Oct 22, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript October 22
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on October 22 to provide coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of the briefing with his remarks here.
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Governor Mike DeWine: (09:00)
Afternoon, everyone. In just a few minutes, we will be discussing our new numbers for today as well as what our color-coded map looks like this week. Sadly, our situation continues in Ohio to worsen. For my fellow Ohioans who have felt that until now this virus really did not impact their life, did not impact their family, and who have said, “I’ll pay attention when it gets serious. I’ll pay attention when it threatens me and my family,” my message to them today is it is now serious and it’s time for all of us to come together. Truly, we need you. We need each and every one of you. We need you to be fully engaged in this battle. When in a few minutes you see the data, when you see how fast the virus is spreading across Ohio, when you see that the virus has spread and penetrated into virtually every county, extensively in every county, I think it will become clear that we all must together fight back. We all must be engaged.
Governor Mike DeWine: (10:40)
In today’s Wall Street Journal, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has written a very powerful op-ed piece on his personal experience with COVID. Governor Christie, in his characteristic way of speaking bluntly and straight to the American people, said that he’d been wearing his mask for seven months and then he didn’t. He was diagnosed with COVID-19, spent a week in the ICU fighting the disease. He’s with us today to tell his story. And so Governor, thank you very, very much for joining us. I underlined one part of your op-ed. I just thought it was so strong. And I’ll just read it before I turn it over to you. This is your words talking about wearing a mask, keeping a distance. “These minor inconveniences can save your life, your neighbor’s life, and the economy. Seldom has so little been asked for so much benefit.” Governor, you’re looking good. Thank you for joining us.
Chris Christie: (11:58)
Governor, thank you for having me with you this afternoon. And let me first just commend you for the job that you’re doing in Ohio. You have been a consistent, strong voice right since the beginning of this pandemic. And I’m happy to be a part of your presser today. Listen, I think the easiest way to start this is to say I thought I was safe, and I was wrong. I got tested every day when I walked into the grounds of the White House for the four days that I was doing debate prep with President Trump. I was assured sitting in the third row of the Amy Coney Barrett ceremony, which happened after our first session of debate prep, that everyone in the first three rows have been tested that day and tested negative. I was assured that everybody in debate prep had been tested, and so I took my mask off.
Chris Christie: (12:58)
When I got to the gates of the White House, I had my mask on. When I walked through the gates and found out that I had tested negative at the White House Medical Unit, I took my mask off, and I left it off. But only for the time that I was inside those gates. As soon as I left to walk back to my hotel, I put my mask back on immediately, kept it on when I was in the hotel lobby, walking down the streets. I only took it off once I got back in my room by myself. I did that for four days out of seven months that we’ve been going through this pandemic. And three days later, I began to feel what I call the “freight train of symptoms” that happen with COVID-19.
Chris Christie: (13:44)
Fever, headaches, incredible body aches, chills, sweats, and it overcame me in a period of 24 hours to where I’d gone from feeling fine and doing my work on a Friday afternoon to by Saturday at one o’clock being admitted to the hospital and taken immediately to the Intensive Care Unit, where I stayed for the next six and a half days. And during that period of time, I will tell you, it is a frightening experience. I want everybody out there who’s listening to understand that this is one of the most unpredictable, random and brutal viruses you’ll ever see. And every day my doctors would come in and tell me, “Well, things are looking a little bit better, or a little bit worse, but we can’t guarantee you that within an hour it won’t turn significantly worse.” And with my history, as an asthmatic since I was 13 years old, they were very concerned about how this would go for me.
Chris Christie: (14:47)
So my message to the people of Ohio and to the people of this country, which is why I did the op-ed, is that there’s no place to hide from this virus if you’re not going to take these common sense steps that the CDC and the NIH have recommended to us, wear a mask. When you’re outside, remain socially distanced from people, no big crowds, and wash your hands frequently. I came out of this okay, and I’m very fortunate. I still feel some of the symptoms. Fatigue, most particularly, and my doctor say that could last for quite some time. But I survived. I’m alive, and it very well could have gone the other way, and for 220,000 other Americans it has. So I just want to urge as many people as I can, don’t let your guard down. It’s not worth it. I went through it. I made a huge mistake by taking that mask off, and it’s something that I hope no other Americans have to go through.
Governor Mike DeWine: (15:52)
Well, thank you so much for not only being on a presser today, but for just speaking out, for writing the op-ed, for sharing your experience. As you told the story to me before we went on the air, and now as you tell it again, the psychological impact of a doctor telling you that must have been just terrifying, when they come in every day and say, “Yeah, you’re doing maybe okay, but this thing could turn like that.” I can’t imagine that.
Chris Christie: (16:26)
Governor, it wasn’t, and the thing that adds to it is you’re in isolation. I was in the Intensive Care Unit but in isolation behind two inch thick glass. The glass was so thick that you couldn’t hear the nurses on the other side of the glass. They would hold up a whiteboard, either giving me instructions or asking me questions. And I had a whiteboard to write back to them. When they came in, they were in heavy PPE. And so you’re just left alone with your thoughts. And that’s one of the things that I think people don’t understand about this disease because it’s so random, because so little is understood, that when you’re there and you’re going through it, the psychological effect that it has on you, and it certainly had on me, was significant.
Chris Christie: (17:12)
You start to think about life and death and you’re in the throws of, at the same time, the way I described it to one of my friends was, it’s like getting beaten up from the inside out. And that combination of physical and psychological stress, it’s unique in my life, and pretty extraordinary. So, again, I can’t emphasize enough. I know how tired everybody is of this. I know it. I felt it myself. But I will tell you that as tired as you are strapping that mask on or go to the sink and washing those hands again, I can tell you, you will take those days in a heartbeat compared to getting this disease.
Governor Mike DeWine: (17:59)
Well, as you describe it, being basically in total isolation during this time, no family, no ability to have somebody you love there with you or hold your hand or do anything, it must be very tough. Thank you.
Chris Christie: (18:20)
Governor, thank you for giving me the chance to talk to the people of Ohio today and to be a part of your team. I support what you’re doing out there. I want to tell the people of Ohio, that from my experience, what the Governor’s advising you to do, it’s exactly the right thing to do and I hope that you follow his advice and direction. He has learned a great deal about this over the last seven months. And he’s been an incredibly articulate spokesman for the people of Ohio and for what we need to do to battle this pandemic. So you’re all in my prayers, and Governor, thank you for giving me the time to be with you today and to continue to spread this message.
Governor Mike DeWine: (18:59)
Well, Governor, thank you for doing it. Thank you for having the courage to, to describe what happened to you and your experience. I think that getting that story out, we’ll never know, but I’m sure it will save lives. It will save other people from some real agony and their families from going through that as well. You’re looking great. You’re feeling pretty good. A little tired, but you look good.
