Jul 2, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript July 2
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on July 2. Read the full coronavirus news briefing speech transcript here.
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Mike DeWine: (00:00)
… tie and this was made for me by Rebecca Gray from Newark. Also, have on a necktie from Sinclair Community College in Dayton. With 30,000 students, they’re one of the largest community colleges in the entire nation. Notable Sinclair alums include Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, as well as State Senator Fred Strahorn. So to both of them and to all the other alumni of Sinclair, congratulations. It’s a great, great institution. I want to start today with our guidance for reopening schools. This will be out shortly, although it’s my understanding that our webpage has been hacked. So some disruption going on, but we’ll get this out as soon as we can. Over the last few weeks, Lieutenant Governor and I and our team have talked to dozens and dozens of teachers and superintendents, school officials, educators from across Ohio, as well as medical experts. And I just want to say, on a personal note, that I really enjoyed those conversations. The dedication, the focus of our educators in the state of Ohio is absolutely amazing. They went through a difficult time. They continue in a difficult time, but they remained focused on our kids, remain focused on doing whatever they can to educate them as this virus continues.
Mike DeWine: (01:58)
Let me just say that we start with some basic principles that I think we all can agree, and they’re basic principles behind what we are sending to the schools in Ohio. One is that we have an obligation, all of us, to educate our children and to keep them safe. We recognize that parents are the first and best teachers. We also recognize that there is an obligation that we all have to educate every child in this state, no matter what their background, where they’re from, where they live, what their individual circumstances are. Next, a basic principle, local control of our schools. Over 600 and 30 some school districts in Ohio, plus many private schools, other schools, the idea that schools are controlled by local community, by the parents, by the school boards that are elected with our public schools is ingrained, I think in all of us. It’s the system we grew up with. It’s the system we’ve had in Ohio for many, many years.
Mike DeWine: (03:26)
The state does have an obligation. The state does have an obligation to do everything we can to make sure no matter where that child is, no matter what school district they live in, they get a good education. So balancing local control, state interest in protecting our kids and making sure our kids get educated. I think there is a strong consensus among teachers, school principals, parents, and the public around Ohio, that our kids need to get back into the school building. And that that is something that is important, that no matter how hard everyone tried, and they did a good job with very little notice, to educate children outside the classroom, without being in a physical building, some kids, because of their circumstances, their inability to get the internet, whatever, did not get exactly what they should have been getting.
Mike DeWine: (04:33)
So just some general comments. Working with educators and other health officials, we’ve developed a set of guidelines, guidelines backed by science, that each school should follow when developing their reopening plans. This approach allows schools to adjust their rules to what works best for them to create a safe environment, and one that will protect students and staff from the spread of COVID-19. We know that COVID-19 is mainly spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets that come from sneezing, coughing, yelling, or even talking. And because school buildings are indoor settings with students and staff in close proximity for an extended period of time, they are prime places for the spread of COVID-19. We know that generally it is important to get kids physically back in school.
Mike DeWine: (05:31)
While teachers and students did an outstanding job of implementing distance learning the spring, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommended that students should be “physically present in school as much as possible.” They emphasize that there are major educational health and social benefits for keeping most students physically in schools. And so to be able to keep schools open, each of our guidelines is designed to create the safest environment possible for our students and staff. I’d like to spend a few moments now briefly outlining each one, but specific details about guidelines will be made available in the comprehensive document that I just held up. And it will be available, when our website is free, at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Mike DeWine: (06:29)
Guideline one, vigilantly assess symptoms. Now, let me just say that these first guidelines are not going to be a great surprise to anybody. COVID-19 spreads so rapidly it’s essential that students and their caregivers, staff, and volunteers conduct daily health checks prior to going to school that include taking temperatures and assessing for symptoms. Anyone with a temperature above 100 any COVID-19 symptoms must stay home. If there is a higher risk of COVID in a community, schools can scale up this guidance by taking temperatures of students and staff as they enter the school building, for example. School administrators must send home students and staff if they develop symptoms or a temperature at school, and they must refer them to an appropriate healthcare provider or a testing site. Further, they must contact their local health department if there is a case of COVID in their school.
Mike DeWine: (07:28)
Since testing is one part of a comprehensive strategy to protect against the spread of COVID-19, schools must work with their local health departments to implement a testing strategy. Let me just say that I’ve been very pleased as we’ve talked to health directors, as we’ve talked to schools, that by and large, from what we can see, that close cooperation is taking place.
Mike DeWine: (07:52)
Guideline two, again, no surprise, wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread. According to the CDC, hand-washing and other common prevention methods are some of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Therefore, schools must provide ample opportunity for students and teachers to wash their hands throughout the day. To supplement this, schools must provide hand sanitizer in high-traffic areas, including entrances to the buildings, classrooms, and require its use.
Mike DeWine: (08:22)
Guideline three, thoroughly clean and sanitize the school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces. COVID- 19 can spread by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, your nose, or your eyes. According to the CDC, using disinfectants reduces the spread of infectious diseases. And I would say that although I’m not reading it, all the way through this report, there will be places where you can click on and get these guidelines or get these sources of information, the way it has been written.
Mike DeWine: (08:58)
Number four, practice social distancing. We know that social distancing of at least six feet can reduce the spread of infectious diseases. The spread is further reduced when other preventing measures are layered on. Schools should strive to maintain six foot social distance among students, staff, and volunteers, as often as possible in all school environments, including classrooms, hallways, restrooms, cafeterias, playgrounds, drop-offs and pick-ups, and on school buses. Implementing this guideline will certainly make things look different in every school, and schools are just different. And that’s why there’s a great deal of flexibility, obviously, being allowed as it should be for the schools and the people that run the schools to determine how to implement these aspirational goals.
Mike DeWine: (09:52)
Some schools may decide to stagger lunchtimes. Others may decide that students should eat in their classrooms rather than in the large cafeteria. Other schools may implement modified schedules to reduce crowding. Schools can help encourage social distancing by posting visual cues and reducing large groups mingling.
Mike DeWine: (10:12)
Number five, face covering policy. Every school should develop and must develop a face covering policy. Scientific studies show that using face coverings can significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. Let’s talk about the staff at first. Just as we have done in the business sector with employees who work in other businesses, other occupations, we are requiring, we are requiring school staff to wear face covering to reduce the spread of virus unless it is unsafe or when doing so could significantly interfere with the learning process. Again, very similar guidelines, almost word for word, in regard to school and in regard to what we’ve already put in place with other workers. When face coverings are not practical, face shields may be considered. For example, wearing a face mask could make communication more difficult in some cases when teachers are interacting with students, students maybe with disabilities, maybe younger students, or students who are learning a foreign language. Because of the importance of face mask in slowing the spread of COVID-19, schools must, as I said, establish a face mask policy. In so doing, they should consider all the available science.
Mike DeWine: (11:45)
It is the state’s strong recommendation that children third grade and up, third grade and up, should wear a face mask. Now, I have tried, and I know the health department and the education department have tried to read about every piece of evidence and information and studies that we can in regard to this. There’s clearly a strong, strong consensus among health and children’s experts that children sixth grade and up should wear a face mask, unless there’s a medical or developmental reason for that child not to do so. And I want to emphasize, I want to emphasize, because I’ve heard from different parents about this, whose children cannot wear a face mask, the school should work to reduce and do everything in their power to reduce any kind of social stigma for a student who for medical, developmental reasons cannot and should not wear a mask. So our recommendation is third grade and up, strong recommendation.
Mike DeWine: (12:55)
Again, we ask the schools to look at the science and develop a policy. They should look to the best science in developing a face mask policy. I would imagine that some schools would be comfortable in starting mask in kindergarten. Some, first grade. Some, later. The majority opinion, as far as we can tell, of my experts appears to be that children in kindergarten through fifth grade can a wear mask, can wear a mask as long as allowance is given for the age and developmental level of that child, and the physical situation that the child is in at that particular moment.
Mike DeWine: (13:39)
That’s a long way of saying we just use common sense. We follow the science. We use common sense in regard to how it gets implemented. We wear a face mask to protect each other, often because people are sick, but people show no symptoms. Masks can be especially useful and are strongly recommended at any grade level during periods of increased risk when physical distancing is difficult, and obviously, when someone is on a bus. I’ll talk in a moment about buses. But schools are just going to have an inherent problem in regard to buses. Certainly, riding the bus, picking up meals, families, schools, and students should use, as much as possible, the face mask to decrease the spread of this virus.
Mike DeWine: (14:36)
To assist the schools and our efforts to implement our five guidelines, the Ohio Department of Education has created a document, again, I held it up, The Reset and Restart Education Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts. So actually, two separate documents. One is the more educational document, one is more health. They can bring them together. And both should be looked at. The latter one which I’m talking about is designed to help teachers, principals, administrators, think through solutions to the main challenges that they face. The document provides resources, information for community decision makers as they contemplate how to reopen safely.
Mike DeWine: (15:16)
We are mindful that in order to reopen schools safely, there are many unforeseen expenses, and some that are already very much foreseen, I know, I was talking to superintendents, that will now find themselves, the schools, responsible for. Buying sanitizer, making alterations. That’s why I intend to work with the General Assembly, with the four leaders, to come up with a plan to give schools some assistance, and frankly, to take some money from the CARES Act dollars.
Mike DeWine: (15:52)
Again, that is something we are in discussion with the members of the General Assembly. I talked to the speaker this morning and the Senate president, Mr. Householder and Mr. Obhof. And those conversations are going to go on with the minority leaders as well. And again, we hope within the week to announce specific money that will be going to the schools. We do not anticipate it’s going to be enough necessarily to take care of all the things that are taking place and the schools are doing. But we want to make sure that schools know that this money is in fact coming.
