Jul 28, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript July 28
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on July 28. He discussed daycares, an increase in COVID-19 cases across the state, and fairs. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Governor Mike DeWine: (04:12)
Well, good afternoon everyone. We’ll start with some happy news. Jeff Reddick and his wife Lindsey welcomed baby Francis Reddick into the world on Thursday, July 9th. Congratulations. Francis was born at 4:57 PM, Thursday, July 9th, weighing seven pounds, eight ounces, 20 inches. Today is Jeff’s first day back to the briefing. Jeff, welcome back, and congratulations. I’m wearing a tie today from Southern State Community College. They have four campuses, Hillsborough, Mount Orab, Washington Court House, and Wilmington. So to all those who have graduated from Southern State Community College, and everyone else who works there, congratulations for the great work that you all do.
Governor Mike DeWine: (05:04)
Yesterday, our Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Annette Chamber-Smith announced that she has tested positive for COVID-19. Director Chamber-Smith was tested on Friday, July 24th after she began not feeling very well. She received her positive test result yesterday, and she called me right after that. Contact tracing, the normal contact tracing has begun for staff who have been working at the Central Office, and may have come in recent contact with the director. Director Chambers-Smith has not physically been inside a prison since June, 26th, and has not been at the Central Office since last Tuesday, July 21st. She’s currently working from home where she called me, and managing her symptoms, which at this point are mild. We wish her certainly all the best.
Governor Mike DeWine: (06:08)
Fran and I in the last several weeks have had some of our friends who have come down with COVID-19. As I said, last week, one of our friends, Pat Flanigan died from that. Today, we learned another friend has COVID, and so we wish him all the best. I won’t say his name, but we wish him all the best. Let’s go, Eric, let’s look at the look at the slides if we can.
Governor Mike DeWine: (06:44)
So we look at the look at the case numbers, we’re kind of hovering around 13, 14, 1500. As you can see below that, tragically, the deaths were 38 in the last 24 hours that were reported, certainly is higher than the 21 day average. New hospitalizations, 140, that is higher than the 21 day average, and ICU admissions is up. Let’s look at the current number who were in the hospital, looking at the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients that are currently hospitalized in Ohio, we continue to see a consistent increase. As of today, we have 1,144 individuals who are currently hospitalized compared to 1,024 on July 15th. So those numbers are certainly not going in the right direction for us.
Governor Mike DeWine: (07:44)
Eric, let’s look at the next slide. This is some good news, and this is good news, and we certainly hope this trend continues. This chart shows the trend in emergency department visits. And as you recall, this is an early warning indicator, and as you can see, it went up for some time. It has now started to go down. We just hope that that continues. This is displayed as a seven day moving average, and it’s also behind. And again, I would emphasize this, the number of covert related emergency department visits increased from late March through early May, and then steadily declined until around June 11th. We then had a steady increase for about one month, with a peak around July, 12th. The good news is that we’re starting to see a decrease in the emergency department visits in recent days, and we hope that that keeps up. Again, these are delayed numbers, but we’re happy to see them start down.
Governor Mike DeWine: (08:54)
Let me just talk for a moment about maybe where we are. And it’s always tough to tell exactly where we are, but we’re looking at these numbers every single day. We believe we have started to see if a plateau in some of these numbers, certainly not in all the numbers, but if you look at the cases they have plateaued out for a while. We saw some increase on Saturday or Sunday, back down again a little bit, but this early warning one that we have up here is a good sign. So we’re happy to see that. And I’ll come back and talk about that a little bit later.
Governor Mike DeWine: (09:48)
Let’s turn now to the fairs, I want talk about our fairs. We have great fairs in the State of Ohio, independent fairs, County fairs. And our goal this summer was in spite of the COVID-19 to try to hold these fairs, and our goal was to focus on our young people. The essence of County fairs is really the young people who are in 4-H, FFA, young kids who are competing, not just those who raise lambs, or steers, or chickens, or goats, but also those who might take in a project in rockets, a project in welding. Fran and I know a young lady from Green County who, a number of years ago, that’s how she got interested in welding. We have kids who take photography. So all kinds of projects, and our goal was to preserve the County fairs for that purpose, again, the essence of the fair.
Governor Mike DeWine: (10:56)
To do that, we asked the fairs to discouraged congregation of large gatherings, gatherings of people on the County fairgrounds. We laid down some guidelines, very specific guidelines in regard to how many people could be in the grand stand, as far as the distancing that was taking place. Facial coverings for all employees were required, social distancing, the show ring, a grand stand there, and not really a grand stand, but in the barns where the livestock are shown, where the shows occur, we asked people to be respectful and let the family members come in and watch the show, so that people would not be so crowded together.
