Dec 10, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 10
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on December 10 to provide coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of the briefing speech here.
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Mike DeWine: (06:32)
Good afternoon everyone. Today I would like to start by congratulating Congresswoman Marcia Fudge on her nomination by the president-elect to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. We congratulate her on being chosen for this very important cabinet position and it’s always a good thing to have an Ohioan in the cabinet.
Mike DeWine: (06:59)
Eric, let’s go to the slide for today in the data. Today we’re reporting 11,738 new cases in Ohio. It’s the fourth highest case count to date. We also report 111 deaths reported since yesterday. In addition we have 452 new hospitalizations, 31 new ICU admissions reported during the past 24 hours.
Mike DeWine: (07:29)
Let’s go Eric to the top counties. This is the listing of counties by incidence, number of cases reported in the last two weeks. As you will see at the top of the list there are 11 counties with a case count above 1,000. That means that within the last two weeks, one out of every one-hundred people in that county has been diagnosed and tested positive for the virus, so it’s a very, very, very high rate.
Mike DeWine: (08:08)
If you go to the bottom of the list, Holmes County, very bottom of the list. However its case rate is still at 348 which is almost three and a half times higher than the CDC’s threshold for high incidence. So no matter where you live in the state of Ohio, you live in a county that has a very high rate of the COVID spread today.
Mike DeWine: (08:34)
Let’s look at our new map for today. Today’s advisory system update, we have five counties continuing at purple. Those counties are Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark and Summit. There are two new counties on the watch list. Those are Ashland and Guernsey. Noble, Harrison and Washington are red for the first time ever. They moved from orange because they’re region flag indicator number seven, which measures the number of people in the ICU and more specifically in the ICU for COVID-19. We’ll hear more about this in just a few minutes from Dr. Vanderhoff.
Mike DeWine: (09:18)
We continue to use this system as an early warning system. However we are certainly in the middle of the storm now and my advice to people, why we will continue to show these, it does inform but the two things that you really need to concentrate on is how much spread there is in your community, how much spread there is in your county, and what is going on in the hospitals near you. Those are the two most important things.
Mike DeWine: (09:52)
Let’s turn now to Dr. Vanderhoff for some more information about why the ICU indicator is so very important, especially when the prevalence of the virus is so rampant throughout the state and there will be a slide, Eric is going to put a slide up here which is our ICU utilization slide which is showing exactly what’s going on in the ICU. Dr. Vanderhoff.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (10:16)
Thank you Governor. As you know, our ICUs are where we care for our sickest patients, so it’s vital that we always have some beds that are available. Therefore, when an ICU is more than 80% full, it’s considered to be very busy and when a very busy ICU has filled more than one out of five of its beds with just one diagnosis, COVID-19, there is so much COVID in that busy ICU that there may not be room for patients with other conditions. So when we look at the map and see that five out of eight of our regions are tripping indicator seven, and by the way, the other three are very close, we know that not only are our ICUs very busy, they’re very busy with critical volumes of COVID-19.
Mike DeWine: (11:18)
Doctor, you want to reference Zone Eight which is right here, it’s the eastern side of the state because that one is of particular I think interest at this point, 51% of the people in ICU are there because of COVID.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (11:36)
Yeah. Thank you Governor. Those are very, very high rates indeed. It is in my clinical experience almost unheard of to have half of a busy ICU occupied by patients with a single diagnosis and I think it really points to just how serious the impact of this virus on our hospitals is at this time.
Mike DeWine: (12:03)
Doctor, thank you very much. We may be coming back to you with some questions but I appreciate it.
Mike DeWine: (12:08)
The next three weeks will really be the most important three weeks for all of us in this pandemic. We’re heading into the biggest holiday season of the year. So much bigger than Thanksgiving. We’re doing this while riding the biggest wave of COVID-19 that we’ve had so far. What each of us does in the next 21 days is really going to set the tone, set us on the path, good or bad, for the next year. Absolutely a crucial period of time. We cannot afford on the very eve of a safe and effective vaccination, to further overwhelm our hospitals and healthcare providers with a holiday tsunami.
