Mar 28, 2020

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Coronavirus Press Conference March 28

Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference March 28
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsOhio Gov. Mike DeWine Coronavirus Press Conference March 28

Ohio governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 news briefing on March 28. He gave a “Top Ten” list of most needed items as Ohio fights the pandemic. Read the full transcript of his press conference right here on Rev.com.

 

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Mike DeWine: (00:24)
Good afternoon, everyone. Glad you all could join us again. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to hear from Senator Portman, and we’re going to start right now. I believe Sherrod Brown is on this phone, and Sherrod, are you there to give us a little report? We appreciate your work. We appreciate the work of Senator Portman, our whole Ohio delegation and appreciate that very much. I’m just going, Sherrod, turn it over to you at this time. Thanks, Senator.

Senator Brown: (00:57)
Thank you, Governor. Thanks for doing this with Rob yesterday and appreciate you asking me for the briefing. Thank you for your strong leadership. The Governor and I have spoken often during this pandemic, and I know we share the same goals of doing everything we can to keep Ohioans healthy and safe. Thank you also to Dr. Amy Acton, who has received well-deserved praise across the country for her medical expertise, her ability to explain why we are doing what we are doing so that Ohioans understand why the steps our state is taking are so important in flattening the curve.

Senator Brown: (01:32)
The Administration’s wasted precious time. They put us behind in fighting this, but Ohioans are models of the country. The actions that Dr. Acton and Governor DeWine have taken during this pandemic will save lives. When asked by Ohioans and others, I say over and over that fewer people in Ohio will be sick from this pandemic as a result of the actions that the two of you have taken, so thank you, I appreciate it.

Senator Brown: (01:58)
Governor DeWine, clearly the most important thing we can do for the economy is to get this pandemic under control. You can’t separate out the economy from the people. Finally, the most important priority right now is getting resources quickly to Ohioans who need help. The package we passed this week does that.

Senator Brown: (02:16)
A couple of the most important things this package does is put money directly into people’s pockets, up to $1,200 per person. It gets resources to our hospitals and our healthcare workers immediately. It dramatically expands unemployment benefits. People will get $600 more a week. People who are self-employed or work part-time or contract workers will also be able to get unemployment insurance. It gets emergency funding to the state and the cities and counties whose budgets are hurting. It puts a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. No one should lose their home or be evicted during this crisis. If people can stay in their homes, it allows people to delay mortgage payments, called mortgage forbearance.

Senator Brown: (03:02)
I’ll do everything I can to make sure that we [inaudible 00:03:08] ends up in the pockets of workers. We negotiated all weekend. While it isn’t perfect, of course, the work we did over a couple of days made this a better deal for workers, for communities, for families. We know that we have more to do. This crisis, of course, as we know, is different from anything any of us has ever seen in our lifetimes. It’s going to take a sustained response over months to make sure people get back on their feet. We still need to make sure people don’t take an unfair hit to their credit reports during this crisis. We need to help people with student loan debt. We need to support American manufacturers in their efforts to ramp up medical equipment production. For weeks, I’ve called on the President to immediately use his full authority under the Defense Production Act. His [inaudible 00:03:53] about GM yesterday does not go nearly far enough. It doesn’t do anything to release funding for manufacturers across the country to help them swiftly scale up production of ventilators and testing kits and PPE and other key medical supplies.

Senator Brown: (04:08)
A week ago, after talking with Ohio manufacturers, I put out a plan outlining steps the Administration needs to take now to get our hospitals the supplies they need to save lives. The Defense Production Act is part of that, so our purchase guarantees delivery assistance, a national database and putting one person in charge to coordinate all this. We need a massive, coordinated effort between the public and the private sector. We know Ohio is a proud industrial tradition and by taking advantage of Ohio’s strong supply chain, we can help bring our healthcare workers the supplies they need. We know our country has the workers and the expertise and the resources to fight this pandemic if we come together.

Senator Brown: (04:49)
I look forward to working with Governor DeWine and Senator Portman and others as we continue our efforts to ensure Ohio has the resources it needs to combat this pandemic. Thanks again to Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton and their staff and the work they’re doing to keep Ohio safe. I also want to thank General Harris and the National Guard, who are working to get food to Ohioans in need. Thanks also to the frontline healthcare workers, the grocery store workers, the truck drivers and nursing home staff, first responders and other Ohioans who are showing up to work during this crisis to provide essential services to the rest of us. And, thank you to the media covering these briefings every day to make sure Ohioans remain informed during this difficult and confusing time. I’ll stop there, and I can’t express my appreciation to Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton for having me on the call. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (05:41)
Senator, thank you very much. We look forward to continuing to work with you and Senator Portman and the entire Congressional delegation. We appreciate it. Have a good day.

Senator Brown: (05:50)
Of course, thanks. You too.

Mike DeWine: (06:00)
Thank you. So things may look a little different and you’ll notice that our call today with Senator Brown was a little less high tech than we did yesterday with Senator Portman. Let me just explain that we are in a little different situation today.

Mike DeWine: (06:26)
We rely to bring this to you every day, a lot people who are behind the scenes and people you obviously never see, but people who are very talented and do a great job. The Ohio Channel, for example, a number of people at the Ohio Channel work very hard on this every single day. The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, number of their folks work at this every single day. PBS stations across the state as well.

Mike DeWine: (06:59)
But something happened yesterday, someone who works for Cap Square became ill, and they were admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of pneumonia. And so, knowing that, we started making a bunch of changes. We had to assume, at that moment, that this person might have been infected. Then we started looking around at other people who that individual came in contact with. So, we’re a skeleton, a much smaller group behind the scenes today. In fact, Lisa Peterson, who is behind the camera. Lisa, how you doing back there? Everything all right? She’s waving. All right, very good. She’s my Communications Director. She’s running the camera today. So, a lot of changes. The sign language interpreters that are always in the side of your screen now are not with us. You should be watching, have the opportunity for closed captioning. Anybody who does want to see those very talented sign language interpreters can go online to the Disabilities Facebook page. That would be the “Ohioans with Disabilities” Facebook page, and you should see the live language interpretation going on right there. Now having said that, we got good news within the last hour, and that is this individual tested negative, so still in the hospital, still with pneumonia but tested negative, so we are very, very happy to hear that.

