Jul 7, 2020
Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript July 7
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on July 7. Read the full coronavirus news briefing speech transcript here.
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Mike DeWine: (06:54)
Good afternoon, everybody. I’m wearing an Ohio mask that Fran made, and I’m wearing a tie from Clark State. Clark State is in Clark County, two-year college. In Springfield this past Sunday, the Springfield News-Sun spotlight a campus group called Men of Clark State. Men of Clark state’s goals are to increase the success of African American men by raising retention and completion rates for African American males. They do this through academic advising, group mentoring, and introducing their members to community leaders who can provide career and social direction.
Mike DeWine: (07:40)
I want to take a moment, on a sad note, to honor Toledo police officer Anthony Dia. He was killed in the line of duty in the early morning of July 4th. Officer Dia was responding to a call for help with a man who was intoxicated in a Home Depot parking lot. The officer was fatally shot by the person that he was trying to help. He was just 26 years old. He leaves behind his wife, Jayme, their two sons. Fran and I extend our condolences to his family, to the chief, Chief Kral, and his colleagues in the Toledo Police Department. I’ve ordered the flags in Lucas County and at the state house be lowered until after the funeral today.
Mike DeWine: (08:49)
Last night, Representative Stephanie Howse of Cleveland, who is president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19. We are thinking of her, and she is certainly in our prayers. I watched last night a video that she posted. She said fortunately, her symptoms are mild. She had a cough, had lost her sense of taste and smell. Just wanted to let her know that we are thinking of her and praying for her and look for a quick recovery for her to be back in the state legislature. Let me take a moment to thank some of our partners who’ve been helping us get the word out about the importance of wearing masks in public. [inaudible 00:09:41] Procter & Gamble has donated creative work that’s part of a local effort in Southwest Ohio. We also have had generous donations of digital outdoor billboard space from the Ohio Outdoor Advertising Association and radio public service announcement time from the Ohio Association of Broadcasters. We are very grateful for that.
Mike DeWine: (10:09)
Let’s look at some of the data, and this is the key indicator. Numbers are always a little different coming off of a weekend, which is one of the reasons that we decided, frankly, to have our team look at this data every Wednesday. This is new data, but in order to make a determination about the color code that we have for every county, that determination is made at the middle of the week. You’ll see here that some of the trends that are continuing.
Speaker 1: (10:57)
[inaudible 00:10:57] because we all want to have a [inaudible 00:10:59].
Mike DeWine: (11:00)
So the cases last 24 hours, 948. That’s down a little bit from where we’ve seen it, but certainly is up significantly from where it was three weeks ago. It’s above the 21-day average. Of course, that 21-day average continues to increase as these numbers continue to go up.
Mike DeWine: (11:22)
If you look at the deaths, those are up over the average. Hospitalizations are significantly up for that particular day, as well as the ICU admissions. So the hospital admissions are creeping up, moving up, and that is obviously of some concern as we’ve talked about on last week,
Mike DeWine: (11:48)
As I shared last week, I want to talk about where we are with our counties. And this is the new county risk level alert. And again, I would put emphasis on alert. It is to alert people to where their county is to give them the opportunity to really understand the data. They can certainly go beyond the color and look at some of the data. But we think that this will give people a good indication of exactly where their county is. We’ll get back to that in a moment.
Mike DeWine: (12:23)
I want to share a bit more about some of the changes that we’re seeing, and this is a national trend. And that is that the age of those that are being diagnosed with COVID-19 is getting younger. This is a chart that our team put together. If you look at 0 to 19, for example, in March, it was about 2.5% of the total. If you look over here in June, 11.3%, and then these are just partial numbers, obviously. And in July, it’s 13.2%.
Mike DeWine: (12:56)
If you go down to the next one, those between the age of 20 and 29, you’ll see that in March, it was about 12%. If you see where that is today, it’s 24% and seems to be creeping up even a little bit more in July. So that’s a rather dramatic change.
Mike DeWine: (13:19)
One of the concerns that has been expressed … and I saw a story over the weekend. It was talking about the trend nationwide in having more young people who are coming down with COVID-19. And this observer said, and I quote, “The risk and mortality is going to be passed on to the most vulnerable, no matter who gets it first. The risk and mortality is going to be passed on to the most vulnerable, no matter who gets it first.” And so that is a big concern. We are seeing some young people who are getting pretty sick, but the other concern is that they pass it on to other individuals who are older, individuals who have more medical problems. That’s a great concern.