Mike DeWine: (16:25)
I want to specifically thank, and again, as I said, lot of conversations that John, you and I both had, most of them separate. And John would report to me, many of them that I had with superintendents all over the state, men and women who are just doing a phenomenal job, with teachers all over the state, with some principals, with parents. And that input has been exceedingly helpful. And I think it gives you … If you could have been on those calls, you would have had a great deal of confidence about what’s going on in regard to education in Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (17:03)
We face challenges, but we got a lot of great people out there who are just doing some amazing, amazing things. Specifically. I want to thank Buckeye Association Of School Administrators, the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio School Board Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Alliance for High Quality Education, the Ohio Association of Career Tech Education. And again, with career tech, some of our most interesting conversations always occur. We’re talking to our friends in career tech because they’re doing things that are different and they face particular challenges in trying to do things that need to be hands-on, and sometimes, this past school year, they were not able to do that. I’d like to thank the many individual superintendent school [inaudible 00:17:59] public and private who contributed, and parents across the state who submitted thoughts to the Ohio Department of Education. Many of that came in, and many of you sent ideas into my email or texted it to me.
Mike DeWine: (18:13)
Our guidelines are based on the best scientific evidence and data we have. What we will point out, and one of the reasons that when you pick up this document … When you pick up this document and you open it up, you’re going to see a lot of places where you flip for additional information. This is sometimes the CDC. It may be other sources. So as data, more comes in, more information comes in, as we learn more about this virus, it is good to continue to try to keep up. And that’s why we have this as really an interactive process.
Mike DeWine: (18:50)
Today we have joining us, Dr. Chris Peltier, a general pediatrician with Pediatric Associates of Mt. Carmel. He’s the president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter. Doctor, thank you very, very much for joining us. We relied to a great extent on your association and other professionals. And I wonder if you could just give me your maybe assessment of what we all should look at and what schools should look at and parents should look at as we start back in into school, and as we now are really in the very heavy process of planning, the schools are, to get back going forward. Doctor, thank you for joining us.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (19:41)
Governor, thank you for having me. A pleasure to be … I want to start by talking about reassuring parents that might be worried. I have a child that’s in high school, and I think all of us at one time or another currently are worried about sending our kids to school. What’s that going to look like? I know many of us have been waiting for this day to hear guidance from you, so we appreciate the time and effort that you and your staff and all of the organizations that took part in this to produce these guidelines. The thing I would say first and foremost to parents is that as pediatricians, we want you to know that we recognize that you’re worried. We get it. We hear it all the time from you, and we know that. We, of course, want children to be safe as well. School policies, they need to be guided by supporting the overall health and the wellbeing of not only children, but their families, as well as the communities that they live in. The national American Academy of Pediatrics recently published some guidelines which are similar to the guidelines that Dr. DeWine and his staff are going to be putting out today. The national child health experts that convened that working group and produced that document have concluded that there’s more harm to not being physically located in schools than not being there, and that those risks of being in school outweigh the risks of not being there.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (21:14)
What do I mean by that? So, first off, I think, and many of you know this, that while children are 24% of the population across the country, the children only make up about 2% of COVID cases. So we do know that there’s been a lot of data over the last several months that support that children do not get COVID as frequently as us adults do. And for the most part, when they get it, they may not show as many symptoms, and they are not as severely ill. Now that, of course, is not an absolute. We know that there have been many children that have had severe illness and inflammatory reactions. But by and large, children have tended to do better during this pandemic than adults. These Ohio guidelines, that again, sort of mimic the national AAP guidelines, are endorsed by the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents almost 3,000 pediatricians here in the state of Ohio, as well as all of the children’s hospital in the state. But less risk does not mean no risk. So while the guidelines that the governor is producing today mitigate risk, we can never completely eliminate all risk. But we do know that kids that are in school do more than just learn math and science. They learn social and emotional skills. They have access to healthy meals and exercise. And I think one of the most important things as a pediatrician, they get access to mental health support.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (22:52)
We are beginning to learn that there are many mental health consequences of having social isolation during quarantine. Mental health is such a big concern during these times. I know that myself, as well as my partners and other colleagues across the state, have seen a marked increase in patients that are presenting with concerns for anxiety and depression since the quarantine, and these factors, that when severe can lead to teen suicide attempts. We know there’s some data from a group of pediatricians. It was a thousand pediatricians across the country that all share the same electronic health record, and data from that group showed that during March and April, there was a 65% decrease in the number of depression screens that were completed in pediatric offices for adolescents.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (23:42)
So not only were children quarantined, they weren’t being seen by their pediatricians. They weren’t being seen in schools, and very well may have missed many kids that were developing depression and anxiety. Kids were also missing out on the opportunity for teachers and school aides and administrators to address concerns for physical or sexual abuse, developmental delays, and substance abuse. And as we know, these concerns have much greater impact on certain populations like African American children, children of families in poverty, and children that have learning disabilities. So what I would tell parents is, number one, stay current on your well visits and your vaccinations. During the months of March and April, nationally, the administration rate of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine dropped 50%. We know what it’s been like to live with one pandemic. Thinking about a second disease coming back and creating problems is really scary for those of us that are pediatricians.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (24:48)
Your pediatrician’s offices are open. They’re safe. We all have done various things to make them safe that we’ve heard about before. So make sure that you’re staying current with your pediatrician and your vaccines. The Ohio State Athletic Association is continuing to require, thanks to some advocacy from some pediatricians here in the state and on our board, to continue to mandate yearly sports physical exams. So again, another reason to make sure to get in to see your pediatrician. It’s going to be important for you to monitor symptoms. That very first point in Governor DeWine’s packet is vigilantly assess for symptoms. So checking temperatures before you send your child to school, making sure that they don’t have the symptoms of COVID like cough, fever, headache, body aches. And don’t send them to school if they’re not going to be well that day.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (25:41)
Work with your children, especially younger children, on hand washing and wearing masks. If you haven’t taken your children out lately because of concerns of COVID, have them practice wearing a mask at school, especially those younger children or those children that may have some tactile or sensory issues. And most importantly, I would encourage families to be flexible and communicate with your children, your teachers, and your school administrators. This is a moving target, as we’ve seen the last few weeks. What’s reasonable right now and what’s working now may not be the same come October, especially when we start to see cases of influenza.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (26:19)
And I would like to add that I’m sure that there are going to be parents that this document, these guidelines, are not going to please everybody. And that’s okay. But I would remind you that you help to determine your children’s outlook. If you’re frustrated, share that in private. Don’t share your frustration with your kids. Set them up for success by teaching them to make the best of it. Stay positive and help teach them resilience and perseverance. If you have questions or concerns, call your pediatrician’s office. You also can go to the Ohio AAP website, which is OhioAAP.org.
Mike DeWine: (26:57)
Well, Doctor, thank you. That’s all great advice. And again, I won’t try to summarize it, but I guess one of the things you say is go see your pediatrician. We’ve heard from other doctors that adults, a lot of people in the state and across the country, have been delaying seeing a doctor, delaying procedures that should be done. So the delayed care now, I guess your message is now’s the time to get caught up.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (27:27)
Yep. [inaudible 00:27:29].
Mike DeWine: (27:29)
I would also thank you for mentioning the mental health issue. I would speak directly to our school administrators. My commitment to you is we will continue in our budgets in years ahead to fully fund the wellness dollars that we put in there. And although I cannot speak for the General Assembly, I never do that, I would note that it had broad bipartisan support. So I think as you plan ahead in this year and look to the next year, and you make hiring decisions, that these wellness dollars will be there.
Mike DeWine: (28:14)
And I think obviously, one of the ways that these wellness dollars can be spent, or one of the things that can be spent on has to do with mental health counseling and other things in regard to mental health. Doctor, thank you very much. We appreciate you being with us and kind of putting a face to what your society has recommended. I think if you look at our … When you see our booklet that we put out, the American Academy of Pediatrics is quoted in there. So we appreciate that guidance very much.
Dr. Christopher Peltier: (28:50)
Thanks for everything you’re doing, Governor. Have a great day.
Mike DeWine: (28:52)
Thank you. Well, let me now turn to kind of chapter two for today. Related, but a different area.
Mike DeWine: (29:01)
… but a different area. We are now at yet another critical juncture in our battle against the coronavirus. Someone likened this to being in the second inning of a nine inning game. I’m not sure what any we’re in, but it’s still fairly early.
Mike DeWine: (29:23)
What we’re seeing, of course, as you can see in headlines across the state and on the news, on TV and radio, the virus once again is spreading with a vengeance across many parts of the country and across parts of Ohio. In this next phase of the pandemic, saving lives, protecting our fellow Ohioans remains top priority. We cannot move backward. Ohioans have come too far in this fight to cede ground now to this virus.
Mike DeWine: (29:57)
Our best defense moving forward is, to be on the offense. This means that this next phase is not about hunkering down, but about learning to live with the virus. So, I’m calling this phase, and we’ll continue to call it, how we live with this virus.
Mike DeWine: (30:12)
We have to be smart about it, and we have to be careful about it. We have to understand that it’s important for health reasons, and important for all kinds of reasons, that our economy move forward and that we not go back in regard to our economy either. Doing both, keeping the economy moving and keeping safe, these are consistent and one is certainly dependent upon the other.
Mike DeWine: (30:41)
Learning to live, and learning to function and to keep an economy open, and moving all the while taking active measures to slow the spread of this very infectious, deadly disease until we have a vaccine or other effective treatments that are widely available to all Ohioans. These are our goals.
Mike DeWine: (31:03)
I will talk and I’ve talked in the past about the testing, which it’s a very essential part to this. Going forward, we will maintain vital necessary baseline orders. The orders that we had issued are about to run out.
