Apr 15, 2021

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript April 15

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript April 15
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsOhio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript April 15

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on April 15, 2021 to provide updates on coronavirus and vaccine distribution. Read the transcript of the briefing speech here.

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Governor Mike DeWine: (02:05)
Well, good afternoon, everyone. We are at the University of Toledo and it’s my pleasure to introduce the University of Toledo Present, President Dr. Gregory Postle, who just gave us a great tour of the vaccine site. Mr. President, thank you for having us here and we’ve enjoyed our visit.

President Dr. Gregory Postle: (02:25)
Thank you, Governor. Good afternoon. On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of the university of Toledo, It is my sincere pleasure today to welcome Governor Mike DeWine to our campus. It’s also an opportunity for me to thank the governor. During my nine months at the University of Toledo brief, but busy, I’ve had many opportunities to see how the governor’s assistance have benefited the members of this campus community. The governor is a staunch advocate for higher education and his support has enabled campuses throughout the state of Ohio to receive COVID stimulus funds, which for us in this past year have been essential in order to make ends meet.

President Dr. Gregory Postle: (03:11)
He has also been a visionary leader for the state of Ohio throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic. On many cases, coming to our assistance to supply first, much needed testing materials, and now vaccines. There is clearly evidence that success is occurring as it pertains to the coronavirus pandemic. However, as we’ll hear today, much work still needs to be done. Most Americans have still not been vaccinated. Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in many states, and including in Lucas County. Unfortunately, our neighbors to the North in Michigan are experiencing these problems as well. Younger patients are appearing in our emergency rooms in larger numbers, with varying severity of their symptoms. Variants of the virus have been well-publicized and are a great source of concern.

President Dr. Gregory Postle: (04:11)
So based upon this, the University of Toledo continues to stay very focused in our efforts to vaccinate as many of our students, faculty, and staff as possible. And in the recent month, we have accelerated our efforts with multiple functions, such as the one today, where students had an opportunity to receive a vaccine. Originally, we were planning on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but yesterday we pivoted to a dual dose vaccination regimen. And fortunately, there’s still time for our students to receive their second dose before the graduation ceremonies.

President Dr. Gregory Postle: (04:50)
The University of Toledo Medical Center, the university’s main hospital, has been a tremendous resource to us throughout this crisis. And also the Lucas County Health Department has been a terrific partner, as we’ve worked through the coronavirus pandemic. I cannot say how grateful we are to the volunteers, the students, the staff, and the faculty at the University of Toledo Medical Center, because without them, these efforts would not be possible. So far, nearly 25,000 doses of vaccine have been administered, which is yet another great example of how critical this hospital is to the Toledo community. Again, my thanks to the governor and a very warm welcome to our campus today.

Governor Mike DeWine: (05:37)
Well, Mr. President, thank you very much. Fran and I have really enjoyed our visit. We appreciate it very, very much. Fran and I had a great tour. We saw where they’re vaccinating students today, had the opportunity to talk to some of the students. At the same time, we talked to medical students who are working there, as well as pharmacy students and nursing students. So it was great to see all three disciplines and all represented there, doing some really great work. We appreciated that very much. Fran and I, I think have been to about 34 vaccination sites and I was kidding the president. I said, “This is the only one I think that we visited that had a t-shirt. Once you got your shot, you got t-shirt.” So, I’ll hold this up. We got a little bit on the back of there too. So anyway, “Every rocket has a mission to improve the human condition.” So Mr. President, I like that a lot.

President Dr. Gregory Postle: (06:44)
I’m very glad.

Governor Mike DeWine: (06:45)
Thank you. Very, very good. We also have today, a student leader, [inaudible 00:06:55] who is joining us today. She’s a student at UT and thank you very much for joining us. How was it today? Did you get a shot?

Speaker 1: (07:04)
I actually have been fortunate enough to receive the Pfizer vaccine a couple of weeks ago.

Governor Mike DeWine: (07:08)
A couple weeks ago?

Speaker 1: (07:10)
Yeah, so I’m fully vaccinated.

Governor Mike DeWine: (07:12)
That is good. That is good. Are you seeing hesitancy among students? What do most students feel?

Speaker 1: (07:22)
At the moment, I think that as a community, we’ve been really lucky to have students that are so willing to receive the vaccine and protect their community and those around them. As a college student, it’s imperative that we protect our community, as we are not likely to pass away from this virus. We need to protect others. And my fellow classmates, fellow student leaders, have been amazing and wonderful and have received both doses. So it’s been really great to see everyone’s so willing to get the vaccine. I think the only hesitancy at the moment might be what the side effects maybe, but as a community, we’ve been doing a great job.

Governor Mike DeWine: (08:00)
Well, Fran I’ve talked to a lot of students, and others who have gotten their vaccine. And one of the things that we find, is that what really influences people is their family members, as well as their friends. And so what you and others are doing on the campus at UT is very important. So thank you.

Speaker 1: (08:22)
Thank you so much.

Governor Mike DeWine: (08:23)
Keep that up. And we appreciate you being with us here. What’s your major?

Speaker 1: (08:28)
I’m a bioengineering major and I’m a pre-med concentration with minors in chemistry and psychology.

Governor Mike DeWine: (08:34)
That’s great. Good luck.

Speaker 1: (08:35)
Thank you so much.

Governor Mike DeWine: (08:36)
Thanks for joining us. We really, really appreciate it.

Speaker 1: (08:39)
Thank you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (08:41)
We had also the occasion, as Fran and I were walking around talking to people to meet Dr. Susan Batten who is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing here at UT. She’s been working with a number of clinics and she was telling us what she was doing. And frankly, I was intrigued by some of the work that she and her team have been doing. Doctor, tell us a little bit about how you’re trying to really take the vaccine out to the community, and reach people who might not have been reached any other way.

Dr. Susan Batten: (09:17)
Through UT student organization and it’s Community Care Clinic, which is a free clinic for the public, we’ve been going to schools. We go to Escuela SMART school on the south side of town. It’s predominantly Hispanic. It’s in the evening. It’s convenient. We have a Africa American church over near the museum, tabernacle, we go there on a Tuesday evenings. Monday evenings we’re on the street. And that’s probably the one that I get the most fun. We have a free clinic on the street. We’ve been doing this for about 10 years.

Governor Mike DeWine: (09:50)
On the street?

Dr. Susan Batten: (09:50)
On the street, sir, in a parking lot, with one big parking lot light. We take some lighting with us and we have people in the community that are homeless, and multi-home different situations come and get their vaccine from us. And they’re so happy and I’m real happy, because we had a 90% return rate. We did Moderna. We did the second dose this past Monday at 90%. I thought that was [crosstalk 00:10:16].

Governor Mike DeWine: (10:16)
People came back?

Dr. Susan Batten: (10:17)
People came back. So we’re doing vaccine on the street. And then on Thursday at Community Care Clinic, which is an ongoing community care free clinic site. We’ve been doing vaccine there for about six weeks now. So it’s student-driven. Some of the faculty are fortunate to be the guides, but the supports for the students. So we’re there. We can’t do it alone. We have an army. We’ve worked with Lucas County. We’ve worked with Wood County, getting out, because this is something we all share. And I love that students share the thought, the obligation, we can do something about this. They’re not ready to be in the lab yet. They’re not ready for practice. They’re still in school, but they know they can make a difference and they can legally give, with supervision, vaccine. And they love it.

Governor Mike DeWine: (11:06)
Well, that is just great. After you told me that, I wanted you really to share that with everybody in the state, because I know other communities are doing things like that, but this is one of the neatest things I’ve heard. And it’s what we have to do if we’re going to reach people. And we have to reach them where they are, and that’s what you’re doing. So thank you. And thank all the students who are working with you, and it’s just a great thing.

Dr. Susan Batten: (11:33)
I think we’ve done probably close to 40,000 immunizations, totally.

Governor Mike DeWine: (11:38)

Dr. Susan Batten: (11:38)
That’s a lot of work and I’m indebted to the students. They’re wonderful. Thank you for having me.

Governor Mike DeWine: (11:44)
Thank you. Thank them, too.

Dr. Susan Batten: (11:45)
Okay, thanks.