Mike DeWine: (08:51)
I want to talk about some good news, but also to tell you, we’re waiting, and let me explain. Patel Lab is one of the great assets, nonprofit, research institution in the state of Ohio. They do absolutely phenomenal work. They do it for people all across the world. We are very, very lucky to have them. They have developed a new technology to sterilize surgical mask, and we have talked about so much how we have a shortage of the mask, and I’m going to talk a little bit about later what you can do to help us, but they’ve had a real breakthrough.

Mike DeWine: (09:38)
They will be able, as soon as it’s approved by the FDA, they will be able to sterilize 80,000 of these per day per machine. They’re looking to have… Two machines are here in Ohio. They’re ready to go. So that’s going to give us, as soon as this is authorized by the FDA, it’s going to give us the ability to do 160 of these to turn them right around and reuse them and these can be reused a number of times. This is not only important to Ohio. They have machines that are ready to go for Seattle, New York and Washington DC, so this is a very, very exciting thing.

Mike DeWine: (10:25)
I mention this today and want to start with this because I want to make a public appeal to the FDA. Please, please give us the approval to use these. We have nurses, we have doctors, we have people working in nursing homes who need the mask. They need these as we move forward, as we go further down the line in regard to the pandemic that we are in. This would significantly, very, very quickly, at 160,000 of these a day would boost our capacity and be able to reuse these after they are sterilized. So, we have been on the phone. I know the Lieutenant Governor’s been on the phone. We’ve been on the phone with the FDA, and this is a public appeal. Please do this. It really is truly a matter of life and death. We need to protect our people who are risking their lives every single day. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (11:40)
We’re happy to have in Ohio, LabCorp and Quest. They’re doing testing. I’m going to make an appeal to them as well. We urgently need your tests. We urgently need the results as you do testing for hospitals. Again, this is a matter of life and death. It is a matter of getting that information back so that we can act upon it for the patient, but also act upon it for everyone else. People who are working in the hospitals, people who might be working in nursing homes. We need this information back very, very quickly. So, it’s my appeal to you as Governor of the State of Ohio. Please get us those results. We absolutely have to have those results, and we have to have them in real time. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (12:36)
I issued an order last night to all our team that every state contractor, who has a state contract that they are fulfilling, must abide, and they already were subject to this, but I’m now asking our state employees to go check with every contractor who is out there performing a contract that is an essential contract, where they’re able to still do it, we’re asking them, we’re asking my team to go out and inspect to make absolutely sure they are following the best practices and the practices that we have outlined in the order that we previously issued. They’ve always been subject to this. We’re now making sure and we’re going out and having these inspections. So, if you are a state contractor, you’re essential, you’re still continuing to do business, there will be someone coming out to inspect to make absolutely sure that you’re doing what you should be doing.

Mike DeWine: (13:46)
I know most of them are, but we cannot, simply cannot take any chances. The good news, at least as of a couple of hours ago when I was outside, at least in parts of Ohio, the weather is pretty good today, and we know that the weather will continue to get better and better. I was on our daily call with mayors around the state and one of the things that they asked me to say today is that as the weather gets better, people want to be outside. That is great, but we just ask everyone to continue to abide by the social distancing, the physical distancing requirements. You can go out, you can take a walk, you can walk your dog, you can do a number of different things, but it’s absolutely imperative that everyone keep that social distancing.

Mike DeWine: (14:43)
Let me talk a little bit about what’s going on with our hospitals. I indicated to you yesterday that we had received a report yesterday morning from the Cleveland Clinic, changed our estimate in regard to when this is coming. They believe in about two weeks we’re going to really start being hit hard and that we will maybe not peak out until mid May.

Mike DeWine: (15:09)
Again, these are estimates. We’re not sure exactly, but this is a very informed piece of information. The same thing I talked about yesterday when I referenced the chart, that same report indicated that we might have to not only double our capacity of beds, but we might have to triple the capacity of beds, so there is a real sense of urgency. We have been working with eight regions in the state. We have broken the state up into eight separate regions. We are working with each region of hospitals. These hospitals submitted to us at nine o’clock this morning their… Each region did, each region had a report about how they want to proceed. Bridget, in the office, as well as Dr. Acton and others from General Harris’s team are taking a look at these. They’re going to get back to you all. Those of you who sent these in, they will be back to you tomorrow, Sunday, with ideas, suggestions so that you can continue and finish up your final report to us, which is due by noon on Monday.

Mike DeWine: (16:25)
I want to point out that there are some imperatives, some basic principles in regard to these plans and the rollout of these plans. And probably the most important thing is, we cannot get through this by each hospital doing its own thing. The only way, the only way we can get through this is by all the hospitals in each region coming together, having one plan, speaking with one voice, and having a real commitment to continue to work very, very closely together as we move forward. So, as we look at the plans, that is principle number one that is so very, very important.

Mike DeWine: (17:22)
We also ask each region of hospitals to remember your community partners. There may be opportunities, for example, with your nursing homes, where people who are not infected, not infected, could go and some of the space could be used and the beds could be used there. So again, we want you to look at the whole realm of possibilities out there. We know some of you are looking at motel rooms. We know some of you are looking at hospitals that have closed but still could be brought up to speed very, very quickly. So that process is continuing and we’re very looking forward to getting the final reports, as I said, on Monday. General Harris and his team are ready to go. They’re reviewing these. They will be in touch with you and we hope to see some real action next week.

Mike DeWine: (18:27)
We’re moving from the planning stage now right in into the action and people are going to begin to see that next week. As far as each region of the state, when we get these plans that are finalized, we will make this information known to everybody in each region. So you know what is coming. You know what you can anticipate as far as what work is going to be done, where we’re going to build out the capacity of our hospitals. Let me mention…

Mike DeWine: (19:01)
Let me mention our churches. I want to thank our churches. They’re doing some amazing things to be online in Facebook and other ways that they’re bringing services into people’s homes and into their lives, at the same time protecting people. Dr. Acton pointed out to me a couple of minutes ago that there was in another state, a very sad situation where a number of people who were at a service came down with the virus. So again, those of you who are still doing services, we would ask you not to do that again, we’re not going to tell you not to do it, but it really is not a wise thing. We do not want your members subjected to that risk. It is a risk. It is a very real risk and it’s not only to your members but to everyone else in the community. So let’s use the technology that we have. Let’s use the tools that we have today to bring that into people’s homes, but let’s don’t congregate together much, much too dangerous.