Mike DeWine: (13:04)
As Ohioans, each one of us needs to take personal responsibility. We need to take personal responsibility for what we do, what we do not do in the next 21 days. We have an obligation to keep the pandemic from spreading, to keep our family and our friends and ourselves safe. Look, I get it. None of this is easy. This is very hard on everyone. Very, very hard. Look, it’s human nature. It’s baked into our DNA. We’re social people. We want to be with friends, we want to be with family, and I fully, fully understand that. All of this pandemic now approaching nine months has taken a terrible, terrible toll. Not just on our physical health, but certainly on our emotional well-being as well.
Mike DeWine: (14:05)
COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical well-being of all Ohioans, the single biggest threat to the mental health of our citizens, as well as the biggest threat to our economic security. As your governor, I took an oath, and with that oath comes the responsibility that I have to do everything in my power to protect the lives and the well-being of my fellow Ohioans.
Mike DeWine: (14:37)
Doing this has required some tough, unpleasant decisions. I understand, I understand that these decisions have impacted Ohioans in so many, many different ways. I believe that Ohioans, as Ohioans, we can get through this if we work together and do what we need to do in the next 21 days. We can get to the other side. We can celebrate the holidays however we do it, we can do that safely. We can protect each other. I truly believe that you and your family deserves some normalcy. That’s what we all certainly long for. There are things that each of us can do during the next 21 days to help us have some normal living but also, also to do it in a safe way. I am certainly not a medical or science expert and I have been guided throughout this pandemic by the experts and I continue to listen to them. I listen to the facts and I listen to the evidence and I listen to their conclusions based on those facts, based on that evidence. I have asked for their help and guidance throughout this. In the last week I’ve asked for their help and guidance in coming up with a protocol for all Ohioans to follow for the next 21 days, an absolutely crucial period of time.
Mike DeWine: (16:33)
These are steps that are sensible steps that we can all follow and that will allow us to still live our lives. This is about living with this virus, but living with it in a safe way. I have asked 12 doctors to join us today, to walk us through the Stay Safe Ohio protocols that the Department of Health is issuing today. We’re issuing these Stay Safe Ohio protocol today and I believe it is our pathway to getting through this crucial time as best we can. This is what these doctors have developed and what the facts inform them is the most effective protocol to follow. It is imperative that we take an effective fact- based approach and these 12 doctors will now explain why these are the essential actions that we should take to get us through the next 21 days.
Mike DeWine: (17:43)
First we have Dr. Daniel Simon, he’s the chief clinical and scientific officer for university hospitals in Cleveland. Doctor, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it.
Dr. Daniel Simon: (17:54)
Thank you Governor. As I call out to the citizens of Ohio, please stay home. Home is the safest place. Only leave home for household essentials, medical care, work and school. Stay home to protect yourself, your family, and healthcare workers. You can do it. We need your help because we want to be here when you need us. Please stay home. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (18:32)
Thank you Doctor. Next is Dr. Fareedah Goodwin-Capers, primary care physician for Mercy Health [inaudible 00:18:40] Medical Center in Warren in the Mahoning Valley. Doctor, thank you very much.
Dr. Fareedah Goodwin-Capers: (18:48)
Thank you Governor DeWine. Wear your mask. Wear your mask when you are around people who don’t live with you, when you cannot remain socially distanced or remain six feet apart. Wear your mask when caring for a loved one who has COVID-19 and wear your mask if you have COVID and are in common areas in your home. The mask offers a simple barrier to prevent respiratory droplets from reaching others. You must cover your nose and mouth for this to be effective. Since people don’t always have symptoms or yet know that they have the coronavirus, consistent mask use will help prevent spread. It’s the simplest, most compassionate gesture you can make to protect someone else. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (19:36)
Doctor, thank you very, very much. Next we’ll go to Dr. Jody Gerome. She’s an OBGYN with Ohio Health Physicians Group in Athens. She’s also the associate dean of curriculum at Ohio University’s Heritage College [inaudible 00:19:50] medicine. Doctor, thank you very, very much for joining us.
Dr. Jody Gerome: (19:55)
Thank you. Thank you for the introduction. It’s so important to keep your distance. When you must be near others, choose to do so in the safest manner possible. It’s important to keep your interactions short and stay apart whenever it is possible. The more people you come in contact with and the longer you spend together, the higher risk of becoming infected or spreading the virus to others. Please keep your distance so that we can look at next year’s winter season in a very different [inaudible 00:20:25].