Mike DeWine: (31:20)
Those baseline orders for all Ohioans as far as distancing, as far as businesses, you heard me reference a few minutes ago about employees in a school district basically having the same as other people in industry and in retail, those all continue. Those are baseline orders.
Mike DeWine: (31:46)
But we have also developed a new warning system, and we’re going to unveil this warning system today. We’re calling it Public Health Advisory Alert System. Public Advisory Alert System.
Mike DeWine: (32:01)
This will provide local health departments, it will provide community leaders, it will provide me, it will provide state leaders, members of legislature data and information that will enable us to then layer additional enhanced safety measures to combat flare-ups as they occur in different parts of the state.
Mike DeWine: (32:23)
One of the messages that I have heard from members of the General Assembly and members of the public is, that we should start looking at the state, different counties, differently. What we have come up with, we’re announcing today, is a way to do that.
Mike DeWine: (32:42)
It’s based upon a premise that we have some things in common. We all need to wash our hands. We all need to keep social distance. We all need to wear a mask when we’re out in public, a strong recommendation. When we’re working, we need to have to follow that guideline, to wear a mask. But, that as we start to look at the state beyond that, we look at what’s happening in each county.
Mike DeWine: (33:14)
Now, we know that the number of COVID-19 cases is rising dramatically. We’ve seen them climb over the last three weeks. 412 on June 17th. June 24th, that number have risen 632. Yesterday, on July 1, over 1,076. This is a worrisome and concerning trend, and we’re going to continue to watch these numbers.
Mike DeWine: (33:56)
Our COVID-19 experts say, that there’s likely community spread in every Ohio county. In fact, there are only a few counties in the state that have not reported cases in the past two weeks. However, that does not necessarily mean that they don’t have any cases at all.
Mike DeWine: (34:12)
Because, as we know, the number of people who are not yet showing symptoms, or may show only mild symptoms that doesn’t show up on a test or don’t get tested is significant. Local health departments are mapping the virus transmission. They’ve reported to the Ohio Department of Health information, about how COVID- 19 is spreading.
Mike DeWine: (34:33)
This is anecdotal, and we’re going to continue to drill down and get you better information about how it is spreading. But this is a summary of what we’re seeing, and talking to local health departments. And then of course, they’re relying what they tell us based upon what their tracers are telling them when they talk to individuals who have been infected.
Mike DeWine: (35:06)
These are just some of the ways it is spreading. It’s spreading at large family gathering, such as birthday parties, graduation, celebrations, funerals. Other large gathering, such as protests, where people are gathering. Shouting also present a particular risk.
Mike DeWine: (35:24)
The virus is spreading in some cases, at the workplace. Although, again, most employers are doing a phenomenal job. But in some workplaces, it is spreading. It’s spreading in bars and restaurants. It’s spreading at tourist destinations, Put-in-Bay for example.
Mike DeWine: (35:43)
It’s spreading because people who are showing symptoms are not staying home, when they should. Spreading because people aren’t social distancing, and they’re not wearing mask.
Mike DeWine: (35:54)
Many of these cases, as we know, involve younger Ohioans in their 20s and 30s, and this is a national trend. People are letting their guard down, and all the great actions Ohioans have taken to this point are in danger, frankly, of being reversed.
Mike DeWine: (36:12)
Our Public Health Advisory Alert System will help make clearer the very real dangers happening in individual counties across Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (36:20)
This is a color coded system built on a data driven framework, to assess the degree of the virus’ spread. And to inform, to engage and to empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in the appropriate response and action. Again, our belief is, more information is better.
Mike DeWine: (36:41)
The system consists of four levels, that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the problem in the counties in which they live. The levels are determined by seven data indicators, that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.
Mike DeWine: (36:58)
First, though, we must remember that there is a baseline risk to everyone in every county and community, every single day. Then you add to that baseline an ever present risk, add on top of that, all the data that we look at each day. The more data indicators that are present in a county, the higher the risk level.
Mike DeWine: (37:18)
These data indicators fall into three main categories: case, symptoms and hospitalizations. Most of these data sets look back over three weeks, a three week period of time, since it may take up to two weeks for an individual to start showing symptoms at all.
Mike DeWine: (37:41)
Let me start by talking about the case indicators. We have seven, and we hope to add three more when we can get that appropriate data.
Mike DeWine: (37:57)
Indicator number one, new cases per capita. When the data shows that a county has had an average of 50 cases per 100,000 people over a two week period, that will trigger a flag for increasing case rate. Using this data point, means we’re taking into account the population of a county when monitoring case increases.
Mike DeWine: (38:18)
We’re using this specific threshold, because this is the point at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define a population’s case rate is going from moderate to moderately high. We think that’s a significant number.
Mike DeWine: (38:32)
Number two, we look at the sustained increase in new cases. If the number of new cases in a county continually increases for a series of days, that’s another indicator of virus spread. A county will be flagged for meeting this indicator, if the data shows at least a five day period of sustained new case growth.
Mike DeWine: (38:52)
A third indicator, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases. Again, in this one, we are in this formula downplaying to some extent what’s going on in congregate care. We know that the risk of spread within congregate settings, such as long term care facilities, prisons, is high.
Mike DeWine: (39:12)
But those in these facilities generally are less likely to transmit the virus to the general public. That’s why we must give more weight to non-congregate cases, when we’re looking at community spread. When we begin seeing a large number of positive cases from those living in the broader community, that is a big concern.
Mike DeWine: (39:31)
Data showing more than 50% of new cases originating from non-congregate settings during at least one of the past three weeks, will trigger a flag on this indicator.
Mike DeWine: (39:42)
Now, let’s move on to four, five. Again, let’s look at symptom indicators. The next two that I’m going to tell you about monitor the incidents of illness, using data from emergency departments and outpatient settings, including telehealth appointments.
Mike DeWine: (40:07)
So again, these are what I would call early warning indicators. They don’t have really anything to do with the cases. They’re before you would ever record a case. But this is an early warning system.
Mike DeWine: (40:22)
That would include Indicator 4, sustained increase in emergency room visits. Emergency room data will show us the trend in the number of people who visit an emergency department with COVID-19 symptoms, or a COVID diagnosis as a result of visit.
Mike DeWine: (40:36)
A county is flagged when there is an increase in ER visits over a five day period. This data is also important, because it gives us an idea of the number of people who symptoms may get worse and may need a hospital bed in the future.
Mike DeWine: (40:49)
Number five, also an early indicator, sustained increase in outpatient visits. Similar to the previous indicator, this data looks at the number of people visiting outpatient settings, including telehealth appointments, with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 symptoms.
Mike DeWine: (41:05)
This data helps us understand how many people are sick enough to go to the doctor’s office. Very interesting, very important. As with emergency room visits, this can be an early warning indicator for future hospitalizations. The county is flagged when there is an increase over a five day period.
Mike DeWine: (41:23)
Now, let’s go to the last two, six and seven. Let’s look at hospitalization indicators. The next two indicators focus on the number of people in a county who are seriously sick with COVID-19, sick enough to go to the hospital and are ultimately admitted into the hospital.
Mike DeWine: (41:40)
So now, indicator number six. Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions. This data shows the burden of COVID-19 in the community. When the numbers show at least a five day period of sustained growth in the number of county residents with COVID-19 who are admitted to a hospital, the county will be flagged for meeting this indicator.
Mike DeWine: (42:02)
To be clear, this measure looks at the county of residence. So if someone lives in Vinton County, for example, someone lives in Delaware County, and their hospital is in Franklin County, what gets recorded on this one is the county where they come from. So, it does not skew the numbers.
Mike DeWine: (42:20)
This measure looks at the county of residence rather than the county of hospitalizations, as residents may seek care at hospitals in other places than their home county.
Mike DeWine: (42:28)
Number seven, the final one that we’re using, Intensive Care Unit, ICU bed occupancy. One of the challenges of treating COVID-19 patients is the long period of hospital care, or ICU care, that’s often required.
Mike DeWine: (42:41)
While new hospital admissions tell us the new burden of illness in a county, admissions do not tell us the resource burden on the hospitals in the broader region. This indicator looks at regional data for both COVID and non-COVID use of ICU beds.
Mike DeWine: (42:56)
So, it’s just like we’re filling it up, and it gives us an indication of how full we are in our hospitals.
Mike DeWine: (43:04)
A county is flagged for the indicator, when the regional ICU occupancy goes about 80% for at least three of the last seven days. So, again, that one is based on that particular county, the hospital is.
Mike DeWine: (43:22)
As I told you, we’re also looking to refine these measurements. I’ll just mention quickly, we have three other ones that we will be using, we hope, once we get the data, and we can put it online and it’s usable. Contact tracing, we’ll get some data from that, test per capita and percent positivity. Those will all be coming.
Mike DeWine: (43:44)
Now, how do these current indicators then inform the different alert levels in our Public Health Advisory Alert System? Let’s start with a basic fact. Our data team thinks all 88 counties have community spread. Let’s start with the first alert level, the lowest. In Alert Level 1, we identify this on the map as yellow. This will be Level 1, identified as yellow, a county has triggered zero or one of the indicators. Zero or one of the indicators. And there is active exposure and spread. Today, we have 53 counties at Alert Level number one.
Mike DeWine: (44:26)
So the yellow counties that you see there, are the counties that are today at Alert Level number one. Now, let me just say that is our intention, unless there’s something strange going on, to do this once a week. We look forward to doing this on Wednesday, and would probably announce those at our news conference on Thursday. But that work would be done on the Wednesday.