Mike DeWine: (14:12)
Last week, we talked about Franklin County, and we made the point that Franklin County was a red county, but also that it was fast approaching the next level, which would be the highest level, a level four. These are some numbers from Franklin County, and you can see the change. Cases have been increasing from June 13th to July 3rd. And what I would point out, on these numbers, these are all still considered tentative. They will be filled in. So they’re not complete yet. Certainly, the last couple are not complete, but you can see the trend line exactly where that is going. Again, we continue to have a great concern about Franklin County, as well as the other red counties that we’re seeing.
Mike DeWine: (15:09)
So let’s go back to the map. Last week, I announced our public health advisory system. Our public health advisory system uses a variety of data indicators to help us identify where the spread is increasing. Our experts believe that there is spread no matter what county you live in. It’s just a question of how fast the spread is occurring and how much the spread is taking place.
Mike DeWine: (15:36)
Currently, Ohio has seven counties that triggered a red level three public health emergency. And you can see the counties, again, Hamilton County, Butler County, Montgomery County, then into Franklin County. We’ve got Huron County, Trumbull County, and Cuyahoga County. Franklin County, as I said, is on our watch list. That’s close to becoming a purple level four public health emergency alert, which is the highest level.
Mike DeWine: (16:10)
Yesterday, I spoke to the health commissioners in all of those seven red counties. Some counties have two health departments, one in the city and one in the county. And I spoke, I believe, to every one of them. I asked them why we were seeing the spread and what their opinion was, what the data that they were seeing at the local level was. They told me pretty much the following. It’s spreading at large family gatherings, birthday parties, graduation celebrations, funerals. One of the local health commissioners told me that he is seeing in their county a lot of times the same names, which would indicate to him this arises out of a family, family unit, or maybe family gathering of some sort. They also told me that in some cases, it does spread [inaudible 00:17:03]-
Mike DeWine: (17:03)
… Important. They also told me that in some cases it does spread, it is spreading in the workplace, some tourist destinations, and in churches. One health commissioner told me about tragically, how a pastor and his wife both had it, and then it spread from there. In Huron County, which is current in the red level, in Huron County. One of the things as we looked at the data and got deeper into it, we did see initially spread in the non-Hispanic community, then it moved into the Hispanic community. But one of the things that we saw there as we talked to the commissioner, is that seven out of 10 current cases are in the non-Hispanic community. So they believe it’s quite widespread, not just in Willard, but throughout the county … Let me just say these health departments are doing a very good job under some very, very difficult circumstances …
Mike DeWine: (18:27)
Today, after talking to the health commissioners, after spending the weekend looking at some of this data, I am announcing that the Ohio Department of Health will be issuing an order that will be effective at 6:00 PM tomorrow night. It will impact seven of our counties. It will impact all seven of the red counties in the State of Ohio. And that is, the order is that it will be necessary for individuals who are out in public to wear a mask. Primarily this will be when they are in a public place inside. A restaurant, a bar, a jewelry store, some other place in public.
Mike DeWine: (19:17)
This will stay on, this order will stay on as long as that county is at a red level or a purple level. We certainly hope that these counties will drop out of that level, and if they do, our current order says that, and the mandate of the mask in public will go off. So this is aimed specifically at the seven counties where we are the most concerned. It does not mean that people should not wear a mask, or we wouldn’t ask them to wear a mask in public and every other county. We really do, we think it’s a good way for your county not to get into that red category, but it is only going to be required in those seven counties.
Mike DeWine: (20:08)
Let me just highlight a little bit of this. In these red counties, people will need to wear a mask in the following circumstances. When they are in any indoor location that is not a residence, when they are outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household, or while they are waiting for, or riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride sharing vehicle. So that’s the essence of the order.
Mike DeWine: (20:44)
This order does not apply to children under the age of 10, or any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering, or anyone who can not safely wear a face covering. The order also reflects the mass guidance that has existed for employees and businesses under their health and safety guidelines, which does not require a person to wear a mask if their physician advisers against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulations, if they are communicating with the hard-of-hearing, when alone in your own office, or your personal workspace, or other similar measures. So we’re going to basically follow the exceptions that have already been in existence for some time, in regard to the requirement that people wear a mask while at work. So we’re basically extending that order now for the red counties, and for individuals who are out in public.
Mike DeWine: (21:42)
Let me talk briefly about schools. This does not supersede any other school order that has been issued. Schools K through 12 should follow the guidelines set forth last week by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health. These orders really kind of go hand in hand with what experts have been telling us. I think you all saw experts that issued a statement yesterday, about the importance of wearing a mask and how far that these droplets can actually go.