Mike DeWine: (20:25)
Doctor, thank you very much. Next we’ll go to Dr. Susan Kaufman, medical staff president Lima Memorial Health System. Doctor, thank you.
Dr. Susan Kaufman: (20:38)
Thank you Governor. I wanted to talk with everyone about hand-washing today and how important that is. The CDC says that’s one of the most important things that you can do to protect your family, your children, your loved ones from disease and illness. The way you wash your hands is very important. You need to use soap and water and wash your hands for 20 seconds to get all the germs off and then rinse them clean. When you wash your hands, you wash your hands after you’ve touched anything dirty, been into a public place, touched an animal or before you prepare food. If you can’t wash your hands, please use a sanitizer such as 60% alcohol solution for a hand sanitizer. That would be when you’re pumping gas and you just don’t have soap and water available. Also avoid touching your face, your nose, your mouth, your mask when you’re out with dirty hands. In conclusion, please don’t forget to wash your hands, physically distance, wear your mask and care about all those people in public places. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (21:52)
Doctor, thank you very much. Next is Dr. Roberto Colon. He is the system vice president of quality for Premier Health and associate chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Doctor, thank you.
Dr. Roberto Colon: (22:06)
Thank you Governor. We want to also encourage everybody as much as possible to be working from home. We know that this pandemic has created a new opportunity for many to be able to start working remotely and this is a way for us to be able to reduce work-related exposures. Touching in with that would be the ability to move a lot of our meetings from face to face in a room to a virtual environment. It allows us to still stay connected to one another in our work environment but maintains that safe environment and we want to be able to reduce the amount of exposures and be able to protect everyone. Realize that there are many benefits that may come from being able to work at home for many of us who will have additional flexibility and some autonomy when we are able to move out of our traditional work environment that may lead to healthier diets and an ability to exercise in many situations as well. So for those of you who are able, please maximize your opportunities to work from home. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (23:10)
Doctor, thank you very much. Next is Dr. Virginia Halachanova, chief of staff at Paulding County Hospitals. She’s once again stressing the importance of staying at home. Doctor, thank you for joining us. [inaudible 00:23:29] Paulding.
Dr. Virginia Halachanova: (23:30)
Sorry for some technical difficulties. Good afternoon from Paulding County Hospital. At present time the main reason for staying at home advice and practicing social distance is rapid increase in COVID positive patient and exponential increase in hospital admission. Our Paulding County has the same statistics as rest of Ohio for every 100 positive COVID patient approximately 10 of them will end up needing hospital admissions.
Dr. Virginia Halachanova: (24:02)
[inaudible 00:24:01] hospital admissions. I know we all are getting very tired of not being able to live our lives like we did prior to February, 2020. We are getting very close to be able to start vaccination and I strongly believe that this will help us to solve and improve the COVID pandemic problems. But until this happens, we need to slow the transmission of this virus. This will help to keep hospitals available for very sick patients, this will help to decrease the death rate from COVID and COVID related complications. And so social distancing and staying at home as much as possible is the best advice for all of us. Home is and should be the safest place for everybody. We should try to limit leaving home only, as said before, for household essentials, medical care, work and school, we should try to use the drive through services, pickup service, delivery services, to limit face to face contact so we can get through this pandemic safe and we can move on again with our lives as soon as possible.
Mike DeWine: (25:23)
Doctor, thank you very much. We appreciate you being with us today. Next is Dr. Jennifer Wall Forrester. She is the Associate Chief Medical Officer at UC health in Cincinnati. She’s also an Associate Professor and Infectious Disease Physician at UC College of Medicine. Doctor, thank you very much for joining us.
Jennifer Wall Forrester: (25:43)
Thank you, Governor. As it gets colder here in Ohio, we get closer to so many wonderful holidays. And at its core, the holiday season is about giving of ourselves and caring for one another. What better way to show that you care then by keeping each other safe and healthy? It’s obvious to those of us working in hospitals, and unfortunately it’s the sad truth for over 7,000 Ohio families, this is truly a matter of life and death. Each and every single one of us, all of you have a role to play in saving lives. The lives of our family, our friends, our teachers, our coaches, our neighbors, even people we don’t even know are in our hands. Show your thoughtfulness during the holidays by celebrating small this year, do something new with your household, solve a new puzzle, play an old board game, read a classic novel and binge watch a new show or two or three.