Governor Mike DeWine: (11:48)
In addition to that, working with the state legislature, we provided each fair $50,000 to be able to put on the fair, and the idea was that that would help them put on a much safer fair. We have worked with the fairs, we’ve also worked with the local health departments, and some of the fairs have done a very good job, they work very, very hard. But at this point, as we start to head into really the busiest part of the year of the summer with the County fairs, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we cannot have a regular safe fair in the Ohio summer, the COVID summer of 2020, that we simply cannot do that. Therefore we’ll be making the order that will take all fairs going forward to junior fairs.
Governor Mike DeWine: (12:57)
I want to say again, a shout out, we’re seeing some fairs that have done a very, very good job. Union County that has a junior fair, some fairs elected to do junior fair, some decided to do full fairs. Union County, they’re really working very, very hard, taking a lot of good safety measures to ensure that these fairs, their particular fair is safe. Clark County, judges there are reinforcing about wearing masks, and talking about masks. They’re reinforcing the importance of mask.
Governor Mike DeWine: (13:28)
So there’s good things going on out there, yet we’ve seen outbreaks connected with fares, we’ve seen a lack of distancing, we’ve seen even after the mask order was put on, we’ve seen fairs that clearly were not enforcing any kind of mask order at all. There have been pictures in the paper, there are pictures up on social media, and that’s just a real shame. It’s a real shame. So it’s clear that we cannot have fairs that are safe, full fairs, so we will preserve the fair, the junior fairs for livestock, photography, rockets, whatever, sewing, but going forward no grand stand events, no rides, no games, no carnival, and a curfew with the exception of a show that might go later than that, or a reason to be on the fairgrounds at curfew, at 10:00 PM.
Governor Mike DeWine: (14:42)
So all fairs that we’ll be starting on July 31st and after will be junior fair. And I think we’ve preserved the essence of the affairs, but I’m sorry that this simply did not work. We know that one fare had 19 people who tested positive for COVID, these people had all been to the County fair. Three others who tested positive, had been around someone who’d been at the fair. We now have an outbreak with connections to another fair, with a couple of confirmed cases, one probable, several other cases under investigation. And I guess my summation is that what we do at our County fairs, and what we do all summer, and everything we do is really going to determine what happens as we move forward, it’s going to determine what our Fall’s like, it’s going to determine whether our kids go back to school, how they go back to school. They’re going back to school, but the question is how they go back to school. It’s going to determine whether we can continue to grow the economy and jobs.
Governor Mike DeWine: (16:01)
And jobs. I think in life, we always set priorities and we decide what is important. And so with some good news, the one chart I showed up there, is we look forward. We’ve now had a few weeks, a couple of weeks with the mask order on, and we are starting to see, particularly in the red counties where that mask order has been on longer, we certainly are seeing a lot more people wearing masks by a big, big leap. My message and my plea to everyone going forward is if you live in a yellow county or an orange county, what you do as we move forward is going to determine how school will open, whether school will be able to continue. It’s going to determine our ability to grow the economy. So these are just very, very important things, and I would just ask everyone in the yellow counties, orange counties, start using those masks more. That’s going to make a difference.
Governor Mike DeWine: (17:18)
We don’t have to have everybody do it. We get 80, 90%, we’re going to knock this virus in the head and it’s going to make a lot better as we move forward in the fall and in the winter. If you’re concerned about playing, kids concerned about playing football, run cross country, tennis, whatever they like to do, be in plays, all the things that we want our kids to be able to do and our grandkids to be able to do, what we do now is really going to determine whether these kids are able to do that. So I’m going to ask everybody to keep the mask on when you’re out in public and we can make some progress and we’ll continue to make the progress.
Governor Mike DeWine: (17:59)
One of the things I talked about last week is we are now getting … We’re asking our local health departments to give us stories, to really explain how people get infected because I’ve always found that that stories are instructive. And I think there’s a natural tendency that we all have, myself included, that if we’re around family, if we’re around friends, we’re not as concerned. We may not be as likely to wear a mask. We may not be as likely to keep a social distance. And what we’ve seen is just a lot of casual events in our lives where people are not careful, they don’t wear a mask, they don’t social distance can lead to a lot of outbreak.