Chris Christie: (19:29)
Governor Mike DeWine: (19:29)
Governor, thank you.
Chris Christie: (19:30)
Well, thank you, Governor. I sure hope it does save some lives both in Ohio and around the country, and God bless you for what you’re doing.
Governor Mike DeWine: (19:35)
Thank you, God bless you too. Thank you very much. Thanks, Governor. Today, I’m wearing a purple tie in recognition of Purple Thursday. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Americans all over the country are wearing purple today to bring attention to this very important issue. The particular purple tie that I have on is Spring Hill College, which is where our youngest daughter, Anna, went. It was the purple tie I picked out today. If you need help in regard to domestic violence, if you need help leaving and getting to a safe place, please reach out to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network. Their number is 800-934- 9840. That’s 809-934-9840. That’s the Ohio Domestic Violence Network. You can also visit odvn.org. And, of course, if you experience in emergency, you can call 911. Eric, let’s go to the data. Well, as you can see, the numbers continue to go up. Today we’re reporting 2,425 new cases since yesterday. This is the highest number we’ve ever reported on a single day since this started in Ohio seven half months ago. The highest before that was yesterday. The 10 highest days of new cases reported, eight have occurred in the past nine days. Nine have occurred in the month of October alone, and quite candidly, what is most scary about this is that it does not seem like we’re even starting to get to a plateau. It just goes up and up. We have 12 deaths reported since yesterday. In addition, there were 159 new hospital admissions. The third highest we have reported so far, and 25 new ICU admissions. Eric, let’s go to our hospitalization slide and look at that for a moment.
Governor Mike DeWine: (22:15)
These are the current number of COVID 19 patients that are in the hospital. This is what this chart is. It’s really a hospital count. This is one of the really most important indicators that we have. It’s a lagging indicator. It’s late obviously, well after someone is diagnosed many times. Although, with Christie’s, it was not. It was apparently within the same day. This number has been trending higher for the past several weeks. For example, on October 9th, let me find October 9th. Back here, October 9th was the first part of that. On October 9th, we had a total of 853 COVID-19 patients in our hospitals in Ohio. Today, that number has grown to 1,293. We certainly must prevent overwhelming our hospital system to ensure that Ohioans can receive in-patient treatment for COVID-19. But also, we have to have room for other people. People who were there for serious accidents, car crashes, strokes, and heart attacks. That’s why this number is certainly something that we keep our eye on. Eric, let’s go to the Public Health Advisory System numbers.
Governor Mike DeWine: (23:56)
There’s really two things we ask you to look at. And if you’re looking for your school district, if you’re looking at for your …
Governor Mike DeWine: (24:03)
Looking at it for your school district, if you’re looking at for your community, really two big things to look at. This is the first one. This is where your county ranks in the last two weeks in number of cases per 100,000 population. As you can see, the blue part continues. The blue shaded counties are high incident counties. When this started, we had a handful of counties that were high incidents, and we’ve gone through this at different points. Today, as you can see, it’s virtually all the way over to here. All of these counties are high incident counties. Again, that means there’s over 100,000. Per 100,000 cases is how that is measured. We’ll get into some numbers in a minute. We continue to have more and more counties exceed the CDC’s threshold for high incidence. As we talk about our high incidence counties and the alert system, we need to remember that the incident list shows you how quickly the virus is transmitting in our communities. For example, let’s go through it. This is the first, top of the list. We’ll go back, Eric, to previous one. We’ll go to this one. Putnam County, you can see 186 cases that they’ve had in the last two weeks, but they are at five and a half times what the high incidence rate is according to the CDC, five and a half times that number. You can see as we go down to Auglaize, Mercer, Jackson, Allen, you can just see. The high incidence is 100. Then you can see these are five and a half times, three times, some of them two times, so very, very high. Let’s go, Eric. Let’s go look at the next slide.
Governor Mike DeWine: (26:03)
This is the other big indicator, which is our color slide. You can see, this is where we were last week, and this is where we are this week. Let’s go to the next slide. Eric will show just that. This is where we are this week. Today, we have an alarming number of counties that are red. 38 of our counties are red. We also have three counties that are now on the watch list, which means that they’re between red and purple. That’s Clark County, Cuyahoga County and Hamilton County. This is an increase from 29 red counties last week.
Governor Mike DeWine: (26:45)
As I said, three on the watch alert. Watch alert simply means that all the indicators would indicate they’re purple this week, but we don’t post them as purple until they’ve done it for two weeks straight. We don’t know if they’re going to turn into purple or not. We’ll have to see what happens between now and next week and then look at next week’s numbers. The new red counties are Allan, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Harden, Lake, Lorraine, Ottawa, Tuscarawas, and Wayne. Five of these counties are red for the first time: Crawford, Cuyahoga, Lake, Ottawa, and Tuscarawas.
Governor Mike DeWine: (27:33)
We’ve continued to show this. Here we are this week. This is the percentage of our population that is red. Then you see down here, some in the orange and then a very, very small cases now, few cases that are actually in the yellow. This means the virus is spreading throughout all the regions of the state. It’s penetrating everywhere. We now only have four counties that are yellow. This is the highest number of red counties, the lowest number of yellow counties to date. This means that 74% of Ohioans are living in a red county, 74%. Only 1% are living in a yellow county. Now let’s go back and show the alert map. Here again, 92.8%, almost 93% of Ohioans are living in a county that is red or a high incidence county.
Governor Mike DeWine: (28:39)
I mentioned before that every week, that I have a call local health commissioners, and we do this, this past Monday and every day members of my team are reaching out to these health commissioners as well. What we’re hearing from these officials, smaller state is of course, what we know, that Ohioans are tired, laying their guard down. They want to see friends and family.
Governor Mike DeWine: (29:03)
Let me share a quick example of what we learned about from a local health department that illustrates why we just don’t have the luxury of letting our guard down. During the summer, as it got increasingly hot, a factory allowed its workers to remove face coverings. Unfortunately, the employees did not start wearing masks again when it cooled off this fall. Now there’s an outbreak of 25 employees that crosses two counties with at least two hospitalizations, so far.
Governor Mike DeWine: (29:38)
These stories continue throughout the state. Again, it is when we let our guard down. Chris Christie’s story really speaks volumes about what can happen. You can be very, very careful and you let your guard down for a relatively short period of time, and then boom. There it is. I want to talk about our watchlist counties and the first one will be Clark County. Clark is at a very high incidence, 251 cases per 100,000. What you’re seeing in these watch counties is sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness, sustained increase in hospitalizations, sustained increase in emergency department visits. Several of these are very early indicators and they have to do with what’s going on in the hospitals.