Mike DeWine: (20:14)
We have talked in the past about what we call PPE, the personal protection equipment, that not only doctors but nurses and some people in nursing homes and… that they have to have. It should be a no secret to anyone that we have a real shortage and I want to talk a little bit about that shortage and some of the things I’m going to ask you today to do about that.

Mike DeWine: (20:52)
We’re talking about masks, we’re talking about goggles, gloves, gowns, face shields, other essential items that are essential to keep… The people at the front line are the real heroes of this story who are out there every single day. Lieutenant governor and I have heard from so many nurses, I’ve gotten emails and text and people who work in emergency rooms who have told us of their fear of not having the equipment that they need, particularly as we know that this crisis is going to get worse and worse. We received our share from the National Strategic Stockpile, but just like every other state it was simply not enough. We need a lot, lot more. And I have a chart here and since we’re a little more low tech today, I hope you all will excuse me. I’m going to hold this chart up. Now Alisa, can you get that chart, hope I’m holding it correctly. Dr. Acton, you and I must have our social distancing here, our physical distancing. We’re trying to do that.

Mike DeWine: (22:11)
These are the items that we need. These are the items that we are asking you to help us with. If you are a manufacturer and you can make any of this stuff, we need to hear from you right away. These are in no particular order. I will emphasize that each one of these, this is our 10 most wanted items. Now we’ve got a longer list, but we want to keep it simple today so that people could really have the opportunity to see this. These are the 10 items, but if anyone can make this, or think they can make it, or needs more specifications, ohio.gov Matt Damschroder, or the email that I just gave you together@governor.ohio.gov. We are checking this all the time, and we’re looking forward to getting your help. Further, if anybody has any of these, we need them. If you’re not using them, if you’re not in the critical medical field and if you have these, we really need them. So you can contact us.

Mike DeWine: (23:36)
Let me go through the needs, surgical gowns, face surgical mask, gloves, those are nitrile vinyl or butyl gloves. Of course, the N95 masks that are so very, very important, isolation gowns, face shields, thermometers, foot coverings, Tyvek coveralls, ventilator tubing.

Mike DeWine: (24:09)
Let me just give an example of why we need this so very, very much. It takes a total of 66 pieces of PPE for one patient for one day and so we must conserve, conserve, conserve this lifesaving gear. I want everyone who’s already assisted in this… I want thank them. We’ve had a lot of help on this, but we need more help. Businesses have shared their PPE, our outstanding career and technical schools have done the same. So everyone who is not directly in the medical field has really come forward. Construction and other businesses have shared theirs, our dentists and veterinarians have shared theirs. So to all of you, thank you very, very much. But we need more help. And that is the list and you can find this list again right here on our webpage right there. I’m not going to now turn it over to Dr. Acton, Amy.

Dr. Acton: (25:23)
Thank you governor. Good afternoon everyone. We are low tech today, but I think in some ways it’s a good thing because I’ve really wanted to take us back to some basics. I know I’ve been sharing a lot of numbers and graphs and data, and that’s useful because there are some folks out there that I need to have that information. Mostly our hospitals and others who are doing a lot of the planning, but I know the media has a lot of curiosity to know some of the numbers. So we’ve always said we’ll share with you what we know, but today I really want to go back to basics and tell you what all of it means. But first I’ll start off with our numbers for today. We know that we have confirmed 1,406 cases and that ages… the age range in that is less than a year, so an infant to the age of 96 with a median age of 52 years. We have 24% of our cases are hospitalized, 9% in the ICU. And I’m sorry to share today that we have 25 deaths in the state of Ohio.

Dr. Acton: (26:41)
We also know that we have cases in now 66 of our counties, that’s well over 75% of our counties. Again, all this data is the tip of the iceberg because we’re still on and it’s skewed by the fact that we’re testing the sickest, those who are hospitalized and priority and our frontline healthcare workers, and we know there are some counties out there that don’t have testing right now. So I want to share that with you. There’s much more detail on our website coronavirus.ohio.gov which is also a place you can find everything that we share here. I know you get some different links at times, the new Together site, but we’ll keep all that on one spot for you if you don’t catch something.

Dr. Acton: (27:27)
I do want to follow up with Quest and LabCorp. Thank you so much to our friends out there that are on the private sector lab companies. What the governor was saying is so important. We know you’re getting slammed with a huge volume of tests from often many states, but it’s so vital right now. Our data’s lagging as you know, five days at the least. And what you can also share that’s important, not just the positive tests but aggregate counts of people who are tested, the total number of tests you’ve run and the negative test results. If you could give those to the Ohio Department of Health along with those positive test results again on our website coronavirus.ohio.gov, that will help us as a state do the most accurate planning. Very important to us and we really appreciate you doing that. I know we’re all in this together and I know it’s a hard, hard lift.

Dr. Acton: (28:25)
I want to go back to my hurricane analogy. We said early on that this is an unprecedented situation, and very much like a hurricane you start to know it’s coming. So I want you to picture a hurricane out somewhere in the Caribbean in the early days when we first hear about it on the weather channel, and they’re telling us where it will land is at first they give you an estimate. It might be somewhere between Texas or maybe the Gulf coast on Florida, and then maybe it’s the East coast of Florida, but they can’t tell you exactly when it will hit or where it will hit. But as the days go on, you get a little bit closer, it gets more accurate, you start to see that trajectory of that hurricane and so your predictions get better and better with time.

Dr. Acton: (29:15)
Very early on in this hurricane, we talked a lot about Philadelphia and St. Louis, two cities during the great pandemic flu of 1918, two weeks difference and taking actions of social distancing and shutting it down, staying at home made all the difference in the outcome. So very similarly, our models, which we have different modelers all over the country, they’re giving us a compass. They know what’s going on in this trajectory, but the exact day it hits, the exact city and neighborhood is always a little off till it gets closer.