Jennifer Wall Forrester: (26:33)
Remember older family members and those with other medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to serious illness with COVID-19. Celebrate with them by phone or Zoom or letters, let them know how much you love them by being virtual. We are in the hardest part of the pandemic right now. Hospitals are packed with sick and dying people. I know all of you are tired of hearing about COVID. Frankly, I’m tired of talking about it, but I’m more troubled by seeing families lose their loved ones. Again, more than 7,000 Ohio families are going to be mourning a loss this season, but it doesn’t have to continue. To get us to the home stretch, know that what you do matters. We are all in this together so please do your part to protect the lives of others so that we can be part of the holiday festivities, the birthday parties, the anniversary celebrations, that we can plan on having next year and the years to come. I plan on celebrating big the day that we can finally safely take off our masks. But for now, I hope you will join me in celebrating small.
Mike DeWine: (27:38)
Doctor, thank you very much. Let me now go to Doctor Dan Breece, Vice President of Physician Services and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Health in Marietta. Doctor, thanks for being with us.
Dan Breece: (27:53)
Well thank you, Governor. I’d like to remind everyone today that we really want you not to eat or drink with anyone outside your household. Eating and drinking with others outside of your household is risky because these are two tasks you can’t do with a mask on. And therefore limiting meals to those within your own household is safest. But I would like to recommend that if you do need to get meals out, that home delivery, curbside pickup, drive through windows, and take out services are really the best options if you need to get meals out. We need your help, Ohio. We definitely need your help to get through this. We can do it. We can get through this phase together. So please don’t eat or drink with anyone outside of your household. Thank you, Governor. And on behalf of Memorial Health System, we appreciate you allowing us to participate today.
Mike DeWine: (28:41)
Doctor, thank you very much. Our next guest today is Dr. Simi Bhullar, Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Ohio Health in Columbus. Doctor.
Simi Bhullar: (28:54)
Hi, thank you, Governor. We’d like to advise Ohioans to avoid travel. This is really the holiday season, to enjoy it close to home. When we travel, we expose ourselves to more people and that person to person spread is really what the virus needs to grow and to contaminate more individuals. As your healthcare workers, it’s important for us to be here for you when you get ill, but it’s equally important for us to help you avoid getting ill to begin with and help to eliminate the spread.
Mike DeWine: (29:28)
Doctor, thank you. We appreciate it very, very much. Next is Dr. Brian Kaminski. He is the Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety and Emergency Medicine Physician for ProMedica in Toledo. Doctor?
Brian Kaminski: (29:45)
Thank you very much, Governor. Today, I want to appeal to Ohioans when it comes to mass gatherings. Unfortunately, a lot of these clusters that we’re seeing involve groups of people getting together, groups of families getting together. Things like funerals, things like weddings and other mass gathering. So it’s unfortunate when we see that because we see multiple family members, multiple friends that associate together, getting sick at the same time. And most of the cases that we’re seeing in the hospital often tie back to these mass gatherings. So we would ask you to do things like postpone them if they can be postponed. If they absolutely must happen, we’d ask you to limit the size of these types of gatherings.
Brian Kaminski: (30:25)
Use a virtual platform like we can do in many other aspects of our life. And if they absolutely must happen, please remember those things that we know reduce the spread. The three W’s that you hear us talking about over and over again. Wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands. Those things will help keep us safe, eliminate the transmission, and we really call on Ohioans to support each other through this. We agree that this is difficult, we all feel tempted during the holiday season to get together. And if we can be supportive of one another when we make these decisions, we’ll be better off in the long run and better able to get through this all together. Thank you very much.
Mike DeWine: (31:02)
Doctor, Thank you very much. Dr. Stacy Meeks is a Family Practice Physician at WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital in Belmont County. Doctor, thanks for joining us.
Stacy Meeks: (31:17)
Thank you. So as the holiday season comes up, we’re asking people to just use common sense when it comes to gatherings. Keep them small, keep them to your closer immediate family and small social groups. Virtual holiday stuff could be done if possible, especially for the populations that are a little bit more vulnerable this year or for a family that lives further away as we asked to limit travel, also drive-through light shows, things like that. So you can still enjoy the holiday seasons, we just ask that you try to stay home and keep things small if possible. We’ve seen a lot of cases, especially where I’m at. We’re pretty rural, but we’re still seeing a lot of cases. So it’s happening in the small communities as well. So just stay safe this holiday season.