Mike DeWine: (22:29)
Let me talk for a moment more about our red alert counties, and again, we are open to help any county, any of the 88 county, and the health departments, and local officials, but let’s just start with the red counties. We have contact tracers who are available to help the local county, and I know a number of counties, both red and otherwise, have asked us for help, and we’ve been able to help them. The Ohio National Guard is also prepared to come in, when your community wants them to come in, to do popup testing, to do testing for a day. That’s been exceedingly successful, particularly in going to underserved areas. So if you have an underserved area, we certainly will consider coming in and doing that … Jon?
Jon Husted: (23:25)
Thanks governor. The one thing I would add to that, because we have had a couple of questions on this, that while businesses are expected to urge their customers to do this, that a business is not required to enforce this. This is up to state and local officials. It’s not on the business to enforce it, but it is up to the business to comply and to encourage compliance with these rules. And additionally, we have a couple of announcements today around sports.
Jon Husted: (23:57)
We have a directors order that was issued on Friday that I want to talk about today, a health director order. It’s on a short term basis only that the Ohio Department of Health has issued an order allowing for contact and non-contact competition to resume for all sports, and you got to listen carefully to this to make sure that you understand the restrictions that are involved in doing so, because there are several of them that are really important. Tournaments, games and scrimmages between teams for contact sports is only permissible so long as the teams agree to the list of guidelines in the order, including such things as testing of all players, coaches, athletic trainers, support staff, officials before travel to the competition, and during, or going to, during the tenure of the stay. Daily symptom assessment, athletic trainers wearing masks and coverings while attending to players, coaches and officials are strongly recommended to wear face coverage when possible. Strict social distancing by players who are not actively engaged in the competition, immediate isolation and medical care for a participant who develops symptoms. These restrictions are required for any of these types of things to happen. The coronavirus.ohio.gov website will have these restrictions. The reason it’s important to notice today, because we’ve had several questions about different types of activities and do they qualify. The things that qualify are very limited. This is temporary. It ends on July the 15th. We hope to use this to inform our future decisions as it relates to return to play. This is temporary. It will be evaluated once we have more information, as this goes through July the 15th.
Jon Husted: (26:07)
Additionally, we’re starting a new campaign today. I want a seasoned campaign, and let me explain. I know that we all love sports. I love sports. So for the recreation, and the physical fitness, and health aspect that sporting activities provide, not to mention the life skills of teaching, particularly our young people, teamwork, and discipline, and the competitiveness, and the grit, and the resilience, and all of the things that we learn from these types of competitions. And over the past few weeks, we have seen a steady drop, as the governor alluded to earlier, in the age of people contracting coronavirus. More younger people are becoming infected at a higher rate.
Jon Husted: (26:53)
I want to go over again, the statistics that the governor covered earlier in July, and our limited data that we have in July. 26.4% of the cases are people the ages between 20 and 29, 13.2% between the age of zero and 19. That’s nearly 40% of all the cases for people under the age of 30, and when we’re talking about sports and competition, the two go hand in hand. Those are the age groups that in most cases we’re talking about.
Jon Husted: (27:28)
Can I give a potential reason for this? Of course I can. If you’re healthy, and you exercise, and you feel like you’re invincible, that you feel … I, at that age, would have probably had the same attitude, but there are a lot of reasons that you need to care about the spread of coronavirus, and particularly as it relates to our athletes who are competing in sports. Because you certainly have parents, or grandparents, or classmates who could be in a higher risk category, and you may not be worried about yourself as much, but you ought to be worried about them. And additionally, we have a couple more reasons.
Jon Husted: (28:12)
We all want to resume things that feel more like our normal lives, and playing sports is certainly one of them. But we have an opponent that we have to defeat along the way, and that’s the coronavirus, in particularly the spread of the coronavirus. And just think about the fact that if you get it, you’re going to be sidelined. You’re going to potentially cause your teammates to be sidelined. If you’re a sport that I love, like football, if you could be sidelined for weeks, that’s going to cost you a lot of your season.
Jon Husted: (28:47)
And so, we want to all get back on the track, or on the field, or on the court then all of us, particularly our athletes, need to help us slow the spread. And so, we’re launching the hashtag “I want a season campaign” today. We’ve been talking with a lot of professional, college, high school sports teams and athletes about helping to share this via social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, to tell your friends that we’re all in this together, that you’re wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing, and washing your hands, because you want to have a season.