Dr. Acton: (29:57)
I’m saying large numbers to you, and I know they’re scary. 8,000 cases a day, 10,000 cases a day. Those numbers given 11.7 million people are actually not that far apart. I know they sound drastically different. They’re not that different. But the more important thing is this, those numbers are helpful to our planners, but for the rest of us what it is saying is that we are flattening the curve in Ohio. Those numbers would have been 50 to 75% higher than they are right now. Our curve would’ve been much deeper had we not acted, starting a couple of weeks ago. So every action you’re taking at home is actually in the case of a hurricane, changing how hard that storm will hit, and changing where and when it will hit. So the actions you’re taking at home are shrinking those numbers.

Dr. Acton: (30:53)
I want us to go back to our original chart. Ohioans, what we know is this, we know we are blunting this yellow and becoming the blue. We’re stretching out the day of peak impact of the hurricane and we’re actually making that hurricane not a four or five, we’re making it a three or two. There’s no scenario without a hurricane, as I’ve said. And now we know that this line of hospital capacity is moving down. We know that it’s somewhere in the blue curve. That was our original calculation. But think about this line. Think about how many more masks, how much more PPE, how many more hospital beds, how much our general would have to build out if we were on this yellow curve. 75% more. We know that this is probably more down here now on the blue level.

Dr. Acton: (31:57)
We know that there is no healthcare system in the world that would have had all the beds and all the ventilators in the world. We know we need more, but you at home have helped us buy time and really impact how much we will need. So our hospitals are using that data, they’re using the best modeling available and they differ a little bit. And that’s not really important to us. What’s important is that every day we lock it down, every day we don’t spread the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon disease. That doubling makes all the difference for our frontline healthcare workers. It makes our PPE go farther. It makes us need less ventilators. We need all that and we’re building it, but you need to know that what we do and we keep doing it and doing it even better and better all the time is really changing the strength of this hurricane. We know the waves coming, but we know it’s getting smaller every day in Ohio because of what you’re doing. That’s so important.

Dr. Acton: (33:03)
So another message. I want us to think a lot in our neighborhoods now we’re living in little villages as we should, and we’re using a lot of low tech things when we already have Facebook groups with our neighbors and a lot of other technology at our hands. But I want you to think about the elderly in your neighborhood, and to elderly here Ohio like Italy skews to an older population. And in some counties particularly so, and some neighborhoods particularly so. We know that the elderly are extremely vulnerable. We still can all go out if we need to grocery shop once a week, but I’d much rather elderly not have to go out at all. I really need you to use your neighborhood social networks.

Dr. Acton: (33:50)
There are other existing structures like village to village nonprofit work that’s going on in neighborhoods. You can look that up, but ways we can all chip in, help out with the yard work, help out dropping off food. We really need our most vulnerable to be able to stay at home. I’m asking neighborhoods to do that. I know neighborhoods are doing things already, but we need more of it. The free lending library, the place where people’s dogs stop and get bones and food, library books, helping with gardening, those sorts of things really go a long way.

Dr. Acton: (34:26)
I’ll share one last thing. For those of you who know me, I’d much rather be outside digging in the dirt about right now and you know it is beautiful out. Our bulbs are going. It’s time to start dividing plants. Again, we have urban gardeners. When I worked for the Columbus Foundation, I did so much to empower urban gardening movement. We need to get people outside doing the thing that is a great mental health. If you haven’t done it before, I know it’s always scary, but it’s actually so much easier, but we can also be sharing some of those plants. Doing some of that gardening, getting out of doors single handedly can be alone. Being out there in nature is going to help you feel better, so let’s get out there and help each other with that as well at a distance, at a social distance. Enjoy the beautiful weather, keep socially distant, help those who are most vulnerable. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (35:25)
There’s thunder out there. I thought it was a beautiful day a couple of hours ago when we came in here. Lieutenant governor.

Lt. Governor: (35:34)
Well, things change quickly around here. That’s for sure. Dr. Acton, thank you. And Governor DeWine, thank you very much. A bit of… a little bit of good news to start. We know that a lot of students out there are and there are schools… governor and I had a chance to talk with some teachers yesterday. We hear from a lot of superintendents, really want to thank everybody in the education community for what they are doing to help the learning continue even as students are not congregating in their schools. There’s a great resource that the Ohio public television stations are going to start providing starting tomorrow.

Lt. Governor: (36:17)
We know that a lot of people, a lot of students don’t have access to the internet. There are 300,000 households that don’t have it and because of the demand that’s out there for people using the internet, whether it’s watching movies or whatever it is that they may be doing, we know that even if you have it, sometimes it’s slow and a little clunky and you’re not able to get there. But the Ohio broadcasting stations, Ohio is all eight of the public broadcasting stations are offering some programming that will start tomorrow throughout the day from pre-K all the way through high school that will be educational television that students can tune into and we’re going to put… we have this all linked at coronavirus.ohio.gov/learnathome.

Lt. Governor: (37:10)
And I already went on and checked it out and there’s some stuff in there that I might even decide to watch because it’s just great stuff. We really appreciate. We really appreciate the public broadcasting doing this. It helps supplement what the students need to continue their learning experience at home. This is incredibly important that they continue to do this. We don’t want them to fall behind. We know that it’s really important for students to continue to climb that educational mountain and to continue to learn and to put the best use of this time that they have together. And this will begin tomorrow, or on Monday, March the 30th is when the programming will be available. We thank our public broadcasting stations for doing that. You heard both the Senator Portman, Senator Brown and… talk about in the last two days, the federal package…

Lt. Governor: (38:03)
Senator Brown, and talk about in the last two days the federal package that President Trump signed yesterday. What also had to happen is that the states needed to opt in to the unemployment aspect of this. Governor DeWine signed a document just a short time ago that would opt Ohio in to all five provisions of this, which includes 1099 and self-employed individuals. It will be effective retroactively to January the 27th, and it will be available for 39 weeks going forward along with a variety of other services that was in that bill. The one thing I want you to know is that while they’ll be eligible starting tomorrow, the system will not be up and running tomorrow. This is a brand new program. No states were prepared. No states have a system ready for this, but you should know that we’ve engaged the private sector to help the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services build the system out as quickly as we can so that you’ll be able to get on there and enroll. We’ll go as fast as we can.

