Jul 22, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript July 22
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on July 22. He issued a statewide mask order. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Gov. Mike DeWine: (05:32)
Today I’m wearing a tie from Edison State Community College in Piqua. Edison has grown from 309 students enrolled in 30 courses in 1973 to more than 3000 students enrolled today in about 30 technical fields. So shout out to everyone from Edison State.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (05:58)
Fran and I were saddened to learn on Saturday of the death of John Lewis. John Lewis really helped change America. In 2004 when I was in the United States Senate, I was privileged, Fran and I were, along with our two youngest children, Anna and Mark, to be on a civil rights pilgrimage led by John Lewis. He did that I’m sure a number of different times, but we were privileged to be on one of those tours into the south, Alabama, Tennessee. And it was really an amazing experience. He took us to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where on March 7th, 1965, known as Bloody Sunday, he and so many other civil rights protesters were attacked and beaten as they peacefully marched.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (07:02)
And I’m sure many of you saw those that film replayed on the last few days. Extraordinary man, someone who when he saw injustice spoke out, spoke out very loud, but also someone who when you talked to him in person, was very gentle. A wonderful, just an absolutely wonderful human being. A very, very courageous man. One of our heroes who we lost this past week.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (07:37)
Let’s go and take a look at some of the data. Today we’re reporting 1,527 new COVID-19 cases in Ohio. Sadly, this is the second highest daily new cases we’ve reported behind only a 1,679 new cases last Friday. Sadly, we had 16 more deaths reported since yesterday. We also have 128 new hospitalizations, 19 ICU admissions reported in the last 24 hours. So as we look at that, as we’ll see with the ICU admissions, fairly consistent, not a huge change, kind of goes up and down.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (08:26)
The hospitalizations though are certainly higher than the 21 day average. The deaths are about what the 21 day average has been. Then of course the cases have been hovering between 1200 and 1500, 1600 over the last week or so. Let’s look, Eric, at the hospitalization slide. Let’s look at the daily number of COVID-19 patients that are currently in Ohio hospitals. We’ll continue to see an increase. The chart shows an increase from 908, 908 patients on July 9th, to 1098 patients as of today. So it’s a slow but steady increase in the number of patients that we have in our Ohio hospitals.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (09:24)
Last week, I called upon all Ohioans to wear a mask when they were out in public. The evidence is just abundantly clear. As I said, the jury is back. The verdict is in. Masks work. And particularly when masks are used with the social distancing, the two layers Dr. Acton used to talk about, the Swiss cheese, a couple of those layers on there makes a huge, huge difference. Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said last week, and I quote, “If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks, six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground.” Very, very strong language. We know that masks do in fact work. If a vast majority of us would wear them, it matters a great, great deal.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (10:18)
For the last few weeks, I’ve been on the phone regularly to our County Health Commissioner. There’s 113 health commissioners around the state. I’ve also talked in the last few days to a number of the mayors, a number of our county commissioners, and we do have some good news. And so the good news is, and this the map. This is not a new map. This is from last week. We won’t change the map until the data’s compiled today. But you know, the good news is that a lot of our red counties, the reporting I’m getting back would indicate that more and more people are wearing masks. So that is a very, very, very good thing. I want to thank everyone for doing it. I want to thank the retailers who have been involved in encouraging people to do that. So wearing a mask in the red communities has certainly gone up and I’m very grateful for that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (11:17)
Our preliminary data indicates, and this is significant, that the rate of increase in new cases in these red counties has slowed. We cannot yet say were to plateau, but the rate of increase has certainly slowed. We believe that at least in part, maybe a lot of this is due to the fact that more people are in fact wearing masks. So we’re cautiously optimistic that things in those counties, that we’re slowing that curve. Again, not to a plateau yet, don’t want to get over enthusiastic about it, but it looks like the wearing the masks is starting to have some effect. I want to thank everyone again in our red counties for wearing the mask. It is making a difference.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (12:14)
Now let’s talk about our counties that are yellow and orange levels now. We look at these counties and again, some of these may change tomorrow. In fact, we have some indication already and the preliminary data that you’re going to see more counties unfortunately go red tomorrow. So we’ll have some more counties go red it looks like. And we’ll get that final data worked out tonight. But let’s talk about these yellow counties, these orange counties. Our goal obviously is for those counties not to go red. And that is just vitally important.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (12:54)
We know from what’s happening nationwide, we know from what medical science tells us now, and we know so much more today than we knew at the beginning of this pandemic. We know that the wearing of masks in those yellow counties and in those orange counties will in fact make a difference and may help those counties not turn red. So doing this in those counties where the threat level is lower at the current point makes sense. It’s essential that we wear masks statewide in Ohio to contain the spread of this virus. So therefore tomorrow at 6:00 tomorrow night, our mask order for people who are out in public will be extended throughout the state of Ohio. So again, that will be at 6:00 tomorrow night, every county in the state of Ohio, people who are out in public should in fact wear a mask.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (13:54)
Again, the wearing of the mask, plus the social distancing, makes a huge, huge difference. So just to reiterate, beginning tomorrow in all counties in Ohio, individuals who are out in public must wear facial coverings. When you are in an indoor location that’s not a residence, or outdoors but are unable to maintain six foot social distance from people who are not members of your household. And also for waiting for a ride, driving or operating public transportation such as a taxi, a car service, or private car used for ride sharing. In all those cases, again, the order is the same it’s been in the past. We now are just extending it to more counties. I also want to emphasize. As we see more and more people wear masks, and there may be some people who do not wear a mask, I want to emphasize that if someone has a medical reason for not wearing a mask, they do not have to wear a mask.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (15:01)
And I would also urge all my fellow citizens to not be judgmental. If someone is in a store and they do not have a mask now, we should assume that they have some medical problem. We should assume that there is some very legitimate reason why they cannot wear a mask, I would, again, emphasize this mask order is only for those 10 years of age and older. And again, I will emphasize what the medical experts tell us that masks are not to be worn by infants.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (15:32)
One indicator was certainly not under two. Someone who is young certainly does not have to wear a mask. And certainly someone who is very young should not have a mask on at all. And again, you can look up that guidance, but we are not requiring anybody to do that. Again, the following do not need to wear a mask. Let me just read it. Those who have a medical condition or disability, or those who are trying to communicate with someone who has a disability. Second, those who are actively exercising or playing sports. Three, those who officiate at religious services and this includes anyone who’s speaking at a religious service where a mask would impede what they’re trying to do. Those who are actively involved in public safety do not have to wear a mask or those who are actively eating, actively eating or drinking. Just in conclusion, we’ve got to get this virus under control. Wearing masks is going to make a difference. It will make a difference in what our fall looks like. What we do between now and the next several weeks will determine what our fall is like. We all want kids to go back to school. We want to see sports. We want to see a lot of different things. We want to have more opportunities in the fall, and to do that, it’s just very important that all Ohioans wear a mask. Continuing on the topic of masks. we’ve called upon a number of our fellow citizens to help us explain this. We have two new commercials that we’re going to air right now. They will start today. I think one starts today. The other one starts tomorrow. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will again, sponsor these ads, which were created in partnership with the Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio Health, JobsOhio, and the Ohio Business Roundtable. The 30 second spots feature real Ohioans explaining to other Ohioans why we should all wear a mask and be careful.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (17:45)
Bottom line is we do it to protect our loved ones, and co-workers, and strangers alike. We do it to protect lives and livelihoods so that we can continue to have an effective and safe economic recovery. We can do two things at once. Before we show you the spots, I want to offer a special thanks, again to Dr. Laura Espy-Bell, again to restaurant owner, Gary Calico, and Steve Markovich, a former air national guardsman and fighter pilot who is CEO of Ohio Health. So Eric, let’s take a look at those two ads.