Governor Mike DeWine: (18:45)
Couple stories. This began on a 40 minute ride from one County in Ohio to a lake, and this was on the 4th of July. Here’s what happened. Four people rode together in a car to the lake. Dad, mom, their adult daughter and a family friend. The family friend had the virus, but certainly did not know it. The family friend ended up infecting the dad who ended up in the ICU in Pittsburgh. This dad has a business that had to temporarily close. Two of his employees then tested positive. Their daughter also got sick. She had mild symptoms. She was in the process of being hired for her first teaching job. Now that process is delayed because she has to have two negative coronavirus tests for the process to move forward. Luckily, the mom didn’t get sick. However, the reach of COVID-19 certainly did not even stop with that immediate family.
Governor Mike DeWine: (19:43)
The mom’s mother in her nineties and two caregivers … Excuse me. The mom’s mother’s in her nineties. She has two caregivers who have been around the family after exposure. They both tested positive. One of those caregivers ended up in the ICU. A different patient who the caregiver also took care of, also in her nineties, also got sick. It just goes on and on. After testing positive, the family friend’s employer had to temporary close so that the other stylists who worked the salon could quarantine. Luckily, since they wore their masks, none of them got sick. However, the family friend passed the virus on to her husband. His business had to temporary close while his employees quarantined. One of his employees was getting married and found out on her wedding day that she would need to quarantine. A different employee was on vacation and had to stay in the hotel for the rest of the vacation.
Governor Mike DeWine: (20:45)
Unbelievable. 10 people got sick. Two people ended up in the ICU. Three businesses were temporarily closed. Coworkers and family members were worried, inconvenienced, quarantined. The local health department’s team is still monitoring people who were exposed and they expect to learn of additional COVID-19 cases stemming from that single car ride.
Governor Mike DeWine: (21:11)
Another example of how one person can infect others involves a birthday party also in the Eastern part of the state. A woman went to get tested ultimately tested positive, but while waiting to receive her results, she decided to host her 50th birthday party with about 20 guests. Two of those guests run a home daycare center. One of them tested positive and they had to temporary close the daycare. A different guest who also works at a foster care group home for teenage girls also tested positive. Now that foster care has nine employees and six residents who have all tested positive. One of the teens is in the hospital.
Governor Mike DeWine: (21:55)
In another County, there is a charitable fundraiser in mid July with 100 to 200 people in attendance. It was a poker run that had dinner afterwards with a band on site. To date, they’ve had 46 cases tied to this charitable event. 31 of these cases are people who attended the fundraiser. 11 cases are people who gave the illness, I’m sorry, who they gave the illness to. Four cases are still being investigated but have ties to the event.
Governor Mike DeWine: (22:27)
Look, we don’t bring these up to shame anybody or to say they did something bad. We simply are trying to show is what we’re seeing and share with you what we see every day. And that is stories of average Ohioans who, because they’re not as cautious as they should be or they might be, we end up with a very, very significant spread. I think we can look at these stories as just instructive of how tough this virus is, how it spreads and how it certainly spreads from people who have no idea that they have the virus at all.
Governor Mike DeWine: (23:16)
Let me turn to another subject. In March, Tourism Ohio launched a campaign to support our local businesses during these unprecedented times. And I know you’ve seen a lot of these ads up along with the website, ohio.org support local. The campaign has included television ads, which is I see a lot this. This week, Tourism Ohio is launching a new ad in this campaign, the new TV commercial and digital ad encourages Ohioans to be safe while supporting local Ohio businesses by showing consumers wearing masks and social distancing and asking them to put safety first so you can make memories that last. Ohio is proud to be one of the first states to use our marketing advertising to show consumers and businesses being safe by washing hands, social distancing, and wearing masks. Let’s take a look.
Speaker 1: (24:12)
Ohio businesses have shown amazing strength by changing to keep us safe. Now it’s time for all of us to do our part so the places we love can stay open, like wearing masks, social distancing, and washing our hands. We’re in this together Ohio. Let’s put safety first so we can make memories that last.
Governor Mike DeWine: (24:42)
All right. Now, let me talk a little bit about childcare. I know it’s a subject that we’ve received a lot of inquiries about. People are obviously very very interested, particularly with school about to start. Many school districts, of course, are moving to online, part week options. What we’re seeing from our schools is all kinds of different decisions, all kinds of different options. Families, of course, are tracking that and families where both parents are working, who might have single moms, single dad, they’re making decisions about what they need to do along with their children. We know that children cannot learn unless they’re safe, unless they’re cared for, and without access to childcare, parents may resort to less than ideal options because they have no choice for their childcare. That might include relying on an elderly grandmother, a grandfather, who would normally everything would be fine, except today, they’re at a much greater risk for COVID and that would create certainly a great worry.