Lt. Governor: (39:09)
I also want to note that they have expanded services for the traditional unemployment program, opened up phone lines on weekdays from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. They were open from 9 to 1 today. They’ve never been opened on Saturdays before, but we’ve stood them up and plus we added a 100 new people to man those phone lines, by the way. The website, unemployment.ohio.gov, we’ve expanded the capacity of that by 20 times what it normally is. That’s operational 24 hours a day. So please know that that capacity is being built up. Remember that even if you’re unable to get through because of heavy volume, either on the end that you’re sending from or the end you’re trying to enter into our system, that you will be eligible for all of your benefits retroactively. You will not miss any benefits. Once you are qualified, the first resources, checks, should be essentially mailed within and received within seven to 10 days. So the team is pushing on this. They’re pushing to make this happen as quickly as possible, and we thank all the team that’s working on this.

Lt. Governor: (40:23)
Governor did mention about what we’re doing to try to hold people accountable that are out there. They may be an essential business, and they may be a contractor, a highway contractor, a building contractor of some kind. You have to follow the rules. We reiterate that. You just cannot operate if you can’t follow the item 18 essential health and safety standards that are in the stay at home order. Understand that even when we start to phase out of this in the future, don’t think [inaudible 00:02:57].

Lt. Governor: (41:01)
[inaudible 00:41:01] even as we come out of this, so just know that this is going to be with us for a while, prepare for it, and follow it. The one important thing that we emphasized in some of our calls earlier today, just because the CEO of the company says that we want to do this and the HR department writes a policy, you have to make sure it’s getting delivered on the front lines with the work crews on the factory floors. That’s where it matters the most. It has to penetrate all the way through the system and be followed all the way through the system. That’s essential.

Lt. Governor: (41:38)
I do want to thank everybody, all the workers out there who are doing their part. This is so, so very important. The innovators and entrepreneurs who are going to help that list that governor DeWine and Dr. Acton held up. We have some great innovative… That’s Ohio’s DNA. We make things. So please help us do this. We super appreciate that.

Lt. Governor: (42:00)
Governor, one final point of personal privilege here. My daughter Katie turns 13 tomorrow, and she has not seen her dad much over the last 21 days and probably more important to her, she hasn’t been able to see her friends for the past 21 days. So we wish her a happy birthday. Everybody out there, keep your chin up. We’re fighting through this. We’re going to get through it. If you listen to what Dr. Acton said, that model of what we’re expecting, we can all change it. By our actions, by our actions, we can be part of the solution, and we ask everybody to do that. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (42:41)
We’re happy to answer any questions.

Laura Hancock: (42:50)
Good afternoon, Governor DeWine. This is Laura [Hancock 00:42:54] from Cleveland.com. You have talked about how the state has been divided into eight hospital regions, and the hospitals in each region need to work together to come up with a plan. What happens if someone has coronavirus, and the hospital in their region is outside of their insurance network. What should they do?

Mike DeWine: (43:21)
I’ll turn to the doctor here.

Dr. Acton: (43:26)
Well Laura, I’m going to get back to you with more details on that, but I’ve heard horrifying stories of people showing up for places without insurance and being turned away around this country. Ohio, we can’t do that. This is an emergency. We all take everyone, and we figure out the back end later. This isn’t about billable at this point. Not everyone in Ohio has a doctor. I’m asking all clinicians and all people to help. We’ll get information out to you. We’re working on that plan. As the governor said, by Monday we’ll be rolling out more and more details to Ohioans and the hospitals. We’ll be sharing this, and we’ll be sharing this to all our clinician channels. But don’t turn anyone away.

Laura Hancock: (44:22)
Thank you.

Lt. Governor: (44:24)
Yeah, I have something to share with you on that. Literally, one of the very first calls that we started to make as this started out was to the health plans. We got a hold of them. We made them aware that they should not be denying people coverage, that they should be prompt paying to their hospitals so that their entire system can get through this. To their credit, they have been very responsive to that. I’m not aware of any denials that we have heard of. If we do, we will take action on it. But right now, to their credit, they have been in this. We’re all in this together. That’s the phrase. That even means our entire payer system and the healthcare system, and so far they’re aware, and they know that that has been something that the governor has wanted from day one.

Laura Hancock: (45:18)
Thank you.

Speaker 4: (45:25)
[inaudible 00:45:25] with [inaudible 00:45:25] news service and for the answers, if you could speak up, because it’s raining pretty hard. So we’re having some trouble hearing back here. For you and Dr Acton, could you talk about Ohio’s supply of ventilators, given President Trump’s statements yesterday on trying to build 100,000 in the next 100 days, and any logistical details on how the National Guard’s going to be helping ramp up hospital supplies or is that kind of waiting till Monday?

Mike DeWine: (45:57)
Well, let me start with the national guard. General Harris now wears two hats. One is heading up this operation. He was a logical person to do it. Has a background, obviously, in that area and putting people together. This is what the military does so very, very well to get things done. They make things happen. So I’ve charged him with making things happen. I’ve quoted him, John Wayne, that we got to hurry up. We’re burning daylight, and I say that every day to our teams. So there’s a real sense of urgency. We didn’t need any additional sense of urgency, but certainly the report we got from the clinic yesterday assures us that this sense of urgency needs to be there.

Mike DeWine: (46:47)
So they will be involved in overseeing what’s going on. They’re going to surge in and help where they can. My guess is that the guard’s presence will be more in one region maybe than another region. Just depending on what the needs are and what exactly is happening. May also depend upon what the private sector can do and the private contractors will be able to do. The whole goal is to get all of this up is as quickly as we can.

Mike DeWine: (47:18)
In regard to the ventilators, this is certainly on our list of items that our team is working every single day to try to obtain more. I’m going to refer to Dr. Acton in regard to where she thinks we are in regard to that, but we certainly are wanting additional ones and need help in that area.