Governor Mike DeWine: (30:30)
Clark County is on the watch list for the first time since the alert system started four months ago. The County also exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidence. Local health department officials report that there are 30 people hospitalized for COVID. They also report that they have a number of cases from long-term care facilities, but that much of the spread in the community is coming from people getting together with friends, just letting their guard down. We’re seeing transmission throughout the county. Let’s go to Hamilton County. Hamilton County is about the same level of cases. They are at the rate of 234 cases per 100,000 residents. They returned to the watchlist this week. The County exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidents. They’re seeing growth in new cases and growth in hospital admissions. Local health department officials have told us that they had more new cases reported during the past weekend than any other weekend throughout the pandemic, and they were reporting their highest number of cases and hospitalizations than they’ve had at any point, during the entire pandemic. Social gatherings, family get togethers continuing to drive community spread in Hamilton County.
Governor Mike DeWine: (31:50)
Let’s go up north to Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga County is a lower level. They are just right at the level about, with their 101 cases per 100,000, but they’re on the watch list because of sustained increase in outpatient visits, sustained increase in hospitalizations, sustained increase in emergency department visits. They returned to the watch list this week. In addition to exceeding the CDC’s threshold for high incidence, the county, as I said, is a sustained increase in new cases, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions. Local health department officials report they’re seeing double the case volume compared to just two weeks ago, double the case volume compared to just two weeks ago. They also report the hospitals are seeing increased in inpatient and outpatient volume and that social gatherings continue to be a problem.
Governor Mike DeWine: (32:41)
Let’s go quickly to the new red counties. Allan County joins the list this week. The county also exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidence. In fact, they are quite high. They are at 345 cases per 100,000. The county has had sustained increase in new cases, also sustained increasing outpatient visits. Local health department officials report that much of the spread in the community is generating from family get togethers. Hospitals are also starting to be impacted, they’ve added.
Governor Mike DeWine: (33:11)
Crawford County also had a very high incidence. They are also a red. They were at 296 cases per 100,000, almost three times the CDC’s high incident level. Crawford is red for the first time. The county exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidence, and they’re seeing a sustained increase in new cases and outpatient visits. Local health department officials have told us there’s more. A third of their cases are coming from spread between family members. There are small church outbreaks, two long care facility outbreaks, but the majority of virus transmissions, they tell us, is coming from community spread, just all through the community.
Governor Mike DeWine: (33:53)
Wayne County has also a high level of cases, 256 cases per 100,000. They returned to red this week. They were last red the week of September 3rd. The county also exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidence and is seeing a sustained increase in new cases, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions. Local health department officials report there was a significant outbreak at the college of Wooster. There’ve been some long-term care facility outbreaks, and the college of Wooster has recently announced that they are going remote. They have done a good job. They’ve prepared, but the spread has just overwhelmed them, in that sense. They are going remote.
Governor Mike DeWine: (34:38)
Let’s turn to Tuscarawas County. They’re red for the first time this week. They’re at a fairly high rate, 217 cases per 100,000, over double the high incidence rate. They’ve seen sustained increases in new cases, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions. The Tuscarawas County local health department reports they had a record number of cases on Monday: 41 new cases on Monday. 22 residents are hospitalized. At least three are on ventilators. Spread continues in families and in the community, particularly through social gatherings.
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:11)
Ottawa County is red for the first time this week. The county exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidence, seeing a sustained increase in new cases. They’re at 130 cases per 100,000. Health department officials report the county has had more than 90 cases to date in October, which is triple the number of cases they had in September. Like other areas of the state, people are socializing with friends, family, which is leading to additional virus spread.
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:39)
Harden County, they’re at 127 cases per 100,000. They returned to red this week. Last time the county was read was the week of July 23rd. The county exceeds CDC’s threshold for high incidence. They’re seeing an increase in outpatient visits. The health department reports that events continue to happen and that they are having unfortunately, some difficulty in getting people to cooperate in regard to contact tracing, which is really just essential if we’re going to knock this down.
Governor Mike DeWine: (36:11)
Geauga County, they are not a high incidence county. They’re at 86 per 100,000, but they are red for the first time this week. The County has seen sustained increase in new cases and outpatient visits. Social gatherings have continued, including get togethers with family, friends. There’s been a drop off in people wearing masks. Again, while we haven’t talked much about this, when we’re talking about people getting together, many times the health departments will report that people were not wearing masks. Again, I’ll go back to what I’ve said, is that many times you can do things, but you just have to do it a little different way, and wearing the mask, as Chris Christie said, it’s just not a very big sacrifice to prevent the spread of virus to yourself or someone else. Lake County is at 68 cases per 100,000, not a high incidence. The County has had sustained increase in new cases and outpatient visits. They’ve traced some of the virus spread to large social gatherings that then carried over into a workplace. They’ve encountered some resistance, also, with contact tracing.
Governor Mike DeWine: (37:21)
Let’s go to Lorain County. Again, their incidence is 66 cases per 100,00, again, not over the high incidence, but they returned to red this week. Last time they were red was the week of August 27th. The county has had a sustained increase in new cases and outpatient visits. Local health department officials report spread from social gatherings, including sleepovers ,and some workplace transmission. That’s where we are.
Governor Mike DeWine: (37:51)
Let me turn to another topic. Nearly three years ago, as Ohio’s Attorney General, we became one of the first states to file a lawsuit against the drug companies and against the distributors. This week, the United States Department of Justice announced a more than $8 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma. One of the organizations that Ohio sued. This is the beginning of justice and there’ll be more outcomes of cases as they move forward. We congratulate the Justice Department and this is good. This is good news for the people of this country.
Governor Mike DeWine: (38:36)
Let me now turn to Lieutenant Governor. Jon?
Jon Husted: (38:42)
Thank you, Governor. Thank you very much. I just want to spend a little time on the economic recovery and some news there, and really to help talk a little bit about how people who maybe have been displaced by what’s occurred in the workplace since COVID or due to technology, that there are a number of ways that you can transition into a new career. One of them I would like to focus on today is apprenticeships. Ohio is currently ranked number four in the US for the number of apprenticeships, so we’re proud of that. We think we’ve made some great progress in Ohio on that front. We have 19,981 apprentices, and on average, this is the important part. The apprentices in Ohio earn as much as $70,000 a year or earn on average $70,000 a year. We have 590 sponsors of apprenticeships in the state of Ohio.
Jon Husted: (39:42)
The great thing about an apprenticeship is that you can learn and earn at the same time, while you’re in the process of acquiring your certification. The only states that currently rank ahead of us, according to the Registered Apprenticeship Partnership Information Data System, so we’ve got some factual basis for this, were California, which is obviously a bigger state, Texas, as well, and South Carolina. We believe that frankly, we can get to number two in this one. We’re going to continue to push, to try to add apprentices. Also of note though, we are number one when you talk about state apprentices alone, state sponsored apprenticeships versus federal sponsored apprenticeships. We’re doing this right in Ohio, and if this at all sounds like of interest to you, a family member, someone you know, there are apprentices in construction, manufacturing, IT. They’re all over the place, across the board in the economy. We encourage you to go to apprentice.ohio.gov, to apprentice.ohio.gov, and there’s more information about how you can get involved in that process, in that system.