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:58)
We are announcing today that effective August 9th, childcare providers in Ohio may return to their normal statutory ratios and class sizes. Childcare providers will be given a choice and we will spell this out in the days ahead, and let me just go back a minute. If you’ll recall the childcare that has been on for the last several months during this pandemic, we’ve done absolutely everything we can to make it as safe as we can and to reduce the chances of spread of that virus. And one of the ways we’ve done it is we’ve reduced the ratio of the number of children per room, per adult, per caregiver. It is clear and while doing that, we have subsidized to the tune of, I think about $30 million a month of childcare providers, both those in the private sector that are not normally subsidized as well as those that are subsidized normally. So we’ve done that so that the childcare community would have sufficient dollars to be able to run the childcare in the manner that we felt it needed to be run with the reduced ratios.
Governor Mike DeWine: (27:26)
It’s also clear, however, particularly with school getting ready to start back up and a lot of different demands beyond parents, that that system would no longer work. And we’ve received comments from people who had a hard time getting into childcare. So what we’re doing now, and what we’ll do beginning in the first part of August, is we will give childcare providers a choice. They can get a significant subsidy and they will, if they do that, they will need to keep a small ratio, or if they elect not to do that, then they will go back to the normal statutory ratio.
Governor Mike DeWine: (28:10)
I know we’ve received some questions in regard to outbreaks connected with childcare. The best data that we could come up with would indicate that we’ve had 442 people since the pandemic began. And of that group, 306 were staff, 136 were children who came down positive, who were in childcare. Now Jobs and Family Services went back and tried to determine, this is imprecise art, but tried to determine how many of those actually came out of the childcare setting and how many may have come directly from community spread. And again, difficult to totally have that figured out, but it looks like about three, four, so those came from community spread. About a fourth came from that childcare setting itself.
Governor Mike DeWine: (29:17)
Even with increased classroom sizes, childcare providers still have to comply with very stringent health and safety requirements. These include face coverings for all staff and children over 10 unless they have a health exemption, symptom and temperature checks when staff and children arrive, washing hands throughout the day including upon arrival and before departure, frequent cleaning of high-touch services and regular deep cleaning. Additionally, providers will report any COVID cases to the Department of Jobs and Family Services as well, of course, to their local health department. We will continue to closely monitor reports of COVID everywhere and certainly including childcare, as well as we will continue to look at compliance with rules and best practices and respond as needed to keep our children, family, and teachers safe.
Governor Mike DeWine: (30:15)
I might add one additional thing to that, and that is there is a fairly large study that is going on that Ohio has participated in childcare. It is possible that data will come back from that and we do not have that data yet, may necessitate or indicate some additional changes, but we’ll have to see that study. And it’s a quite large study, not just in Ohio, but across the country, but Ohio participated significantly in that study and we anxiously await the results of that study.
Governor Mike DeWine: (30:50)
Let me just say all our childcare providers, those people who work every day, who are out there with our children, thank you. These are not easy jobs in normal times, and they’re certainly not easy times as we live with this COVID. So thank you for taking care of the children. I know so many of you do this just out of a deep passion and love for children, and we are very, very grateful for that. Ready to go to the questions.
Kevin Landers: (31:40)
Good afternoon Governor. Kevin Landers, WBNS-10 TV. Why are counties in red continuing to allow high school athletes to train in groups? We have athletes in Westerville and Bexley here in Central Ohio who’ve tested positive and their sports were shut down. And on that same note, Columbus has now closed bars at 10:00 o’clock and do you believe other counties in red should do the same? Thank you.
Kevin Landers: (32:02)
…In red should do the same. Thank you.
Governor Mike DeWine: (32:05)
Well, first of all, I’ve talked with Mayor Ginther over the last week about that decision. I applaud the decision. I think it’s the right decision. We’ll have additional discussion about this on Thursday, about bars. So nothing today, but we’ll come back on that. Look, let’s talk about sports. And let me just talk about it, if I could, in the context of schools in general. We’re all in a difficult period. We’re living in a period of time when we don’t know what the future is. We will in fact determine the future by what collectively we do. We’ve got mixed numbers. As I indicated, some of the early warning signs look better, look pretty good. We hope those continue, the number of people with COVID who are showing up in emergency rooms. We are seeing, particularly in the red counties that have been red the longest, significant increase in the use of masks. That is a very, very positive thing. On the negative side, we’re not going down yet in cases, certainly. We’ve got a high number of cases. Our positivity number has been fairly steady. We hope we’ve hit a plateau, and we hope it starts going down. So a lot of mixed things as we look at this.