Dr. Acton: (47:46)
Thank you. Our numbers are not exact, but we know that given our projections, we estimated that there would be a 40% increased need across the system. But there’s also been some innovation that’s come along where we can use a ventilator for multiple patients. So you saw in the governor’s list today on there’s tubing, and we’re putting specs, specifications that are industry standards to get those out on our website as well. Just so folks who have this in other lines of business or people who want to be making them. We’re also trying to procure them. So we’re looking at all aspects of the supply chain. But we did do a graph, it’s probably on our website, a couple of days ago, where we showed different PPE with some rough numbers of those estimates.

Dr. Acton: (48:34)
It’s tricky because we’re also bringing things in from other uses. We are bringing things out of some ambulatory surgical centers where they were used for elective surgery. Maybe an orthopedic surgeon might’ve used them. They might be able to donate to their larger regions’ cause, but where they move it is going to depend on how each region is best situating their resources. So it’s going to be regional, and we will share everything. It’s shareable, we will share it with you. So please don’t think we’re waiting to Monday to work on this because people are working around the clock on this. But we think it’s really important, especially to viewers at home that we communicate something that is as finished a product as possible so that we don’t confuse them additionally. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (49:23)
We have at least two of our hospitals that are working, have figured out how to put more than one person on the ventilator. So they’re trying to expand what they have. So innovation is certainly going on, is occurring.

Eric Halprin: (49:41)
Hi governor, Eric Halprin with NBC4. Yesterday, we heard here in Columbus that there have been hundreds of complaints about businesses that are open, not necessarily following the sanitation guidelines that have been set forth in the order. Is this an issue that’s happening across the state? Have you heard about other complaints?

Mike DeWine: (50:04)
Well, it’s interesting you mention that. This is something that when we had a conversation with the mayors this morning. They gave a little report. What I know is going on though is that different health departments are going out and inspecting and actually closing some businesses that are not essential. So you could expect that that will continue. Again, our message is that if you look at that sheet, if you look at what we put out, and you’re not in there, you’re not an exception to the rule. Business needs to close. If you are an exception, you still need to follow the distancing and all the other requirements. Frankly, if you cannot re follow that, then you cannot be open.

Mike DeWine: (50:49)
So it’s pretty basic. Today, I’ve asked all the chiefs of police who represent, many of them, smaller communities, to kind of give us a report about what they’re seeing out there as far as the compliance with the order. They’re the ones who really, along with the mayors, really know their communities. They know what’s going on, and so I’m anxious to get that report back tomorrow or Monday as they’re sending emails back in and we’re going to take a look at that and try to assess exactly where we are. In direct answer to your question, how’s it going around the state? We’ll keep you informed Monday in regard to what we find out.

Eric Halprin: (51:41)
Thank you.

Jeff Radich: (51:41)
[inaudible 00:51:41] Jeff Radich from ABC6 here in Columbus. A question specifically for Dr. Acton. Again, since those numbers came out that you mentioned, I believe on Thursday, anywhere between six or eight or 10,000 cases a day as could come up. I know you mentioned before why those numbers are useful, even though they’re scary. But we’ve had plenty of comments from people asking how those numbers came to be and whether they were based on any prior known numbers in the world because they do seem to be very, very large. Are they are worst case scenario. Where did that data come from?

Laura Hancock: (52:12)
So the numbers are a range, and that is, as the model gets better data fed into it, the more cases and the more information we can put into it, the closer and closer it gets. I can tell you that it was already predicting how many cases we would have today. So it’s getting better and better all the time. But those numbers actually… I mean, I know that sounds like a lot, but if you think about the fact that we’re only testing a fractional amount of the people out there. When I say that there are going to be eight or 10,000 cases in a day and you’re looking at the doubling and spreading of this infectious disease that really isn’t a huge amount of Ohioans.

Laura Hancock: (52:54)
As we know this disease is going to continue to spread. It might spread slower, and it might spread more over time. That’s what we want because of the actions we’re taking so that we don’t overrun our hospital system. But it is spreading and those numbers are increasing. Now there’s complicated modeling involved, and we have people now, even I’ve heard recently about an OSU researcher doing sort of a video on modeling because I think that would be really useful for people who like me, might want to geek out on some of the modeling understanding. But basically what it is doing is looking at the effectiveness of our social measures, even the effectiveness of our non-pharmacologic interventions, our staying home, our not spreading it. That lags. The effectiveness of that will show up in our data two weeks from now. So as you can see that gets complicated. So there’s a range of effectiveness of what we’re doing. We’re maximizing as much we can that variable.

Laura Hancock: (53:53)
Then there is how much we stopped spreading it. I said yesterday there’s something called SIR, it’s susceptible people, infected people, and recovered people. All of that data is lagging, so our estimates many times, are underestimates but that the model actually tries to take into account sort of what we think based on what we’re testing. I know it’s complicated. I know that scares people. You don’t have to trust the modeling to see what is happening. If there’s anyone out there who thinks that New York, Louisiana, New Jersey. What’s happening in Michigan right now is not going to happen across a border in a state, I don’t know what more to say. This is what we expect from an infectious disease. It’s expected that it is going to spread, and it’s going to spread in this way, and it’s expected that it’s going to put a severe pressure on all our healthcare systems.

Laura Hancock: (54:50)
We are treating it as such, and we are, as the governor said yesterday, make no mistake about it. In Ohio, we are planning for worst case scenarios with the hope that everything we do takes us away from that. It is, go back to our graph that’s on our website. In the shadows you can see the movement. What it’s saying is everything we’re doing is lengthening the onset of that peak time, and it’s flattening that curve. The evidence shows already in Ohio that that’s happening.

Laura Hancock: (55:25)
How good it will be depends on us. How good it will be depends a lot on us, and then our job for you is to put forward the best response we possibly can. We live in the world we live in. This is where we’re at. We’ll have better and better data and testing in the months, weeks to come and months to come, that will help us even better strategize the recovery and who can go back to work. I’ll tell you every day I’m waiting for that state of the art testing. We’re going after it here in Ohio because we want to be one of the first to implement the best practices of recovery. Thank you.

Lt. Governor: (56:09)
Dr. Acton was just saying there, I’d spent last night looking at the modeling and looking at the factors that go in and Dr. Acton and I talked about this earlier today. You can impact this because one of the factors they include is compliance with social distancing measures that have been put in place. So there are different scenarios that get run based on our very own compliance. It is one of the leading indicators in the model about where we will end up being. So I mean literally the stuff that Dr. Acton and the governor and I are asking people to do, you impact the ultimate number by how we behave. That’s the one thing that I want to empower people in their own minds and their own lives to know that that number is not our destiny. That number is affected by our behavior.