Jon Husted: (40:59)
I want to also spotlight a business leader, business leadership. We try to highlight the businesses who’ve really stepped up. As we know, Governor, as we’ve often discussed, that we have a lot of businesses who stepped up and helped us. We know that PPE is one of the areas that we are in definite need of, particularly as the virus re-surges. Maybe as we have a vaccine coming sooner, we’re going to have even more and more demand for PPE. I want to highlight one of those businesses, Norwalk Furniture, who after the virus came about, they halted operations and then a local … There just wasn’t demand for their product at the time.
Jon Husted: (41:46)
The local hospitals said, “Hey, could you make PPE for us?” They began manufacturing thousands of hospital gowns and masks at Norwalk Furniture. Many of their employees came back and choose to come back and help and work over time to help supply the PPE. This is one example of the resiliency of Ohio businesses, where they’re stepping up. They’re filling in a void, and we know that this is going to be here for a while and that we want these businesses to continue to make PPE. We want Ohioans to continue to, we want America to purchase these things domestically so we don’t have to be reliant on a international supply chain for these particular, for PPE or anything else that’s critical during a pandemic.
Jon Husted: (42:38)
I also want to add, on the jobs front, that there are currently 159,315 jobs posted at Ohio Means Jobs. You can go there and take a look. 78,000 plus, more than 78,000 jobs pay $50,000 a year or more. There are also internships. I like to highlight this because I know people are struggling out there, and there are resources to help you. There are opportunities out there and we encourage you to take advantage of them.
Jon Husted: (43:12)
Then, Governor, in closing, I know the other day I talked about Jackson County, how they were pulling together as a community to coordinate their efforts. On a little bit of a lighter side, but effective side, particularly when you hear Governor Christie’s story, it was very compelling story about wearing a mask and following the rules. Well, in Dayton, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce has rallied the area mascots. We have all of the mascots from the local teams: Heater and Jim from the Dayton Dragons, and Rowdy Rader from Wright State, and Rudy Flier from the University of Dayton.
Jon Husted: (43:53)
They started a campaign in the Dayton area to help highlight wearing of masks, to reach people of all ages. The hashtag is #DaytonMascots, and we really appreciate the innovative creative ways that people are owning these problems at the local level, because we have to rally together in the smallest groups, as families, as communities, as regions, and certainly as a state, and a nation. We appreciate everybody who’s pulling together to try to convey these messages out there across the state of Ohio, back to you, Governor.
Governor Mike DeWine: (44:31)
Jon, thank you very much. We’ll go to questions.
Speaker 1: (44:34)
Governor, first question today is from John London at WLWT in Cincinnati.
Governor Mike DeWine: (44:39)
John London: (44:40)
Hi, Governor. With Hamlin County now on the watch list, parents, teachers, and students are wondering what’s going to happen if their county turns purple next week. You’ve said schools are not the spread problem, that they’re taking the right precautions. I can tell you, in recent days we’ve seen bars and restaurants where you’d think the pandemic had never happened: at shoulder to shoulder, without masks. School families are asking, since what you’ve said to do, and certain nights spots are not, why should they, the schools, be punished at all if a county goes purple? Why wouldn’t they be able to stay open? Will health departments go after the violators?
Governor Mike DeWine: (45:16)
Great question. Let me try to answer that. First of all, there’s no mandate from the state in regard to purple. There’s some guidance. We tell people this is a heightened level of awareness, a heightened level of concern, but we always tell people to look at the two things. Look at your color, but also look at number of cases per 100,000, and you can see it every week. That’ll give you some idea how you compare to other counties.
Governor Mike DeWine: (45:58)
For example, Cuyahoga County, at the other end of the state, John, their numbers, they’re way down the list. I think they’re barely high incident level. that’s high, but there’s 70 other counties that have more spread than they do. Look at where you are, number of cases per 100,000 in the last two weeks. That really tells you what your odds are of running into somebody who’s got it. That’s the way I would look that. That’s important.
Governor Mike DeWine: (46:33)
The color code is seven different potential indicators come together to tell you overall where you are. Some of those indicators are early warning indicators, and some of them are late indicators, for example, a hospital, more and more people coming into that hospital. The three counties that we put on the watch list all would qualify this week as purple, but our system says you got to be purple two weeks before we show you as purple, so they’re on a watch list. They’re not purple.
Governor Mike DeWine: (47:14)
What I just said is all information that I think any Ohio citizen can get their hands on, can look at, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re a school administrator, just an average citizen, you just want to see what’s going on in your county. Those are the two things we ask you to look at. Let’s talk about our schools. I expressed the other day a concern, a couple of concerns. One, what is reflected in schools as far as COVID spread, depends on what’s going on in the community. If you’ve got four times the COVID spread, for example, you’re in a rural county that’s got that, you’re almost bound to have some spread in your school. The schools, John, as you indicated, around this state-
Governor Mike DeWine: (48:03)
… the schools, John, as you indicated, around this state, I believe, all the information I can get, are doing a very good job. The indicators are that we are not seeing a significant amount of spread in the schools themselves. And it goes back to what we’ve learned. What we’ve learned is when people are in a more formal setting, factory, workplace, school, people follow protocols and they were masks. They try to keep a distance as much as possible. And we don’t see a lot of spread, generally. So that would be true with the schools as well as in business.
Governor Mike DeWine: (48:53)
Same way with colleges. In classroom, we don’t have any indication there’s much spread in classroom. Spread in the dorms where the school can control the situation, there’s some. But where we’re really seeing it spread throughout society it’s just people letting their guard down. The examples I gave earlier today. And just the social interaction and spread. People not wearing masks, not being careful, not keeping a distance. So I would ask our educators, I would ask our superintendents, take all that into consideration. And the same way with parents.
Governor Mike DeWine: (49:30)
I think you also have to add the fact that while some students will thrive no matter how they’re taught, it would seem there are many students who don’t. And there are students who don’t thrive in a remote learning situation. And so we’re now seeing some schools that went remote, of course, in the spring, they’ve come back and were remote up until now. Some of them are announcing that they’re going to stay remote, at least until the end of this calendar year. And I would just say, look, we believe in local control. We believe in schools and parents making these decisions. But I am bothered, as the governor, frankly, by kids being out of school that long. And this is, again, an individual decision. But I think that everybody needs to… We continue to learn more.