Governor Mike DeWine: (33:35)
So we have schools, we have superintendents, we have school boards, we have parents who are trying to figure out what’s this world going to look like in four weeks, three weeks, when we start back to school, and no one can tell them. I can’t tell them. No one can tell them. So they’re having to make difficult decisions. We’ve got young people who are going to be doing something this summer, and it’s a balance and a decision that parents make, whether or not being involved in some organized sports is a better use of their time and maybe safer or more dangerous, depending on how the parent looks at it, than what else that child would be doing during that period of time.
Governor Mike DeWine: (34:23)
So I hope that if we pull together as Ohioans over the next two, three, four weeks, we can remove some of this ambiguity. We can remove some of this uncertainty, and we can start getting a pathway, and the pathway needs to be going down in cases. And we need to see that, and we need to see it all over the state of Ohio. We need to see it in your school district. We need to see the positivity number start to go down. That’s what we need to do. We can do this, but we’ve got to pull together and work together. So my only point, Kevin, is parents are making tough choices, and these tough choices are only going to get more difficult if we don’t get control of this virus. So let’s get control of this virus.
Noah Blundo: (35:21)
Good afternoon. Noah Blundo with Hannah News Service. Governor, today Columbus city schools said it will start its school year virtually for the first nine weeks. The Ohio Education Association just said that they would like that to be the case for any purple or red county school building. Do you think those are wise decisions, and what are you going to be looking for to determine whether you will take action to send children back to all remote learning, as you did in the fall?
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:55)
Well, that’s a very good question. The answer I just gave is probably the best answer I can give. And that simply is that if we do what we need to do, we can start these numbers going in the right direction. We are at a crucial time, and these are tough decisions. Look, we’ve got grandkids who live five miles from each other, and the schools are about the same size. In one school, the decision was made for the first, what they describe as the first quarter, totally remote. The other school made the decision basically that you can be remote if you want to, but the norm is going to be back in school full time.
Governor Mike DeWine: (36:46)
I don’t think any of us frankly have enough information at this point to know which one of those decisions is the right decision or the wrong decision. What we have done in regard to schools, we have a long, long history of schools making up their own decisions. We even let schools in the state decide when they start school. We let them decide all kinds of different things. And that’s because we have 600 and some school districts, very, very diverse, different situations, different kids, different parents, different cultures. And so we historically do that. Now, we’ve given them some very significant guidance, and we may add to some of that guidance on Thursday, but we’ve given them some guidance, but we’ve let that difficult decision about how they start back in or when they start back in up to them.
Governor Mike DeWine: (37:38)
If we get to the point where there’s a clear answer and it’s clear which way we should go, and I think we’ve got kids in danger, if I see kids in danger in this state, and I know they’re in danger, we will take action. But at this point, no one can say that one school district is making a wrong decision and the other school district is making a right decision. I think it’s very, very, these are very tough and difficult decisions. The good thing that the schools are doing is that they all have looked at this as we need alternatives, and they’re giving parents choices. So those are two very, very positive things that the schools are doing, but we could intervene. I may intervene. But certainly there’s not enough data yet to make any kind of call like that. We’re not in that position to do it, or to judge and say that’s wrong, that’s right. Every day we get closer we’re going to know more.
Max Filby: (38:45)
Hi, Governor. Max Filby with the Columbus Dispatch. Over the weekend, we and other media outlets reported that you were in meetings with Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House task force, discussing the rise in positivity rates in places like Columbus and Cleveland. I’m wondering if you can tell us a little bit about how those meetings went and what your communication with the White House moving forward will be, in terms of trying to lower those positivity rates?
Governor Mike DeWine: (39:13)
In fact, I’ve got a call at 3:00, 20, 22 minutes from now, with the vice president and Dr. Birx and others at the White House, along with the other governors. We had a great, great discussion. We did it primarily virtually. She was in Columbus. She gave us her take on what was going on. She has a concern about the Midwest, a concern about Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, rest of the Midwest. She shared some thoughts about that. The good thing about these meetings is that you can really get down into the details. And so we had a very good discussion with her in regard to testing, and some possibilities, things that she suggested.
Governor Mike DeWine: (40:04)
And then we went back. I can’t really talk about this yet, because we haven’t got anything worked out yet, but she had an idea, and then we came back with some information to her. And so we’re going to continue to go back and forth with that discussion. But she was very engaged. Her staff was very engaged. We’ve been able to follow up with them since that discussion. But she understands the important role that testing, and timely testing, and getting results back plays in all of this. And so a lot of our discussion had to do with testing. I don’t think it’s any secret. The White House’s guidelines have been that in some of our counties, what they call our yellow counties, their recommendation would be to shut bars down. And we talked about that. So, but there was a good discussion. Very helpful.