Speaker 5: (57:03)
Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (57:03)
Yeah, to [inaudible 00:57:03].

Speaker 6: (57:03)
… behavior.

Mike DeWine: (57:03)
Yeah, to be specific, the lieutenant governor is absolutely right. If you look at these models, and you can just look them up on online, you’ll see them, they assume, okay, we assume this much compliance, we assume this much compliance, this much compliance with the social distancing. And each one, when you change that number, you change the the end result. And so it’s hard to determine exactly where we are with social distancing, but they put in the basic assumptions and how much we are in compliance. You start with zero and then just work their way up, and the results just change on the other end.

Andy Chow: (57:47)
Hi everyone. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. It was sort of mentioned earlier that Ohio is sort of in this beneficial position of not seeing its peak yet. Whereas, places like Washington and New York, we can sort of learn from what is happening there. And one of the stories we’re kind of seeing is a rise of emotional trauma among healthcare workers. As we build up hospital capacity and medical capacity, is there any thought given into like sort of shoring up mental health reassurances for healthcare workers?

Mike DeWine: (58:22)
Well I think that’s a very, very good issue. Laura Chris is working on that. I would also say that … more thunder … one of the things that I think that is so very important for their mental health is the PPE. You know, that gives them some assurance. When they don’t have it, it has to cause great frustration and great, great concern. So we can help them.

Mike DeWine: (58:53)
And again, I’ll make my appeal, but if you’re a manufacturer out there and you can make any of this stuff, man, we want to hear from you right away. If you’ve got some of it, we need it. We need it so we can get it out. And it’s not just the folks in the hospitals. We’ve got people in nursing homes who go in every single day and work in nursing homes and they need protection as well. So I think that’s one thing. Dr. Acton?

Dr. Acton: (59:20)
Thank you, Andy. I’ve been following some of the stories. I think I shared yesterday that I started out my career in the Bronx at Albert Einstein Jacoby in a equally sort of … Half the kids in my practice were going to be dead by the age of three from HIV/AIDS and it was a brutal time. And I remember what it felt like to be out on those front lines and I’m watching the workers talk about it all over this country today. It is a real trauma. There are things we can do.

Dr. Acton: (59:50)
We’re blessed to have a director, Laura Chris and her team. They actually have been leaders in this field about getting teams out to help in traumatic situations. So we are actively looking at ways to support our healthcare workers. But as the governor said, the things we’re doing are letting them know in real ways with the gear we can get, but also in our support of staying home and taking care of things so that they can focus on the very, very hard things at hand.

Dr. Acton: (01:00:19)
If you’re a healthcare worker out there, and I’ve talked to a lot of you, I’ve talked to a lot of nursing home workers, again, our deepest, deepest gratitude. I know for some of you you’ve never seen this in your career. Most of us have never been in battlefield situations and it is traumatizing, and I want you to take, just knowing that, please just acknowledge and give a name to what you’re going through. Acknowledge it with each other. That’s the beginning. Thank you so much for what you’re doing and we’re going to back you up with support services. Thank you.

Andy Chow: (01:00:52)
Would you mind expanding just a little bit about how important having PPE can play a role into being mentally healthy throughout the process?

Dr. Acton: (01:01:00)
You know, I think a lot of people are afraid because we are in a conservation mode, and so one of the things we’re working on, and today a team has been putting out guidance and specifically to nursing homes. We know they’re running out of gear all over the state and everything we have we’re trying to push out to them, but right now they’re having to do things, they’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now, where they have to wear the same gown for longer than you normally would wear a gown.

Dr. Acton: (01:01:28)
You’re wearing a mask. We’re going to be asking nursing homes to wear the mask, assume everyone in your nursing home is infected without even knowing, without even being tested, we’re asking workers now and there’ll be guidance coming out through their professional organizations through our usual way of giving healthcare advice, to wear that mask all day on your shift.

Dr. Acton: (01:01:48)
So we’re going to be doing things with gear that we’ve not done before. We’re using the best science to guide those recommendations to them and I want them to know that. We’re going to be giving you guidance and we’re giving that uniformly across Ohio so that they know how to best protect themselves. And that’s something we can do to help them in a hard situation, at least know what they’re doing makes sense.

Andy Chow: (01:02:10)
Thank you.

Dr. Acton: (01:02:10)
Thank you.

Dan P.: (01:02:15)
Hi, Dan [Passiak 01:02:17], WHI of Dayton. In regards to churches that still insist on holding services in person, I mean, is there anything you can do about it? Can the state do anything about it?

Mike DeWine: (01:02:30)
Well, we made the decision when we issued the order not to infringe upon people’s religious Liberty, but it just seems to me that it’s a huge mistake for any pastor in a church to bring people together tomorrow or any other day. This is a critical period of time and it’s not just for the safety of the people in your congregation. Frankly, it’s for the safety of their friends, their neighbors, and total strangers.

Mike DeWine: (01:03:03)
So, I just can’t imagine that anyone would want to take that risk. I can’t imagine that anyone would want to bring people together. There are great opportunities that are being utilized by Facebook, other radio, TV. There’s different ways that different churches are doing this and they’re still reaching their congregation. So again, I think it would be a huge mistake when people do this.

Eric A.: (01:03:40)
Eric Allen with NBC for a question for Dr. Acton. When we talk about increasing hospital capacity, and as some of those plans are still in the works, but whether it’s going to be convention centers, hotels, college dorms, are the COVID-19 cases going to be kept sort of in the existing capacity and maybe some less severe things in the new buildings? How will that work?

Dr. Acton: (01:04:04)
We will certainly be working alongside, and have been all along, our hospitals. Again, this is an unprecedented experience, even for hospital CEOs. We’ve never seen something like this in our country and they are working tirelessly to figure out what works best in their community and each community varies. I know we’re here in Columbus. I know there’s information out that was published today about the convention center.