Governor Mike DeWine: (11:46)
I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Well, we’re certainly enjoying our visit here at UT. It was good to see a former member of the DeWine team when I was in the United States Congress. Diane Miller worked with me at that time, and she has been at UT now for 14 years. She’s the chief of staff and associate vice president for government relations here at the University of Toledo. So Diane, it’s good to see you. And thank you for all the great work that you’re doing as well.

Governor Mike DeWine: (12:20)
You may have noticed I have a UT tie on. I’m wearing that today, obviously because I’m here, but it’s not only to recognize the university, but also the Wear Blue Campaign, which took place yesterday. Wear Blue is a statewide awareness campaign that takes place on the second Wednesday of every April to raise awareness about child abuse. Last year, there were over 18,000 confirmed reports of child abuse and neglect reported in Ohio. But we also know that in all likelihood, there were many cases of child abuse that were not caught last year, when kids were not in school. Our teachers many times, are the ones who were report the child abuse, something they observe in school. So again, this is something that we need to remember. If you see signs of child abuse, please, please report it. Also, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. So this is the month, and if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected again, please, please report it.

Governor Mike DeWine: (13:29)
Eric, let’s go to today’s data. And so, as we’ll see, cases still up above a 2000, certainly not where we want to see them. They have gone up significantly in the last few weeks. So at a high level, our hospitalizations were significantly above the 21 day average and the same way with ICU admissions. Let’s take a look at the next one, Eric. So our data just out yesterday, 49,000 Ohioans got their first dose. And one of the things that we’ve been seeing is more people getting their second dose than their first dose in the last week, just where we are in this vaccination process, but close to 50,000. We’re now at 36.4% of Ohioans and a four and a quarter million Ohioans have received their first dose. Interesting when we break it down by age, we’ll see that the older ages are still creeping up slowly, but they’re still moving up and we’re starting to see, of course the movement in the younger ages as well. If you look at what’s going on in the college campuses, it’s certainly driving this youngest age group up. So, we thank all colleges who are doing that work.

Governor Mike DeWine: (14:53)
Eric, let’s look at the next one. This is really the slide that we ask everyone to continue to look at. And this is the number of cases per 100,000 over a two week period of time. So when people say, “How’s our county doing?” Or, “How’s my zip code doing?” Look at that county number, and that’s going to give you a pretty good idea of where you are. Let’s look at the top 20 there, Eric. And we’ll look at a slide in a moment. But Lucas, where we are right now, unfortunately is the highest county at 341. What that means is that’s about three and a half times what the CDC says is a high incidence.

Governor Mike DeWine: (15:38)
So we’ve got this situation in Lucas County, as we have, frankly, across the state, where we’re vaccinating more people, well over a third now, the population of Ohio has been vaccinated. We’re eliminating them as being carriers, or being able to get it. But at the same time, this variant is rising up and we know that being Toledo, right on the border with Michigan, is certainly seeing some of the effects of what is going on with our neighbors to the North.

Governor Mike DeWine: (16:09)
So you start with Lucas County, Hancock County, Summit County, Cuyahoga County, Sandusky, Erie, Madison, Wood, and on and on down, Eric let’s look at the next slide. I asked our team to put the top 11 counties, top 11, the counties that have the highest rate of incidence of COVID for the last two weeks. These are not historical numbers. These are last two weeks. And you can see a trend. We’ve got a couple of different ones down here, different parts of the state. We’ve got Clark and Madison, right together, down in Fran and my area of the state. Jefferson County, where we were a few days ago. But the majority of these high incidence counties are right along the northern part. So while we’re seeing increase in cases in most counties in Ohio, where we’re seeing the most of course, is in the northern part of the state. And this is the variant that Bruce will give us a comment about, in just a few minutes.

Governor Mike DeWine: (17:22)
Eric, let’s go to the next one. This is the number of cases. This is the statewide average. So, we’re at the statewide average right now. And you can see this unfortunately has continued to go up. At one point it was over 700, it went way down. We were down, I think it was low as 135, something about in that area. And we had hoped it would continue to go down and get to the 50, where we have set the mark. Where if we got to 50, we would take off all the health orders. Unfortunately, because of this variant, it is moving up and is now at 200.

Governor Mike DeWine: (18:07)
Let me just again, do the summary in regard to the map that we had a moment ago with the 11 counties. Those 11 counties that I referenced constitute about one fourth of the population in the state of Ohio. So, a significant number of people are living in these very high incidence counties. As you can see, most of them are in the northern part of the state. We know that many parts of the state are seeing increases in cases, but these are highest, the top 11.

Governor Mike DeWine: (18:48)
The original color maps that we have been using, those are still available to look at. The big change this week was Franklin County. It went to purple. And I don’t want to downplay that, but I do want to put it in perspective. And then Dr. Vanderhoff will put it in perspective as well. I would, again, emphasize that the thing really to look at is cases per 100,000. And Franklin County is high, but there are other counties they’re certainly higher than Franklin. Franklin has gone to purple, because healthcare utilization has started to increase over all the different seven settings. Emergency visits that are up, outpatient visits, hospital admissions for COVID. Those are all up. If you compare that with Lucas County, other counties such as Lucas County are experiencing increases in one or two of these settings, but not as many as we’re seeing in Franklin County. The increase in Franklin County’s healthcare use is moving it to purple this week. There continues to be high rates of spread in other counties, which ultimately could lead to more use of healthcare in the coming weeks.

Governor Mike DeWine: (20:06)
Let’s look at hospitalization numbers. Again, our hospitalization numbers have been going down for some time. They have now been going up for a while. And this was just the last few days, but you’ll see now we’re back up. We’re up to 1305. It’s a lagging indicator, not a direction that we want to be going.

Governor Mike DeWine: (20:29)
Let me now check in with Toledo Lucas County Health Department, Commissioner, Dr. Eric Zgodzinski. He And his team have been working exceedingly hard. We just really, Dr., appreciate all your good work. And maybe just tell us some of the things that you’re doing in Lucas County. You’ve got Michigan right there. Obviously some of this is coming down into Northwest Ohio, certainly coming down into Lucas County, but give us a report and tell us a little bit about what you’re seeing here. And maybe some of the unique things that you’re doing here at Lucas County to reach more people.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (21:11)
Governor, thank you for those kinds of words. And yes, we have been working hard, but when you say I, or we at the health department, it really is a partnership throughout this entire community to be able to respond the way we have. If it wasn’t for our elected officials and the guidance that they’ve been able to give us, as well as our medical partners. And so many other stakeholders that have teamed up, especially University of Toledo here. Just really quick, early on, they helped us out with contact tracing and then went to testing and now vaccination. So, this is what we do here in Lucas County. We act as a team, we are resilient and we respond when needed. And we have been doing that, responding-wise. Governor, I’m very, very happy with the amount of vaccinations we being able to give. Of course, it’s nowhere near the 70%, but we are around 35% and we continue to trudge up that number. Yes, hesitancy is here in the community for vaccinations, much like it is across the state. I have the honor and privilege to speak with the governor every week, and we’ve been able to talk about this. And what do we do? How do we do that? And through the governor’s leadership and advice, we’ve been able to, again, switch, pivot. I’ve heard pivot several times today. We were doing mass vaccinations, governor, at the rec center and throughout the community. But as you know, we’ve had to pivot and now, I term this phase two. We are now moving into more into the community settings, where we’ve gone from thousands of doses to hundreds of doses at a pod, and really trying to get into the community.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (22:39)
Some other things that we’re we’re looking at doing is again at the mass vaccination clinic, it’s very hard to do walk-ins, but at these smaller clinic, we are going to start taking walk-ins. Matter of fact, I announced today about walk-ins. We are going to try a little bit at the mass vaccination site, because we fear we’re going to have less numbers. So, that’s going to be really important to be able to get that that barrier knocked down of having to get onto VMS, and actually schedule your appointments. We feel that’s a barrier. The other barrier of course, is, like I said, is getting into the community, which is so important. We need to get to community centers. We’ve been going to churches, to the faith-based community. We’ve been setting up these one-off pods, but now it’s time to increase that.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (23:17)
Locally, at our health department, we have not opened the doors to vaccinations, but now we’re going to be taking walk-ins, Monday through Friday. Other areas inside of the community are also going to be doing the same thing today. Today we talked, on my press conference earlier today about our businesses. As you’ve mentioned, and you’ve, I don’t want to say directed, but you’ve highly suggested to make sure you get into your business. And we have been doing that. Our partnerships with our hospitals and other entities have lists of businesses. We’ve asked for additional list of business, actually smaller ones. The businesses that we’ve been actually targeting are those larger businesses with maybe hundreds to thousands of individuals. My ask today was if you have two individuals with inside a business to 2000, and they have not have a closed pod, please sign…

