as far as the nursing homes and far as the testing, where every nursing home will be required within a certain number of days to completely test all staff members. And that will be up to those nursing homes to do that, and we will monitor that, and we will monitor the results. The Guard at that point, will move more out into the communities. What I’ve asked our team to do a few days ago, is to look at our mid-level counties, look at our counties that maybe getting ready to turn red, and talk to the local officials and see, do you need more testing in the county? Can we come in for a day? Do you want us to come in? Do you want the Guard to come in do pop-up testing? Say in Mansfield, Lorain.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:02:05)
And so, the scheduling of the Guard, as we go forward, it’s going to be, a lot of it, is going to be that community testing. They can come in, they can set up, they can get it done, we can get the results back. And that’s helpful to that particular county. So, they’re going to be on a mission to find places where the local officials believe there is not enough testing, there’s not been enough opportunity for testing. And so, again, if anyone is watching this today from a county and you do not think that there’s enough testing in your county, talk to your local health department. If they don’t think there’s enough testing, they will be in touch with us, and we will come in with the National Guard. We are very happy to have the Guard moving forward. I just signed a letter to the president, thanking the president for the subsidy on the Guard, but also asking that it be extended, so we would have more opportunity throughout the rest of the year to have the Guard out five, six, seven…

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:03:03)
The rest of the year to have the guard out five, six, seven days a week.

Louis Gill: (01:03:05)
Thank you.

Speaker 1: (01:03:11)
Hello, Governor, This is Louis Gill with Ohio Latino TV. Governor, I would like to go on the cell line about your speech last night. It seems like you were torn delivering your speech what’s the right thing to do for Ohio and Ohioans. So many people were not expecting, they don’t know what to expect, but they weren’t expecting for you to come out and just simply ask wear your mask. In the short is it up to us, is it up to Ohioans to come out of this crisis, and in short, what have we got to lose? It’s just to wear the mask for three weeks or four weeks?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:03:54)
Well, I was torn. I guess I’m anybody in this position is torn. You always wonder, one of the things to say to people, but we scheduled that… It’s the first time since I’ve been governor that I ask to have time that time of night, we normally do this 2:00 press conference, but I wanted to talk directly to the people, the state of Ohio, and to lay out for them what was going on, what I was seeing every day, and frankly, what my concerns are. I owe that to the people of Ohio. I owe it every day to tell them what we’re seeing, but I want to do it in more, maybe a cohesive environment, cohesive speech than I do sometimes when I’m here, because I wanted to tell them that every morning when I get up and turn on the news and I see what’s going on in Florida or Texas or California or Alabama, other states, my worst nightmare is that that’s coming to Ohio and we have good evidence.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:13)
When you look to where those states were a month ago, basically it’s where we are today. And we got trend lines. Look at this map, how it has changed three times, you’ve seen it. We now have 60% of the population of the state of Ohio living under red, which means we have very specific problems and it’s moving. It’s moving, moving up, moving clearly in the wrong direction. So it was, as a former prosecutor, I guess it was my argument to the jury, people of the state of Ohio are the jury, and to tell them these are the facts, these are the essential facts that we have. This is what we know today, this is what we have to do to get through this. And what is at stake is what the fall is going to look like, what the winter is look alike.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:06:09)
Our future. Our future as a state is at stake. Nobody wants to see us shutdown. No one wants to see business shut down again. No one wants to see us hunker down, but if we’re going to avoid all those bad things, we have to take action. And we have it within our collective selves to change the outcome we really, really do. So that’s what I was trying to do, trying to talk to the people of the state. And look, as I said, at the beginning of the speech, there’ll be additional orders in the future. But again, whatever those orders are, what’s more important is what people do every day. And that’s why I wanted to talk at 5:30, when I thought maybe people maybe be getting home, people turn on the TV, watch a little news. And they might come across Mike DeWine on there and maybe they’d listen to a few minutes and I’d have the opportunity to tell them what was on my heart and what I’m seeing and what I’m concerned about.

Louis Gill: (01:07:13)
Thank you.