Mike DeWine: (44:51)
We wanted to get it in the middle of the week. For some reason, data on weekends, it doesn’t give you the trend lines and you need to see it more towards the middle of the week.
Mike DeWine: (45:04)
The majority of these counties are seeing a moderate number of cases, according to the CDC’s definition. Some are seeing a steady increase of cases each day, but not necessarily a rapid spread. I caution you though, if you live in one of these counties, we should not have a false sense of security. Certainly these counties do have, we believe, a community spread.
Mike DeWine: (45:28)
At Alert Level 1, all current health orders and sector guidance should be filed, as they are in all levels, including guidance for business and mass gatherings.
Mike DeWine: (45:36)
On an individual basis, all Ohioans should continue to take appropriate health and safety precautions, including: conducting daily health and symptom assessments, staying home when sick and contact your medical provider for advice, maintain social distance of at least six feet, wear a face mask or covering while in public, exercise increased caution when interacting with others who are not practicing social distancing or wearing face coverings, avoid travel to high risk areas and practice good hygiene such as regular hand-washing.
Mike DeWine: (46:08)
You’ll find those recommendations on all four levels. So, we started with the yellow.
Mike DeWine: (46:16)
Let me go to Level 2, which we’re identifying as orange. This will be the orange level. A county has triggered two or three of the indicators, and there is increased risk of exposure and spread. We have 28 counties now, in this category. These counties are seeing cases that are growing in the community in the last two weeks.
Mike DeWine: (46:40)
In these counties, you see more people go to the doctor or emergency room, because they’re experiencing symptoms and they want to see whether or not they have the virus. Ohioans in Level 2 counties should exercise a high degree of caution. And as with every level, all current health orders and sector specific guidance must continue to be followed.
Mike DeWine: (46:57)
Furthermore, Ohioans should continue to follow these guidelines outlined in Level 1, as well as avoid contact with anyone considered high risk, decrease your in-person interactions in general, and seek medical care as necessary. But limit or avoid unnecessary trips to visit people in a hospital, or a nursing home or residential care. Just try to limit those.
Mike DeWine: (47:25)
Those are the counties, as you see, that are at the orange, what we’re calling the orange level on there.
Mike DeWine: (47:33)
Let’s move now to Level 3, identified as red. This is red on the map. County has triggered four or five of the seven indicators, and there’s a very high exposure and spread. There are currently seven Ohio counties at Level 3. In these counties, risk is very high.
Mike DeWine: (47:56)
Ohioans should limit activities as much as possible. Wear a mask when you do go out, for sure. Consider online options, perhaps even for church services. Many cases of community spread are present in these counties. There are typically multiple outbreaks at any given time in different settings, such as workplaces, social settings, longterm care facilities.
Mike DeWine: (48:22)
COVID hospitalizations for both ICU and non-ICU stays are trending up, in some of these counties. Again, all current health orders and sector specific guidance was continued to be followed.
Mike DeWine: (48:35)
At this level, all Ohioans should continue to follow those guidelines outlined in Levels 1 and 2, as well as consider necessary travel only. Only necessary travel out of your house, and limit attending gatherings of any kind.
Mike DeWine: (48:53)
Let me go to the level that’s not on here, thank heavens. Alert Level 4, we identify as purple. A county has triggered six to seven of the indicators, and there is severe exposure and spread. All current health orders and sector specific guidance must continue to be followed.
Mike DeWine: (49:10)
Ohioans living in counties at this level should continue to follow those guidelines outlined in Levels 1, 2 and 3, as well as stay home as much as possible and only travel if necessary. We have no counties at the purple level, but I want to point out and you will… Eric, if you could put that back up there, you will see, and we’ll get to it in a minute, but Franklin County.
Mike DeWine: (49:32)
Franklin County is now on the watch list. Franklin County is on the watch list, with a grave concern that it could be moving from red to purple.
Mike DeWine: (49:46)
Let me go through the red counties. Trumbull County, and what the data team is doing for me, what they’re doing and would hope to provide for every county so it can be used by local officials. Again, we welcome and we’ll be reaching out to local officials, the health people in those counties, to find out specific things that may not show on the data, or that they can help interpret the data that we’re seeing as a process.
Mike DeWine: (50:18)
I’m back to Trumbull, now. In addition to multiple outbreaks in congregate settings, Trumbull County also currently has an outbreak in a healthcare facility. Trumbull County has now met for the seven indicators we’re using to assess the risk for the spread of COVID-19.
Mike DeWine: (50:36)
Indicator 1, new cases per capita. Indicator 3, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases. Indicator 4, sustained increase in emergency room visits. And 5, sustained increase in outpatient visits. They have four of the seven. Average new cases per capita in Trumbull County have doubled, and the average number of ER visits has tripled.
Mike DeWine: (50:58)
Huron County, by far our smallest County up on the red. We’re seeing a spike in Huron County, primarily because of agriculture workers. Workplace outbreaks, several outbreaks at farming operations. It’s important to remember that workplace outbreaks are not just isolated to those settings, but certainly are indicators of community spread.
Mike DeWine: (51:31)
Huron County has meeting Indicators 1 through 5 in the following ways: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases, sustained increase in emergency room visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits. so, they have five of those qualifiers.
Mike DeWine: (51:49)
For new cases per 100,000, Huron County has reported 130 cases during the last 14 days, which sends them past the CDCs moderately high threshold and are now in the high incident category. Their average number of cases per day are up, more than doubling in recent weeks. ER visits are up, and outpatient visits are also up.
Mike DeWine: (52:10)
Let me move now to Southwest Ohio, Montgomery County. Like Huron County, Montgomery County is also in the CDCs high incident category. More than 80% of the cases are linked to community spread. More than 80% of the cases are linked to community spread, not congregate settings, signaling significant transmission in the broader community. Community outbreaks have been tied back to settings, such as workplaces, a childcare center, a faith-based organization.
Mike DeWine: (52:39)
Montgomery County meets Indicators 1 through 5, which again, are new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases, sustained increase in emergency room visits and sustained increase in outpatient visits.
Mike DeWine: (52:58)
Here, we’ve seen average daily visits to the ER more than double. Outpatient visits have more than quadrupled. And the West Central Region, the region where they’re in, the number of COVID positive patients in the hospital or on ventilators has doubled in the last few weeks.
Mike DeWine: (53:19)
Let’s go down south of there to Butler County. Butler’s meeting four of the seven indicators, new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases, and sustained increase in outpatient visits.
Mike DeWine: (53:35)
As of this past week, the average new cases in Butler County per day doubled. This increase is not simply due to increase testing. The other healthcare data suggests otherwise. Outpatient visits in Butler County have nearly doubled, and the number of covert positive patients in the Southwest Region’s hospital beds and ICUs have also doubled since the second week of June. Butler County’s recent outbreaks include a retail store and a longterm care facility.
Mike DeWine: (54:05)
Let’s head back up north, to Cuyahoga County. While many of Cuyahoga County’s cases during the last three weeks have been within congregate settings, the county still has a growing number of cases outside of those settings, indicating that the risk of continued community transmission is high.
Mike DeWine: (54:23)
Right now, Cuyahoga County has met four of the seven health care indicators. Indicator 1, new cases per capita. Indicator 2, sustained increase in new cases. Indicator 4, sustained increase in emergency room visits. And Indicator 5, sustained increase in outpatient visits.
Mike DeWine: (54:42)
Cuyahoga County’s total number of cases with the onset dates during the last two weeks, was higher than any two week period until now. Their average number of daily cases has more than doubled. The average daily number of ER visits has doubled, and outpatient visits have tripled. We’ll go back south, down to Hamilton County. Hamilton County had been holding steady at the end of May and into early June, with an average of 30 new cases a day. That changed this past week. New cases each day have quadrupled, to approximately 130 cases per day.
Mike DeWine: (55:24)
Right now, Hamilton County has met five of the seven healthcare indicators. Indicator 1, new cases per capita. Indicator 2, sustained increase in new cases. Indicator 3, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases. Indicator 4, sustained increase in emergency room visits. And Indicator 5, sustained increase in outpatient visits.
Mike DeWine: (55:47)
ER visits have nearly tripled. And the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 after visiting their doctor has more than tripled. Recent outbreaks are happening at workplaces, in a faith-based community setting and in business.
Mike DeWine: (55:59)
In all, Hamilton County is seeing high percentage of its cases outside of congregate settings, ranging from about 89% to about 97% over the last three weeks.
Mike DeWine: (56:12)
Now, let’s turn to Franklin County. Again, Franklin is red, as the other ones I just read, but there’s a special concern and we have them on what we’re calling a watch list. Franklin County’s growth in number of new cases, 1500 in the past two weeks, is explosive. It’s explosive, with much of the growth occurring in the last seven days.
Mike DeWine: (56:39)
Franklin County has a star on it, because it’s the top of our watch list right now. Meaning it’s high red, and close to meeting a seventh indicator, which would bump it to Alert Level 4, which is the highest level.
Mike DeWine: (56:53)
Right now, Franklin County has met five of the seven healthcare indicators. Indicator 1, new cases per capita. Indicator 2, sustained increase in new cases. Indicator 3, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases. Indicator 4, sustained increase in emergency room visits. And Indicator 5, sustained increase in outpatient visits.
Mike DeWine: (57:13)
As you will recall, the other day, I talked about several counties and did not talk about Franklin County. These numbers are just emerging very, very, very quickly. Franklin County has gone from 81 new cases a day to 124 a day in the last two weeks.