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (24:03)
… Business to 2000, and that have not had a closed pod, please sign up. We’re going to try to get out to you. So we’re taking this on the road to them. What does that mean, Governor? It means that we can go ahead and not only reach those employees, but we will reach their family members, and hopefully those closed pods then would turn into an open pod, once we get those employees done, to be able to then to look at the community setting around it. Because again, small business is extremely important in so many ways, but they’re inside of those community aspects. And if we get to those small businesses, we might be able to, again, target some of those communities that are underserved.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (24:31)
I want to talk really quickly about our equity initiatives. And again, I don’t want to go too quick because it is so important. Our underserved during the entire pandemic has been a true concern. Now we’re here with the vaccinations. We saw it early on. There was hesitancy with our African-American and Latino populations. We’ve attempted to attack that issue as a community, not as a singularity, whether it’s the Health Department or Mercy or [inaudible 00:24:59] or UT or St. Luke’s or somebody one off. We came together as we always do, and that was so important when I mentioned that early on.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (25:05)
This community comes together. Our partners came together and we sat down and said, “What do we do?” We are giving 20% of our doses every week to equity. What does that mean? That means that we could actually be giving those doses as a provider. We might be giving slots for a pod to be able to get those individuals in, or we might just be giving those doses to another entity, another provider such as [inaudible 00:25:30] with Dr. Pat and his crew, to be able to give those to the Latino underserved.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (25:36)
We know, we know, we know we have to take these vaccinations to that community. Because again, hesitancy for our underserved are a number of barriers that we have to contend with. One is the idea of mistrust, transportation, having to sign ups. We have to knock those down. Transportation, we’ve attempted in this community to do that. TARTA is an amazing, amazing organization, an entity inside of our County. They’ve teamed up. They actually have bus lines to our mass vaccination sites. What we’re asking to possibly to do here is figure out, can we use TARTA in any other way to, again, get people to sites that may be a little bit too far away to walk.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (26:16)
Again, it really, truly is an initiative that this community has done to be able to respond to it throughout this event. I do believe, again, as I’ve told the community, I still believe by August we will definitely see another side of this. Unfortunately, what the variants, Governor, I am concerned for our community. Our border, you talked about that. I have been watching the border, of course, but the problem is we share it. This does not stop at the border. COVID does not stop. It knows no border, knows no map on a line.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (26:51)
We share people back and forth, whether it’s play or work. The adage of getting individuals vaccinated from Michigan. I know early on when this started, there was some real concern that we were utilizing our vaccines for those Michigan residents. As we look back, hindsight’s 2020, I’m glad we did that. The reason being is now I know that we have an increased number of vaccinated individuals in Michigan side, as well as the Ohio side. So when we do share people back and forth, I have a little bit more trust that, that virus may have that dam or that wall that we want to create.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (27:25)
Governor, again, I think you need to know that your leadership has really helped us in the endeavor here in Lucas County, but throughout the state, but it really does go back to the people of this community and what they’ve been able to do.

Governor Mike DeWine: (27:36)
The community has done great. I mean, people have come together. This has been phenomenally successful and it’s not over.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (27:45)
No, no, no.

Governor Mike DeWine: (27:45)
We’ve got more work to do, but I think you can be very proud. And I think everyone in Lucas County can be very proud of all the things that they’ve done. It just does take a whole community coming together. So to recap real quick, we’ve got 60. There’s 60 separate locations just in Lucas County alone, not talking about the outlying counties, where people can go. You’re taking walk-ins now where?

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (28:11)
Well, we are going to be taking walk-ins at the rec center starting tomorrow and Saturday, because we’re going to start slow. We’ll be starting Monday at the health department. And then as we feel comfortable with what we’re doing, we’ll be opening that up even wider. I would expect within the next two weeks, probably almost every pod, point dispensing site, excuse me, clinic that we have will be some form of walk-up. I’ve cautioned the community though, when we do have walk-ups, you’re not going to be able to, again, have that 30 minute timeframe of walking through our pod. It probably will be extended a little bit.

Governor Mike DeWine: (28:43)
And I assume, doctor, that you’ve, for people who want to sign up, want to make sure they don’t have very long wait, get in, get in fast, you’ve got openings?

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (28:52)
We definitely have openings. And I know the question about a supply of vaccine. There is no concern, I think, in Lucas County or in the state of supply of vaccine. So there’s no concern there. To your point. Again, we understand barriers. The Ohio Department of Health has loaned us 50 computers to be able then to hopefully speed up the walk in process.

Governor Mike DeWine: (29:15)
Great. Doctor, thank you.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (29:16)
Thank you so much, Governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (29:17)
We I appreciate it.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (29:17)
Thank you. Appreciate you.

Governor Mike DeWine: (29:18)
Thank your team for us.

Dr. Eric Zgodzinski: (29:19)

Governor Mike DeWine: (29:20)
We appreciate it. I want to ask Dr. Vanderhoff to give us an update on Johnson & Johnson, doctor?

Dr. Vanderhoff: (29:26)
Thank you very much, Governor. Of course, there have been a number of developments over the course of the past 48 hours. I think we all recall that on Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to allow for a period of further study, following some rare reports of an unusual blood clotting condition in six people in the United States, following the reception of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (30:04)
Now, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the ACIP met yesterday to further review these cases and then to assess their potential significance. Following that review, we know that among the approximately 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients in the US six had reported a rare blood clot called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, seen with the unusual feature of low levels of blood platelets. Doctors called that thrombocytopenia.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (30:42)
This combination of conditions is very rare. All six cases occurred in women, ranging in age from 18 to 48. Their symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Unfortunately, one of the cases was fatal. After a robust afternoon discussion the panel decided they needed more time to assess the data and to allow more time for other potential cases of this rare syndrome to be reported through [inaudible 00:31:18].

Dr. Vanderhoff: (31:18)
Now, what does this mean for people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Well, according to the CDC, after a month, a month out from having received the vaccine, a person’s risk of developing this condition is extremely low. They advise that if you received the J&J vaccine within the last three weeks and you develop a very severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath that you seek medical attention.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (31:51)
Now, medical providers also need to be aware that the recommended treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from our typical treatment. Specifically, because this condition appears to have much in common with a medical condition that physicians will recognized called heparin induced thrombocytopenia, the medication heparin, which we normally would use could be dangerous and alternative treatments need to be given.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (32:23)
So, as I’ve said before, the bottom line is that these cases have been extremely rare and our nation’s vaccine safety systems have responded swiftly, reliably and transparently. And anybody who watched any portion of the ACIP meeting yesterday knows that it was very transparent. And while I think we all would have liked for the ACIP to have offered definitive guidance yesterday, there’s no doubt in my mind that they are taking the prudent course of waiting together data before offering further guidance regarding what appears to be a very rare risk for some people who received the J&J vaccine. Thank you, Governor

Governor Mike DeWine: (33:07)
Doctor, thank you very much. As the health commissioner just talked about, we’re starting to see more providers who are opening up for walk-ins. We also have … you’re seeing across the state now we have 1500 providers, 1500 different places where you could get the vaccine and we’re seeing more availability. That’s a natural consequence of 35% of us already being vaccinated and still those [inaudible 00:33:39] coming in into the state of Ohio. So we would just encourage everyone if they have had trouble getting the vaccine before now is the time to get in there, either go online, make a phone call, or if they’d rather just walk up, they can do that. Those are opportunities.

Governor Mike DeWine: (33:56)
Just to give you an example, Summa County walk-in appointments are now available to Summa County mass vaccination site at the fairgrounds. Franklin County health officials told us just this morning, they have appointments available next week. They’re also taking walk-ups. Hamilton County public health officials at their clinic at the board of elections were setting aside a portion of their doses for walk-up patients as well.