Max Filby: (41:08)
Jim Otte: (41:14)
Hi, Governor. Jim Otte from WHIO-TV in Dayton. Switching gears here, I wanted to ask about what may be happening either next or eventually in response to the federal [inaudible 00:41:26] here. To what degree, Governor, would you support reform legislation that would eliminate so called dark money campaign groups, the 501c4s. It would eliminate that and add some sunshine to this. Whether that’s action here or elsewhere, would you support that?
Governor Mike DeWine: (41:45)
What I have said, Jim, is I’m for as much openness as possible, but I don’t want to mislead anybody who’s watching this today. The mere existence of these dark groups is not illegal today. Virtually every race, statewide race today for a major office, not just in Ohio, but across the country, has an independent expenditure group. My guess is that there is not anybody who’s running for the U.S. Senate, Democrat or Republican, in this country that doesn’t have an independent expenditure group that has been set up.
Governor Mike DeWine: (42:32)
So as we look at this, I think we have to distinguish between the allegations in regard to Mr. Householder, that part of those allegations that talk about something that was illegal, versus the mere existence of independent expenditure groups, which is not illegal. Your question is the right question, and your question is, okay, Mike, what would you favor? Look, I would favor total transparency. So the contributions that are given have to be disclosed. What I don’t know, and I’ve asked my team to look at this, is what we can do based upon the U.S. Supreme Court case of Citizens United, which took a very expansive view of speech, political speech, and equated it to the expenditure of money. And not only that case, but subsequent interpretations of that case, whether or not what kind of legislation that we could actually get through that would be constitutional, because we have an obligation not to pass something that’s not constitutional.
Governor Mike DeWine: (43:49)
So my commitment is, to the people of Ohio, that we will do whatever we can to have more openness. And we will come back with a recommendation to the general assembly. And I’m sure members of the general assembly are looking at things of that nature, as well, as well they should. We intend to work with the general assembly on this.
Jim Otte: (44:10)
Thank you, Governor.
Ben Schwartz: (44:16)
Good afternoon, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. Governor DeWine, Dr. Anthony Fauci was on Good Morning America this morning and flagged Ohio among a handful of other states, specifically Midwest states, that he’s worried about with COVID-19 cases. He warns that if proper precautions aren’t taken that spikes that happened in states like Florida and Texas, Ohio could become those next. I’m wondering if you have a response to that warning.
Governor Mike DeWine: (44:53)
Correct. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. A spotlight should be on the Midwest today. I had the opportunity to talk to the governor of Kentucky, as well as Indiana yesterday. The three of us talk every week. Our numbers are not totally dissimilar. They’re fairly close, and we’re all concerned. We’re all concerned about what’s going on in our states. As I said, there is some good news out there. If you look at the early warning signs, people going into hospitals, we hope it’s not a blip. We hope it’s real. Those numbers are starting to go down. But we’re seeing hospitalization go up. We’re seeing cases at a high, historically high level. And so, yeah, we’re very, very concerned.
Governor Mike DeWine: (45:37)
I do believe that we’ve seen some progress in regards to people wearing masks. I believe that that has resulted in some of these better numbers. And I think if we all do that, even in counties where they may not think they have much COVID, if they can keep their county a yellow county or an orange county, keep yellow, yellow, orange, orange, we’re going to be a lot better off. And we’re going to, again, have a better opportunity to get people back to work, better opportunity to have school and sports and all the things that we want to have in the fall. So the warning is heeded. The warning is correct. And the doctor is not the only one that’s saying that. Dr. Birx said the same thing, as well, to us this weekend.
Ben Schwartz: (46:21)
Andy Chow: (46:26)
Hi, Governor. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. You were mentioning the events that lead to the spread of COVID-19, fundraisers and road trips. There are people who plan these events and they say, “Well, I’m taking my own risk. I know the risk, and I’m going to take that risk, because that’s what I want to do.” What’s your message to people who say that it’s that risk that they’re willing to take?
Governor Mike DeWine: (46:54)
One of the few times in our life when we know what we do or don’t do every single day will impact other people’s health, maybe their lives. That’s a pretty awesome responsibility that we all have. And it’s not a question of, okay, I decide to go do something risky and the only person who’s going to get hurt is me. It’s a different story. We may tell someone, “I wish you wouldn’t do that,” but to some extent, we look at that person and say, okay, they’ve got to make their own choice. That’s very different, though, when we’re talking about COVID-19, that is very, very contagious.