Mike DeWine: (32:11)
Doctor, thank you very much. Finally, we have Jennifer Duncan, Certified Nurse Practitioner for Adena Family Medicine and Pediatrics in Jackson County. She will once again talk about a point that was stressed before, and that’s stay at home. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.
Jennifer Duncan: (32:29)
Thank you, Governor. I would just, again, send out please to all Ohioans complete celebrate your Christmas holiday at home this year with just your immediate family. What we do know about this virus is that you can spread it before you know that you even have it. So even if you feel well, you still could be carrying virus, you could still transmit it to somebody unintentionally. I would encourage you to utilize virtual tools to have your holiday celebrations and I would just like to remind everybody that even though it’s Christmas time and there is a pandemic, emergencies are still happening every day, people are still having heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, et cetera. And if our emergency rooms are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, it makes it harder for them to take care of you or a loved one if you present to the emergency room with a different type of emergency. So just want to encourage everyone to stay home and stay safe. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (33:44)
Thank you very much. We want to thank all our medical professionals, all 12 of them who were on here. We appreciate it very much. We appreciate the advice that we get from them and that we get from doctors, medical professionals, health experts across the state. We appreciate that very, very much. These will be posted, stay safe Ohio protocol, Department Of health is issuing today. Those will be up on our webpage. Those will also be appearing in newspapers and those will be available. These are really the essential things that we’re asking people to do in this really crucial upcoming 21 days. Three weeks ago, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order that requires Ohioans with some exceptions to stay home from the hours of 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM. We did this because we needed to relive pressure on our hospitals, our strained health care system.
Mike DeWine: (34:47)
And so in consultation with many experts, with business leaders, we took this approach to encourage Ohioans, to reduce their unnecessary contacts with others outside their household and to cut back on social gatherings. We believe that the curfew along with the enforcement of the mask wearing in retail that was also started about the same time have had an impact. They’ve not been able to slow it enough, but they’ve had an impact. So today the Ohio Department of Health is extending the curfew order. This curfew order will go until January 2nd, 2021. In the next 21 days, it really is vitally important that all of us do everything we can to slow this virus down. Follow the curfew, follow the 12 steps. The doctors told us about these things are really necessary for us to able to move forward and to be where we need to be when the new year comes in.
Mike DeWine: (35:59)
The curfew has created a conflict with some of the most highly anticipated events of the year, the Columbus Crew MLS Championship Game on Saturday, Monday nights football with the Browns versus Ravens, then Bengals later versus the Steelers, and the anticipation of the university of Cincinnati Bearcats hosting their conference championship football game. The start times for these games are dictated by national television contracts and as a result, the games will not be finished until after that 10:00 PM curfew. The Ohio Department of Health is issuing a variance for this curfew for these four specific events. These events have run consistently with the protocols that we’re asking all Ohioans to follow. Spectators at these events wear a mask, they are socially distanced, there’s added safety that they are in a large venue, and that they are held outside. Now to be really honest and Frank, the biggest threat from these games is not what goes on inside the stadium. The biggest threat is from those who have an urge to gather with friends, with people outside their own household.
Mike DeWine: (37:33)
And candidly, that is what we think the biggest threat is. The biggest risk from these games is not the spectators who will be attending the games and who will be following their safety protocols, but from other fans not attending the game in person who may have that urge together with friends to watch these games inside without following the mask and the social distancing protocol. And frankly, that is where our biggest worry is. So to those who might be thinking about gathering with friends outside their household to watch these games, we would just ask you to please rethink that. I know the importance of sports and it’s important to be able to continue to do things, sports or other things, to keep our morale up. Sporting events are important to many, especially in a sports loving state like Ohio, but I ask that you enjoy these events responsibly. So please don’t gather inside with people from outside of your household and increase the spread of the virus or the risk of the spreading of the virus. Let me now go to the Lieutenant Governor.
John Husted: (38:46)
Thank you, Governor. I know that we’ve talked a lot, it was great to have all the medical professionals on to talk about the way, the path forward and how if we follow those things that we’re likely going to be a lot better off 21 days from now. I will say that I know that doing weekly calls with the Ohio Restaurant Association, that that’s an industry that has been hit hard by the coronavirus protocols and restrictions and just the desire for people to be safe. And what they have asked is that we remind folks that we want these restaurants to be around when we get through this, this is going to be a tough couple of winter months for them. So reminders, you can get carry out, you can pick up food from these restaurants or maybe even buy a gift card for someone’s stocking this year.