Jon Husted: (29:24)
And I know that we have a video that we’re going to be posting out there, that will be at LG.Ohio.gov/iwanttohaveaseason, giving you all kinds of details about how athletes can get involved in sharing the word of how they’re in it together, that in protecting your teammates, and protecting you, you are putting yourself in a better place to have a season, to do the things that you love by making sure that you’re slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Jon Husted: (29:55)
And so, as we talked to young people, how to make it relevant in your life. Well, if you’re an athlete, this is super relevant in your life, because it depends on your ability to participate, your teammate’s ability to participate. It’s about what teamwork is all about, looking out for each other and helping each other through this on your way to victory. And not only do you want to defeat the team across the field, we all collectively want to defeat the coronavirus and restore many of those things that we enjoy in our lives. So, governor, thank you.
Mike DeWine: (30:25)
Lieutenant governor, thank you. We’re ready for questions.
Ben Schwartz: (30:35)
Good afternoon governor, Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati. My question is really just, if these mask orders in those seven counties do not help bring down coronavirus cases, is there any chance that we see those places or others move back into a stay at home order, or something along those lines?
Mike DeWine: (30:59)
I had an interesting conversation, bandwidth, actually Jon and I both did, with some folks who own restaurants and bars. And one person on the call said it pretty eloquently, and that is that, “If people are scared, they’re not going to come out and eat anyway.” So I think the biggest threat to us from an economic point of view, is this virus continuing to go up, and that is going to make it very difficult for us to move forward economically. So these two are tied very, very closely together. We thought that this was a surgical, precise approach to go in those counties that are red hot, frankly, where we have real problems going on and impose wearing the mask, wearing it in public, wearing it for other people. And we hope that, that’s going to have a big impact.
Mike DeWine: (32:03)
In the other counties that are yellow or orange, we would just urge people to do that as well. We’re not going to order it, but want them to do it. One of the things that we have learned, is the earlier that we do things, the more impact that we have. And so, there’s a real opportunity in these other counties to avoid getting to the red level, and with all of the things that go with that, and the danger that goes with it.
Mike DeWine: (32:39)
When you get to the red level, things are moving pretty fast. And so, if we can go in and people wear masks, people keep their distance in the other counties, and go in there as we’re upping the testing, continue to have additional testing. What we hope is that other counties don’t move into the red, and we hope that the red are able to at some point, drop back down to a different level. So, we’ll cross these other bridges when we come to them, but this is, I think, the most appropriate action for us to take at this time. We’re seeing a serious situation. We have to take action.
Jon Husted: (33:19)
[inaudible 00:33:19] to that from that call yesterday, and I have this a lot with businesses who are just saying, “Look, we want you to do the things, use every tool in the toolbox to allow us to stay open, so that we can have customers, that people will come in and want to do business, because we understand the balance between the health and economic consequences, and we want people to have jobs.” We want to grow the economy. We have to do two things at once. We’ve been saying this all along, and the strategies that we’ve been employing are designed to help people do that.
Laura Hancock: (33:58)
Hello governor, this is Laura Hancock from cleveland.com. I was just curious …
Laura Hancock: (34:03)
Laura Hancock from cleveland.com. I was just curious, with today’s health order, did Dr. Acton help you come up with the idea? What is her kind of interaction with you? What is the extent of her influence? How often do you talk to her? That kind of thing.
Mike DeWine: (34:19)
I talked to her this morning. I talk to her first virtually every day. She remains a major advisor. We gathered information and recommendations from a lot of people, but she remains a significant advisor in this administration. I’m glad she is.
Louis Gill: (34:49)
Hello, governor. This is Louis Gill with Ohio Latino TV. Governor, as the virus continues to increase in Ohio and perhaps the more testing is done is affecting that. But also there’s a lot of people traveling airplanes through the state of Ohio from Florida. Is that perhaps affecting the… For what I hear, the planes are full sometime. Is that affecting the increase in the state of Ohio?
Mike DeWine: (35:21)
Well, that’s a good question. It’s hard to really, exactly determine what impact that has. But someone said to me the other day, it’s not always where someone goes, it’s what they do when they go there. So if someone is coming back from Florida and they’ve been out at bars and restaurants every night, I would be very, very concerned about them. And I think they should be concerned. If they went to Florida and stayed in the house, stayed in their hotel room and just went out and went to the beach, stayed away from people, enjoyed the sun, they’re in a different situation.
Mike DeWine: (36:06)
So I think a lot depends on the situation that they’re in. But I would just advise Ohioans, it’s probably not the best time to go to some of these hotspots. We have spread in Ohio. We’re not denying that. We have a serious situation in Ohio, but there’s some other states that are red hot, and you might want to think twice about going to those states. But again, the most important thing is what you do there or what you don’t do there. It’s no different than anything else. It comes down to just exercising caution and good common sense.