Governor Mike DeWine: (47:34)
The one story I told there, just think how many people were impacted by one car ride, how many people were impacted by one charitable event. And it goes well beyond people who decide to attend or not attend the event. It may be a spouse. It may be a grandmother. It may be a coworker when they go back to the office the next week. And what makes this so different, so different than so many things that we deal with in life…
Governor Mike DeWine: (48:03)
… so different than so many things that we deal with in life, is that there’s no symptoms many times. There’s no symptoms. And again, that’s why the advice, in regard to masks, for example, has certainly evolved. When we started this, I don’t think we had really a clue how many people could have this and not have symptoms. Today we do. We’ve got a pretty good idea. And so the advice has evolved. So I would say to anyone who thinks it’s about them, it’s not about you. It’s about everybody else. And you’re entitled to take your own chances. You’re not entitled to take chances on somebody else’s life.
Jackie Borchardt: (48:44)
Good afternoon. This is Jackie Borchardt from the Cincinnati Inquirer. Ohio State University announced today plans to go forward with home games at about 20% capacity, about 21,000 fans in the Shoe. That seems to go against even the move you just made earlier today, closing down large events at the fairs. Do you support this plan?
Governor Mike DeWine: (49:09)
I was not aware of it. I think we all love Ohio State football. At least most of us do. We’ve got a few outliers, Michigan, or Penn State, or somebody else, but most Ohioans love Ohio State football. It’s part of our fall. It’s part of what we like to do. But again, we have to determine priorities, and it’s too early, frankly, to determine what is safe. It’s too early to determine whether putting over 20,000 people at Ohio State Stadium is really a safe thing or not. I don’t think we know that. So it’s okay to plan. I think planning is good, but whether it’s 20%, or 10%, or something else, I don’t think we know at this point in time.
Governor Mike DeWine: (50:07)
What I think we always have to be concerned with when we’re talking about any kind of sport, particularly a big sport. You know, Browns, Bengals, Reds, Indians. If we talk about people going there, it’s not just what happens inside the ballpark or inside the stadium. I have every confidence that these great professional teams, and Ohio State, great university, they can figure out where to seat people and keep them safe at some level. I don’t know what that level is yet, but at some level. But the real concern is, “Well, what happens before? What’s the ingress, egress? What are all the other things that go along with having that many people in one site?” Even though it’s a big place, it’s still 20,000-some people or 10,000, or whatever number we end up deciding upon.
Governor Mike DeWine: (51:05)
So I think, look, it’s fine for Ohio state to plan. We all love to look at the schedule, and of course they’ve already taken off the non-Big 10 schedule, but we sure hope we have football in the fall. We sure hope we have school in the fall. We hope our kids can play Friday night football in the fall, and run cross country, and do other things, but it’s too early. We cannot tell. And we’re going to, again, control that. And so for those who love Ohio State football, no matter what county you live in, if we can wear the mask, and if we can be careful, it increases our odds. No guarantees in life, but it certainly increases our odds of being able to do that.
Shawn Lanier: (51:52)
Shawn Lanier with NBC4. I had a question regarding, you brought up some stories about how families are traveling and still spreading it to other people because of just behavioral things that they’re doing. But now we’re talking about opening back daycares up to a full capacity, for some of them. Any concerns with the children not being able to follow these behaviors of social distancing and spreading it to their families? Just explain a little bit of the thought process of getting them back to full capacity.
Governor Mike DeWine: (52:24)
Cue for the question, because I don’t think I’ve … There’s been few things that I’ve agonized over as much as childcare. I became convinced that the alternative was children in unsafe conditions, as people go back to work and as kids go back in the fall, and other things happen. We had, for the summer, I think the safest childcare in the country. At least by the regulations we have, the ratios we have, we were some of the most conservative, in the sense of conservative being safe ratios.
Governor Mike DeWine: (53:07)
Now, I caught a lot of hell for that, and a lot of people were upset. Certainly a lot of the childcare providers were upset. We did subsidize some of them. We subsidized anybody that was doing that, and anybody that was following that. But I became convinced that the alternative, a lot of these choices are one choice or the other. Neither one is exactly what you want. That the alternative of these kids not having a place to go, the grandparents taking kids, and particularly grandparents who might have a medical condition or might be older, and all the other things that were going on, that our daycare providers, who do a good job, were better able to take care of these kids.
Governor Mike DeWine: (54:01)
So then we looked at and said, “Okay, how can we maybe continue some of these smaller ratios?” And we came back with the idea that we would take money, and this was the CARES. Some of the CARES Act money, and we would subsidize some of these daycares. And basically we would let the market control the daycares that wanted to operate under a smaller ratio, and we would give them the subsidy. That would be fine. The ones who would go back to what the statutory numbers are, in those particular cases, they would not get the subsidy. So this is the best that we could come up with in a very difficult situation.