Dr. Acton: (01:04:31)
In some situations hospitals will become COVID hospitals and focus on that and take less acuity, which means people with maybe more easily managed that we can keep you separate from an infectious exposure in a different facility. But what that looks like in each community based on their unique geography and their unique sort of assets of their hospitals will be different.

Dr. Acton: (01:04:56)
But you will see that. You will see some set up of things that keep infectious people away from people who aren’t infectious and how they best use that and move equipment around and move staffing around will vary. But what they’re doing is maximizing that based on the unique needs of that region.

Dr. Acton: (01:05:14)
And I want to say, we know we have three big metropolitan areas with significant assets. We have Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. We also have eight sort of other mid-size cities. So if you think about it that way, but we have hospital systems and those systems already have containment areas. They have hospitals, for instance, Ohio Health might have a hospital in Marietta that does lower acuity work, but the harder cases might come into a Riverside. That same containment-area model is being put on steroids and being maximized.

Dr. Acton: (01:05:52)
But what’s unique and what’s so wonderful about what Ohio hospitals are doing is they’re working together. It’s not just Ohio Health and OSU and Mount Carmel. They’re working together on plans together. They’re setting aside all those normal business relationships so that they can maximize what’s best.

Dr. Acton: (01:06:11)
And they’re doing that in partnership with their civic leaders, their mayors, they county commissioners, and of course with the local health departments, those chief health strategist who are looking at population health. They’re doing it with their nursing homes, they’re doing it with their EMS and frontline providers. They’ve had plans all along for disasters, but they’re making those, building them out for this unique situation. Thank you.

Eric A.: (01:06:35)
Thank you.

Louis Gill: (01:06:41)
Good afternoon. This is Louis Gill from Ohio Latino TV. And this may be a question for Dr. Acton. Is there a way or a statistic or you’re keeping track or how people are getting contaminated direct from people to people or indirect from object to people, or is it information that perhaps is not necessarily at this point, because of the crisis being, trying to find a solution instead of finding out how people are getting contaminated?

Dr. Acton: (01:07:12)
Thank you for that question. So I’m doing a little bit of both of that. On one way, I’m assuming, and I think we should all assume, that everyone around us might asymptomatically be carrying this virus and treat it as such. It’s just helps you in your mind, even about yourself and the responsibility for yourself, to assume that and then act accordingly. But we’re gathering all the data we can now. We do have extensive investigations. Remember those disease detectives I talked about?

Louis Gill: (01:07:42)
Yes.

Dr. Acton: (01:07:42)
We still have that work, that bootstrap on the ground epidemiologist going around cases and finding out who you have in contact, but as this spreads, it almost becomes impossible to contain all that. But do know this. Part of what I’m working on is building an amateur epidemiologic force and I’m also looking at state-of-the-art apps, apps where we at home can volunteer to talk about our situation.

Dr. Acton: (01:08:12)
We’re going to gather information in new ways. Not only are we going to have testing and traditional epidemiology going along, but in other countries around the world, they’ve made effective use of technology to self report in the same way we use things like Alexa, the same way we do things and share information.

Dr. Acton: (01:08:30)
We’re not going to be forcing people to share information, but I think there are going to be applications that we’re looking at now where we can actually have people share information with us the same way, I think about when I’m out in the park, I see people going after Pokemon.

Dr. Acton: (01:08:46)
I mean, I think there are ways that I’m looking at that are being used around the world where we can gather every of information, but that data right now is still scarce, and so I think everyone should just assume that the possibility is that we’re all spreading it and do what you can to not be that spreader. Thank you.

Louis Gill: (01:09:07)
Gracias, great job. Thank you.

Speaker 6: (01:09:13)
That was the last question?

Mike DeWine: (01:09:16)
Okay. Sometimes we get questions about who we’re talking to. Within the last 24 hours, Dr. Acton and I have talked with the governor of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana. And we find that each one of those conversations, sometimes involving their their health director, their director of health as well. [inaudible 01:09:44] something.

Mike DeWine: (01:09:47)
I always take something away from that and we are in this together with other states and it’s good particularly to talk to the governors who border Ohio and just find out exactly how they’re dealing with things, what they expect, what their predictions are, projections are. So it’s been very, very helpful.

Mike DeWine: (01:10:09)
I want to close with a email I got this morning from a friend and I think it gives us kind of a look on the front line. For those of us who don’t have a medical background, it gives us kind of a clue of what the doctors and the nurses, the health professionals are dealing with as they get ready for what is coming. And let me just read this.

Mike DeWine: (01:10:36)
I’m currently ending 36 hours out of 48 hours in the emergency room. I’ve had some time to reflect on our current situation. Health care workers are a group of extremely well-meaning people that live and work to help others. They come together as a team to work together to save lives. This time the opponent is COVID-19. The likes of this is nothing that any of us have fought before or imagined could even happen.

Mike DeWine: (01:11:06)
Every day health care workers and I leave for work wondering if we will not see our family for 14 days. Even taking all the [inaudible 01:11:15] we can for these patients. There’s so many others providing support, sewing masks, sending us food, giving us words of encouragement, and praying every day for us.

Mike DeWine: (01:11:28)
It concludes, stay the course. The sun will continue to rise every day. As Ohioans and Americans, we will overcome and defeat this disease. It closes by saying, God speed, and it’s signed Dr. Steve Huffman. So Steve, to you and to every other health professional who’s on the front line out there, we thank you.

Mike DeWine: (01:11:57)
For those of us who don’t do this every day, it’s really hard for us to imagine what you go through or what you’re going to be going through. And the same is true for the folks who work in our nursing homes, the people who are making home health visits to people’s homes. We know the risk is up. We know that this is a tough time.

Mike DeWine: (01:12:18)
So again, we just thank you for what you’re doing. You’re our heroes and we hope and know that we’re going to get through this, but we wish you the best every single day. Tomorrow we are not going to be here. We’ll be back Monday at two o’clock.

Mike DeWine: (01:12:37)
The only exception to that would be if there’s a breaking story or if there is something that we really feel that we need to communicate to the public tomorrow. But barring that, we will not be here tomorrow. We will not be here at the press conference at least. And we’ll be back here Monday afternoon at two o’clock. Thank you all very much. Have a good Sunday.