John Husted: (39:41)
All of these things can help our restaurants get through this and also keep us safe, and the Ohio Restaurant Association has been doing their best to promote a campaign of dining safe across Ohio, and these are just some things to think about as we head into the holiday season when we’re at home, that we can order out from these restaurants and help them and keep ourselves safe. And then the second thing that I’d like to raise today is something that has occurred in Ohio over the last couple of weeks. We’ve had some significant announcements that I know sometimes don’t really show up in a lot of people’s consciousnesses, but two things that have happened that I’d like to highlight. First, the company Waymo. And what is Waymo? Waymo is a self-driving car technology company that was created by Google.
John Husted: (40:34)
They picked the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio to develop proprietary technologies to advance their Waymo self-driving system and their drivers class eight truck, which we have, I think, pictures of those available right here. These are experimental technologies for self-driving automobiles. And this is a big win for Ohio. This is a big win because it’s the first time Waymo has established a permanent presence in a third-party test site and we’re excited about that. This follows announcements by other major companies that are doing testing at the Transportation Research Center, very important. And then this morning we were on a virtual ribbon cutting where we welcomed visitors from around the globe to Springfield, Ohio, at least virtually to Springfield, Ohio, to take advantage as we watched a couple of companies make announcements that they’re going to come to Springfield to take advantage of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s sky vision capabilities and the Ohio UAS, the Unmanned Aircraft System’s simulator and charging facilities there.
John Husted: (41:48)
These two new companies set up operations in Springfield location, Beta Technologies, and Joby Aviation. And I want to show you a photo here of what we’re talking about. When we talk about these new air taxi and new self mobility technologies, what are we talking about? Essentially flying cars, and that’s what we refer to them as. They’re essentially flying cars that are the latest innovations in transportation, and I know Governor that you will appreciate this, this is just right up the road. This operation is Springfield, Ohio is right up the road from where over 100 years ago, the Wright brothers tested their new aircraft at the facility there at Huffman Prairie. Why do I raise this?
John Husted: (42:33)
Because we are hopeful that we’re going to use these protocols that we talked about to get through 2020, we’re going to get the vaccine out there and 2021 is going to be a year of recovery and these investments that have been made in the past in Ohio have attracted this research innovation, talent, and infrastructure to our state. And this can really be an important part of the foundation for economic recovery in 2021. We really welcome these new investments from companies who are outside of Ohio, who are bringing their investments to Ohio to start brand new innovations, brand new companies, brand new technologies that we hope will benefit Ohioans for generations to come. So Governor, a little bit of optimism as we head toward 2021, and I wanted to make sure everybody was aware of those new announcements and investments. Thanks, Governor.
Mike DeWine: (43:29)
Well, that’s great news. Thank you very much, Lieutenant Governor, and we’ll now go to questions.
Speaker 1: (43:37)
Governor, our first question today is from Laura Hancock at cleveland.com.
Laura Hancock: (43:40)
Mike DeWine: (43:41)
Laura Hancock: (43:41)
One of the physicians had said that we shouldn’t eat or drink with people outside of our households. How is this going to keep restaurants open?
Mike DeWine: (43:57)
You can sit at a table and if you’re with people in your household, restaurants already are providing a distanced separation. So what it means you should not do is have a table and have three different couples or three different families together. So it’s pretty basic, there’s nothing in this 10 things that we’ve listed that is fundamentally new, but it’s putting them together in one place so that people can look at them and see, “To be safe, to live with this virus until we’re able to wipe it off the map, these are things that we need to be doing to stay safe.” So it’s consistent. It’s not consistent with a bunch of people from different families or different households coming together and sitting at one table at a restaurant, but it is consistent with sitting at a table with people from your family, people who live in your household.
Speaker 1: (44:58)
Next question from Scott [inaudible 00:45:01] at the [inaudible 00:45:02] Daily Gazette.
Hi Governor, how are we doing?
Mike DeWine: (45:04)
So the state has been very lenient with the school districts, letting them make their own decisions about whether to stay open, whether in a quote, go remote. And a lot of them are doing it in consultation with the local health departments. Do the county departments of health actually have authority to just go in and say, “Okay, we don’t like the numbers. You guys have to go remote or you have to go fully virtual or some hybrid form.” Do they have that authority?