Governor Mike DeWine: (54:50)
I asked our Jobs and Family Services to give me the numbers, and I read those numbers. Because frankly, I wanted to see how many kids and adults ended up with COVID. And so I gave you those numbers earlier on, and I want to be able to look at that. We also, as I said, are participating in a sort of first of its kind study, very large study, that is aimed at our childcare workers. And the study compares childcare workers who, when the pandemic hit, went home. Their childcare facility closed. They didn’t work. They went home, versus those who stayed and continued to work. And so that study is trying to track both of them, and frankly is trying to see what increased risk they have by working in childcare.
Governor Mike DeWine: (55:49)
Because if you talk about the risk, the risk are, a kid gets sick and then takes that home to the family, and you have community family spread, and community spread. But the other risk is to that childcare worker. That childcare worker who may be obese. That childcare worker who may be older. That childcare worker who may have diabetes. Any kind of additional medical problem. And so they are at risk. And so what this study is trying to determine is, how much more at risk are they? Are they more at risk than if they were doing something else? And so it should be instructive to us.
Governor Mike DeWine: (56:29)
It also is aimed at looking at what variables you change in childcare to get a better result. I mean, we’ve come up with what we think is the best. We don’t have any data behind it, because no one has done the study. So when that study comes back, we are going to know more, and I’m sure we will go back out into the field to our childcare providers and say to them, “Okay, this is probably the most important thing you got to do.” And ask them to do those things. Long answer, but it’s been a very, for me, a very kind of agonizing decision. And I know that, look, we’ve inconvenienced people. We we’ve caused some difficulties for people. Our goal is to keep kids safe and the adults who are taking care of them safe, and to slow community spread. That’s been our goal. That remains our goal.
Karin Johnson: (57:25)
Good afternoon, Governor. Karin Johnson, WLWT in Cincinnati. Kentucky just closed bars and limited the number of people allowed in restaurants. Are you considering the same restrictions? Also, your contact sports order expires in three days. Can you please give these coaches, players, leagues some kind of direction?
Governor Mike DeWine: (57:49)
Not today, I can’t. And again, as I said, these are tough calls. They’re tough calls for coaches. They’re tough calls for the parents, and they’re tough calls for the Governor and for the Lieutenant Governor. We are at a critical stage in this virus. We don’t know which way it’s going to go. If we knew where it was going to be in four weeks or three weeks, we would be in much better position to make a decision in regard to sports. But we also understand that if you’re going to play football in the fall, you got to be conditioning. You got to be ready. We understand there is a progression. And so up to this point, we’ve allowed the practices, and we’ve allowed certain things to take place as far as conditioning. And so we’ll do that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (58:29)
As far as the bars, we’re in the process of doing a deep dive on that. Frankly, what we’re looking at is to determine how many cases came out of bars, that we can trace back to bars. And we’re looking at that, and we’ll have more shortly, but not today.
Max Filby: (58:55)
Hi, Governor. Geoff Redick from ABC 6 here in Columbus. I’m the last question. By the way, thank you for the material for my son’s graduation party in 18 years, I’m sure. You’ve instituted orders like today’s that end up taking place a week later or several days later. For example, in this case, there are county fairs scheduled to go forth before July 31. Why not issue these immediately? A lot of people say, “Why wait, when the activities you’re naming as dangerous are already set to go on?”
Governor Mike DeWine: (59:30)
This goes off, our order goes into effect on the 31. So that’s pretty close in time. Look, fairs that are already taking place, I felt it would be very, very disruptive to go in there and tell them that they have to change their fair in the middle of the fair. I think it’s very difficult. There’s some sense of fairness. It’s going to be tough enough to do that to county fairs that are going to start this weekend, but we felt it was urgent enough, important enough to do that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (59:59)
I’m going to end with a plea to everybody in the 10 counties that are out there where fairs are going on now. Please be careful. Please wear a mask. I’ll say to the members of the fair board, please follow the guidelines that we’ve already given you in regard to fairs, and then add to that guideline, of course, the state order in regard to wearing masks. We want your fair to be as safe as that fair can be. And you are ultimately responsible for your fair, so please keep people safe. And to the local health departments, I will say the same thing. You are ultimately responsible as well. And we know you both will do a good job, and hope everybody has fun at the fair. Thank you very much. We’ll see you all on Thursday at 2:00. Thank you.