Governor Mike DeWine: (50:42)
We’re going to do a study, but the results of that study, it’ll take a month. But we’re going to go into some schools, with the school’s consent and individual’s consent, obviously, families. And let’s say Mary is in a classroom and she found out later she has COVID, and they look back and say, “Well, she had Billy over here and he was within four feet of her for longer than 15 minutes. He’s got to be quarantined.” And that’s what the CDC says. What we’re going to do for schools, if we can do this trial, and we intend to do this trial with new quick tests, we’re going to allow that student who was close to the other student to stay in school, but to test them and test them very frequently. At the same time, we’re going to take another group of students in that school, and again, with parents’ consent and everyone’s consent, and test them, even though they’ve not been exposed. And we’re going to see what kind of numbers that we see. Because anecdotally, which is all we have now, we are just not seeing a lot of spread directly in the classroom.
Governor Mike DeWine: (52:06)
And when you go up on the portal that we have put up where you can look and see how many schools reporting cases, in some of those cases, you have to drill down and look at every case. But in some of those, they may be school-related, but they may not have occurred in school. It may have been students getting together, it may have been parents having an alternative event, and so it didn’t occur in the school, but it impacts the kids in this school. So these are all things that I think, particularly parents and school officials where kids have been out of school for some period of time, I think they all need to take all these factors into consideration in deciding what they need to do going forward.
Governor Mike DeWine: (53:02)
And I apologize for a long answer, but it’s a complex issue. We’ve left it to the local community to make this decision. Part of my job, I think, is to give the local community as much information as I can. And some of the new information that we’re getting, as we just look at this anecdotally, from schools is that schools, like most other things in society that are more formal, there’s not as much spread as there is when people are just getting together very informally. So thanks for asking the question, John.
Speaker 2: (53:41)
Next question is from Danny Eldridge at Hannah News Service.
Danny Eldridge: (53:47)
Hello Governor, how are you?
Governor Mike DeWine: (53:49)
Danny Eldridge: (53:51)
So with hospitalizations going up, I’m starting to hear that beds are already becoming an issue with hospitals running at full capacity. At what point could we go back to restricting elective surgeries and other items? And what’s the strategy for making sure hospitals don’t go bankrupt, if that is the case?
Governor Mike DeWine: (54:11)
Yeah, well, we don’t want them to go bankrupt, and we also don’t want them to stop doing elective surgeries. We had the period of time where they couldn’t do it, when we made that initial decision in the spring, that was based upon advice from hospitals. The decision about when hospitals stop doing, if they ever do stop doing elective surgeries, is going to be informed by what hospitals are telling us. And we’re going to probably do this more on a case by case basis, but we’ll have to take a look at that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (54:41)
Again, I’m going to use every opportunity I can to reinforce this message. We don’t have to go there. We do not have to be there. We do not have to be in that situation. We can control this if we get 90%, 85% of people wearing masks, keeping a distance, and using their good, common sense about the spread. We can avoid this, we can turn this around. It’s multiplying very quickly, but it will continue to do that unless we do something differently. And doing something differently is just more of us wearing masks and more of us being careful. We’ve done it twice before, we can do it again.
Jon Husted: (55:21)
Governor, if I could add on that. Remember also, it was also due to a lack of PPE. And we have worked very hard to build a supply chain for PPE. That was one of the original reasons that they asked for us to delay elective surgeries, and we’ve built that out very well over time. So that helps mitigate that problem.
Governor Mike DeWine: (55:44)
And we have some Ohio companies, we’re very proud of this, some Ohio companies making some of this PPE now. So thank you.
Speaker 2: (55:53)
Next question is from Jeff Reddick at WSYX in Columbus.
Jeff Reddick: (55:59)
Good afternoon, Governor. This is the last time that we’ll get to talk to you before the Buckeyes return to play. The university is advising fans against large gatherings at home, and I wonder if you’d address that as well. Also, this is against the backdrop that four of the eight teams the Buckeyes are scheduled to play will come from or the Buckeyes will go to their states where test rates are much higher than Ohio. So it would seem there’s an interesting example to set here.
Governor Mike DeWine: (56:31)
Well, I think Ohio State is absolutely right. The president has a good message, Ohio State athletics has a good message, and that is the risk is not going to be… Obviously in the stands, they’re going to limit it to a number of people. They’re going to be mostly families that will be there. I think it’s a total of 1,500, Ohio State stadium. So we’re not concerned about those fans. They can certainly spread out, they will wear masks.
Governor Mike DeWine: (57:05)
But it is the gathering, what we do as we watch the Buckeyes, and how we gather together. And my message simply would be please be careful. You can watch the Buckeyes, but you don’t have to watch them with a large number of people. And if you do you feel the necessity of watching them with a group of people, wear a mask. You can wear a mask inside. Keep some distance. Be careful about the food. These are all things that people can certainly do and be very, very, very careful.
Governor Mike DeWine: (57:46)
As far as teams coming from high incident states, we’re a high incident state. Now, we may not be as high positivity. Our positivity yesterday when I looked at it was 6% for the day. So it’s gone from 2.5% to 6%. Not good. But as far as the states where it’s very, very high, some people might ask what’s the propriety of having these football players come in? And in the reality is that they’re tested quite often. Ohio State players are tested quite often. They’re following the best protocols that they can find. So that’s what they’re doing. They’ve been very responsible all the way through in regard to how they deal with it. It doesn’t mean they might not have a spread. Again, the thing we always worry about more, it’s not the formal settings, it’s the informal settings. And that’s what we should worry about. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (58:54)
Next question is from Jo Ingles at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Governor Mike DeWine: (58:59)
Jo Ingles: (58:59)
Good afternoon, Governor. I have a question about Thanksgiving. Going back to this question about people coming in and coming in from all over. There’s the airlines, who the airlines are providing testing. Different states have different testing guidelines. You just referred to it in the case with the football. But the thing is that Governor Christie, when he was speaking, he said that testing made him a little bit overly sure of his situation. Do you think that that people can look at all this testing that’s going on and get a false sense of security? And what’s being done to make sure that that doesn’t happen?
Governor Mike DeWine: (59:44)
Yes, I think people can get a false sense of security. They get a negative test and they think they’re okay. Well, frequent testing is good, but it doesn’t mean you change your behavior. And I think that was the message from Governor Christie. Wear a mask. Wear a mask. Don’t stop wearing a mask. Don’t take that mask off just because you have tested negative today. Next person you may run into may have it and you don’t know. They may or may not know it. So I think that’s the strong, strong message. Don’t think that because you’ve taken a test and you’re negative that you can let your guard down. That’s one of the things that we’ve learned. This virus is sneaky, nasty, and it can come up on you pretty quick. And people can have it and they don’t know they have it. So the next person you run into might be might have it. So yeah, continue to wear a mask. I think that’s the strong, strong message.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:51)
And as far as Thanksgiving, get back to what we’ve talked about with Halloween and Thanksgiving before. It may not be the same Thanksgiving you’ve had in the past where a bunch of people come in from out of town and you mix a bunch of families together. It just doesn’t make any sense. And I think we got to look at this from the long view of this. And the good news is that we’re going to get through this. We’re going to break through. The vaccine is coming, but it’s not here, and we don’t have any kind of immunity, and so we’re exposed and we’re going to remain exposed. And so once you get outside the people that live with you, you got to be alert, has to go up, even if they’re loved ones.