Governor Mike DeWine: (34:21)
We are also, as we said, in a really a different phase of this. So we’re asking our health departments and other providers to work with businesses, to go into their places of business and help vaccinate. We’re seeing that in high schools. And we’re seeing that of course, in colleges as well. This is all just very important. If we’re going to continue to get shots in arms and push this virus down.

Governor Mike DeWine: (34:48)
Let me talk for a moment about the Wolstein mass vaccination site. Give you a little update. We are partnering with FEMA and MetroHealth to offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine beginning tomorrow at a Wolstein Center satellite clinic, a satellite clinic, Northfield road in Maple Heights. So this is a Maple Heights. There will also be a great opportunity for parents who are looking for locations outside of school to get their kids vaccinated.

Governor Mike DeWine: (35:17)
Maple Heights Clinic is open anyone 16 years of age and older and will operate Friday and Saturday from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM. There are many appointments available right now. To schedule an appointment there or other places go to gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov and type in … If you want to go to Maple Heights, type in Maple Heights in the search bar to see available appointments. You can also call (833) 427-5634 that’s (833) 427-5634. The Ohio Department of Health’s call center will help you as well. We checked this morning just to give you an idea, Hamilton County Public Health Clinic board of elections in Norwood had around 400 doses for anyone who wants to come in. The clinic is open today until 5:00 PM. The regional mass vaccination clinic in Summa County has some open slots for the coming days. Also accepting walk-ins. Mass vaccination clinic at Franklin County, 1200 appointments open for next week. So opportunities for people to sign up. We’ll go down to the Lieutenant Governor, Jon?

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (36:40)
Thank you, Governor. It’s good to see you up in Toledo today. I know that I’ve been talking a lot about the economic recovery and the workforce aspect of it as unemployment rates drop, as employers are talking about recovery, but having a difficult time finding employees, we’re asking employers today to look at a pool of talented employees that perhaps they’ve overlooked in the past and we’re unveiling our opportunities for Ohioans with disabilities inclusive employer toolkit, and you can find out more information on that at ood.ohio.gov/inclusiveemployertoolkit.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (37:26)
And this is our state agency, OOD is, to help Ohioans with disabilities get and keep jobs through vocational rehabilitation services. To put this in some perspective, currently in our census data it shows that there are 1.6 million Ohioans with a disability and nearly 860,000 of those are of working age. And there can be a variety of disabilities that an individual has, but most of them can work and want to work and are looking for great opportunities and matches.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (38:01)
And so we’re announcing the launch of this employer toolkit today to help employers recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities and to create an inclusive workplace for them. This is a great tool. I know every business that I’ve talked with that’s really engaged at hiring Ohioans with disabilities has talked to me about what a great experience it has been for them, how it’s improved the morale of everybody in the workplace. The toolkit though specifically includes building a case, building a business case for this in how your company can benefit from hiring people with disabilities, making sure your workplace is inclusive for everyone, which oftentimes includes some understanding, education and awareness, recruiting, hiring, and supporting employees, and how to support them so that they’re successful, workplace accommodations and how you can make small changes that help create the flexibility that you need to making these relationships work.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (39:07)
And all of this is at no cost to the employer. We invite you to check out this toolkit. As I mentioned, I want to repeat, ood.ohio.gov/inclusiveemployertoolkit. This is a great way to match potential employees who want jobs, help those employers who need a workforce and help build a better team, build a better workforce team in this state, getting more people in the game in ways that benefit everybody. We encourage employers to take advantage of this opportunity. Back to you, Governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (39:47)
Lieutenant Governor, thank you very much. We’re ready for questions.

Speaker 2: (39:51)
Governor, our first question is online today and it’s from Marty Schladen at the Ohio Capitol Journal.

Marty Schladen: (39:56)
Good afternoon, Governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (39:56)
Good afternoon, Marty.

Marty Schladen: (40:00)
With the variant raging out of control in Michigan, and it looks like it’s becoming more of a problem in Ohio, do you think it makes sense for Governor Whitmer and eventually you perhaps to reimpose some of the restrictions that we had, like curfews, just to buy time to get more shots and more arms.

Governor Mike DeWine: (40:21)
Well, I’m not going to talk about Michigan. No one knows more than the Governor of Michigan, so I’m not going to get into Michigan. As far as Ohio, we have to stay on defense, which means we have to wear the mask. Ohioans have done a great job. I checked the numbers this morning. As of last night, we’re still at 94.5% mass compliance on an average in retail establishments in Ohio. Ohioans have done a phenomenal job for a number of months. That makes a difference. We just have to do this a little longer.

Governor Mike DeWine: (41:03)
Where we can take this really on offense is through the vaccine. We’re at over 35% of the population of the state of Ohio has now been vaccinated. We just have to keep going. And the efforts that you heard a moment ago from the health professionals who are going out into communities, who are literally seeking people out to give them the opportunity to get a vaccine, they are doing the Lord’s work. They are doing the most important work that’s being done in the state. And that is to give people the opportunity to protect themselves with this shot. And every time someone protects themselves with this shot, they are protecting the rest of us because it is going to slow this virus down. I hesitate to think where we would be in Ohio, if we had not vaccinated, if we didn’t have the vaccine and had not already eliminated 35% of the people in the state from being able to have it or to carry it.

Governor Mike DeWine: (42:08)
Look, I’m not an epidemiologist. I certainly talk to a lot of them, but we’re behind Michigan in the sense of where this variant is, but we have the variant. It is very much alive and multiplying and moving in Ohio. So it is a race and what we have to do, we have to stay with basics. We got to keep the mask on. We got to keep some distance. We got to be careful. The same time, we have got to really put the emphasis on getting the shots. That’s why every employer out there who has the opportunity, does have the opportunity to reach out to your health department or reach out to a health provider and have them come into your business and vaccinate people in your business, you will get a bigger uptick.

Governor Mike DeWine: (43:04)
What UT is doing, had a message from the president of Miami University. They’re kicking back in on the vaccine and other universities around the state, what they’re doing in reaching students who might have gone back home after they got out of school in May, and may have been a while before they get the vaccine, getting that vaccine now, that’s very important. So all these things coming together, we are in a battle and we got to win, but the way we do it as is the mask and to keep vaccinating people in the state of Ohio.

Speaker 2: (43:41)
Next question is from on-site at UT and it’s from Melissa Voetsch at WTVG in Toledo.

Melissa Voetsch: (43:53)
Good afternoon, Governor. It’s good to have you in Northwest Ohio.

Governor Mike DeWine: (43:56)
Good afternoon. Hey, good to be here. Thank you.

Melissa Voetsch: (43:57)
Good to see you. We were all excited when you got on television and said when we get down to 50 cases for 100,000, we’d be able to get back to normal. And it seems like we’re moving in the wrong direction. Is there going to be maybe some moderation on that or some middle ground here? What do you have to say to everybody as we move forward?

Governor Mike DeWine: (44:17)
Our ticket to freedom is the vaccine, and our ticket to a good summer is the vaccine, our ticket to a good spring is the vaccine. It’s our ticket out. It’s our ticket out of what we’re in now. And that really is where we have to concentrate on now. I’ve been asked, “You still think, Mike, these viruses coming up and we’ve got the variant now and you really think we’re going to have a good summer?”

Governor Mike DeWine: (44:46)
And the answer is, yes, I think we’re going to have a good summer. We just have to continue to execute. And the execution is wearing the mask, but we got to keep pushing the vaccine out. The first third of our population has now been vaccinated. Now we’ve got, and we’re doing well with people over 65. And if you look at those numbers every single day as I do, they’re starting to fill in with a younger population. We just have to keep going. So we know how to get out of this. This is not five months ago, four months ago. We know how to get out of this, and we have the tool to get out of it. We just have to use the tool and we’ve got to use it every day. And that is, vaccinate people.

Speaker 2: (45:35)
Next question is online from Chelsea Sick at WKEF in Dayton.

Chelsea Sick: (45:40)
Hi there, Governor DeWine. I talked to the Ohio Restaurant Association today, who said there is a shortage of people returning to service industry jobs. I talked to several restaurants who say business is picking up, which they’re thankful for, but they’re short-staffed and people aren’t applying. What do you think is causing this? One business owner I talked to worries it’s the amount of people on unemployment.