Jackie Borchard: (36:48)
This is Jackie Borchard from the Cincinnati Inquirer. Lieutenant governor, you mentioned that the businesses will not be enforcing this, but local officials will. How will this be enforced? What is the penalty for not wearing a mask in one of these spaces?
Mike DeWine: (37:06)
I’ll take the beginning part of the question. This is similar to other health orders. It is a misdemeanor. Look, we’re not looking to see a lot of people arrested. That’s not the idea at all. The idea is that this is the norm. This is what is needed for Ohioans to stay safe. If we are not able to successfully do this and carry this out, we’re going to see this virus take command again. And that is not a situation that we would want. So working with the local mayors, working with the local officials, we think that this is certainly going to help. In addition to having conversations with the seven health commissioners, as I said, I’ve talked to a number of mayors. I won’t speak for them. I never do that. But what this enables us to do is for example, in an urban County where maybe the major city has already put on a mask order, this’ll enable us to fill out the rest of that county. Because these are really economic units as counties.
Mike DeWine: (38:27)
And it’s kind of hard to say that you do one thing on one side of this line, and then you cross the street and you’re out of the city and now you’re into the county, or you’re into a neighboring city, or village, and that that changes. So, it makes sense to approach these by county, just as it makes sense to try to distinguish between counties. When we have counties that are in a very, very low level, it makes sense for us to treat them differently than we’re treating the ones that are red. So, that’s what we’re doing. But the law is a teacher. The law can help just determine the norms of society. And that’s what we’re hoping this does in those seven counties.
Jon Husted: (39:14)
And Jackie, I can add… Make sure that you understand what my goal of that comment was, is that we get calls from businesses who say, “Okay. I’m a grocery store. Do I have to enforce this?” And while we want businesses to post the signs and tell people that they have mask, but if you’re a grocery store worker and you may just want to inform the customer that they have to wear a mask because it’s required. We don’t expect the grocery store worker to physically have to impose the order. They would turn that over in the case where there was an extreme violation to the local community to enforce it.
Jon Husted: (39:52)
It’s not up to the business to enforce it. That was the question that we were getting asked. We want the business to be cooperative. We want businesses to advise, we want businesses to share the rules, but we don’t physically expect a grocery store clerk to enforce these rules.
Jim Province: (40:12)
Hello, governor. Jim Province with the Toledo Blade. We’re now a week into the new fiscal year. Do you plan to turn to the rainy day fund now to help close any revenue gaps given that lawmakers have now gone home for the summer without approving any budget cuts? And what have you seen in the latest numbers?
Mike DeWine: (40:35)
Well, we pretty much put out what we’ve seen in the latest numbers. Not as bad as we thought it might’ve been, but certainly not good. We have said, I’ve said all along that, that in this fiscal year, we will use a significant amount of the rainy day fund. So no one should think that we are not going to use that. Our goal has been, for example, in regard to education, not to cut education. Our goal has been to keep the funding that we ended up last year after we made the 3.7 cut to keep that as a baseline. And what I wanted to do is make sure that schools knew what was coming. So, we’re moving forward. But in the answer to your question, we’re certainly going to use a lot of the rainy day fund. And by the time we get completely through this, I’m sure we will use all the rainy day fund. And I’m thankful we haven’t.
Speaker 2: (41:42)
Hi, governor. This is [inaudible 00:41:43] Mary from the Associated Press. Franklin County announced last week a similar mask mandate. And Mayor Ginther said that he will not be enforcing it and local authorities will not be enforcing it, but there is a mandate. How do you plan to deal with different counties deciding to enforce this in their own way? And how will this interfere with the mandate that you are enforcing today?
Mike DeWine: (42:09)
Look, we’ve talked with the mayor. I approve what the mayor has done. I think that was leadership. Appreciated it. Again, I think we all have the same goal and the goal is to signal… And Eric, can you put the map up? We’ll just leave that map up. I’m going to keep referring to it, I think. But look, the point is to signal that we have a problem. We have a real problem here, and we have a problem here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. And part of it is to let people know that there is a problem. From the first press conference that we had when Dr. Acton and I had a press conference in Cleveland. We said our obligation to as much as we can, is to share information the people of the state of Ohio. So this is our new effort to do that.
Mike DeWine: (43:01)
Putting on an order, requiring people to wear a mask in those seven red counties should be a real signal that when we look at this data, we have a great deal to worry about. And so that message I think is important that we get out. We’re sending that message again today. I think what the cities and in some of the other communities have done to put their own mask order on is great. I felt it would be more effective, frankly, in those counties that already started that with one of their cities, if we filled in the rest of the County.