Speaker 2: (01:01:37)
Next question is from Marty Schladen at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Schladen: (01:01:42)
Good afternoon, Governor.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:01:43)
Marty Schladen: (01:01:45)
So the numbers that you spoke of and the anecdote that Governor Christie gave, I think for most rational people, those would be pretty sobering. But if you look on your Twitter feed right now, it’s screaming with some pretty false stuff. Like despite proof that masks don’t work, the increase in cases is due strictly to more testing. And I just want to ask you, where do you think this hostility to science comes from? And do you think it’s harmed the state’s effort to combat the virus?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:02:21)
Well, first of all, this is not what you asked, but I’m going to use it as an occasion to answer it anyway, or to state it. I’m not for any kind of censorship. I’m bothered anytime there’s any censorship out there, anybody pulling stuff down from… A company pulling something down is not the right thing to do. But look, what we can simply do is share data, share information. I fully expected when Governor Christie came and talked that people would be on the internet right away saying different things. I just found his story to be a compelling story when I first heard him on TV, then I read the op-ed. I just thought it was compelling, and I thought I related to it because I think it’s something that anybody could do.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:03:18)
Anybody who thought, okay, I’m saved. My heavens, I’m at the White House. They test everybody every day or every other day, whatever it is. They test people often. I’m safe. And he said, “When I walked in, I took my mask off. When I walked out on the street, I put my mask back on.” And so his story, I just think, is a compelling, compelling story.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:03:39)
The whole idea that our cases are going up solely because increase in testing is just nuts. It’s not right. The way you can tell that is look at our increase in positivity. Generally, as you go out and testing a wider, wider group of people, you would expect… And in testing, many people who don’t have symptoms now, you would expect that the positivity would go down. That is not what’s happened. Yes, our cases have gone up, but our positivity has gone up as well. It’s more than double what it was three weeks ago.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:04:29)
So look, we’re always going to have people out there who just make arguments that don’t make any sense and are not based on science, and there’s nothing we can do about that. So we believe in the First Amendment and that people will sort it out. And I think in the end, people do sort it out. And I think that’s what is compelling about Chris Christie’s story. People can say, “Gee, I might’ve been in that same position.”
Speaker 2: (01:05:03)
Next question is from Bradley Underwood at WKRC in Cincinnati.
Bradley Underwood: (01:05:10)
Good afternoon, Governor. This wasn’t the question I had planned on asking, but based on what you said today and some of the other questions, when you say we can do this, we can stop this spread, you got to wear a mask, you got to say distant… Down here in Hamilton County, obviously that’s not working. People are not listening. And we’re seeing that across the country. On the verge of going purple here in Hamilton County, are we going to expect shutdowns? What are the next steps to do? Because clearly, people are not taking the advice to mask up and stay distant.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:49)
Well, there’s still time. There’s still time for them to do that. And I’m the optimist. I think people will do it. Look, I think I told you this the other day, I had somebody who called me and basically said, “In our community, people don’t take it seriously until they take it seriously. And now they’re starting to take it seriously.” And I would hope that, as I started the press conference with, that for those of my fellow Ohioans who have said it doesn’t impact me, it’s not in my county, or if it’s in my county, it’s not spread very much and I’m going to take my chance. And when it gets serious, I’ll get serious about it. But until then, don’t bother me.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:06:29)
What I’m saying today is it’s time to pay attention. It is serious now. It is getting worse by the minute. And we see the data recorded every single day and the numbers just are going like this. So it’s time to get serious. We can do this. Not only can Ohioans do it, Ohioans are in a unique position to do this. Government cannot mandate, unless we’re in China or some totalitarian state, and we don’t want to live there and we don’t want to do that. Government is not going to come knocking on your door and making sure that you’re not having a party. Government can’t be everywhere and it’s not going to say, “Hey, where’s your mask?” Ultimately, there’s personal responsibility here. And Ohioans are pragmatic people. We’re tough, we’re strong, we’re pragmatic. We get serious when it’s time to get serious. It’s time to get serious.
Speaker 2: (01:07:36)
Next question is from Max Filby at the Columbus Dispatch.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:07:39)
Max Filby: (01:07:41)
Hey, Governor. How are you doing today?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:07:43)
I’m well, sir.
Max Filby: (01:07:45)
With the election just under two weeks away, do you have any concerns that we’re seeing cases spike right now? And should the Secretary of State’s office or any Boards of Elections take any other precautions with cases surging right now?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:03)
Well, the Secretary of State’s on it. Frank LaRose is on this. He lives and breathes it every day. So I don’t have any advice for him. My advice to any of my fellow citizens who are concerned about going and voting on election day, plenty of time now. Get your absentee ballot and go ahead and vote. You can certainly do that if you want to do that, if you’re concerned about that. If you want to check the Board of Elections and see what kind of line there is next Tuesday at 2:00 or something, depending on how many people are showing up at that time of day, you might want to show up then or find a time that is a downtime. So there’s many opportunities for people to vote. Again, I think we may have very high voting, but we’re also going to have a higher number of people voting early than have ever voted before, I think, in Ohio history. So that should spread it out on election day.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:03)
The other thing, I just keep reminding everyone, please, please, please wear a mask when you go in to vote. We owe it to the workers there, we owe it to the people who are there. And undoubtedly, there will be some poll workers who have a medical problem, some poll workers who are older and they are very, very susceptible. And if they get it, susceptible to the outcome not being a great outcome. So charity, love for our poll workers who are working a long day anyway. Let’s help them out by wearing a mask.
Speaker 2: (01:09:41)
Next question was from Laura Hancock at cleveland.com.