Governor Mike DeWine: (46:03)
Well, I know what some restaurant owners have told me, as I’ve talked to them. They’ve told me that some of the things that [inaudible 00:46:11] has done in regard to unemployment benefits or other benefits may have impacted that. I’m not in the industry, so I’m not the person to ask really about that. But I think what you’re seeing is good, and what you’re seeing is good in the sense that people are, in fact, going back to restaurants.

Governor Mike DeWine: (46:35)
One third of us now have that ticket, that freedom, and people are exercising that. They’re going to restaurants, they’re sitting down. They’re meeting friends who’ve also been vaccinated. And this is all a very, very positive thing. But as far as exactly what’s going on with restaurants, you’re much better off interviewing four or five restaurant owners than me. So I’m getting it second hand. I see our Mayor out here. Wade, how are you? Come up and say hi. Come on. Stand up here. Come on. Come on. I just spotted you out there. I’m sorry.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz: (47:19)
Standing at the wrong podium.

Governor Mike DeWine: (47:20)
You’re good, Wade. You’re good.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz: (47:22)
We’re doing well. I got my second shot yesterday, so my arm is a little sore. But other than that, we’re doing well. I came here, especially because I was hoping the first lady would bring her chocolate Buckeyes. And I see that she did. So we’re in good shape. In all seriousness, next week we are [crosstalk 00:47:40].

Governor Mike DeWine: (47:39)
You’ve got to have one. You’ve got to have one.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz: (47:44)
All right. Well, all right. Yeah. Next week we are making a few of our fire trucks and ambulances available to the V Project and the Health Department and use them as sort of mobile, I don’t know how …

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz: (48:03)
… Sort of mobile. I don’t know how to describe it. Not mobile vaccination sites, because we’re starting to go door to door. I think Wednesday is the date we have in mind. We’re going to start going door to door. And, if we encounter someone who wants the vaccine but is having a hard time getting it, we’ll be able to say, “Well, that ambulance right behind you, you can go get one right now.” So, we’re trying to do our part working with all these wonderful partners.

Governor Mike DeWine: (48:25)
Great. Thank you.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz: (48:26)
Thank you for the buckeye.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (48:29)

Governor Mike DeWine: (48:30)
Thanks. Thanks so much. The mayor and I talk. We didn’t talk today. I missed the call today. John was on, the Lieutenant governor was on. But John and I talked to the mayors of the major cities every time we get ready to have a press conference. And so, Wade, thank you for your work. And this community has really come together, the county commissioners, you, everybody, elected officials, but it’s also nonprofits. It’s everybody really making a difference. Lieutenant governor.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (48:55)
Yeah. Own suggestion that we work with all employers on who may have employees who have some hesitancy to return to work is to work with your local health department to get them scheduled for vaccinations so that they can feel protected, so that they can feel that they are ready to go back to work. And so, work with your local health providers, work with your local health department to get all those employees vaccinated so they can have the confidence to go back to work and serve your customers.

Governor Mike DeWine: (49:28)

Speaker 3: (49:29)
Next question is onsite at UT, and it’s from Tom Troy at the Toledo Blade.

Governor Mike DeWine: (49:35)
Hey, Tom.

Tom Troy: (49:36)

Governor Mike DeWine: (49:37)
Good to see you in person.

Tom Troy: (49:39)
Thank you, sir. Nice to see you in Toledo and also Mrs. DeWine.

Governor Mike DeWine: (49:43)
Thank you.

Tom Troy: (49:44)
You just mentioned a minute ago, talking about people getting the vaccine. We’re doing well with people over 65. What’s the problem with the people under 65? What are we seeing in common? What is the common denominator for people that are hesitant or unwilling to get the vaccine?

Governor Mike DeWine: (50:04)
Well, one difference is the older you are, the longer you’ve had to get this shot, because we opened at 80 and then went to 75, 70, 65, and down. I think that the data is pretty clear that the likelihood of death goes up the older you are. And that’s why we first targeted people who were over 80, and then down. That’s why we targeted people who were in nursing homes. But the reality is that anybody can get it. We just heard about someone who is 40 some years old and got it and died from it. So, it’s not benign no matter what age is, and there’s a potential of dying. I have on my desk a card that the family sent me of a young person who I think was 20, university of Dayton student. So, it can strike and have horrible, horrible consequences for anybody’s age.

Governor Mike DeWine: (51:21)
I think if young people look at this as, this is your ticket to freedom. This is your ticket to go visit your grandmother. It’s your ticket to travel. It’s your ticket to do all kinds of things. And, if we look at it that way, I think we have a great shot at getting enough people vaccinated of all ages. So, it’s a process. I look at this as a process. It’s like a lot of things in life. The first third of it is easier. The first third of people we vaccinated in the state were people who really, really want it, had made up their mind they wanted it. Now, we’re into the next third. And the next third are people… it’s not that people necessarily are against doing it. They just haven’t got around to it in some cases.

Governor Mike DeWine: (52:13)
Fran and I have learned a lot. I mean, when we go out and just literally talk to people who are getting vaccinated and they tell us, “I was asked, ‘Did you have a hesitancy? And you’re getting vaccinated now.'” I might see somebody who is older and they’re just now getting vaccinated. And the question would be why? And many times the answer comes back. “Well, I just kind of wanted to see how it was going to work out. I didn’t want to be the first to do it. So, I think it’s a process.

Governor Mike DeWine: (52:39)
Our experience is that the most trusted person is their medical doctor, their personal doctor. But we’re also seeing people really influenced by their own family members and by their own friends. And so, we just encourage everyone who’s got the shot, go out, talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors. But I think really, Tom, what is going to drive this is a ticket to freedom. This vaccine is a ticket to freedom.

Speaker 3: (53:11)
Next question online is from Alexis Moberger at WSYX in Columbus.

Alexis Moberger: (53:16)
Hi, governor. Now that Franklin County has gone to a purple level, will we see any more restrictions, a possible curfew, anything to follow?

Governor Mike DeWine: (53:27)
We certainly do not intend to do anything in regard to the schools or anything else. What I think people should look at is the case numbers. And while Franklin County is certainly not low, it’s not the highest. I think people should look at those case numbers. And what we’re seeing in Franklin County is we’re seeing many, many, many other counties in Ohio. And that is a strong variant, a variant that is multiplying very quickly, a variant that is more contagious than what we have seen in the past. So, we have this dichotomy really of a lot of people in Franklin County are now vaccinated. A lot of people aren’t going to spread it. A lot of people aren’t going to get it. We’re making it harder and harder for this variant to multiply. But, at the same time, it’s so powerful that it is multiplying.

Governor Mike DeWine: (54:22)
So, we know what we have to do in Franklin County. We know what we have to do across the state, whether it’s Lucas County or Wood County, wherever it is. And that is, we got to keep getting vaccinated and we got to do it at a fast rate. And so, God bless all the healthcare workers and all the volunteers, all the people who are literally taking this vaccine to people. This is precious, it saves lives, and it’s how we get out of this.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (54:46)
Governor, if I could add one thing to that. I know, when I looked at the numbers this morning, I saw Franklin County had gone purple, it made me grateful that we made the decision way back when to vaccinate all the teachers and the school personnel, because we protected them. And now, there doesn’t need to be a change of strategy there because the people that work there are protected and it can be managed because of that.

Governor Mike DeWine: (55:13)
Yeah. And I would just say, if you have a child who is 16 and or over time to get the child vaccinated. It’s really time to do it. We’re trying to make it available in schools in some places. But the shot is out there. And all you have to do is find the Pfizer. And, if you find somebody that’s got the Pfizer, and there’s a lot of Pfizer out there, and there are a lot of openings of places that have Pfizer, get your son, get your daughter in, get them vaccinated. John and I talked the other day to athletic directors as well as superintendents. And, for an athlete who wants to have a season, whether it’s a spring season of track, excuse me, track and field, or it’s baseball, or whatever it is, or fall season, this is the way to have that full season.

Speaker 3: (56:06)
Next question is onsite at UT, from Jeff Smith at WTOL in Toledo.