Ben Schwartz: (01:07:19)
Good afternoon, Governor DeWine, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. Governor, I know you’ve been answering a lot of similar questions to this today, but I do want to ask governor what will happen if people in counties nearing level four, like Athens, for example, with a whole lot of community spread, simply don’t listen, don’t wear masks and the virus continues to spread. Do you see them going into a stay home order for solely just the county or something like that?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:07:52)
Yeah, Ben, I don’t know. We’re going to do what we have to do, local health department’s going to do what they have to do, but buck stops with me. I’ll make the decisions. But what really will happen, whether we issue an order or don’t issue an order, if it’s so widespread that people are scared, then the economy shuts down. You look at Athens, for example, let’s take Athens County. Jon and I were on the phone with the health director along with other health directors on the phone. I said, “Look, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen in the fall when these kids come back to the school? When OU is back and you’ve got thousands and thousands of kids?” So, and that’s the concern. It’s July and we’re seeing this in Athens now. So we’re concerned. And so it’s now it’s time. Okay, there’s a warning, now it’s for us to get control of that. By us, I mean the people who live in Athens, people run the bars, people who are there. It’s time, it’s time to get control of this situation because you’re going to have tens of thousands of students coming back in the fall. And it’s not just unique to Athens, but you got a lot of students coming in.

Stephanie Kuzydym: (01:09:26)
Governor, Stephanie Kuzydym with WKRC Local 12 in Cincinnati. I was wondering, besides the OHSE, who are you consulting with specifically before making decisions on how fall sports should begin, and what do you hope to learn from them, and what are they advising for the start of competition for both contact and non-contact sports?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:51)
I missed part of that and I apologize, in regard to making what decision that’s the part I didn’t get.

Stephanie Kuzydym: (01:09:59)
In making decisions on how fall sports should begin.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:10:07)
Look, we’re monitoring these numbers and we’re looking at, and we’re trying to see what is going on. I’ll take the first part of that, Jon’s been working directly with schools. I know he’s also been working directly with Ohio High School Athletic Association. So Jon, you want to get the particulars on that?

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (01:10:29)
Sure. You would be surprised how many people there are to consult with, we know about the professional teams, we’ve been consulting with them. We know about the Ohio States, but there’s also the Mid-American conference. Other conferences from division one to division three, who are interested in this at the college level, high school sports. But then you also have AAU and club sports and things like that. And people who own athletic facilities who run sports leagues in them. So you have that diversity of voice.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (01:11:05)
It reminds me of the reopening schools. It’s hard to come up with one set of plans that address the unique circumstances that everybody operates under. And that’s the complexity of this. You want to try to treat people the same. You also understand that they’re unique sets of circumstances. And we’re doing this in an environment where we’ve had an increase in the number of cases and in certainly in some parts of the state. So we’re trying to balance the fact that we know sports are an integral part of Ohioans lives, that kids really value them as part of their character, and personal, and physical development. We understand the magnitude of both and the consequences of either decision. That’s why it’s taking time to work with all of those different groups to try to get this right. And it’s been complex. But when you’re listening to all of these voices, it takes time to pull it all together in a changing environment, as it relates to coronavirus.

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (01:12:09)
So know that it’s been a very inclusive process. We understand that there’s a need to get this information out and we’re working to come to that conclusion hopefully here in the very near future.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12:21)
Well, let me also point out that this [inaudible 00:09:26], if I can say this, it’s constantly changing. We’re taking all the information in, but we don’t have a crystal ball as far as exactly what this virus is going to do. What you’re starting to see in college athletics, certainly, you’re starting to see teams that are being tested and then you’re starting to see what the results are. You’re seeing that in the pro sports as well. So all of that information is coming in, it’s information that we are all, all of us, everyone out there watching on TV is processing as well. So a lot of this is we’re pulling in from all kinds of different sources and it’s a constantly changing and it’s a moving target.

Stephanie Kuzydym: (01:13:14)
Governor, are any of those voices athletic trainers, which are considered healthcare professionals of the sidelines?

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (01:13:24)
Well, we consult with the schools, athletic trainers are included in that. I don’t know that we’ve talked specifically to an association of athletic trainers. I know we’ve talked to individual athletic trainers. They certainly, their voices matter in this as well.

Stephanie Kuzydym: (01:13:43)
Thank you.

Tom Bosco: (01:13:48)
Hi, Governor, Tom Bosco with ABC 6 here in Columbus. There still seems to be uncertainty as to single patients with multiple positive tests for coronavirus. How are those being counted and how do those affect the overall counts and the overall numbers that you’re looking at in the state?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:14:12)
[inaudible 01:14:12] tell you what I know, my understanding is that one person becomes one case, no matter how many times they have tested. And that process is done at the Health Department level. Jon, do you have any more on that?

Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted: (01:14:28)
Yeah. It’s a great question. I get it often. I directly ask the Health Department about this and what they explained is that when you get tested, you’re going to give your name and you’re going to give your birth date and they cross-match. So even no matter how many tests you’ve had, they’re going to cross match that and make sure that that data is only there for a single individual. If you got tested three times, it’s going to be deduped into one case per individual, per name and birthdate.