Speaker 1: (18:20)
I wear a mask to keep my grandmother safe.
Speaker 2: (18:26)
Speaker 3: (18:27)
My sister who’s immunocompromised.
Speaker 4: (18:29)
I wear a mask to protect my co-workers to make my office safe.
Speaker 5: (18:34)
So businesses can stay open and don’t close again and jobs can come back.
Speaker 6: (18:39)
I wear a mask to help my favorite restaurant.
Speaker 7: (18:41)
To help my favorite store.
Speaker 8: (18:43)
To protect my customers.
Speaker 9: (18:46)
Please wear a mask in public. It’s up to all of us.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (18:53)
And we’ll see the next one.
Speaker 10: (18:57)
Years ago, I flew combat missions in the Middle East. Now I’m on the front lines of fighting another enemy, and I have a very important message for younger adults. You can carry COVID-19 without even knowing it, and then infect others who aren’t as healthy as you, like an older relative, or a co-worker who is immunocompromised. Please wear a mask in public. Protect your family, friends, and co-workers. We can win this battle, but it’s up to all of us.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (19:31)
Let me now move to another subject. A few weeks ago, we talked about a group of students who traveled to Myrtle Beach together from Belmont County and all 45 students made that trip. When they returned, 16 people initially tested positive for COVID-19. Today we know that 28 of those travelers have in fact tested positive. Those individuals certainly could have exposed family and friends. Unfortunately, this story is really not that unique. We’ve heard from multiple local health departments, and again, something that we have been doing is calling our local health departments, finding out exactly what they’re seeing, where they’re seeing people in infected. We’ve heard from many of these health departments that they’re tracing cases related to out of state travel. Trips to state where there are high positivity rates, South Carolina, for example, Florida, are leading to outbreaks right here in the Buckeye State.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (20:33)
So today we’re putting out an advisory, a travel advisory, for all individuals who come into Ohio from these states. It also includes anyone from Ohio who goes visit those states and come back. Let me just say that, there’s two things, obviously, people should be concerned about. One is the state that they’re going into, and the higher the positivity rate, the more that they should be concerned about that. The other thing, to state the obvious, is what they do in those states. If someone is very, very careful, if they are able to go to the beach, separate from other people, or if they are hiking and doing things. So a lot depends on of course your risk is based upon what you are doing in these other states. But this advisory covers all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher. And we recommend that those individuals self-quarantine for 14 days.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (21:42)
So again, these would be the states, as you can see, Florida 19%. I guess the highest state looks like it’s Arizona, I guess. But all of these are over the markers, obviously people can be careful, should be careful no matter where they go, but these are states. And we just put this kind of on a warning list. We will update this every week. Again, it’s similar to some of the advisories, frankly, that you used to get at the airport, or you still do, I guess, get at the airport. I haven’t flown for a while. But you’d walk in and you’d see Port-au-Prince or someplace did not have good security. And there was a caution that warned you about that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (22:28)
So we’re just putting this up. We’re looking at positivity rates, which we think is a good way to look at it. Ours is about 6.2, 6.3, something in that area, just to give you some reference points. So we would ask people to be careful. This is going to be based on a seven day rolling average. We will update the list of states weekly. The list today includes travel to and from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas. So Puerto Rico is on there as well.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (23:03)
South Carolina and Texas [inaudible 00:23:02], Puerto Rico is on there as well. If you’re traveling from one of those states with a high positivity rate you should self-quarantine at home or in a hotel. This applies to people who call Ohio home and people who are traveling into Ohio from states with high positivity rates where they’re traveling for business or vacationing. Please visit our website at coronavirus.ohio.gov for more specific information. Again it’s an advisory, it’s not an order, but we want to notify people and we would ask them to protect everyone, protect your family and to protect others if you’re coming from one of those states, you’ve been visiting there, we ask you to self-quarantine. We know all of these things are sacrifices, but we hope that these are short-term sacrifices for something that we all want to see and that is to get this virus under control and be able to do more things as we move into the fall.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (23:55)
I want to talk about our system that we announced several weeks ago with different colors. I want to provide an update on our county color system. Again we’ll show you the new map tomorrow. The Early Warning System advises Ohioans when spread of the virus is increasing in their county based on seven separate indicators. The more indicators triggered, the higher the alert level and the more precautions Ohioans should take. The system was designed to be refined over time and we said that at the beginning and we will continue to refine it and so we’re going to make a refinement today. In the next few weeks, we’re moving towards adding indicators related to testing as more localized testing data becomes available. We don’t have that yet but we’re getting to it. We will also later add an indicator related to known contacts spreading the virus once that local data is made available.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (24:55)
In addition, beginning with this week’s updated color system map for tomorrow, we are making an enhancement to our ICU indicator. This was developed frankly in conjunction with the Ohio Hospital Association with Ohio hospitals. Currently this indicator is triggered if the ICU capacity for a county’s hospital region exceeds 80% of normal capacity as by region. We will be adding to this, we will be enhancing this indicator to address concerns in the event the ICU levels increase due to reasons other than COVID. So we wanted to allow for that. Beginning with tomorrow’s map, this indicator will trigger if ICU capacity for a county’s hospital region exceeds 80% which is what it is now of normal capacity, and, and this is what we’re adding, and 20% of the normal ICU capacity is being used for COVID-19 positive patients, 20% or more. The normal ICU capacity is being used for COVID-19 positive patients. The 80% indicator is certainly a good early warning to measure increasing utilization of ICU services. The enhancement improves the indicator to ensure we are capturing developments in ICU utilization by the COVID-19 and not from changes unrelated to the COVID.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (26:27)
Let me talk about county fairs for a moment. I had a conversation this morning with all the fair directors around the state, members of the local fair boards, others associated with the fairs. Let me talk a moment about this. Our goal was to try to … As we had the coronavirus, living with coronavirus, our goal was still to try to provide an outlet for young people who are in 4-H, FFA, who participate in junior fairs around the state. This is something that is important to many, many families. It’s part of their summer activity. Some kids have raised a steer for a number of months, a long time. Other kids get lambs in the spring and they raise them. Other kids are doing rocketry, they might be doing something electrical, they might be doing a project connected with photography and so many other things. What we want to do in spite of the COVID is to preserve this, and so we came out with about three pages of what we felt were fairly simple orders and some protocol to be followed by the fairs.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (27:51)