Governor Mike DeWine: (56:11)
Hey, Jeff.

Jeff Smith: (56:24)
Sorry about the long walk around, governor. Welcome.

Governor Mike DeWine: (56:27)
Thank you.

Jeff Smith: (56:27)
Thank you so much for being here today and taking our questions. I wanted to kind of make this personal, but also address a little bit back to what Melissa was asking about the 50 per 100,000. I’ve got a daughter who has got an autoimmune deficiency. And, when we go to the hospital, we continually look for hope. Right? And, when we get some, we mark it on the calendar. We say, that’s the day, that’s when we’re going to get out of this. We’re going to have a little bit better fight against this. Do you regret putting that number out there that some have called unattainable? Because 50 per 100,000, since you mentioned that at the beginning of March, just seems unreachable.

Governor Mike DeWine: (57:15)
It didn’t seem unreachable though, when it was going down every day. And we were looking at that and trying to… if you remember, we were all trying to project, “Hey, if we stay at this rate, we’re going to be able to knock this down.” But I’m going to let Dr. Vanderhoff answer the question, because the question, is that unattainable, and I will say, no, it’s not unattainable, certainly. And it’s not unattainable because we have the shots. We have the vaccine. And, at some point, that weight of that vaccinations will overtake this virus that is moving upward. When that is, I can’t tell you. Dr. Vanderhoff.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (58:04)
Governor, I think you answered it very, very well. And, as we’re thinking about, all right, what might be that beacon of hope? What might be that thing that we can focus on as an indication that we’re getting there? I think the governor also pointed in that direction, and it’s vaccination.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (58:22)
Vaccination, as he said, is our path out. It is our ticket to freedom from this pandemic and this virus. So, as we watch those vaccination numbers rise, and now today we see first vaccinations and it looked to me like 35, 36% of arms, that’s very encouraging. That’s very impressive. And we know from looking at other parts of the world who have contended with this variant that, as their vaccination levels rose, even the variant was put at bay. And so, you can look at places right now like Israel, which is surrounded by high concentrations of variant. And yet, in that country with very high vaccination rates, it’s pretty much business as usual. They’ve gone back to pre-pandemic behaviors and are having no trouble. If you look at the U.K., which was frankly devastated by the B117 variant, they’re finding themselves now being able to lift a lot of restrictions, get back to normal. And it’s all because of vaccination.

Governor Mike DeWine: (59:32)
We have hope, and the hope is the vaccine. Imagine if we did not have the vaccine. What would we be saying today? And anybody would say, “Well, what’s the hope?” And I don’t know what our answer would be. But we have hope, and the hope is the vaccine. And it’s a very, very effective vaccine. It works. We just got to keep punching away at this.

Speaker 3: (59:55)
Next question online is from Jo Ingles at Ohio Public Radio and Television.

Jo Ingles: (59:59)
Hello, governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:01)
Hi, Jo.

Jo Ingles: (01:00:02)
Hi. I want to ask you, today in the Wall Street Journal, there was a story about people who are getting breakthrough cases of COVID, that meaning that they’ve had the vaccine, and yet they still get COVID that even requires hospitalization. Is Ohio tracking breakthrough cases of COVID? If you aren’t, why not? If you are, do you think that will lead people to believe that they should get the vaccine? What do you expect to come of that?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:37)
Well, let me give you what the numbers are. There have been 154 reports of fully vaccinated individuals. Those two weeks from their final dose of vaccine later getting COVID-19. So, we have 154 cases that we are aware of. And these cases, of this 154, there have been 14 hospitalizations, and there have been zero deaths. The age range of that group has been from 19 to 98. The median age has been 62. Dr. Vanderhoff, You have anything to add to that?

Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:01:17)
Yes, governor. So, if we look at those numbers, they should be incredibly encouraging to us. 154 is less than a percent of a percent. We, from the beginning, were thrilled because these vaccines appeared to be about 95% effective. Well, they’re proving to be more effective than that in the real world. Remembering that no vaccine is ever going to be 100% effective for a whole variety of reasons. And, as we look at these cases, they fall into a timeframe very often where, I mean, it could be a simple matter of we recognize it takes four to six weeks from the first vaccine until a person is fully protected. So, you wrap this all up and, as a vaccine recipient, or as someone who is thinking about getting the vaccine, I think you have to look at this and say, “These vaccines are just impressive.”

Speaker 3: (01:02:21)
Next question onsite at UT is from Brian Steinmetz at WNWO in Toledo.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:02:27)
Hey, Brian.

Brian Steinmetz: (01:02:29)
Governor DeWine, Mrs. DeWine, thank you for being here. It’s a pleasure.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:02:32)
Thank you.

Brian Steinmetz: (01:02:32)
With the existing hesitancy to get the vaccine and the growing concerns with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine, how concerned are you that that will add to the hesitancy in the area and across the state?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:02:44)
Well, that’s a good question. I don’t think we know for sure. Certainly the stories connected with Johnson&Johnson and what the federal government has done has not helped people’s confidence. But I think, as Dr, Vanderhoff says, this is a very transparent process. It should give people confidence that there is a process in place. And, only based upon what I’m reading, same thing everybody is reading, you’re talking about less than one case per million vaccinations. And I’m not the doctor or the statistician, but, if you look at some of the articles that have been written and some of the experts have talked about risk, and there’s a lot of things that we do that are a lot, lot higher risk than one in one million.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:03:47)
So, I’m not making light of it. And I think they’re going through the process. They need to go through and do what the experts do. But I think, in the end, people will have confidence in the system and we’ll move forward. We were still seeing a lot of people vaccinated yesterday. It wasn’t with Johnson&Johnson, but it was the two others. And I think that people, when they weigh whatever small risks there might be connected with the vaccine, it pales in comparison to trying to do battle with a virus that has been morphed into something that is much more contagious than it even was before.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:04:34)
So, it is dangerous out there. And getting the vaccine is really the way that we get our freedom. And I think, in the end, that will weigh heavily on people. Ohioans are pragmatic and they’re rational and they try to weigh things out. And I think, when they weigh things out, it’s going to be clear. It’s already been clear to over a third of us that they should be vaccinated.

Speaker 3: (01:05:06)
Next question is from Laura Hancock at Cleveland.com.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:09)
Hi, Laura.

Laura Hancock: (01:05:12)

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:12)

Laura Hancock: (01:05:12)
On Tuesday one of the medical experts said that the vaccine demand among people who are younger, like age 40 below, is decreasing compared to older Ohioans. If that’s the case and you have no plans to create a vaccine passport, how are we ever going to get over this? What actions can the state take if a significant portion doesn’t want it?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:05:45)
Well, I’ll go back to what I said a moment ago, maybe explain a little bit more, but people are rational people. And people are making decisions every day about getting vaccines. Fran and I just met, as we walked around and we talked to students late teens, early twenties who are getting vaccinated today. They didn’t have to get vaccinated today. They’re getting vaccinated today. And, when you talk to them, they will explain why, and there’s a rational basis for why they are getting vaccinated. They want to see their grandmother. They want to do this. They want to travel. They want to go to a restaurant. They want to go to a bar. They want to feel confident. They want to have that confidence level.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:06:38)
And so, that is what’s happening. And people are, people are making choices, rational choices. And they’re trying to say, “Okay. If I get this compare, whatever the risk is versus what the risk is of not being vaccinated and not being covered and going out into the public.” And I think that, again, we are still seeing people die. We are still seeing people get very sick. We’re seeing young people get sick. So, these are rational decisions that people are making.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:07:17)
In our nursing homes, we are saying to people who work in the nursing homes, “If you’re vaccinated, it will be one level of testing. If you’re not vaccinated, it will be a more stringent level of testing.” We’re seeing employers who are making decisions. So, I just think all the different things that are out there that people make their decisions, it’s not always about the government. Usually it’s not about the government. It shouldn’t be about the government. It’s about what are their odds and where do they feel confident. And I think, not only is this a ticket to freedom, it’s a ticket to giving you confidence. It’s a ticket to having you not worry all the time that you’re going to come down with the virus. I think that’s powerful.

Speaker 3: (01:08:10)
Next question online is from Nathan Hart at WCPO in Cincinnati.