Mike DeWine: (43:41)
But we have seven separate counties with a significant number of people in the state of Ohio, who we feel have a huge eminent crisis. And this is the most pinpointed thing we can do. And I’ll come back to what we said before. If 75 or 80% of the people in the state of Ohio would wear a mask when they’re out, we will dramatically kick this virus in the stomach. We’ll give it a good swat if we can do that. That plus the testing that we’re going to continue to ramp up, these are the two real tools that we have. Distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, test. Those are the things that we have to continue to do every single day.
Shane Stegmiller: (44:33)
Governor, this is Shane Stegmiller with Hannah News Service. Yesterday, the legislature, or recently the legislature is going to send you Senate Bill 55, which among other provisions is going to decriminalize failure to follow health orders. You have indicated that you probably will veto that. Yesterday, speaker householder said on a social media post that a veto would be a very bad move for anyone who believes that the people control their government, not the other way around. And I just kind of wanted to get your reactions to that and what your plans are still for the bill.
Mike DeWine: (45:03)
It will be a tragic mistake and I’m not going to let it happen for us to give up the opportunity to try to keep Ohioans safe. We are in a crisis. It is a very serious crisis. It’s a crisis that we’ve not seen in the states for 102 years. I hope we don’t see it for another 102 years. I hope we never see a crisis like this again. We have to treat it like the crisis it is. And having the ability, the tools, to very carefully do things that need to be done is an essential part of that. Ohio is not alone. If you look at what other states are facing, what other are doing, governors who certainly gave every indication they would never require masks to be worn are requiring masks to be worn. And they’re doing it because they’re looking at the data, they’re doing it because frankly they’re afraid, and they’re justifiably afraid of what is going on.
Mike DeWine: (46:14)
So look, we’re not looking to lock a lot of Ohioans up. That is not what we’re about. But we have to have the ability to enforce orders. If you don’t have the ability to enforce an order, it just simply does not work. What is at stake here is the lives of Ohioans. This is a matter of life and death. What’s going on in our red counties where we have… We’ll put on this order at six o’clock tomorrow night, people in public have to wear a mask. What’s going on in these counties is very frightening. It should frighten the people of those counties. But the good news is we can fight back. There is something that we can do, and by wearing masks, by keeping social distancing, by all of us working together to get more testing, we fight back. And we’re Ohioans. We’re going to continue to fight.
Adrienne Robbins: (47:13)
Good afternoon, Governor. Adrienne Robbins with NBC Four. This week a list of businesses who received help from the PPP program was released. DeWine Seeds Silver Dollar Baseball was obviously one of those businesses. What do you say to people who are criticizing lawmakers like yourself for taking part in this program meant for small businesses?
Mike DeWine: (47:36)
Well, I think if you talk to our son, Brian, who runs the Asheville Tourists baseball team, which is the team you’re talking about and the business you’re talking about, he would tell you he is a small business. I think they have probably 12, 14 full-time employees. The money that they took advantage of as many, many other small businesses did, primarily went to payroll. So it went to people who work there, so that they can continue to have some income during that period of time. I am one of nine owners. Our family owns the team. Fran and I own part of it, and the other seven kids own the rest of it.
Mike DeWine: (48:21)
So, that’s what this story is. And look, we understand what small businesses are going through. If you run a minor league baseball team, I’m not asking for anybody to feel sorry for us, but if you run a minor league baseball team, we got six of them in Ohio, actually seven. And there’s no season for our minor league baseball teams in Ohio. So, they’ve had a tough, tough time. And I’m sure they probably took advantage of that as well. And I certainly hope that they did. And look forward to… We hope seeing minor league baseball, as well as major league baseball back next year.
Adrienne Robbins: (49:03)
Karen Kasler: (49:09)
Hi, governor. It’s Karen Kasler from Ohio Public Radio and Television. You mentioned the Ohio National Guard being available for popup testing in the seven hotspot counties. Do you have any plans to find funding to continue the National Guard’s pandemic related missions passed when federal funding runs out on August 7th, including testing in nursing homes and that pop up testing, especially since there are so many restrictions on retailers COVID testing and so few locations and times available?
Mike DeWine: (49:36)
Yeah. It’s hard for me to imagine candidly, us being able to fight this without the National Guard. So we’ll make that decision when we get to it. We hope that the federal government will extend that mission. If they don’t we’ll have to talk about it, but the Guard has done a phenomenal job. I’ll bring in… The General gave me the statistics this morning of how many people in nursing homes they have tested and how many staff in nursing homes they’ve tested. But it’s a phenomenal number. They’re out testing today. So this is a tool that we really, really need. We have 20 units. What our goal is 20 Guard units. I think of 10 are in each unit. And they are out testing every single day.