Laura Hancock: (01:09:44)
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:46)
Laura Hancock: (01:09:46)
As you know, we’re in this spike. Schools and businesses, and just average Ohioans, are trying to make difficult decisions to suspend the spread of infection and keep themselves safe. Yet we still don’t have the contact tracing data that pinpoints the sources of the spread. We’ve only gotten anecdotes over the past few months. When can we get some real data that shows how this virus is spreading?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:10:18)
Well, it’s interesting that you mentioned that. We had a meeting this morning specifically about that. And what we have had so far, it was a system that was designed not for the pandemic. We’ve been trying to live with this system because local health departments have been overwhelmed, 113 local health departments. But we’ve made the decision that we need to get better data. And so what’s happening now is they’re reporting things, but it’s more anecdotal. And so we’re going to give them a field of things to check of what comes up in an interview.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:12)
But I would even say to tell you, even when we get that, it is not going to be, in most cases, many, many, many cases, it can’t be determined, particularly now that we have significant, significant community spread, it cannot be determined where that person got it. So what you may have is a list of places this person has been during that period of time. Might be a restaurant might be a bar, might be home, might be family, might be this, might be that. Many times, the person who’s doing the tracing cannot determine exactly where that person got it. So even under our new system, you could conceivably have five checks, seven checks, different places. You have no clue-
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12:02)
Seven checks, different places. You have no clue which of those places that person got it from because it’s not a case where in every case they come back and say, “We’ve solved the problem. We know that he got this at 10:00 at such and such a place.” That’s just not the world we live in, it’s not what we have. So what we’re going to do is try to make it easier for the local health departments to report it by checking different options. But even when we get that information, you’re not going to have any… You may have some better information, but it’s certainly not going to be definitive at all. And so that’s the challenge. What you have now is notes that have been taken, so you can go through. You could go through and you could do a word search.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:13:01)
But for example, if you search for bar or restaurant and the note taker had written, “Not in a bar” or, “Not in a restaurant,” that would still show up as restaurant or show up as a bar. So we’re upping the system, we hope it doesn’t cost too much added time for the caseworkers, people who are out there every day in the 113 health departments. So we’re going to go ahead and do that, but even after we do it the information we’re going to get is still going to be somewhat anecdotal.
Speaker 3: (01:13:45)
Next question is from Jackie Borchardt at the Cincinnati Inquirer.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:13:50)
Jackie Borchardt: (01:13:51)
Hey, good afternoon. I’m going to go back to something you said earlier. You were talking about concerns about kids being out of school and not learning well in the virtual environment. And the evidence we have so far is that schools are not environments that lead to a lot of spread, yet many school districts are using the color-coded map which includes cases at colleges and universities, and are not necessarily in those schools to determine whether they’re going to be online or in person. How much should schools be looking at that color coded map to make their decisions? And like you said earlier is at odds with what I’m hearing out of some school districts. How should schools go about making that decision of bringing the kids back or sending them home?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:14:37)
Yeah. I think if it was my child. If I was a parent, if I was a superintendent, if I was school board I’d try to gather all the information I could. I would look at the color code because that tells you, overall, what’s going on in your county. Green County, where we are right now, went red. And people make decisions based upon that. It tells you something. You also need to look at the list of 88 counties and number of cases they’ve had in the last two weeks. I also, if my school was in session or if my school was in a hybrid, I would want to look at how many cases I’m showing up in school. What’s going on in my school itself? If you were in a big county, if you’re in a Franklin County or Cuyahoga County, I would drill down and look at my zip codes or zip code where my school is because what may be happening in one part of the county may not be quite reflected the same in the other.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:15:43)
Although the spread now is going everywhere. But I also would look at my students and I would try to make a determination if I was going remote. How are they doing? How do I think this is working out for these students if I was hybrid, the days that these kids are remote? If I was totally remote, I’d want to say, “Well look, how are we doing? Everybody’s trying, but how is this getting delivered? Are the kids getting it?” And I would look at that. So I think there’s no one solution and every school district’s different, but I would want to look at all of those things and then make a determination. And look, throughout this virus everything is a balancing act. Everything you’re balancing.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:39)
Time after time we’re looking at choices, which neither choice is great. In fact, some choices are both bad, one’s just worse than the other one. And so you’ve got to figure out, what’s the risk? Risk to the kids, risk to the teachers. You’ve got to figure out, how well are these students doing or can they do remotely? How well can they do an in-person? What’s the weather? And the weather being the color coded map and being the number of cases that we’ve got. So I think I would look at all of those things. And that’s why I appreciate your question, because I really wanted to cover this today because I’ve been talking last night to a school superintendent from Hamilton County, I’ve talked to others. There’s no magic to this. There’s no, “If this, then we automatically do this.” These are judgment calls that are being made by good people under very, very, very difficult and adverse conditions.
Speaker 3: (01:17:45)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:17:50)
Marty Schladen: (01:17:52)
Hi, Governor. Hey, thank you for answering my question on Tuesday about whether the state would mandate vaccines or require immunity certificates. You said that you wouldn’t. However, the second part of my question for Tuesday was unanswered and I’d like to get your answer on that today if I may. Will you allow others to mandate vaccines? For example, allowing businesses to require employees to vaccinate in order to work, or maybe prospective customers. And will you allow schools to press for vaccines for kids despite Ohio’s existing exemptions for kids K-12, since many boards does school boards now are currently not honoring mask exemptions?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:18:29)
Well our law is clear in regards to school kids, so I would see no change in that law at all in regard to school kids. We would encourage people to get the flu shot, we encourage them to get all kinds of different shots, but the law is what the law is in regard to our school children. That’s one category. As far as your other question about whether a business could require everyone that would work there to have to have a shot, something I will talk to the general assembly. We generally allow decisions like that to be made in the workplace if they directly impact the welfare of the people who are working there. And we generally allow those judgment calls to be made by the employers who can set a condition of work. But I want to talk to the speaker, I want to talk to the senate president, I want to consult with other members of the general assembly to get their feeling in regard to that. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (01:19:36)
Next question is from Jess Hardin at mahoningmatters.com.
Jess Hardin: (01:19:42)
Hey Governor, thanks for taking my question today. After you issued the statewide mass mandate in July, I spoke with health officials in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties, and when they receive a complaint about mask non-compliance they typically send someone out to check on how the business is enforcing the mandate. There are essentially no repercussions for consumers who choose not to wear masks. The best each department can do is to ask that proper signage is in place and to enforce that.
Jess Hardin: (01:20:14)
They’ve noted that the directive as written is extremely difficult to enforce and places a burden on already burdened health departments. Why not treat non-compliance with the mask mandate like a parking ticket and use police or mask watchers or some force to flag individual people in public who do not wear masks? This is being done all over the country. It’s being done in New York and Connecticut and Charleston, South Carolina, and a bunch of cities in California. It’s possible. You’ve been begging Ohioans to wear masks for three months and it seems that we see cases rise again and you have to make the same plea. Why not hold Ohioans accountable for a mandate they’re supposed to be if encouraging masking is your strategy for responding to these concerning numbers?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:01)
Well, every time the situation has got dire, Ohioans have stepped up, so I have to believe that they’re going to step up again this time when they fully understand the data and looking at this data as it evolves. And as we explain it every couple of days, every Tuesday and Thursday, I think more Ohioans are going to wear a mask. I’m already getting some calls from legislators who say that, “Well, we’re wearing masks more in our county or this county.” As far as issuing tickets, quite candidly, when we put this mask order out we did not ask sheriffs or police departments to issue tickets, but many of them made it very clear, “We’re not in the mask business, we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to issue those tickets.” So it’s not… And as you say, the health department does not have the people to be everywhere. What I would say, though, is this, and I think our businesses have done a very good job, but if someone’s working in a business where the mask order is not being enforced, we would like to hear about, and we will take action. Again, I think businesses are doing a very, very good job. But if you’re you’re a employee and you have to go work in a situation where people are ignoring the mask order and therefore threatening your health and safety, you should not have to work under those conditions. And I would also say to our retail outlets, the law is clear, what our order is clear is that you need to have your employees wear a mask. I think to protect those employees, a consistent policy in your business about not serving people if they don’t have a mask on. Now, I understand no one wants to turn away business, but again, you’ve got an obligation to protect your employees, and they’re the ones who are on the front line every single day.