What we have unfortunately started to see is some fairs that were not following that, some were, some were not. We saw things like we have one county fair that we so far know of 19 cases that arose out of that county fair. We’ve also seen pictures of some fairs where people were not social distancing. We’ve seen grandstands full of people. So I got on the phone today and talked to all of the folks from every fair. We spent about an hour together, had a very good candid conversation. We want these fairs to continue, but they have to follow the rules and so they also have to follow what the local health department says, and so I think we had a good understanding of that conversation today.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (28:42)
We look forward to seeing that carried out. We want the rules carried out. They’re rules that allow people to be as safe as they can with the new order of course today beginning at 6:00 tomorrow night, everybody on the fairgrounds is going to have to have a mask on unless they’re walking through that fairgrounds at seven in the morning and there’s nobody there or not too many people there and I’ve been there myself and so many fairs at early morning, but people just need to use common sense. If they’re in public, if they’re out there, if they’re interacting with other people which is certainly what you see at a fair at 7:00 at night, people will need to have a mask on, but they’ll also need to be following the other protocols that we lay out in the guidelines.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (29:28)
One of the reasons that we provided money to each county fair, extra money that they did not have in the past was to help them be able to provide for the safety, and so again, we do not want to be in a position and I know local health departments do not want to be in a position to close fairs, either in the middle of the fair or before the fair, but folks running the fairs, fair boards, everybody is going to have to own their own fair basically and so if you’ve got too many people in that fairgrounds and they can’t be keeping social distancing, then fairs are going to have to simply shut the doors and not let more people in. Again, this is something between the local fair and the local health department and I’m confident that people can get this worked out. John?
Thank you Governor. Good afternoon. I am going to share a little good news I guess is the way to say it. Talking about the economic momentum that’s being generated as we battle COVID and hopefully prevail in this fight, both from a health point of view and economic point of view, and why we focus on economics is really important because let’s face it, there are a lot of challenges that people are facing out there when you have high unemployment rates. People need jobs to pay for the essentials, for rent, for mortgages, for their car payments to sustain their quality of life and their opportunity to get ahead. Obviously from our point of view, we have a responsibility to balance the budget to provide a safety net for people that depend on the government for education, whether that’s K-12, higher ed, for their healthcare through Medicaid, through their public services that we provide at the state and local level, so economic momentum is important and we have a little bit of it going on in Ohio.
It was announced last Friday that the unemployment rate in Ohio is 10.9%, that’s down from earlier months where it was 17%. It was 13.9% in May and now in June we have it registering in at 10.9%. In the month of June, 208, 000 more jobs were created, employment, people gone to work, 208,000 more people, 166 fewer were on unemployment, so we have people coming off unemployment, people going to work. This is incredibly important for the future of our state and we’re creating a little momentum. Additionally as we talk to employers, they want to get people get back in the office, get them back on the factory floor, put them back to work, and one of the things that employers will tell us is that they’re concerned about employer liability and the governor signed a letter along with a number of other governors, I believe there are 20 governors across the state asking for federal legislation to address both the financial needs and the additional circumstances that face employers and the people of our nation that include employer liability.
Nothing can keep us 100% safe but when employers are doing the right thing, they need to have some certainty and we encourage the legislature, our Ohio legislature, to get legislation passed that would do that for the state of Ohio because let’s face it, any time you set a new set of regulations, that’s going to potentially create a new sense of litigation or new opportunity for litigation, and we want to make sure as the governor did with 20 other governors that we have that stability, that regulatory stability, that liability stability for Ohio employers and so the letter was to call for the liability protections to shield employers from legal risks associated with the spread of coronavirus, and this is important so long as they are following the appropriate safety standards. The letter specifically requests that the protections be drawn in a narrow fashion that will not give license for gross negligence, misconduct or recklessness and that’s important, it’s that balance. If people are doing it right, they should be protected from unnecessary lawsuits to create that environment where employers are going to make investments, they’re going to bring people back to work, we’re going to get the economy growing, we’re going to help people pay their bills, we’re going to help build that safety net or maintain that safety net for the vulnerable populations in our state.
I want to highlight one business and one example of a business that’s doing … By the way I should stop. There are lots of businesses that are doing great things. Most people are doing it right, creating a safe environment for their employees, helping us get control of the spread of the virus but I’m going to highlight one business in Ohio who has been doing a great job, GE Aviation. They have their headquarters in Cincinnati and they have started an initiative called Layers of Safety and the governor alluded to what Dr. Acton used to say, like Swiss cheese that you put one layer over another and it helps and that’s exactly what Layers of Safety is about and they are conducting daily temperature screens and health questionnaires for employees who are entering the facilities. They are following the CDC guidelines and asking employees to maintain social distancing of at least six feet, in instances where that’s not feasible they’re putting barriers in place, physical barriers or requiring the masks of course which we do now across the state of Ohio.
They have significantly increased the frequency of cleaning these manufacturing environments and office environments and they made available cleaning solutions and hand sanitizers for disinfecting and they have established signage and checkpoints providing cleaning status of common areas, let people know this place has been cleaned up. You see it at grocery stores, with the grocery carts, you see it in many businesses around the state to make sure that people know that the place that they’re entering has been cleaned. They are prohibiting large gatherings in their facilities. They’re also adjusting the office environments to reduce the density in those facilities. Reducing occupancy levels, established work zones, areas where, “Hey, one person can work here,” that establishes … Particularly in the distribution area to make sure people don’t go into each other’s workspace. They’re providing facial coverings for all employees, they’re talking to their employees about the risks of after-hour conduct as well, cafeteria seating, to make sure everything is aligned with the CDC guidelines.
I run through all of this because this is the extent that employers are undertaking to do their part to slow the spread and when they do that, they deserve to have the protections in place that allow them to bring people back to work and without having the legal liabilities associated with coronavirus. That’s what they’ve been asking, we’re all in this together, businesses around the state are stepping up and doing their part with masks, campaigns and with creating a safe environment and we in the state, when we do that, when we have employers [inaudible 00:37:38] support lives and livelihoods, live with the coronavirus [inaudible 00:37:42] put people back to work, allow them to get that paycheck to help pay for the essentials and grow the economy.