Mike DeWine: (57:38)
Cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks is 123. That’s higher than the CDC’ high definition, of 100 new cases. In fact, between Monday’s press conference and yesterday, Franklin County had more than 350 newly reported cases. Add to that reason outbreaks in an apartment complex, manufacturing facility and a childcare facility. For the past-
Mike DeWine: (58:03)
… manufacturing facility and a childcare facility. For the past three weeks, more than 80% of the cases have been outside of congregate settings. Outpatient visits have spiked and recent visits to the ER have more than doubled. So we’re watching Franklin County very carefully. Finally, regardless of the alert level, we should highlight two important additional points, high-risk individuals. This is being defined as roughly 60% of Ohio’s population. There are an increased risk of severe illness, you should take every precaution to guard against contracting COVID-19, including following guidelines at higher risk levels to better understand your own individual risk of course, consult a doctor. Second, Ohioans should assume that one member of their household is sick. Then every household member should be treated as if they’re sick. That means taking appropriate measures to control the spread. We should include self quarantining and contacting a doctor.
Mike DeWine: (59:09)
Let me talk for a moment about restaurants and bars as we’re seeing increases in case numbers. And before I start, let me just say that the vast majority of restaurants and bars and other business in Ohio are doing a very good job. They’re run by conscientious people who are doing the best job that they can. It doesn’t mean that even if they get COVID in their facility or if it’s traced to their facility, does not mean that they were not doing a good job. So I think that needs to be said, before anything else is said. Talking on the phone, I talk on phone to people who run restaurants and bars. I talked to my friend, Bill Hemmer yesterday who run Elsie’s. They run a very, very good operation there, but trouble can occur any place.
Mike DeWine: (01:00:16)
Let me talk a little bit about restaurants and bars. Since May, when restaurants and bars reopened the Ohio Department of Commerce, a division of Liquor Control has been working with local jurisdictions to extend liquor permits to outside spaces next to bars. The purpose of bringing this up is the more we learn, we know that outside is better than inside. In fact, outside is a lot better than inside and everything you continue to read and everybody I continue to consult explains that. So, anytime that we can get bars to expand out, to get people outside, get people spread apart. It is a very, very positive thing. So that’s what I’m talking about right now. When restaurants and bars reopened again, the Ohio Department of Commerce division of Liquor Control has been working with local jurisdictions to extend liquor permits to outside spaces next to bars like parking lot, sidewalk so that seating capacity can expand outside in order to keep patrons socially distance.
Mike DeWine: (01:01:19)
We encourage owners to continue to work with us, with the state, and with their local governments to come up with creative ways to expand their outdoor seating capacity so that everyone can stay safe and be socially distance. And that means being seated. So far ever 300 expansion requests have been granted to allow patrons more opportunities to enjoy dinner or drinks while enjoying themselves in a safe environment. I ask our restaurant owners, bar owners to continue to insist on social distancing when people come in. And other efforts to control the spread, I have seen many of the pictures that are circulating and they certainly are very disturbing.
Mike DeWine: (01:02:01)
I would simply say that again, the vast majority of bar owners are doing a good job, but we have some that are not and we will be cracking down on those individuals. So that will be taking place. To state the obvious one, the requirements that our working group that was made up of bar owners, health people, restaurant owners, one of the recommendations they came back with was that in a bar, people must be seated. They cannot be seated close together and take a family group, whatever, but they have to be seated. Where we see the horror stories is where people in bars are bunched up together. That just does not… That simply does not work. Let me turn it over to the lieutenant governor, Jon.
Jon Husted: (01:02:57)
Thank you very much governor. I have four items today, first of all a technology update. Governor, I can happily report that the tech team has reassured us that while they’re having technical issues, they weren’t hacked. So they’re working through these. They did want to let us know though that the case reporting system, that they’re still having trouble with it. They’re going to update that information for you out there as soon as they can, but they’re just working through those technical issues they expect to… They hopefully will have them resolve soon as they’ve reassured me that they are on top of it. A couple of items regarding schools that I think are worth emphasizing. Governor mentioned how much great conversation we had with local educators. I think that the fact that so many people are out there talking about wanting to go back to school, really emphasizes the value of the schools have in our communities and the great things that educators do for the children of this state.
Jon Husted: (01:04:04)
But the educational plan landscape is diverse. We certainly learned that we have many rural schools, many suburban schools, urban schools, private public, they all have unique settings and unique challenges when it comes to creating a safe and educationally vibrant environment as students return to school this fall. The school leaders ask for flexibility, that was one of the things that they asked for. And when they make decisions about transportation and physical spacing and educational programming are mindful of the unique resources and the changing environment that we saw happens in our communities from time to time with the spread of COVID. This is consistent with what the American Academy of Pediatrics said. They said basically that strong, as governor mentioned, strongly advocating that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present.
Jon Husted: (01:05:03)
The guidance says schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and wellbeing. That’s what in the end education is about, what our education system is about. And living with COVID-19 in our lives is going to be a reality throughout the entire school year in the absence of a vaccine and schools are that essential part of human development. For the vast majority of students, the consequences for not attending school this year are far greater than the longterm health and wellbeing risk posed by attendance. I can say this because one of the things that I live with every day is I have school aged children and Tina and I welcome the return of school. We are going to have our children returned to public school this year. I know that they’re excited about it. And governor will tell you that Kylie is very excited about it.
Jon Husted: (01:05:54)
She asked me almost every day, “Is the governor going to let me go back to school this year?” I answered her, “Yes,” this morning. So she was excited about that. We do want to have a successful return to school and the guidelines in that plan will help schools design the program that will work best for them. I want to thank the team that worked on the schools and also thank the team that worked on the localized system that we have, that the governor announced. We talked about this for a long time, but we weren’t able to do it before because we didn’t have the testing. We didn’t have the data and the tracing that allows us to have the knowledge about where the spread is actually occurring. And now that we have this localized system, I am a excited about the information that can be exchanged locally. The conversations that can go on in those local communities about what to do to control the spread in their communities.
Jon Husted: (01:06:54)
Localized information is always much more impactful on our lives, because I know that when we think about just our country, if you hear news that’s happening in Washington, maybe relevant to you. But it’s often the nation’s capital may not affect your daily lives. If you hear about what’s happening at the state capital on Columbus, also important, a little closer to home, a little more impactful on your life, but it’s still for many people can seem distant. But this data, this system at the county level, at the community level really can help people understand the risks and what they can do about it. And drive those conversations that can be real and persuasive in business, for individuals, for families about what they do in their lives and how they can help assess the role and really individualized how each person can be part of the solution, because that’s so important.
Jon Husted: (01:07:50)
Each one of us is part of the solution by what we do in our lives. We have very few things we can do and we know more about them every single day. And as we approach Independence Day in a COVID world, it just makes me think that freedom and responsibility are even more special companions this year than ever before as we look to control the coronavirus and exercise our freedoms in this great nation. And then finally, one data point that I want to talk about today. We’ve had a lot of questions about who’s recovered. Who’s recovered from the coronavirus, can you tell us those numbers? We’ve really worked hard on our data team on refining, clarifying, and sharing the coronavirus data. As we learn more about the virus and today we’ll be announcing that new data point, which will be included in the coronavirus data metrics that’s shared on the website.
Jon Husted: (01:08:51)
Many have asked about that recovered number while we can’t know specifically, because if you go get a test, you find out you have coronavirus, you self quarantine. You may never interact with a public health official or a hospital. And for many people, thankfully, that’s the case. So we can’t verify every case to know of that data. But what we can do is come up with a presumed recovered number. I’m going to tell you how we’re going to come to that number so that you understand it. We’re going to take the number of cases, the overall number of cases, minus deaths, which unfortunately we have too many of those, and then cases based on onset data the last 21 days. That will be our number that’s presumed recovered and today the number that you will see is 38,987.
Jon Husted: (01:09:47)
Now you can’t just add those numbers up on the website and come to that because there are always people that unfortunately appear in two categories. Those who have the case. That have developed coronavirus within the last 21 days and also fall into the death statistic. Unfortunately. So I know that people have asked for that number. We worked with the data team. We work with the health team to come up with something that we believe is an accurate number based on those sets of factors. We will include that number on the data profile on the coronavirus website. I know trying to be responsive to those. Who’ve asked for that number. So governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:10:33)
We’re ready for questions.
Geoff Redick: (01:10:44)
Good afternoon, governor. Geoff Redick from ABC 6 News here in Columbus. On the school reopening plan. The one thing I didn’t see addressed is what happens if a staff member or student in the building test positive for COVID-19, is that guidance included in your plan?
Mike DeWine: (01:11:03)
The general guidance is yes. It is. I didn’t include everything that’s in the plan. I put everybody to sleep for an hour. I figured that there’s a limit to what everybody can endure. But yes, it is very much in there. Yeah. So, every school has to develop some testing protocol. I didn’t mention this before, but testing is going to continue to change. It’s going to continue to get easier and it’s going to be continue to get less intrusive. So I think when schools are planning, they should understand that that’s going to happen. So there needs to be some school planning in regard to testing. That doesn’t mean that schools are going to test everybody. I don’t mean that, but based upon good medical evidence, when testing should be done. Of course, they have to work. They must work very, very closely with the local health department. That’s who they should seek guidance from.
Karin Johnson: (01:12:17)
Good afternoon, governor. Karin Johnson, WLWT Cincinnati. You said six foot distance must be maintained as much as possible in the schools. Why six feet when the American Pediatric Association says three feet, school districts I’m hearing from are saying three feet is doable, six feet nearly impossible when putting kids back to school five days a week.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:40)
These are aspirational. There’s no requirement. If you look at what I said and then when you read the report, the only requirement is that we’re going to put an order on that every employee, every teacher, et cetera, wears a mask. That’s consistent with what we’ve done in other sectors across the economy. The rest of it is this is what we highly recommend, but we also know, and I’ve stated in the document states that there are times when you’re not going to be able to maintain that distancing in a school setting. So, as I said, it’s a matter of common sense how you try to achieve the best that you can every single day, to educate young people, get the feedback from them, go back and forth teacher with them at the same time, do everything you can to try to keep them safe.