Nathan Hart: (01:08:15)
Hi, governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:16)
Hi, Nathan.

Nathan Hart: (01:08:16)
So, sustainable higher brought in subject matter experts from the private sector a little while ago to help fix the unemployment system. What progress has been made?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:29)
I don’t have the director on here. I’m happy to bring the director in next time. He was giving me a briefing today. He testified today in the state legislature. So, I’m going to pass to the man who is dealing with that every single day.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:44)
And one certain big thing that was done is basically the door was closed to dramatically slow down the amount of hacking that was going on, to slow down the amount of fraud that was going on. And that certainly is one thing. I get updates from this group. These are people primarily from the private sector who we brought in. And they’re doing a very, very good job. We made a contract with Google in regard to how you sort out data. And basically, the way they explained it to this lay person, non-tech person is that you can go through and you can figure out very quickly with big data what cases are likely to have fraud in them and which are not. And then, you take the ones that are not most likely. And then, you try to process them and get that money out to the residents of Ohio who are just the victims of the fact that there’s other people that are trying to scam the system, people who live all over the world that are trying to scam the system.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:58)
So, those are certainly some of the things that have been done. But the director, director Dan Schroeder, our acting director certainly can give you a much fuller account of that.

Speaker 3: (01:10:09)
Next question online is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.

Alex Ebert: (01:10:13)
Thanks for holding this, governor. You had previously stated that the J&J vaccine was going to be used to help vaccinate students at universities across the state. How has the pause here impacted what the state is having to do in terms of reaching out to those students when they go home over summer break or shift resources across the state to get young people vaccinated? Thanks.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:10:37)
Yeah. I think… good question. I think one of the things, just as an example, that UT is doing, and I know some other schools are doing this too. We’re trying to sort out, frankly, their students. Ohio State, I believe, was doing this. There students who live close versus their students who live a long way away, and, with a two shot regiment, trying to get the ones who live far away or further away, get them first shot, and then the second shot while they’re still on campus. For those who live close, still try to get that first shot while they’re on campus, but maybe a week later. And then, they will have to come back to get that second shot.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:22)
And look, we encourage every student, everybody who gets the first shot to get the second shot. That’s the protocol. That’s what people should do. We encourage them to do that. We also know for those who for whatever reason it doesn’t happen, they don’t get it done, they don’t get it done when they should, that that first shot is still pretty powerful. So, schools are adjusting. We have adjusted. Some schools that had the J&J, we’ve been able to move over some Moderna in some cases or Pfizer in other cases. So, there’s been a lot of shifting around in this past-

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12:03)
A lot of shifting around in this past week. And then just while I’m thinking of it, we made a significant decision every weeks a different stage. And so one of the things that we are doing this week, when we tell the federal government where to ship it we have a lot of primary care physicians who for the first time are going to be getting the vaccine. And what we believe that’s going to do… Nobody knows their patients better than the primary care physicians and they’re going to be able to reach out directly to their patients. And some patients may only trust that primary care physician, but when that primary care physician reaches out to them they may be much more likely to get the vaccine than if they had to go to a mass vaccination site, or if they had to go someplace that they’re not familiar with going.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12:58)
So we believe going to these primary care physicians at this point… Most of them are not receiving a lot because they cannot process a lot in a week, but we’re going to monitor that. We’re going to see how that works, but we have a lot of primary care physicians. I don’t have the number here, but a lot of them will be getting that vaccine this coming week beginning Sunday, Monday. And we think that is another thing that we can do that will help us penetrate, get more people vaccinated.

Speaker 3: (01:13:28)
Next question online is from Jessie Balmert at the Cincinnati Inquirer.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:13:35)
Hi Jesse.

Jessie Balmert: (01:13:36)
Hello governor. Thanks for the time. My question is since more Ohioans are getting the vaccine and we know the vaccine is effective against the variants, and you had the number about a high percentage of mask compliance, where do we think this spread is happening? Why are the numbers going in the wrong direction?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:13:58)
We’ll let Dr. Vanderhoff take that. Doctor.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:14:03)
I think this is a very clear indication that these variants, which all of the research and literature has told us are more contagious, are in fact more contagious. And the Governor described it pretty well in an earlier set of comments today, when you take a virus that is more contagious and put it into a population even though you may be doing a good job with things like masking and distancing, the vaccination, the immunity of that population becomes ever more important. Candidly I and many other physicians and people in the medical field are absolutely confident that were it not for the levels of vaccination that we enjoy today, the variants at the levels we’re seeing them across the country I think would be wreaking absolute havoc. What they’re telling us is, and I’ve said this before, this virus is not going to go away easily.

Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:15:06)
To get it behind us we have got to get our collective immunity up to where it needs to go. One more thing I’d add is that as we think about the younger populations, while it is certainly true that this virus continues to be more of a threat as we get older it is not benign. We shared at a previous press conference, the cases of MISC the multi inflammatory syndrome in children. Now, those numbers are not high numbers, but for the kids who were impacted it’s devastating. We’ve got the long haulers, and we have instances of people with persistent symptoms of all ages infected by this virus. So vaccine, vaccine, vaccine.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:15:59)
Thank you, doctor.

Speaker 3: (01:16:01)
Next question on line is from Josh Rultenberg at Spectrum News.

Josh Rultenberg: (01:16:04)
Hey Governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:05)
Hi Josh.

Josh Rultenberg: (01:16:06)
It’s a two-part question for you. First some certain people have asked about the 50 cases per 100,000 metric, but just want to get definitively, you’re not going to move off of that metric are you?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:20)
Look we’re going to follow what experts tell us in medicine. And we are this close to victory. Now, I don’t know how many weeks it is, but 35% of the population vaccinated. Every day we’re vaccinating more Ohioans. That’s how we get out of this. So, no, I’m not going to change that number, but I truly believe that we are going to be able to crowd this virus out. Maybe not totally out, but crowded down. It’s like I guess I would make the analogy to fire, if it doesn’t have fuel it’s not going to spread. And so we’ve already eliminated 35% of the people who can’t be hosts for it, can’t spread it. And so you just continue to eliminate more and more people. I truly believe at some point that weight of those numbers of people who have been vaccinated will overcome this raging virus.

Josh Rultenberg: (01:17:32)
The second [crosstalk 01:17:34].

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:17:34)
Second question.

Josh Rultenberg: (01:17:34)
The second question [crosstalk 01:17:36] is I’ve had some in the community come up to me and ask when you implemented the curfew, the beginning and end of it was tied to rising hospitalization numbers and hoping that they would go down, but it seems like the mask mandate and other restrictions are tied to this case rate. Why are these restrictions not tied to hospitalizations like the curfew versus the mask or versus the cases?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:17:59)
Well, first of all, we’re not even close to where we were. The number we set in regard to the curfew if I understood the question. Not even close to that. I mean, look, we use the tools that we have, and we’ve learned a lot throughout this. And one of the things that we’ve learned is the power of the mask. We’re all sick of masks. I get it. Even this beautiful one that says UT on it, but people are tired of wearing them. But we know they work and they know that they will protect us. And so what we’ve tried to do with the knowledge that we’ve achieved over the last year, collectively, the medical community, health people, we’ve tried to say, okay, what do we do now? People have been doing this for a year.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:18:48)
They’re tired. And so what we basically said is we think you can do about whatever you want to do. You just got to be careful and wear a mask. If you do that… And the same time now that we have the vaccine, the power of the vaccine, the power of this vaccine is going to start take it out. It’s going to get us there. It’s going to get us home. And so it’s a different situation today. We now have that vaccine and we know the power of the mask. And so we’re going to concentrate on those two things that make the biggest difference.

Speaker 3: (01:19:22)
Next question online is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.

Kevin Landers: (01:19:27)
Hello, governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:19:28)
Hey Kevin.