That’s been working well, and what the governor’s plea and my plea is is that we have to keep doing it. Keep doing the things that are going to allow people to go back to work to make sure we slow the spread, the governor has issued a number of new challenges for us to continue to comply with and if we do that, Ohio will continue to improve economically and from a health point of view. Governor.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (38:14)
John, thank you. Thank you very much. You know we constantly look to see where people are getting the virus. Where they’re being infected, and we rely on our 113 local health departments, your local health department to give us that information. Something that may surprise me, it sort of surprised me, is how many times it really is just an informal get together that is causing the spread. I think there’s a general tendency when we’re with people that we know maybe not to be as concerned but of course the problem with the virus is that you can have it and you don’t know you have it. You can spread it and you don’t know you’re spreading it, and that’s the real danger. We spent a lot of time on the phone and getting data from local health departments.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (39:14)
So many of these are house parties. Something going on in someone’s backyard, neighborhood get togethers, children’s sleepovers, bridal showers, on and on. In Ashtabula for example, a 70-year-old hosted a party on the Fourth of July for his co-workers. Three people got sick including the host who is now tragically on a ventilator. Seven adults in Mansfield got sick at a household party. Tuscarawas County, a teenager’s house party over the Fourth of July had attendees from multiple school systems and led to 10 new cases. Dayton, Montgomery County Public Health issued a release last week looking for people who attended a two day house party in Miamisburg at two separate locations with as many as 50 people in attendance. Dozens of students from Miamisburg High School and surrounding districts were exposed to a person who had the coronavirus. It’s unknown currently exactly how many people from that party now have the virus.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (40:22)
As I said I was on a call yesterday with many of our local health departments, learned about two different incidents. In one case a group of young people in Cleveland got together for a Fourth of July barbecue. None of them wore masks. Well why? Because they had already been spending time together, thought it was okay. Unfortunately six people were symptomatic within three days and have tested positive for the virus. In another case, the brother of a bride in a wedding party was not feeling well a couple of days before the wedding on July 4. He shrugged them off as allergies, didn’t wear a mask at the rehearsal nor to the wedding. About 300 people attended the outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. Guests came from across the country and internationally to attend. Everyone at the wedding was offered a mask, many did not use them. We don’t know yet how many cases are tied to this wedding but we anticipate several based on the nature of the event and that the brother of the bride was involved in multiple days of celebrations.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (41:24)
The virus is real. We certainly cannot let our guard down. We have here with us today Jill Parker, who lives on a small farm in South Vienna. Jill’s married, mother of three adult daughters, grandmother to a beautiful granddaughter. She’s a graduate of Shawnee High School, the president of the Northeastern School District in Clark County, and she is here today to tell her story. Jill, thank you for joining us. We appreciate you doing it and if you could just tell everybody kind of your story.
Jill Parker: (41:59)
Well thank you, thank you for inviting me to speak. Just like so many of the cases you just mentioned, we had a very small family gathering on the Fourth of July. Honestly believed that we were very safe, no one knew of anyone that had been around who was positive. We believe that one person had found an asymptomatic carrier and within a couple of days of the gathering, the first people started having symptoms. Thankfully everybody was very responsible and by mid week had begun self-isolating and scrambling for tests. But we did, we dropped our guard. You’ve heard the story over and over, we dropped our guard, we thought we certainly don’t have any symptoms, we know all these people, we’ve been around them, what’s the harm? Sadly people get sick.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (42:52)
I know you shared this on Facebook which is where I think we saw it first. I wonder why, can you just tell us why you came forward with the story?
Jill Parker: (43:04)
Well, honestly because the virus is challenging enough to deal with without the social and political rhetoric that’s attached to it. We all know people who doubt that it’s real, who dismiss the use of masks and I was one who had actually been very careful and sadly still got the virus, and the virus is scary. It’s terrifying when you have it. The physical symptoms, it’s the anxiety, the depression, and I just felt it was really necessary for me to share my story, let people see how it actually can affect someone’s life.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (43:51)
Well thank you very, very much. How is your family doing? How are you doing?
Jill Parker: (43:55)
We’re doing very well. Thank you for asking. We were very fortunate. Despite having literally the checklist of symptoms from the CDC, most of them were very mild and everyone is recovering. We were very, very thankful that that was the case.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (44:12)
Well that’s great. Yeah, that’s great.
Jill Parker: (44:16)
We also had young people. It is important to know that these were largely early to mid 20-year-olds, so not necessarily in a high danger demographic, but these kids did the right thing, they were smart, they self-isolated and they got tested immediately.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (44:33)
Great. Well, thank you for sharing this with us and thanks to your family for doing the right thing and we appreciate really the story and I think it kind of illustrates … I don’t know if you were able to hear some of the examples I read but just people kind of going about their lives like they normally would and I suppose being around either friends or family and I think our natural tendency is when we’re with friends and we’re with family and we’re with people we know, we let our guard down. We don’t worry about it. I think that’s maybe part of the challenge. Of course people don’t know who has it and who doesn’t have it and the people who have it many times don’t know they have it. This is the real, I think the real challenge.
Jill Parker: (45:21)
Right, and that sense of familiarity does give you a false sense of security.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (45:28)
Yeah. Well thank you. We really appreciate it. Thank you for sharing that with us and good luck to you and your family. We appreciate it.
Jill Parker: (45:36)
Thank you very much.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (45:36)
Thank you very, very much. We are ready for questions.
Dan Pearlman: (45:52)
Governor DeWine, Dan Pearlman with NBC4 here in Columbus. In light of the news yesterday regarding Speaker Householder, I’m sure you have heard there are now bipartisan calls to repeal House Bill 6.
Dan Pearlman: (46:03)
… bi-partisan calls to repeal House Bill 6. In light of Speaker Householder’s arrest yesterday, is that something you would support, given the situation and where we stand today?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (46:14)
No, I would not. For a long time I’ve advocated, Lieutenant Governor’s advocated for a balanced energy policy in the state of Ohio. We think having nuclear plants is a part of that balanced policy. We had a couple of big factors in my support for the bill. One is the jobs. We had the opportunity to visit one of the plants, saw some of the workers. When you look at the numbers, a lot of workers there. Second, if we would have lost our two nuclear plants, which we would have, I believe without this bill, it would have meant that we would have had virtually very, very little non-carbon-generating energy. I think that would not have been good. We need balance in our energy and much as we would like to see other forms of energy that are non-carbon, the nuclear is where you get the most of it today, and certainly where you get the most of it in the state of Ohio.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (47:25)
So what was going on in that campaign and the very, very sad story that we all read yesterday, when we looked at the charges, or we looked at the affidavit, does not impact where I am in regard to the policy of it. John?