Mike DeWine: (01:13:44)
If you look at the three-foot that was stated, the context was and I believe it was as you said, American Society of Pediatrics. That came up in that document when they said in this context, that if the choice was to be able to put kids only three feet apart in school, or having half the kids not go to school, but do remote and then switch it. Their recommendation, their strong recommendation was go to the three feet. That’s how the three feet came up. I don’t know anyone who would prefer three feet to six feet and it’s all relative and it’s all just somewhat arbitrary. The more distance you can maintain the better it is, but schools are going to have to live with the science and they’re going to have to do the best they can. I trust our schools to do that. I trust the people who run them. I trust the parents to do that. A bus presents a unique problem. You’re in a bus, our grandkids, I think we’re in for an hour. I’ve had kids in for an hour. It’s an enclosed setting. Schools can’t go out and double their buses.
Mike DeWine: (01:15:03)
So there’s difficult, but you try to figure out how you adjust to do that. Schools will come up with different ways of trying to do that. It may be a school, says every student, no matter what age wears a mask, while you’re on the bus. It may be assigned seats on the bus. It may be that you’re assigned and if they’re three family members get on the bus, they got to sit together on the bus. I mean, there’s all kinds of ways. We don’t intend. It is not right for me or the health department or anybody else to try to micromanage 5,000 school buildings in the state of Ohio. We trust the schools to do that. We set the guidelines. We did one mandate, we had high recommendations for the other things. But ultimately the schools will do a good job.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:16:06)
Good afternoon, governor. And Josh Rotenberg with Spectrum News. On Monday, we had asked if there was a certain number of cases in which you would take executive action to stop the spread. We’re just wondering, is this new color coded system exactly that? What are you going to do if a county reaches purple?
Mike DeWine: (01:16:29)
It is. The new system I think is the best that we can come up with, because it takes a lot of things into consideration. I think the scientists will say and the medical people will say that when you’re taking seven things into consideration and not just one, the odds of getting it right go dramatically up. If you were just looking at cases and nothing else, you could have some outliers something’s going on, but what the process is going to be, this is a basically objective standards.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:03)
But in reaching the whatever level that county comes up with, or we come up with for that county that week, we’re going to have consulting with the local health department and talk with them to see what data that they have. But this will be an indicator for the local officials. Now, this will be indicator for everybody who lives in that county to the best of our knowledge. This is where you are in this fight against COVID-19. So they will be informed. Mayors will be informed and I’ll be informed and everybody will be informed by that. And when we make decisions in the future, we’re going to try to make them, we’ve got a baseline set for everybody, no matter where you live in Ohio. Because the COVID is everywhere in Ohio, but the additional steps that might have to be taken will be taken.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:58)
It’s at least as our intention now to take almost on a county by county basis. You’ve already seen with the new data that everyone is looking at, that Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, Columbus mayor Andy Ginther, both have now set in motion a masking ordinance policy. I believe I read that mayor Cranley was thinking about it. So I want to thank them. I thank [inaudible 01:18:32] they’re doing the right thing. They’re reading the data, they’re following it. So that’s the right thing to do. That’s what data is for. That’s what this information is for, to try to inform good decisions, whether made by a mayor, a city council, or the governor.
Max Filby: (01:18:52)
Good afternoon, governor. Max Filby with the Columbus Dispatch, given your support, as you just expressed it for the face coverings that have been mandated in cities across the state. Is there any chance that you might institute such a mandate for the whole state and why or why not?
Mike DeWine: (01:19:22)
That’s not our intent. Our intent is to, again, try to treat counties based on… Every county we know there’s COVID, every county is in the best interest of people to keep a distance. It’s in the best interest of people to wear a face mask out in public. All the other things that we have put in place for businesses should apply statewide. But with new data, new information, if it’s necessary to go further and take actions, we will be able to pinpoint those and to take appropriate action. This is something that quite candidly, that many members of the general assembly have talked to me about in the past and requested that we be able to pinpoint if there is a problem. Many citizens have also said that to me, we now have the ability to do it. And as long as we… We will continue the underlying rules, but pinpointing what we have to do to try to deal with a specific problem is what we’ll do.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:24)
And look, it’s not just Mike DeWine announcing some order or the mayor announcing some order. What this data does and what this color does is it informs us of where we have a problem or where we have a big problem. So, we have been surging in, for example, as you know, and to date, we’ve been surging in, into Hamilton County, Montgomery County help in regard to more testing. I talk with mayor Ginther a lot, and we’re talking about more testing here.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:05)
The new data shows me that we have a problem in Trumbull County. We’re starting to work with officials there in Trumbull County and I’ll be asking my team, “Hey, what are we doing about Trumbull County? What are we doing about Huron? What are we doing about the ag workers?” I mean, we have a whole series. As soon as I saw this the other day, I said, :We’ve got to move on here on county. What’s going on?” So we started things in place. Jon got on the phone, others did. So it informs us not just to put orders on where we restrict something. It informs us to be able to surge in with more resources, to try to turn the tide, to turn things around before they go even further south on us. So data’s important. Information’s important. It helps inform us.
Jon Husted: (01:21:54)
Can I add some things to that? Because I thought one of the great conversations that I was involved in recently was the conversation we had with local health leaders across the state. I believe we may had this last Saturday. Where they talked about wanting to have a localized system, so they could do the work of public health officials to create the collaboration, to inform people, to get the buy-in, to localize the solutions and the consequences. That they thought that that would get better results with better buy-in. When you involve people in the decision, they tend to embrace it more and you get better outcomes. We hope that that’s what the localized system is going to bring us. The local health officials were asking us for this.
Jon Husted: (01:22:43)
They were involved in the collaboration for us, that collaboration is necessary. We can make all the policies we want, but we have to get buy-in at the local level to make them work. And no matter what the color of your county is, a face coverings is a good thing. It’s a respectful thing. It’s armor to get us through the fight. It’s like, we’re going to suit up. We’re going to do this. We’re going to… It allows us to live our lives and also protect our family, friends, and loved ones. So that’s a culture that we want to develop beyond your color code, wearing a face covering is a good thing no matter what the color of your county is.
Kevin Landers: (01:23:29)
Kevin Landers, WBNS 10TV. Governor, you’ve watched these cases climb in the state, but there doesn’t seem to be the buy-in that you had hoped for. I’m wondering how frustrated you are about that? And when it comes to mandatory face mask or reducing occupancy in bars or reducing hours at bars, you haven’t addressed that. I’m wondering if you’ve thought about that? If you think that’s an option? Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:53)
Well, thank you. Look it’s a very good question. My experience with Ohioans, 73 years worth of experience is that we are a people that are practical. We work hard. We look at the facts and we make our decisions based upon that. Now, I think what you saw us unveil today with the new map, it gives us an opportunity to continue that discussion with the people of Ohio based upon facts. I think when Ohioans see what is happening, we’re going to control our future. Ohioans control what’s going to happen. Are we going to look like Florida? Are we going to look like Texas? Or are we going to look like Ohio has looked like over the past few months up until the last few weeks when we just turned this thing down, turn it down. We did it.
Mike DeWine: (01:24:55)
So we can do that again. So I have faith in the people in the state of Ohio, but you got to give them the information. We’re giving them information today. We’re giving local elected officials, people who represent people at the local level, the data that they need. So, look, if you’re a red county today, you got to be looking at that and saying, “Okay, what else can we do?” And for these health departments, it’s not a surprise. They’ve seen their numbers, they know what’s going on, but it might be a surprise for people in the community to know, okay, well we’re red or in the case of Franklin County, not only are we red, but we may be moving into purple.
Mike DeWine: (01:25:35)
That should be a… All of this should be a wake up call to Ohioans. This should be a wake up call to all of us, that we’re in the fight of our lives and we’re literally fighting for lives. We’re fighting for our future. We’re fighting for our ability to be able to expand our economy and grow our economy. Because I will tell you it matters not… I get questions a lot about, what are you going to order? Well, whether I order anything or not, I will tell you if people are scared and the virus has taken off, the economy is not going to recover the way we want it to. So for my friends who are headed up to Put-in-Bay or my friends who are going to be in an establishment here in Columbus, I would just say, “Look, we control our future. We control what we do.”
Mike DeWine: (01:26:27)
Now, Fran and I were to a funeral of a friend this week. We wanted to go up and hug the widow, but we couldn’t do that. We couldn’t hug her, but we just all have to… We’re in this together and what each one of us does. So this information should inform people. I think it should fire people up. I think it should get people excited and say, “Hey, we’re tougher than this. We’re not going to let this happen to our state. We’re not going to be Florida. We are not going to be Texas. We’re not going to be Italy. We are not going to let this happen.” This is a long battle and we…
Mike DeWine: (01:27:03)
… this happened. This is a long battle and we won round one, maybe round two, but this is 15 round heavyweight championship. And we got to stay in there and we got to stay punching.
Jessie Balmert: (01:27:16)
Hi, this is Jessie Balmert with the Enquirer. I suppose I still trying to understand, if I’m a resident in Hamilton County, which is a red county right now, and it says limit activities as much as possible. What does that mean? What might change about my life if Hamilton County upgrades to a purple county or businesses? What is the difference for an average Ohioan?
Mike DeWine: (01:27:41)
Yeah, we’ve laid that out and you’ll be able to pull that, anybody will be able to pull that down online. But I will summarize it basically is that when you get to red and you’re only one of a handful of counties in the whole state that are red, that tells you there’s a problem. It tells you this monster is running loose in your county and it’s looking for victims. It is looking for victims. So you just need to be very careful. It’s there. The presence is there and it’s moving fast.