Kevin Landers: (01:19:29)
What can the state do to make the vaccine more accessible if that is our ticket out? And what assurances do you have from Pfizer and Moderna about how much more the state will need to meet the demand?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:19:45)
Well, we’re getting in this coming week over 400,000 doses. And it’s not as many as we got, because you’re taking out the Johnson & Johnson. You’re taking out from the federal pharmacies, and you’re also taking it out from what we were getting. In spite of that we’re still getting over 400,000 doses. And in regard to what else the state can do, we’re very open to ideas and suggestions but the most powerful thing in this fight is what local communities are doing. We’re empowering them to do it, but they’re the ones who are doing it. So like the Mayor talked about, it’s like the Doctor talked about, going out into that community, how do we reach more people every day? People in the community thinking, okay, how do we reach people who for whatever reason have not gotten it, have not been able to get it, haven’t had the inclination?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:20:49)
And you’re seeing us, Kevin, evolve. It was one thing when we had a small amount of vaccine, a lot of demand. Goal to get it out just as quickly as we can. We’ve gone to a lot of sites. We always had a lot of sites. We started with what 700 or some sites, now we’re up to 1500 sites. But the action is in the community. And when the health department or somebody was telling us, “Hey, if we had more vaccine, we can reach the Hispanic population over here. We can reach this population here. We can reach that population here. We can go into schools.” We’re giving them the vaccine and we’re working very closely with them. So we’re listeners because they know their community better. They know how to get it out to the people in their community.

Speaker 3: (01:21:42)
Next question online is from Sara Arthurs at the Findlay Courier.

Sara Arthurs: (01:21:47)
Yes. Thank you for doing this Governor. Someone else had asked this question, I think a week ago. And I’d just like an update. Are you regularly in contact with Governor Whitmer and how closely are the States of Ohio and Michigan kind of working together to talk about the variant?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:22:02)
I talked to the Governor yesterday. We don’t talk every day, sometimes not every week, but we certainly stay in contact. We stay in contact with the other governors surround us. Yeah. So we stay in touch and it’s a as you can imagine, a conversation of what are you doing? And we share ideas. We share ideas of what one state is doing. I don’t pretend to have all the ideas and I’m always anxious to hear what other governors are doing.

Speaker 3: (01:22:43)
Next question online is from Dan DeRoos at WOIO in Cleveland.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:22:47)
Hey Dan.

Speaker 3: (01:22:59)
We’ll go back to Dan. Next question is from Dustin Ensinger at Gongwer News Service.

Dustin Ensinger: (01:23:05)
Hi, governor.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:05)

Dustin Ensinger: (01:23:07)
I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the efforts in the general assembly to move Ohio in the direction of bi-partisan judicial elections, but only for Supreme Court and Appellate Court races?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:21)
Yeah, it seems like to me a logical idea. I haven’t totally studied it, but it seems to me like a logical idea.

Speaker 3: (01:23:32)
Next question is back to Dan DeRoos from WOIO in Cleveland.

Dan DeRoos: (01:23:36)
Sorry about that, governor, how are you today?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:39)
I’m well sir.

Dan DeRoos: (01:23:41)
We’re keeping our eye on the Wolstein Center up here and the Johnson & Johnson situation. Is it your understanding when you heard from the White House yesterday and they told you this pause would be days, maybe weeks. Is there still a hope that for April 27th, that the Johnson & Johnson will be at the Wolstein Center? Or are you starting to work on a plan B?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:03)
Well, we’re frankly working on a plan B and a C and a D. And I don’t have anything to announce today, but we’ll be back when we know something. But yeah, we’re looking at the different alternatives looking to see what we can do if that… What they announced yesterday puts us on a timeframe, but the federal government wants to know before that timeframe is over which way we want to go. So we’re kind of trying to balance that.

Speaker 3: (01:24:37)
Next question is from Luis Gil at Ohio Latino Television.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:42)

Luis Gil: (01:24:44)
Hello, Governor, can you hear me?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:45)
I can hear you well. Thank you.

Luis Gil: (01:24:47)
Thank you, Governor. I had a question for the Mr. Lieutenant Governor, but I guess that he’s missing. Is the first lady available for a question?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:24:55)
I don’t know whether he’s still with us. Lieutenant Governor is so go right ahead. No. I’m available for a question, Lieutenant Governor is not.

Luis Gil: (01:25:06)
Is the first lady available for question?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:25:08)
Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear. Yes. Are you available?

Luis Gil: (01:25:12)
Hello Mrs. DeWine.

Fran DeWine: (01:25:20)

Luis Gil: (01:25:22)
My question is if you have a front seat on this incredible moment, so how you [inaudible 01:25:29]. What are you words of wisdom for your husband as he come home and he needs a place to rest and recharge? What do you say to him when he comes in and what do you say to him in the morning as he leaves to recharge and confront all this virus has happening and is leading Ohio into unknown places?

Fran DeWine: (01:25:52)
Well, it has been a crazy year. He hasn’t left home that much in the past year because we’ve been together. And so I think every day we talk together. I get to listen in on a lot of his phone calls with him and we just talk about things and I give my ideas, he gives his. And we try to do things, we try to take walks and see our family and things like that. He has his special dog Dolly who keeps him very good company during this time. But I think just being home and having our family around and being able to go outdoors now that it’s spring has been really good. And this is our 34th vaccine site that we’ve been to. And so going out to each of those sites has also been so important because like today he asks every student that he talks to, “What you think about this? How do you feel?”

Fran DeWine: (01:26:53)
And he learns things from all different people. The doctor that spoke to us earlier, when she started telling him what she was doing out in the community, these mobile clinics in parking lots. He said, “Will you please come on and share with everyone what you’re doing?” So I think we’re just sort of in this together and we’re working hard and being out here seeing what everyone’s doing is really helping us help everybody else. Thank you.

Speaker 3: (01:27:25)
Governor next question is the last question for today and it belongs to Sean Cudahy of WHIO in Dayton.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:27:31)
Hi Sean.

Sean Cudahy: (01:27:32)
Hi Governor. I guess finishing a little bit big picture here. You’ve talked about the vaccine, wanting to really get people vaccinated quickly looking at the numbers with COVID right now. So much is open compared to a few months ago, but do you have a projection just looking at all the different numbers that you have available on when you think things are going to really start to look even more normal, closer to pre pandemic level? Is that something that you’re assessing?

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:28:01)
I wish I had a crystal ball. I wish I knew. I’ve asked epidemiologists, I’ve asked experts and no one can pinpoint a day. So I’m not going to be arrogant enough to think that I can pinpoint a day, but we get closer to that day every day when we’re vaccinating thousands and thousands of Ohioans. And those days where I looked down, it’s 50,000 or 60,000 and I saw were vaccinated the day before 70 or 80,000, those are very good days because I know we’re getting close to being done with this. I know we’re getting close to freedom. I know we’re getting close to being able to move on with our lives. So we’ve done well in Ohio so far, we’ve done well in spite of this variant that is spreading, but we just have to stay focused every single day and continue to find different ways to reach people to be able to vaccinate them.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:28:58)
So I’m optimistic, but I can’t tell you when that day is going to come when we vaccinate enough people to have the job done. So I want to thank everyone. It’s been great being here in Toledo. To close, we want to take a moment to recognize Minority Health Month. Minority Health Month was originally created 1915 by Booker T. Washington, formalized in 2002 by the United States Congress. Today, we know that health disparities in minority communities certainly persist. This year the national Minority Health Month theme is vaccine ready in recognition of the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on minority communities. Our team reached out to minority providers from around the state of Ohio to create this 30 second PSA, which we’re now going to play.

Sophia Tolliver, MD, MPH: (01:29:58)
I think that’s part of the hesitancy of taking the vaccine is that people think that it was just developed so quickly without any knowledge.

Leon McDougle, MD: (01:30:05)
We cut through the red tape.

Frederick Harris, MD: (01:30:08)
We’ve cut a lot of the risk taking that relates to vaccine development out.

Gregory K Lam, MD: (01:30:12)
So anything that we can do to reduce the severity of your symptoms and to prevent death, we should do it as quickly as possible. And all of these vaccines will do that.

Leon McDougle, MD: (01:30:21)
The vaccines are safe.

Sophia Tolliver, MD, MPH: (01:30:23)

Gregory K Lam, MD: (01:30:24)
And effective.

Frederick Harris, MD: (01:30:25)
For more information, go to coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor Mike DeWine: (01:30:30)
Well, we want thank everyone. And again, thanks to the University of Toledo. And we look forward to seeing everyone next week. Thank you very much.

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