Speaker 3: (01:23:16)
Next question is from Jim Province of the Toledo Blade.
Jim Province: (01:23:20)
Hi again, Governor. On Tuesday, you told me that you believe that there had been some cases of spread involving the recent political rallies in western Ohio, but you wanted to double check. I wanted to get back to you now and see what you learned from that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:34)
Yeah. Our team told me that day that they had not seen from the local health departments any indication. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur. Just like everything else, you can have spread, you just don’t know it, from a particular event. So it could’ve, but I was wrong about that. I was incorrect about that. At least as of Tuesday when I checked after the press conference, they came back to me and told me that they had not seen any examples. We will go back and check again from local health departments, and if local health departments say they’ve got spread, well, they’re the ones who were on the front line. But we try to stay in touch with them, obviously, to find out what’s going on. So to my knowledge, we don’t have any that we know of.
Speaker 3: (01:24:24)
Next question is from John Reed at Gongwer News Service.
John Reed: (01:24:29)
Good afternoon, Governor. With the rise in hospital admissions and the increased number of beds being used, how close are we to needing those auxiliary facilities like the convention centers and things like that? And how ready are those to go if they are needed?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:48)
Well I can tell you we put together, with the Ohio Hospital Association, a system early on, in March, of this pandemic. And it’s a good system. Nothing like this, I don’t think, has ever been done in Ohio before. And it zones, as you know. Andy Thomas, Dr. Thomas was on the other day. And these zone leaders, three different zones, they get together all the time and then they in turn are getting together with all the hospitals that they have in their zone. So it’s a system of bigger hospitals, smaller hospitals. We’re monitoring all kinds of different things. So I have every confidence in the system that’s been set up. We had built-out and well-defined plans for build-out in the spring that did not have to be implemented, and we had some build-out that was pulled back.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:25:46)
So there’s room, and there’s room to grow. Not what we want to see, but there is room to grow. At the rate these cases are expanding, which is just skyrocketing, this can change. And so where we are in a week from now or two weeks from now, I can’t tell you. But I can tell you what they’re telling me now, that they don’t like to see the ICU increase, they don’t like, certainly, the hospital admission increase. And part of what we’re looking at is the age. And I’ll go back to June and July, in June and July we were seeing a younger group of people getting it. We think that younger group, some of them at least may have infected older people. But we’re seeing an older group now, and that does not bode well for what goes on inside the hospital.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:26:42)
Now, medical care today, everybody knows more. Your odds are better, but we’re still, as you can see, still losing people every single day who die of COVID. And it’s still, to some extent, like you’re rolling the dice. And that’s what Chris Christie described, is being in there. You’re in isolation. They tell you, “Yeah, you’re doing a little better,” whatever you’re doing, but you don’t know that this thing could turn overnight and then you’ve got a ventilator or whatever they have to do. So we’re going to keep you informed, the hospitals will keep us informed. We talk with them all the time. And when we start seeing a crisis in one area, we’re going to talk about it. But we do know that when you have this many cases expanding as fast as they are, and if they continue to expand at this rate you’re going to have more people go to the hospital. And we know when we have more people go to the hospital, you’re going to end up with more people in the ICU, and that’s not good.
Speaker 3: (01:27:45)
Next question is from Josh Rultenberg at Spectrum News.
Josh Rultenberg: (01:27:49)
Hi, Governor. You’ve said that Ohioans still have time to turn this around, and you’ve also signaled to those that haven’t taken this seriously in the past to now take it seriously. But how much time are you going to give Ohioans, or at what point do you consider a shutdown if nearly 3/4 of the state is living in danger of contracting the virus?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:28:12)
Josh, we’ll have to see. I’m an optimist. As I told you, I think Ohioans are going to react to this. And that’s not just wishful thinking, Ohioans have done it twice before. There’s no reason to think Ohioans can’t step up again and won’t step up again. If you look at the tools I have and you look at the tools that all of us collectively have as Ohioans, the tools that Ohioans collectively have far exceed any kind of tool that I have because no matter what order you issue, no matter what order you issue, it depends upon people’s compliance with the order. And so, collectively, we have the power. We have the power to turn this thing around, and we can do it and we need to do it. The tools that I have as governor are not nearly as great as the tools that the people of the state of Ohio have collectively.
Speaker 3: (01:29:19)
Governor, next question is the last question for today. And it belongs to Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:29:25)
Jim Otte: (01:29:26)
Hi, Governor. On that last point, talking about trying to get compliance here in the state of Ohio. You can’t compel compliance, but for those people who have been skeptical in the past and remain so, what seems to be the problem here? What’s wrong with this picture? Is it a matter of people just don’t trust you or they don’t trust us because we’re reporting on what you have to say? Do we need those skeptics to be able to complete the circle to make sure that this is all taken care of and we can stop this spread?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:29:57)
Jim, this is a little joke, but maybe they’re not watching our press conference and maybe they’re not watching you at 6:00 on channel seven. I don’t know. People are getting their information from a lot of different places today, and I understand that. But I think, in all seriousness, part of it is people are just tired. They’re sick of it. We’re used to fighting a battle and getting it over with and winning and being done with it, whether that’s a medical battle or any other kind of battle. This is just different. This is a long struggle. This is a long struggle that tests us as Ohioans, but it’s a struggle we will win. And when we win it, we want to have as many Ohioans there to celebrate as we can.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:30:56)
We have a common enemy. And it’s not masks versus those who believe in masks, those who don’t. We’re not enemies, we’re on the same team. And so I think Ohioans can pull together. I think we need to pull together. This is something that we can do together. It’s in our best interest, each one of us, to do this. It’s in the best interest of our families. So we can do this, and I think we will do this. We can fight back. I want to close with a new commercial that we’re putting up. It speaks for itself. But it’s apt, it just worked out this way, that today we’re unveiling it. Today we’re putting it up so people have a chance to see it. But it really describes, I think, exactly what is happening in Ohio today.
Speaker 4: (01:31:52)
All it takes to start a chain reaction is to let up. You stop keeping a safe distance, take a break from your mask, and suddenly an outbreak. And another, and another. Effecting the people in your circle and people you’ve never met. So remember, don’t let up. The battle against COVID-19 isn’t over. Stay safe, Ohio.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:32:23)
Don’t let up, stay safe. We’ll see you all on Tuesday. Thank you very much.