No. I’ve been involved in energy policy in Ohio for a long time. When I was Speaker of the House, I put the original clean energy standards in for Ohio. Ohio needs zero-carbon energy to hit our targeted goals for carbon reduction. And in the near term, I literally talked to the US Secretary of Energy about this, this morning. In the near term, nuclear is the only large-scale way to do that. And we hope over time, that we will have more wind solar conservation options, better battery technology that will enable us to do this. But for the time being for Ohio to hit any reasonable carbon reduction goals, we have to have nuclear energy.
Jack Windsor: (48:36)
Jack Windsor, WMFD TV, Mansfield. Governor, in your address to Ohioans last week you talked a lot about spread and the positivity rate. Ohio is currently at about 6%. The World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins has indicated the positivity rate around 5% means the virus is under control.
Jack Windsor: (48:55)
We also know that the director of the CDC said on June 26th, and again, yesterday that up to 24% have already been infected, based on antibody studies in 10 states. All this validates statements made by Dr. Fauci and Dr. Acton, back in March. The point is of 700,000 to 1.8 million Ohioans have already had the virus, without overrunning hospitals and seeing massive spikes projected out of the gate. Couldn’t it mean that spread is the wrong focus because the horse is already out of the barn? And doesn’t it mean that contact tracing is nearly impossible based on sheer numbers alone, and that we should be hyper-focused on antibody testing to understand the spread and better focus our resources on those who are most vulnerable?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (49:47)
Well, we are focusing on those most vulnerable. We have an enhanced policy in regard to our nursing homes as far as testing. We’re going to be testing… National Guard is almost done of that wave of testing. We’re going to have additional testing that will start right after that in regard to employees at nursing homes, and that will be done regularly. So we are focused on that group of individuals.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (50:16)
Look, it’s six and a half percent, 6.2, 6.3. We are at the high of where we’ve been for a while, at least. When we really had bent the curve and had this really more under control, we were at about four and a half percent positivity. We are testing a lot more people, a lot more people. We’ve increased testing at least 90%, but we’ve seen the positivity rate go up. We’ve seen the cases go up 200%. So to say this is under control, I don’t know anyone who really would look at this and say that in Ohio with the numbers, we’re at higher numbers than we’ve been before, “It’s under control.”
Gov. Mike DeWine: (51:03)
Now, what we are seeing, Jack, is I think a beginning of getting some of this under control in regard to more people wearing masks. More people are wearing masks. It matters. It makes a difference. And if we can continue to get people to focus in all 88 counties on wearing masks when they’re out in public, keeping a distance, we can drive this thing to the ground. But we got a ways to go. We’re in a very delicate situation, as I indicated earlier. I don’t know if we’ve plateaued or not. I would hope we have plateaued, but we got to wait. But we just got to keep knocking this thing down.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (51:40)
You’re going to see tomorrow more of our counties that will turn red. You’re going to see some of them that will go back, which is good. But this is a very dicey time. This is a very crucial time. And so we’re going to continue to fight this, and I’m going to continue to talk to the people of the state. We can do two things at once. We’re Ohioans. We’re optimistic we can move forward, but we’ve got to be careful as we do it.
Can I add something on the antibody testing? Right now, we’re in the field with our own antibody test, but I would check, Jack, with the American Red Cross. They’ve been reporting numbers that show that the number of people… Because when somebody goes and give blood, they test to see if somebody has antibodies. And I think the numbers that they’re coming back with are less than 2%. I think the latest number I saw for Ohio might’ve been 1.4% positive for antibody testing. So you may want to go check with the Red Cross and some other. Because I hope you’re right. I hope the number is higher, but the data we have so far indicates it’s not there.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (52:41)
And we actually do have that number, and I forgot to bring it today, but we’ll bring it tomorrow. We’ll bring the number from what the Red Cross is reporting to us. And this is just Ohioans who are going in to get blood. They do the test and they’ve reported what those numbers are. It’s been a lot of Ohioans, so it’s a pretty good sample of Ohioans.
Karen Johnson: (53:04)
Good afternoon, Governor. Karen Johnson, WLWT in Cincinnati. The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association released a set of guidelines. They’ve asked you to review it. Have you reviewed them? Is it acceptable? And is it enough for them and other context sports, if they follow suit, to move forward with their season?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (53:29)
We’re going to be giving them additional guidance based upon what we’re seeing in Ohio. Before we do that, we’re going to have conversations with them. So we’re not ready to announce that yet, but look, everybody’s concerned about young people, concerned about contact sports. We all want to see our kids and our grandkids in sports, whether it’s in high school or whether they continue to participate when they’re in college. We know the importance of this. We know what a season means to a young person, whether they’re running cross country, like all of our kids have done, whether they’re playing football. We had one son who played football. But whatever those sports are, we know how important they are.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (54:17)
But frankly, we’ve got to get a little closer to this in time. We know that training is going on. We know that practices have to be taking place. We understand the timeline, but we want to see where we are, and we need to get a little closer before we can make any kind of decision in regard to that. But we’ll be in consultation with a lot of the coaches, and we’ll be in consultation with the schools.
Karen Johnson: (54:46)
I believe the order expires-
Governor, I can add. I have seen it. It’s right here on my iPad. We’re taking a look at their plan. They’ve some great work. It’s very helpful to informing our conversations, so thanks to them.
Jim Otte: (55:05)
Jim Otte from WHIO TV. I want to go back to an earlier issue, the question that should have been asked. Governor, your reaction to the federal investigation and the charges, and did you have any suspicion at all of illegal activity right here at the State House?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (55:25)
No. I had no suspicion of any illegal activity. I quickly read the document that you’ve all have seen, which came from the US Attorney’s Office. It’s a very sad, sad story. I mean, I said yesterday, this is a sad day for Ohio. When you have the Speaker of the Ohio House charged with a very, very serious crime, it’s a disgusting story. Now, having said that, I think we always have to say in this great country of ours, that everyone who is accused has a presumption of innocence, and we have to maintain that. But the story is laid out by the US Attorney is just kind of a sickening story. Look, we all knew ads were being run. I mean, I saw what other Ohio and saw. We knew ads were being run, but didn’t know the backstory.
Jim Otte: (56:28)
Thank you, Governor.