Mike DeWine: (45:33)
Well, I think every school district is listening to their local department of health and I would advise them to listen to them. I think that depends, Scott, on whether it’s a health order or a health advisory. Health advisory, people need to factor that in and listen to it and understand what the health department is saying. The local health department, if it’s a health order, it becomes an order. And it is that.
Speaker 1: (46:03)
Next question is from Karen Kasler at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Mike DeWine: (46:06)
Karen Kasler: (46:09)
Hi Governor, how are you?
Mike DeWine: (46:11)
Karen Kasler: (46:12)
Wanted to ask about the federal funding that you’ve asked for from the CARES act and future federal funding. Would that funding potentially change the way that you handle maybe future health orders, maybe even future shutdowns, if you knew that there was funding coming along that would help some of those businesses?
Mike DeWine: (46:32)
Yes, it might. Yeah, it might. You’ve got to look at all the facts, you got to look at what all the ramifications are from everything that you do. So Karen, I don’t know if it will impact anything. We don’t even know at this point what’s in a bill or what bill will be passed. We keep praying that there will be a bill and that it will be passed and I stay in touch with Senator Brown and Senator Portman and the other members of congressional delegation. But yeah, it could impact that. What we have now is a situation where without a new bill…
Mike DeWine: (47:14)
And let me just say that the bill that was passed in the spring by Congress has done a phenomenal amount of good. Not just from a health point of view, not just from the point of view of being able to trace and be able to test, but it’s done a lot of good in getting money directly into the economy, keeping people who are unemployed keeping their unemployment up, and being able to give money to businesses so they can continue to employ people. So we’re now moving forward into the most crucial time we have without that safety net, and we need it. So we hope Congress passes something.
Speaker 1: (47:56)
Next question is from Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch.
Mike DeWine: (48:00)
Mike DeWine: (48:00)
Good afternoon, governor. Obviously, we’re at the point where we’re narrating the distribution of vaccines. [inaudible 00:48:13] Do you still expect shipments next week? And how soon do we start getting needles in arms among healthcare workers and long-term care residents and workers?
Mike DeWine: (48:26)
Yeah. Good question, Randy. We don’t know exactly. We have to wait for approval. We have to wait for the federal government to put that green flag out there. Once that green flag is down, we’re moving. They’ve assured us that shipment will be made almost immediately to us, that they were ready to go. What you will see happen first is that where the federal government has, where they’re going to, what they’re calling pre-positioning from Pfizer, 10 hospitals, they asked us to pick 10 hospitals. We pick them by contacting hospitals and determining which hospitals could deal with the sub freeze temperature and had the facilities to do that. So the first thing that will happen is that we’ll go to those hospitals. Those hospitals will then under a protocol that we’re about to issue start vaccinating their healthcare workers in the order of priority, which is those who are most at risk.
Mike DeWine: (49:34)
As far as the long-term care, we are operating under a restriction that we can not start long-term care until the 21st of December, so unless the federal government changes that we will start vaccinating on the 21st of December. And that again will be from the Pfizer shipment. And those shipments will go directly to the four drug companies, retail drug companies that will be administering these to people in care settings starting with the nursing homes. So that’s the best I can tell you, as far as the timing. We’re, we’re anxious to go. We’re waiting for the approval, waiting for them to be shipped.
Speaker 2: (50:17)
Next question is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.
Alex Ebert: (50:22)
Thanks for taking our questions, governor.
Mike DeWine: (50:25)
Alex Ebert: (50:25)
Harvard has recently come out with research indicating that putting individuals that have already been infected by COVID-19 toward the backend of the vaccine distribution list could greatly increase the ability to stem the infection rate of the virus, AKA folks that have already been infected, if we vaccinated them last, we could do a better job of fighting the virus. Is that something that Ohio intends to do? And if so, how would you go about doing it?
Mike DeWine: (50:50)
Look, I’m going to wait until we have people who analyze that article. That is not what the CDC’s recommendations are today. That is not what they’re saying. And so I’m sure that that article will be debated and discussed and I’ll wait, what the best experts have to say about it.
Speaker 2: (51:15)
Next question is from Ben Schwartz with WCPO in Cincinnati.