Mike DeWine: (50:18)
And so what our goal is, is to turn this testing over really to the folks in the nursing homes. Once we get through the testing, all of the employees, that first round in many of the residents. Then on the second round from that on, we’re going to work it out so the testing is going to be done in those nursing homes on a regular basis. So we’re going to free the Guard up then because, frankly, there’s a lot of other places that the Guard needs to go as well. So, they’re very much wanted.
Karen Johnson: (50:55)
Good afternoon, Governor. Karen Jonathan WLWT in Cincinnati. Question, regarding the short term order on now allowing-
Speaker 3: (51:02)
Regarding the short term order on now allowing contact sports. It only lasts a week and a day. So how is any team expected to schedule and play games that quickly? And also, what about athletes in the red counties, such as Butler and Hamilton, will they be required to wear masks when they play?
Mike DeWine: (51:22)
No, they would not be required to wear a mask. You’ll see, in the exception, there’s an exception in there in regard to that. I’ll let Jon answer the rest of it, but let me just say that this is an evolving situation and I know that people get anxious and understandably so and say, “Why don’t we know what’s going on? Where are we going to be in a couple of weeks?” This is an evolving situation that is changing daily. And what we’re trying to do is keep everybody informed about what we are seeing. We all want the same things. We want our kids and our grandkids playing ball. We want them in track. We want them in cross country. We want our schools back. We want our kids back in school, physically. All of these things, all of these things that we all want so much depend on what we do in the next few weeks.
Mike DeWine: (52:28)
So when I’m asked the question, “Are we going to see football on Friday night in Ohio?” A lot of it depends on, do we get this virus, do we wrestle this virus to the ground? And the only way we can do that, frankly, is distancing, wear a mask in public, wear a mask in business, wash your hands, and for us to continue to that in testing and continue to move those numbers of tests. We’ve made great progress in testing. We were at probably 9,000 a few weeks ago. We’re at about 18,000 average now, and we’re going to continue to push up through that ceiling and move forward. So I’m optimistic, but look, it’s how well we fight this in the next few weeks is going to determine what our fall looks like and what our winter looks like.
Jon Husted: (53:21)
Just to clear up a little bit on this. This largely focuses on camps that were already scheduled and to accommodate the ESPN basketball tournament that’s going to be happening here soon. It’s basically a one week window that allows these things to occur. Okay? And in doing so, we hope to learn from what happens and how they do this to make sure that it can be done well and safely. And we fully intend to give more guidance at the end of this, on what we intend to do with sports because we have been working all along with Ohio High School Athletic Association, with college and professional sports teams to get this right, as it relates to the actual competition and the potential for spectators.
Jon Husted: (54:09)
This all has to come together as we’re looking at how we evolve with the numbers and evolve with the virus, how it’s spreading and what we can learn on how the associations, the teams and so forth are coming forward with their recommendations. This will be a week opportunity to learn from how these operate and we will have new guidelines about what sports are going to look like in the future once we get through this.
Geoff Redick: (54:46)
Good afternoon, Governor. Geoff Redick from ABC6 News here in Columbus. Much has been made lately across the nation, less of an extent in Ohio, about the divergence of the case rate versus the death rate. As cases continue to climb, deaths have not yet followed. It doesn’t seem like they might follow even with the lag in the death numbers. Wondered your thoughts on that. Also I’ve noted you haven’t had a health official at these news conferences in a while on a constant basis. Do you plan to bring in the interim Health Director?
Mike DeWine: (55:21)
Well, we are searching by the way, since you asked the question, we put a group together and we’re searching for the new Health Director, so that is ongoing. The current Health Director, I will tell you, I don’t know how many times over the weekend I talked with him so he’s doing a fabulous job. Lance is doing just a great job. It would really be only speculation, but let me just try to answer your question. One, deaths are always a lagging indicator. I mean, they’re always the last thing and so you have a widespread. Second, something that I think we talked about seems like months ago, and that is, if you have a choice, you would rather get sick from this. If you’re going to get it, you’d rather get sick now than three months ago and you’d rather get sick in January than now and the reason is that medical science knows more.
Mike DeWine: (56:25)
And so I think what is known when you hit that hospital is different today than it was when this started and our medical community has adapted and has learned. And I think that’s something that certainly is very significant. I think you also are seeing that you have more younger people who are getting sick. That has not really played out fully yet because if someone does get very, very sick, obviously they first have to go to the hospital and then it’s a number of weeks, many times, if they do either recover or die. So those would be three things that I would speculate on based on things that I have read, but this virus continues to surprise. It continues to show us that while we’re learning things, there’s still more to learn.