Josh Rottenberg: (56:34)
How are you doing, Governor? Josh Rottenberg with Spectrum News. I just wanted to ask about your mask order that goes into effect tomorrow at 6:00. Why was the decision made now, and the fact that you made one, do you wish you would’ve made it earlier?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (56:50)
Well, I’ve said when this is all over, or I’ve jokingly said, because we wouldn’t want this ever to happen, but if you had to replay this, would we make different decisions? Sure. I mean, hindsight is always better. My thought process was this. Felt that masks would make a difference. Also knew that there was significant resistance in Ohio, kind of wanting to bring Ohioans along on this journey. That’s part of what a governor does. A governor has to lead, but a governor also has to bring people along.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (57:28)
We’ve been talking about masks for a while. The evidence, as I said the other day, is certainly more clear today than it has ever been about the abundance of proof about how important masks are. So we started off, as you saw, with red counties. We saw more and more counties moved to red. We’ve also seen pretty good evidence, not definitive yet, but pretty good evidence that more people are wearing a masks, and that because more people are wearing masks, we’re seeing a slowing of the acceleration of this in a lot of these red counties.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (58:05)
All that put together, it seemed that it was the right time to do it. I’ll second guess myself later. Other people already are doing it now I’m sure. But look, there are people out here who are watching this on TV right now and saying, “There goes DeWine again, telling us to do something that he shouldn’t be doing.” We got other people out there who were saying, “Look, he should have done it a week ago, two weeks ago, three weeks ago>”
Gov. Mike DeWine: (58:31)
I gave a speech to the people of the state, purposely did not have any orders in it. What I wanted to do is have a conversation with the people last Wednesday, and really talk about where we needed to go as a state and where I saw it, and where frankly, I was concerned that our numbers were looking like Florida three and a half, four weeks ago. We’re putting the orders in tomorrow. And again, the goal is going to be on those counties that are yellow, those counties that are orange, our goal is to keep them there, and for them not to move in into the red. We think this will make a difference, so we’re moving ahead.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (59:12)
Hi, Governor. Andrew Welsh-Huggins at the Associated Press. Just following up on Jim’s question. The US Attorney has said related to the House Bill 6 scandal, that it’s very much an ongoing investigation and there could be more arrests. Just for the record, what contact, if any, have you or your administration had with investigators, and what assurances can you provide that this scandal might not implicate someone in your administration, I guess, up to and including yourself?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (59:58)
Well, I’ve had no contact with the investigators. The first time I heard about this was yesterday morning. So I’ve had absolutely no contact. To my knowledge, no one in our administration has had a contact with anybody in the investigation. Also, go back, several of you asked that question yesterday to the US Attorney, and I think I’ll go by what his answer was. We don’t have any involvement in this. We didn’t know anything about the investigation. We were surprised as everyone was yesterday morning.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (01:00:36)
Andy Chow: (01:00:37)
Hi, Governor. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse Mews Bureau. I’m wondering, would you consider calling a special session of the general assembly to hold a vote on Householder’s removal if he doesn’t resign himself?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:00:58)
Well, yes, I would. I think we first have to look to the House. The House elected him. They’re a separate branch of government, the legislature is. I think there has to be some due respect and to allow them to deal with the problem.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:01:17)
Look, I called yesterday for the Speaker to resign as Speaker. Again, there’s always that presumption of innocence, that always must be maintained. But I think it’s clear that the Speaker can not function as Speaker. He’s charged with very, very, very serious crimes, and a very tough affidavit, describing a very horrible set of events.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:01:58)
I don’t think there’s any way that the Speaker could continue to be Speaker and to function as a Speaker should function. So we’re talking to members of the House. It’s their obligation to do something about this. If they cannot, and again, I’m still trying to understand the House rules. I didn’t serve in the House. I served in the Senate many years ago. But trying to understand those rules. But if it’s necessary for us to call the legislature into session, give them a specific… On a specific topic, which would be the speakership, I certainly would not hesitate to do that at all.
Andy Chow: (01:02:44)
Karen Johnson: (01:02:49)
Hello, Governor. Tara Morgan with ABC 6. How do you restore the public’s trust after something like this, with a case like this so huge that could have affected taxpayers?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:03:04)
Well, I think that’s another very sad thing about this story is that it does shake the public’s trust in people who are in office, people who run for office, and that is a very, very sad thing. The other side of that is that every time you see a case where someone is charged with public corruption or charged with something similar to that, a public official who is charged, what you know is that the system works, that they were in fact brought to justice. So that may be a slight consolation.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:03:46)
But I think it is something that people should consider, that when you see a case like this, it means that somebody came forward, in all likelihood. I don’t know. I don’t know anything about the case, or how they did it. But you would think someone came forward in some way, to the FBI, and the FBI did what they should do. Justice Department did what they should do, and here we are.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:04:11)
But I think those of us in public office have to work every single day to obtain the public’s trust. It’s sort of like a lot of things in life, you got to work at every day. It’s something that those of us who run for office, those of us who hold public office, have an obligation to the public, for the public at least to look up and say, “Look, I agree, or I don’t agree with that official, but I believe they’re honest. I believe they’re trying to do the best they can.”
Jeremy Pelzer: (01:04:51)
Good afternoon, Governor. Jeremy Pelzer at Cleveland.com. Governor, about House Bill 6, there are many stories and editorials written for months about how this bailout stunk, and how Speaker Householder was funding its efforts. With respect Governor, how can you say you didn’t suspect anything? And even if you support nuclear power, why are you not more concerned about the legitimacy of a bill that was passed using what authorities say was the largest bribery scheme in the state history?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:05:29)
Well, I think my position on this certainly predated the bill. I mean, our position has been that we need nuclear power. Our position has been that we need a non-carbon-polluting energy. The question that I was previously asked was, was I aware of anything illegal going on? My answer to that was no, I was not aware of anything illegal going on. Was it clear that a lot of money, a lot of money, was being spent on TV ads? Yes, that was clear. Was it clear that there was an effort going on to first, pass it, and then an effort to defeat or to push back on the petition process that was going on? All of that was reported by you and by others. So sure, we were certainly aware of that, aware of a lot of money. But how that was being done, certainly there was talk the the Speaker was involved in that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:06:43)
But beyond that, there was no indication that anything illegal was going on. This is a practice that is followed many times where people who are in favor of a bill or against a bill or against some cause, raise money and they spend the money. But by and large, most times they follow the law, and they do that in a proper way that has respect for the public, and that is proper.
Jeremy Pelzer: (01:07:21)
Noah Blundo: (01:07:28)
Governor, Noah Blundo with Hannah News. I’m wondering if you got any indication from Washington on your request for funding for the National Guard? And do you foresee a need for continued work of the Guard related to civil disturbances, which is what that funding request letter addressed?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:07:53)
Well, our real request, what we’re looking for is continuing funding for the Guard, frankly, is primarily the COVID work. The National Guard is out today. I get a report every day from talking to General Harris every day. I look at the numbers, how many people that they tested, or that they pulled samples from. They’re doing a bang-up job. They’re also working in the food banks.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:08:19)
We have requested the extension, as many governors have, from the federal government to continue to pay for the Guard. We have made a decision that frankly, if the federal government does not, that we will pay for the Guard ourselves because they are so essential. At least for the next few weeks, they’re so essential to what we’re doing. We would review that on a week-to-week basis. But the work that they’re doing, the men and women in the National Guard is essential to our anti-COVID efforts. They’re in nursing homes, they’re also the ones who are out doing a great deal of the community, into the minority communities, and other underrepresented communities, and making sure that their testing is…
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:09:03)
… underrepresented communities and making sure that their testing is being done there. So we’re very proud of our guard and we’re going to continue them working, we hope the federal government will pay for it, but if they don’t, then we will have to do that ourselves.