Mike DeWine: (01:28:16)
And so there’s two things we can do to cut it off. We test more and we hit 20,000 tests two days ago. I haven’t looked at what current numbers are, but 20,000. It wasn’t too long ago we were at 8,000. And we need to frankly double that again, and we’re going to do everything we can to do that. And that’s more on me, it’s more on the mayor, it’s more on the county commissioners, it’s more on the health department. We have to make those tests available, then people have to go get those tests. That’s on everybody.
Mike DeWine: (01:28:51)
The other thing that we can do is to be careful. And what we’re finding is we shouldn’t think that this is all caused by 20 somethings who are going to bars. Yeah, that’s a problem, but it’s not the whole problem, is people being careless, it is people doing things that they want to do that are natural to do when they could have done the same thing and be a little more careful. You go out and a number of members of your family are together. It’s summer. We can be outside. Be outside, wear a mask. And it’s just what we do in our lives. And I think Ohioans are… The more information they get, the more appropriate action that they can take.
Mike DeWine: (01:29:41)
I mean, everybody should social distance, no matter where they are in the state. Everyone should wear a mask when they’re out. But you got to be extra careful. If your county’s red, that should be a real wake up call that there’s something going on and it’s not good.
Marty Slayton: (01:29:59)
Good afternoon, Governor. Marty Slayton, Ohio Capital Journal. I wanted to follow up on Max’s question. Isn’t waiting to mandate masks until an area is a hotspot waiting until the horses are out of the barn? Isn’t mask wearing a way to keep a place from becoming a hotspot?
Mike DeWine: (01:30:22)
Answer is that it is a way of keeping a place from being a hotspot. And so my message if you’re yellow, if you’re orange, if you live in an orange county or a yellow county, and you don’t want to move up and see things get worse, you have it totally within your control collectively of what you do in that county. So people can control this. It’s their everyday activity. And I’m not ruling out doing additional orders. I’m not saying we will not do that. We’re seeing mayors for example, in a number of places, as you saw. Dayton, Columbus, maybe Cincinnati, these are big steps that they’re taking and they’re taking them based upon the data that they’re seeing, what their health department is seeing.
Mike DeWine: (01:31:16)
So we’re going to continue to monitor it, but please do not because I’m not issuing any orders today, please don’t anyone assume that I don’t think that this is a crisis. We are at a crisis stage in Ohio, and this thing could go one way or the other. And we can control it collectively by what we do every single day. So this is a crisis. We can not describe it any other way. Wear a mask, keep a distance, be careful, be smart.
Jim Otte: (01:31:52)
Hi governor. Jim Otte from WHIO-TV. To be clear here, to add some clarity to it, you were saying that from this point forward, it is your expectation that those local communities, I’m talking about the mayors potentially, county commissioners. Do they have the legal authority to do this? I know it’s been tested in other states. But it’s their responsibility and not yours to issue, whether it’s a mask or face covering order or something else. And why not you?
Mike DeWine: (01:32:29)
Jim, I was not clear enough then if that’s your interpretation. I apologize. It is giving mayors and community members, community members, more information so they can make decisions. But it does not mean that I am not engaged and it does not mean that I will not in the future make decisions if I think those decisions are needed to protect the people of the state of Ohio. So I am just as much engaged today, and I’m just as much willing to make decisions that will be unpopular with many to protect human life in the state of Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (01:33:11)
But I do think it’s important that as we go through this process in a democracy and a republic, that we share as much information as we can with the public. And so this is data that when we started this we didn’t really have. We didn’t have the ability to pull all this data down. Now we do, and shame on us if we don’t share that with the people of the state of Ohio, so that they can turn to their local officials and say, “Hey, what are you doing?” As I said, three mayors that I talked about, I think are to be commended for what they’re doing. I think it’s the right thing to do. But no one should mistake this as me backing off because we just have to keep moving forward. So we’re going to continue to look at these numbers. We’re going to continue to look at what needs to be done and take the appropriate action when it is in fact needed.
Jim Otte: (01:34:07)
Hey, thank you governor.
Adrinne Robbins: (01:34:14)
Adrienne Robbins with NBC4. Governor, thank you for being here as always. Childcare was an issue back when schools originally closed and now parents are looking at a possibility of a blended schedule this fall. I understand that the state is thinking of ways to help the schools with these costs. But are you or the general assembly thinking of a way to help parents so that they don’t have to make the choice between childcare or their jobs?
Mike DeWine: (01:34:42)
Yeah, we’re reviewing the childcare situation. Quite candidly, we’re waiting for a study to be concluded that we’ve been participating in with a professor and want to just kind of see what that data is. Throughout this, we have tried to balance the safety of children in childcare. But not just children, it’s the safety of the caregivers. Those who are out there every single day taking care of kids. And we’re worried about, frankly, their safety, as well as the safety of these children.
Mike DeWine: (01:35:26)
So we’re waiting until we get a little more data. As you know what we did, we had childcare open up, back up, but with reduced ratios, and our theory was that this would lessen the chance that someone would get sick. And we’ve had some people get sick and kids get sick, we’ve had caregivers get sick. But we thought, and still believe, that that will reduce it. But we’re going to wait. We should be getting some early indications from this study. It may not be published, but some indication. And at that point, which we don’t think will be too long, 10 days maybe or so. At that point, we’ll make the decision in regard to if we open up a childcare in the sense of allowing childcare with bigger ratios, higher ratios. We’ve cut the ratios down, which has been, I think, the complaint. Our answer is we cut them down to try to protect kids and try to protect the caregivers. But we also know that there’s some people out there who can’t get it now. And so we have to deal with that as well and we have to try to come up with a balance. So 10 days or so, we should be able to let you know and let everybody know about that.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:36:42)
Jack Windsor, WMFD TV in Mansfield. Governor, my question is for you. It’s going to be-
Mike DeWine: (01:36:50)
Hey Jack, hold on a minute. So I just want to say that the viewers can not see your flag. Is that… It looks like the Ohio pennant there? Looks good.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:37:01)
It is. Yes, sir.
Mike DeWine: (01:37:03)
All right. It looks good. I didn’t want anybody… TV, they’re missing seeing that. So I wanted to congratulate you and say happy 4th of July to everybody. Of course. So go ahead, Jack.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:37:13)
Happy Independence Day to you sir. Thank you. My question’s going to be very lengthy so I hope you’ll be patient, because I think what I’m going to ask will deserve that context, sir. In April, I asked you and Dr. Acton about antibody testing. At that time tests in California, Florida, and New York showed that 5% to 15% of Ohioans could have already had COVID prior to lockdowns and all other measures that we’ve taken. Dr. Acton estimated out of the gate that 100,000 of us were infected and that another time 15% of us were. Dr. Acton announced that we would be conducting our own statewide antibody testing study, and that we should have had results by the end of May. Last week, the CDC announced a national antibody testing result of 6% on average in each state.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:38:05)
In the case of Ohio, that would mean at least 700,000 people have antibodies. Again, prior to shutting down schools and businesses. Despite this, we never saw a mass surge in hospitalization that threatened to overwhelm our capacity before lockdown started. Based on Dr. Actons’ early projections, the early antibody testing, and the recent national antibody studies, when you combine that with 22 major countries in Europe and elsewhere that sent kids back to school in May and reported zero spikes in transmission from kids to adults. It seems that all scientific indicators show us that while we may see periodic spikes in sickness and even some deaths, that there simply is no justification for any ongoing government interference in normal school and business activities. There’s more negative impact to kids through hybrid schedules or in the case of Columbus City Schools, the recommendation that high school aged learning be online.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:39:04)
Governor, the public wants to know how can we justify an ongoing declaration of a health emergency based on small upticks in sickness or hospitalization that’s not close to threatening our hospital capacity? Secondly, could you update us on the results of the antibody study? And does it make sense to say that 700,000 Ohioans, minus those who passed away prior to March, should be considered recovered as well?
Mike DeWine: (01:39:30)
Well, Jack, thank you. I’ve asked the Lieutenant Governor to look into this whole area, but let me just start by saying a couple of things. Kids should go back to school. That’s the whole thrust of what we said today. And you pointed out some of the dangers and the pediatricians have pointed out some of the dangers of having kids not in school. And so we certainly agree that kids need to go back to school.
Mike DeWine: (01:39:55)
We’re going to continue to monitor the hospital numbers. I don’t think that even you and I would disagree with what the hospital numbers are, because these are coming from each hospital where they tell you basically how many beds they have in ICU left and how many beds they have, general beds they have. And so we’re going to continue to monitor that. We are certainly seeing an uptick in central Ohio, which means the Columbus, basically the Columbus hospitals, at least for the people who are more sick. Many of them will end up in the Columbus hospitals. So we’re on continuing to monitor those. We’re seeing certainly an uptick there. Jon?
Jon Husted: (01:40:34)
Yeah. Thanks governor. And Jack, let’s hope that our immunity is broader than what the statistics would indicate that it is right now. But we have tried to have that fine line between, look, here’s the best way to protect us. Let’s get businesses open, lets people go back to school, and do it in a way that that offers as few mandates as possible, but the best recommendations on how we can actively keep ourselves from spreading the coronavirus, which could lead to some of those restrictions needing to be considered for the future.
Jon Husted: (01:41:09)
But on the prevalence study test, we had some changes at the Department of Health, the medical director, we have a new medical director. The new medical director has gone back through with the team to ensure that they’re comfortable with the test methodology and practice. And we are moving forward, I’ve been told, with letters that will go out next week to households, to specific areas, to begin the process of that 30 by 30 antibody testing in Ohio. It’s been delayed. I can tell you that I wish it had happened earlier than this. I worked very hard with NetJets and others to get the antibody tests from China to us so that we could do more of those kinds of things. That is moving forward.