Jim Otte: (57:32)
Hi, Governor. Jim Otte from WHIO TV. Thanks for being here today. I want to ask for those people who are skeptical, those people who question your legal authority, your constitutional ability to make this mask order today, can you tell them under what authority you would do this, how firm of a legal footing are you on and do you expect challenges in court of this order today?
Mike DeWine: (57:57)
Well, I think we probably have five or six lawsuits already testing our authority. I’m sure that there’ll be lawsuits, Jim, that will be filed as a result of that. Our lawyers tell us that we do have the authority to do this, and this is an extraordinary circumstance, very rare. We hope we don’t ever live to see this again, but it is a public health crisis. Historically, governors in Ohio and other states have been able to take action that needed to be taken in emergency basis when there was a public health emergency. This clearly is a public health emergency of an precedented duration and seriousness and we’re trying to take action that is measured.
Mike DeWine: (58:59)
We put an order on for masks in seven counties, not 88 counties. Everything we do, we’re trying to measure what really needs to be done to try to get us through this. And I have a responsibility to do everything in my power to get us through this, to keep our economy moving, which is threatened by a significant increase in COVID-19 in Ohio. I have an obligation to protect people, the state of Ohio, and so we have that authority. The original law goes back decades and governors have had this authority, but this is a very unusual, extraordinary time.
Jim Otte: (59:46)
Thank you, Governor.
Marty Schladen: (59:51)
Good afternoon, Governor. Marty Schladen Ohio Capital Journal. Are you concerned that between reopening the economy, or beginning to, before the CDC guidelines were met and many of the actions of your fellow Republicans, the state and national level, encouraging a quick reopening, not wearing masks, et cetera, do you think people took the wrong message from this and heard the all clear, even though you’ve been trying to say otherwise?
Mike DeWine: (01:00:21)
Well, I suppose that’s possible. We tried to be very clear that people continued to need to be careful, that the virus was still very much among us. In fact, it had spread even more. We made the decision because we felt that the consequence to Ohioans of basically being closed down any longer would be just devastating and so we made the decision to start back up. We did it, we felt, in a responsible way. But again, what the future’s going to look like determines what we do today. That’s kind of the way it is. And so I would, again, appeal to all my fellow Ohioans, we’re in a tough time. We’re in a tough battle, but we can get through this, but we got to wear a mask when we’re out in public. We’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to keep our distance. We’ve got to use our common sense about what events to go to and what events not to go to
Kevin Landers: (01:01:25)
Hello, Governor. Kevin Landers, WBNS10-TV and I’m told I am the last question. Originally, you said you couldn’t mandate masks statewide because some people called it “offensive”. Now you’re saying counties with a problem should wear masks. This appears to be an action that maybe perhaps it’s too late. I’d like to get your comment about whether you should have been tougher about wearing masks much earlier. We were also told that working groups for restaurants developed a safe way for customers to return and in Columbus, we’ve had several that are now closed because of COVID-19 infected workers. Do you think their plan needs to be revised, retweaked? Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:02:05)
Well, as I said, we had discussion with representatives of the restaurant industry, and I frankly expressed to them my concern about what I was seeing and what was being reported in some bars and so that was the reason for the call. And some bars are doing a great job, some were not. And so I have a grave concern about that and I expressed that directly to them. So we’re looking at what additional actions that we can take to make those bars, in fact, safer. It basically comes down to what the person who is running it is doing. If they’re following these guidelines, these are, in fact, good, good guidelines. As far as the decision about wearing masks, everything a governor does is certainly not just subject to public criticism, but the governor has an obligation to lead and a governor has an obligation to bring people along.
Mike DeWine: (01:03:06)
I made the decision after we put out the original mask order that requiring masks out in public was something that people by and large were not ready for at that time. And we did, as you know, have mask guidelines and orders that went into effect for any business. Those are still in effect, by and large those are work exceedingly well. We are now at a different time. We’re at a much more dangerous time. And we’re at a point in time who are, I believe Ohioans, when they look at Texas, when they look at Florida, will say, “We do not want to go there,” and will be willing to accept that in the seven red counties that are red hot, that wearing a mask out in public is absolutely imperative for the future of their county and for the future of the state, both from an economic point of view, as well as from the point of view of keeping us all safe.
Mike DeWine: (01:03:59)
I think Ohioans are ready for this. I think we have to do it. Well, we’ll see you all on a Thursday, barring some unforeseen thing that happens tonight or tomorrow. We will see you all on Thursday at 2:00. Thank you very much.