Jessie Balmert: (01:09:18)
Hi, this is Jessie Balmert with The Enquirer. Given the severity of the allegations yesterday, what can you do or what can lawmakers do to prevent companies from subverting the legislative process or benefiting certain individuals?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:09:36)
I’m a big believer in transparency. I think that as much transparency as we can write into our laws, that is consistent with Supreme Court decisions, US Supreme Court decisions, that we should do. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but the rules have to a great extent been set by United States Supreme Court decisions. So we would have to follow those, but I would think, and I will ask the State Legislature Judiciary Committees, appropriate committees of both the House and the Senate to take a look at that and to see how we can bring more transparency to the process. Transparency, as they say, light is a great disinfectant, not my quote, famous justice, but I think this is something that we certainly should look at. John?
Yeah. Governor, look, I have a great template. I had a bill when I was in the Ohio Senate, that passed the Ohio Senate, that would require public disclosure of these types of funds. It was a substitute house bill 240 of the 128th general assembly. I think it serves as a great template for doing these things. It passed the Senate, it never made it through the Ohio House, but this has been a problem for years, there are solutions to it to force more transparency, it’s a template for doing it, we should see more of it.
Jake Zuckerman: (01:11:22)
Governor, this is Jake Zuckerman from the Ohio Capital Journal. More Ohioans are in the hospital right now with COVID-19 then at any single point in the pandemic. For one, are hospitals equipped to shoulder this load, and two, is there any reason to believe that that rate or that number will decrease in the next couple of weeks?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:11:44)
Well, that’s a good question. First of all, hospitals tell us that they’re doing fine, but they always are concerned about what happens if we have spikes and if the current trend would continue. We’re way up as far as the number of cases, we hope we’ve hit a plateau, but we don’t know whether we really have or not. So I think the hospitals would tell you today and we talk to them all the time, that they’re doing okay, but it’s incumbent upon all of us to drive these numbers down. Some of the actions that we’ve taken today, some the actions we’ve taken in the past and actions that we’re going to take in the future, all Ohioans working together is going to matter, it’s going to make a difference. So we’re going to continue to work on that. I may have missed part of your question, was there something that I didn’t answer?
Jake Zuckerman: (01:12:48)
My apologies. Are you seeing anything in the data that makes you think that that hospitalization load will decrease or is it going to get worse?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:12:59)
Hospitalization is always a lagging indicator. The final indicator, tragically of course, is death and the number of deaths, but hospitalization is a lagging indicator. ICU is something that we always look at. So look, I cannot predict, but what I do know, what I do know is if 80% of us, just 80%, wear masks when we’re out in public, if we focus on keeping our social distancing, if we think twice about bringing people over who we haven’t been spending much time with and bring them over for a social occasion, if we do those things, if we do everything that we can to stay safe, yeah, we can control this. We can control this, but we’re at a tipping point, this thing could go either way. And so we have it within our control about how bad the situation is going to get with our hospitals. But I’m an optimist, I’m seeing progress with people wearing masks. I think we can do it. And I’m betting on the people of Ohio that we can in fact do this and that we’re not going to see a overload like we’re seeing in Florida or Texas or California.
Ben Schwartz: (01:14:29)
Hello Governor, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. Governor more and more schools are announcing their back to school plans for next month. Many are implementing blended learning and limited class sizes. How do you think this will affect fall sports in high school, especially with a number of seasons set to start in the coming weeks and with sports like football and soccer that have more than a dozen players per team?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:14:57)
I just don’t know yet. And I know everybody would like to know, everyone would like predictability, but our ability to have fall sports, all sports that we want to see, our ability to go back to school in a safe way, it really depends on what we’re going to do in the next couple of weeks. And so we’ve got to have everybody wear a mask. We’ve got to have everybody just, or the vast majority of people wear a mask. People need to be careful. We can take this thing down. It’s coming up on us, but we can certainly take it down. So I don’t have a crystal ball, can’t predict, but it’s within our hands what we do in the next few weeks.
Jim Provance: (01:15:44)
Hello, Governor, Jim Provance with the Toledo Blade. This is a followup to Jake’s question a moment ago. Your initial shutdown of the state’s economy was designed to give hospitals time to prepare, to expand capacity for a potential surge in cases. Those emergency plans were, for the most part, not put into play because that initial surge never happened. What is the status of those plans and how quickly can they be put into play if necessary?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:16:14)
Every hospital did a good job. Some hospitals spent a lot of money in planning. One of the things that we check with them, we were checking with them, I wasn’t on the call, but we checked with them today, last 24 hours, is what is their build out capacity and how fast can they do it? So they all know where they’re going, they all know if there’s a surge, where physically they’re going, they all know what they’re going to do. Some of them, for example, will take their current hospital and add ICU beds right in their hospital, they may add additional “regular” beds in someplace else, but they all know where they’re going. And so we would not be starting over again, we are a long way from where we were the first time. Everybody’s got their plans, everybody’s had contact with where they’re going, so I feel confident that if we reach that point and we hope we never do, but if we reach that point, that hospitals are ready to move.
Patrick Cooley: (01:17:32)
Hi, Patrick Cooley here with the Columbus Dispatch. So my question is about testing. You mentioned our testing capacity has gone up quite a bit. Are we where we need to be and if not, how close are we?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:17:49)
We’ve doubled testing, we need to double it again. That’s my best guess. And I will be very candid, we’ve taken this testing up, we’re averaging probably now 21,000, something like that, 22. We were at 12, we were at eight, not too long ago really. What is starting to happen again and this has been an ongoing process, is a lot of testing is being done, obviously, in the Southern States, we put up there a while ago, and there’s now a real crunch again, sometimes for some of the ingredients, if I can use that term, that go into testing. And so we are now having, for example, some companies that we have contracts with, that are cutting down the contract, they’re saying we can’t supply you with as much testing. We’re still trying to build out that testing, but it’s a problem that every state is facing, every Governor is facing, every Governor is trying to do battle with.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:19:02)
So we’re trying to expand the actual testing. We have been, we’ve been successful, but if you ask me, where should we be, where would I like to be today? I’d like to be a lot more testing than we have now. You have to also have the tracing that goes with it. And again, we also focus a lot on making sure our health departments have what they need and are able to get the tracers that they need.