Jon Husted: (01:41:52)
Let’s hope that we get better news than perhaps the data shows us right now. And when that test is done, hopefully Ohio will be in better shape. But as of right now, the data is the data, it does show us going up in some areas, it does show hospitalizations go up. It does show ICU is going up. It’s a trend. Nothing in the presentation today was a mandate. It was just telling people, “Look, you’ve got to do the things that get us through this so we don’t go backwards, so we can balance the health and economic aspects.” And I think that’s what we all want.
Jon Husted: (01:42:26)
I know that there’s a disagreement a lot of times in our society. You can hear it just in this press conference. Some people want masks and mandates. Some people want less masks and mandates. That’s the greatness of America. We’re having that debate. Now we’re getting to do it at the local level, or we’re going to get some buy in on this that we think will help make people feel better about what’s happening and probably do a better job of controlling spread in their communities. And we’ll get you that information on the 30 by 30 testing. I’ll push to make sure we get it as soon as possible.
Josh Rotenberg: (01:42:58)
Tom Gallick: (01:43:04)
Governor, Tom Gallick with Gongwer News Service. As we see more States as Pennsylvania enacting a statewide mask mandate, how will the results we see out of those states influence your decision on a potential statewide mandate going forward?
Mike DeWine: (01:43:20)
Well, as you know, we certainly looked at that statewide mandate and I felt that, at least at that time, large number of Ohioans would not accept being told to wear a mask. We’re doing absolutely everything we can. And I’m sure that people who hear me talk, get sick of me talking about the masks. But we’re doing everything we can. We have, as we announced the other day, we have a very significant TV campaign on health professionals talking directly to the people of the state of Ohio about what the importance of wearing a mask, the important of washing your hands, the importance of keeping the distance.
Mike DeWine: (01:44:06)
My belief is that healthcare workers are a lot more credible than politicians. And so that’s why you see some of the health professionals on TV doing it, not me. These are people who are credible. And almost virtually to a person, they will tell you and tell the people of the state of Ohio the importance of doing those things. So we’re looking at other programs. For example in Cincinnati, Mayor Cranley today is working with some of the business community and the county commissioners are working with some of the business community. Proctor and Gamble, supplying a mask, to have a kind of a grassroots effort in Cincinnati to get people to wear a mask, to make them available. Outside of restaurants, outside of places.
Mike DeWine: (01:45:03)
This is what we really need throughout the state of Ohio. This is grassroots effort from people who are trying to slow this virus down and by people who fully understand that we cannot move this economy forward unless we slow this virus down. So in regard to Pennsylvania, I’m looking to see what any other state is doing, how anything is actually working. But our efforts have been really intensified in the last week in regard to getting our fellow Ohioans to wear these masks. It’s already mandated inside business. When you walk into a store that business, the men and women who work there, are wearing a mask for you. And all of us when we go in, I think, should wear a mask for those individuals. It’s not an ideological issue. It’s not a question of freedom.
Mike DeWine: (01:45:59)
In fact, what the mask does, whether it’s an Indians or Reds or 4th of July mask, whatever it is, it gives us more freedom. It gives us the ability to go around. And it’s just the right thing to do. So we’re not letting up, we’re increasing, and it’s important. Ohioans, we control this. We control our destiny. [inaudible 00:01:46:25].
Jon Husted: (01:46:26)
History to that because we, at the end of April, beginning of May, we looked at this and just want to recall some of the things we heard at that time. We heard it from retailers and businesses about customers. Don’t force us to implement your mandate. How are you going to police this? Who’s going to enforce it? We heard that. And we had even situations in other states where employees who tried to enforce it, there was violence involved and things like that.
Jon Husted: (01:46:54)
And remember, there are legitimate reasons that some people can’t wear a mask. We heard from parents of autistic children, we heard from people who had health issues, respiratory issues, who couldn’t wear a mask. It’s very difficult to know who’s out, who’s in, who has an excuse, who doesn’t. But as Dr. Acton always used to say when she was here, “If we get this 80% right, it’s like Swiss cheese, we do this, we do that. It all adds up.” And that’s what we’re collectively, that’s what collectively we can do. If most people do this, and it’s becoming more socially acceptable, more people are moving to this. And I feel a sense of that people are doing the right things. That masks, everybody recognizes how important they are. And we are building that capacity and businesses are stepping up, communities stepping up.
Jon Husted: (01:47:48)
I know that the mayor of Dayton and the city of Dayton work with the Dayton Chamber of Commerce to try to make sure that their ordinance made sense. So about who enforces it, how do you get it right? Those are good conversations to have with this localized system to make sure that they’re practical and enforceable and that people feel good about how it’s happening. So I think that you’re going to see a bigger embrace from business and the public and the local communities in the manner in which this is progressing because you get localized solutions to localized problems that people have a buy in, and that masks are going to be more widely adopted as people see the increases going forward.
Noah Blundo: (01:48:31)
Good afternoon. Noah Blundo with Hannah News Service. Governor, I’m wondering what your interpretation is of the local public health jurisdiction on state property and state facilities? If Mayor Ginther institutes a mask mandate, does that mean people in the Riffe Center and in the state house should be following those orders? And likewise, in other jurisdictions across the state where there might be state property, state facilities?
Mike DeWine: (01:49:00)
Well, I would certainly hope, first of all, anyone that works for me will follow them. I’m not going to try to play lawyer up here because I have not done the research on that, but I certainly hope that everyone will follow those orders. They’re not unreasonable orders. They’re very, very, very reasonable. And my understanding is that it applies when someone walks in a building and they should follow that. Our orders, for example, in regard to employees, if you’re in the office by yourself you can take your mask off, of course. So somebody working in the Riffe Building or something, soon has the ability to take their mask off if they’re in their office by themselves.
Mike DeWine: (01:49:45)
So a lot of this is common sense. I want to congratulate the mayor and all the mayors for doing this. I think it makes eminent sense to do it. And again, I’ll go back maybe to a previous question or so ago. But If you look at what we highly recommend in schools, third grade and up, certainly highly, highly recommend that some schools will be doing the mask at an earlier age. Some may not be. But these are things that we all can do.
Andy Chow: (01:50:25)
Hi, governor. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television State House News Bureau. I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit more about the counties that border the counties that are red. Should people be concerned if they’re bordering the counties that are red and how does that data maybe go back and forth between…
Mike DeWine: (01:50:50)
[inaudible 01:50:50] ask Eric to put the map up. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
Andy Chow: (01:50:53)
How does that data go back and forth? Maybe is it possible that somebody is actually living in Warren County but then went to Hamilton County, was diagnosed in Hamilton County, things like that.
Mike DeWine: (01:51:06)
I mean, basically the data is driven by county of residence with the exception of the one indicator which we looked at from a regional point of view. So if you live in London, Ohio, in Madison County, and you end up in the hospital in Columbus, when you’re looking at hospital capacity, they look at it by the county where the hospital is. But if you’re looking at it by any other indicator, hospital admissions for example, it would be attributable to Madison County. So they try to make sense of this as far as what would make the most sense. And we try to drive things based upon your residence.
Mike DeWine: (01:51:56)
Now, if someone, I can make up a hypothetical, let’s say someone went to a party in Columbus and they live in Madison County and the tracer turns out to find they got it in Columbus, I assume that they’re still going to show up in Madison County. And that’s what you find. We had a funeral and we had a bunch of people in one county, but then a bunch of people came from another county. So you report the outbreak in one county but if you look at the numbers where they’re attributable to, you’re going to go back to wherever that person is from, which is certainly, could be a neighboring county. [inaudible 01:52:35] answers or not Andy, but thank you.
Max Filby: (01:52:39)
Hi, governor. It’s Andrew Welsh Huggins with the Associated Press. And I am today’s last question. I just wondered if you could say or talk a little bit more about how much money you think might be available for school districts to help with their reopening. And I’m also just wondering, hindsight being 20-20, would it have been better not to cut schools in the initial set of budget cuts anticipating this need now.
Mike DeWine: (01:53:07)
What we’re trying to do is… Look, no one wanted to cut the schools. Certainly I didn’t want to cut schools. We come 3.7%. We wanted to do that early because we wanted schools to be able to have basically a flat funding from then on. And so our goal is to keep that funding at that new level until we get enough revenue in that we can raise them. But it’s trying to bring some continuity to the schools. But I started looking around, I said, “Look, this is going to cost. These things the schools are all going to do to try to put kids back in a classroom and it’s not cheap.” They’re going to have hand sanitizer, and that’s probably the least of their costs. They’ve got other costs involved. And so we need to try to take some of the CARES money that the federal government sent to try to give them some of that money.
Mike DeWine: (01:54:02)
So I’ve learned, I would love to give you a figure, I have a figure in mind. But until I really talk with the leadership of the legislature, it probably would not be good for me to give that number. It will not be enough to do everything that needs to be done, but it will be significant enough money that I think people will cash the check anyway.
Mike DeWine: (01:54:25)
Thank you very much. Happy 4th of July. Happy Independence Day to everyone. Hope you have a great time with your family and everybody enjoy the celebration of our absolutely wonderful country. I’ve seen some of the things on TV, some of the celebrations that are going to occur, and people with stars, and we’re going to see fireworks. And a lot of things where people can stay safe, but really have the opportunity to enjoy it. And I know some of the communities are having very, very safe fireworks. You can sit in your car and do things like that. So have a good time and we’ll look forward to talking with you all next week. Thank you very much.