Randy Ludlow: (01:15:04)
Good afternoon, Governor, Randy Ludlow with the Columbus Dispatch, you declined last night to go to a statewide mask order, with the addition of today’s red counties, more than half of Ohio’s population is now under a mask order, governors and health authorities in 24 states now have issued mandatory mask orders, including six just in recent days, including fellow red state governors. What do they see or what do they know that you don’t when it comes to imposing a mask order?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:15:44)
Well, as you know, Randy, we were probably one of the first states to impose a mask order for a business. So we did that. We did that very, very early. As you just pointed out, we have now 60% as of tomorrow night, 60% of the population of this state will be living in a county that has a mask order. We may come to that. We may make a decision that the entire state will be under a mask order. What we’ve tried to do is to do two things. One is to give people the information that they need to make these decisions. Ultimately, ultimately order or no order, it’s what people do when they go out of their house. Do they put a mask on? Do they have a mask? Do they put a mask on when they go into a business? The trend line is clear.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:41)
And the evidence, as I pointed out last night, is overwhelming. So I thought I would try Randy, one more time with an address in the evening to talk to the people of the state of Ohio about the importance of wearing a mask. My experience in life is that people react generally better when you ask them to do something, when you give them the evidence, then they do when you tell them to do something. So I’m trying this and I made an impassioned plea last night. I think we have the facts on our side. I know we have the facts on our side. Clearly the scientific evidence is there and I’m asking people of the state, no matter what part of the state they live in, in the next few days to think about it, pray about it, and I hope that in the next few days, they make the decision.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:17:41)
Even if they’re in a county that is yellow right now, they need to know their county may not be yellow in the future. They may need to know that their virus is out there, lurking in their county, where they live. So I’m giving them a few days and we hope that we’ll see a lot more people who have mask on. I’m heartened, frankly, that we are seeing and the culture I think is moving in this direction. I think when you have two big companies, for example, where virtually everybody shops, Walmart, Kroger, in Ohio, that’s a real trend. So we’re going to give it a little while. And I will not rule that out as we go in the future. But I think again, people rather be asked than rather be told. And the bottom line is how many people are being careful because masks are important.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:18:36)
But as we learn and we hear all the time we heard from the health directors today, it’s not just mask, it’s people coming together. And there’s only so much that we can get into people’s lives. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to what they do when no one else is looking. What they do, do they have that block party? Do they have that party in their backyard where they’ve got a ton of people there? These are things that we can’t control, but in the end, if they’re armed with sufficient facts on the evidence and they see what a real threat that this is, and they know that they could become, we could become Florida in a darn short period of time, I hope that convinces them. So we’ll see how good I’m doing at convincing people in a few days.

Randy Ludlow: (01:19:38)
Thank you, governor.

Laura Bischoff: (01:19:38)
Good afternoon, Governor, it’s Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News. Based on the current trends in those 19 red counties, and especially in light of the case numbers increasing among young adults, what concerns you about college students returning to campuses at University of Dayton, Wright State, University of Cincinnati, Ohio State, in mid August, which is just four weeks away?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:20:02)
[inaudible 00:17:05], a lot. I think everybody should be concerned. The colleges are doing what they can. They’re, some of them have alternative plans, some are going partially distance learning. I think the next few weeks, they’re going to tell the tale, frankly. We’re talking about K through 12, we’re talking about college. We all want kids back in school. What we do today, literally today, tomorrow, the next day is going to determine whether that occurs or whether that does not occur. And it’s not going to take an order from Mike DeWine. People are going to figure it out. And if these trend lines continue, if we continue to see more of these counties, more of these counties, like I said, it’s not going to take an order, you’re going to see colleges that are going to be dealing with their customers and their clients and people aren’t going to want to come back. Parents won’t want to send their kids back. So we’ve got to get control of this. We’ve got to get control of it now. But we’re four weeks away, you’re absolutely correct.

Laura Bischoff: (01:21:15)
Thank you.

Jessie Balmert: (01:21:19)
Hello, this is Jessie Balmert with the Enquirer and I’m told I’m the last question. You’ve talked about the importance of, the dangers of traveling to hotspots. You’ve also said repeatedly that Florida is a trouble area. Are you planning to go to the RNC events in Jacksonville?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:41)
Well, again, I don’t have a crystal ball to see exactly how it’s going to take place yet. I am a delegate for the present, we’ll see. I’m not going to make that decision, I don’t have to make that decision. Quite candidly, virtually every waking hour I’m focused on Ohio and the thought of even being away from Ohio that long a period of time is probably not something that I think is a great idea, but we’ll see.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:22:15)
Well, thank you very much. Unless there’s some breaking news, we will see you all back on Tuesday and hope everybody has a great weekend. Thank you very much.

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