Patrick Cooley: (01:19:30)
Just a quick followup. So if we need to double testing capacity again, I mean, do you have an idea of how long that’s going to take?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:19:40)
Look, it’s aspirational, I mean, we’re a lot better off than we were. You asked me where I’d like to be, or at least that’s what I answered, is where we’d like to be and we’d like to double what we have now. We’re going to go into testing, for example, in staff that works in congregate care, we’re going to be doing that very regularly. That’s going to consume a lot of testing capacity, but we also need to be out in the communities, we need to be in, we talked about today, we’re going to be in more apartment buildings, for example, when people are living close to each other. There’s a lot of testing that we should be doing, but it’s not just testing, you have to have the tracing that goes with the testing, you have to be able to follow this.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:20:26)
And let me just say, make an appeal, one of the things that we discussed with all the health directors this past week, is the tracing and people’s willingness to help them. And so I’m going to make a special appeal to those who are in their 20s to please be cooperative when you get that call from the Health Department, help them out. All we’re trying to do is to make sure that we slow the spread of this disease, that we slow the spread of the virus. And so giving them information and helping them is something that’s very kind that you can do for your community and for others.
Patrick Cooley: (01:21:07)
Kevin Landers: (01:21:11)
Hello, Governor Kevin Landers, WBNS 10TV. When we have election fraud in our state, we stop an election and do a recount. Under House bill six, we’ve got a cloud of bribery and a strong allegation of other misdeeds. Explain again why you don’t think, why you don’t support repealing HB6 and maybe having a vote so that we have the transparency that you’ve called for. And also your campaign took donations from First Energy, have you considered of giving that money back?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:21:43)
We are going to give money back to anybody that has been charged, not to those who have been charged, I said that wrong. Anybody who gave us money, we’re checking, but anybody who gave us money, who has been charged, we’re going to donate that money to charity. They should not benefit from it, frankly, the charity should get that. We’re thinking about taking that money and maybe send it to food banks, which we have a big need for certainly. As far as First Energy, look, they’re not even named in the indictment, it wasn’t an indictment, but not named in the affidavit. It would appear that First Energy’s name is in there, also First Energy, the spinoff group and so we’re going to see. Look, the US attorney said the investigation is not over. If they’re charged, we certainly would give back any campaign money and we would, again, wouldn’t give it back, we’d give it to charity. So we have no problem doing that at all.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:22:42)
Going back to the first part of your question, look, the House can bring this matter back up, Senate can bring this matter back up. The policy is good policy because people did bad things, does not mean that the policy is not a good policy. Now we can disagree, some people vote against the bill, some people are against it, but certainly it can be brought back up again. And my position is going to stay the same on the policy, not on how it was done, but on the policy. Policy is in my opinion, good policy. If we have any chance of having, in the immediate future, carbon free energy production of any significance in the state of Ohio, it has to come from nuclear. We also have a lot of families that are represented in those two nuclear power plants. So the policy is the right policy in my opinion, but that matter can be brought back up by the House, certainly can be brought back by the Senate, they can re-vote it if they want to re-vote it.
Kevin Landers: (01:23:52)
Luis Gil: (01:23:56)
Hello Governor. This is Luis Gil with Ohio Latino TV. And this will be the last question. Governor, your plate was full before the investigation came down the pipe yesterday and it puts another dark day in Ohio. And all you need is the frogs and the locusts and you will have a plague. Hopefully Ohio will have leave his dark days behind. Governor, I do remember when voting for this energy bill, it was confusing. You didn’t know is yes means no, or no means yes. Is there legislation that can be put in so when the voters come to the ballot or the election day, yes means yes and no means no?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:24:47)
Well, certainly our plate was full before this, certainly it’s been an interesting year, certainly not the year anyone thought was coming. But look, I have a great deal of confidence in Ohio, the people of the state of Ohio, we’re a resilient, tough people, we will get through this like we’ve gotten through other things. I think that as we’ve talked about, one of the things that legislature should look at is how do we get more transparency? How do we shine light on this? We have to live with what the Supreme Court has said in regard to the first amendment and free speech. And some of this activity, as far as the money, the spending of money being part of free speech as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the country.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:25:40)
But I think the legislature should look at this. Maybe use this as an opportunity to examine if there are ways to make people come forward, they have a constitutional right to spend money, but it would seem to me that spending it in public so that everybody knows where that money is coming from, is certainly very, very important. Look, people assumed, I think most people, at least around Capitol Square assumed that proponents of this and certainly that could have been the energy company, may have been behind this as far as money, but letting the public know exactly who’s paying for what, it seems to me to be a smart thing to do. John, I don’t know if you want to add anything to that.
You asked the question about yes means yes, no means no. The Ballot Board, when it’s a ballot issue before the people of Ohio, is supposed to clarify that, they’re supposed to do yes means yes, no means no. Making sure that the ballot language is clear, the Secretary of State plays a role in that. And then if the Ballot Board doesn’t get it right, then the Supreme Court takes that up. You can sue, you can take it to the Supreme Court. That process has worked pretty well over the years. The Supreme Court has a firm test on this. And so that’s the process for how, when it gets to the ballot, yes means yes, no means no and the language is clear.
Although albeit that when a group pays money to collect signatures, they get to write their own language in terms of what the ballot initiative says itself and that can be confusing, but that’s Ohio’s process for making, to do initiative petitions, constitutional amendments in terms of how they can access to the ballot. So there’s no doubt if a well funded organization, whether that be the casinos, whether that be repeal efforts on right to work, all kinds of things that we’ve seen over the years where money and influence can impact the way that the voters see language that appears before them.
Luis Gil: (01:27:56)
Candidates that come in for elections and how people will engage on the Republican candidates and so on, that perhaps they get a negative side for new candidates coming through the election.
There’s a big echo so I couldn’t hear the question very well. I don’t know if the Governor did.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:28:20)
No, I did not, the echo. For those of you who are at home, they’re in the basement of the State House and that room has very tough acoustics. So I couldn’t-
Luis Gil: (01:28:33)
Would they have negative repercussions on election day?
Say that one more time. Say it one more time, yeah.
Luis Gil: (01:28:47)
Can you hear me? Would they have negative repercussions on election day for candidates in November?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:28:57)
Oh, I guess we’ll have to see what impact that has. I’m not sure. I don’t have a crystal ball for that one. Not yet anyway.
Luis Gil: (01:29:10)
Well, thank you.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:29:15)
Thank you very much. We’ll end with a video, we’ve seen some people come up with some great videos. This comes from, as you will see, clearly from Cincinnati.
Fane Maynard: (01:29:34)
Hi, there I’m Fane Maynard here with Fiona, asking everyone to stay at zebra length apart and wear a mask.
Speaker 11: (01:29:43)
Keeping everyone safe and healthy is our goal.
Speaker 12: (01:29:53)
Never leave home without it.
Speaker 13: (01:29:59)
I really don’t know what the big deal is.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:30:04)
All right. Those were some happy thoughts. Indians and Red’s start playing for real this week. So look forward to seeing you all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thank you very much.