Mike DeWine: (51:20)
Ben Schwartz: (51:21)
Hi governor. You said that you believe the state’s curfew is working. I’m wondering if you believe the success has been consistent across the whole state. And have you seen any areas near state borders, such as Cincinnati, have any unique struggles in terms of working with the curfew that might not be the same right across the border in say Kentucky or Indiana?
Mike DeWine: (51:48)
Yeah. Ben, I really don’t know. I don’t know that we’ve seen that difference. I think what’s difficult is like a lot of things in life you’re trying to accomplish something and you a number of different things, and you never know what really works for sure. You can guess at it. I mean, we’re doing… Three things kind of came together. One is I think a realization by people, the seriousness of this virus, as we saw cases go up, as we saw deaths go up, as we saw more people into the hospital and our hospitals getting filled, people started seeing that, they started hearing from medical professionals in their local counties, in their local areas of the state, I think that’s one. Two is the curfew. And three is the fact that the masking is now fundamentally better than it was three weeks ago or so.
Mike DeWine: (52:45)
And that’s because we put on an order that, and we had the order in place since July, but we started actually sending agents out to enforce it. And so we are now still running better than 90% mask compliance statewide. So those three things came together at the same time. And I think it’s probably impossible to pull out from that. What had the impact and what didn’t. I happen to think that all three of them had an impact. I don’t know what percentage each one had, but I think all those three things coming together made a difference. And what it’s enabled us to do, I think it’s blunting a little bit of the rise. The rise is not as steep as it would have been, but we’re still, as you saw by today’s numbers, they’re horrible numbers. And we know that when we see this many cases, we know that we’re going to see hospitalizations in two weeks, three weeks from that, and we’re going to see more use of the ICU. So we think these have had an impact, but certainly we’ve got a ways to go and we have to do more.
Speaker 2: (53:54)
Next question is from Brittany Bailey at WBNS in Columbus.
Brittany Bailey: (54:00)
Good afternoon, governor, thanks again for taking our questions today. I did kind of want to follow up on what you were just saying. You released along with the Ohio Department of Health today, this list of new protocols, mostly again, just guidance. And you just talked about how we need to do more. The numbers are still very scary and could get even more so in the coming weeks, have you felt that you wanted to do more than you have been able to perhaps because of political pressure and if in your ideal world, what would you be asking or enforcing Ohioans to do right now?
Mike DeWine: (54:34)
Well, in the ideal world, we’d be doing what we’re doing. It’s certainly not ideal to start closing things down. There’s ramifications that come from that. So I think with the 12 doctors that we had on today, I mean, it’s a pretty blunt appeal to people. This is our pathway. This is what we need to do to set us up, to go into the new year. No one ever wants to get the COVID, but with help on the way, with the vaccine on the way, what a great, seems to be almost an extra tragedy if someone gets the COVID now and does not survive when we know that help us right around that corner. In fact, we’re starting to see the light coming at us. So, that would be the real tragedy. And I hope that that’s a great incentive for all of us to say, look we’re going to enjoy Christmas. We’re going to celebrate, but we’re not going to celebrate the same way because we want to be here for the next Christmas. That’s a big incentive, I think.
Speaker 2: (55:55)
The next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Mike DeWine: (55:59)
Jack Windsor: (56:00)
Hi, governor. Two-part question regarding hospital capacities. First, hospital workers are an issue. We’re hearing that healthy doctors and nurses, obviously a lot with the sick are being quarantined. We’ve known for almost 10 months there’d be a need for more labor and space now. Both were drastically diminished from early policy decisions. We’ve known that we’d need to reopen closed wings, utilize temporary units we created in the beginning and keep caregivers working. So what are hospitals doing about the need for labor in space and how are you holding [inaudible 00:56:28] your leaders accountable since 94% of Ohioans are masking and 97% social distancing. Second part of the question you called President Trump early in the pandemic about Battelle and got their technology approved. Would you consider getting on the phone with the president and demanding that federal authorities changed protocol and therapeutic drugs that have been shown to deter severe effects of COVID when administered early and get them to people on an outpatient basis? Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (56:53)
Yeah, I’m going to let Dr. Vanderhoff answer those. Doctor, do you want to talk a little bit about [crosstalk 00:56:58] and therapeutics?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (57:00)
Yeah. So let me begin first with your question about hospitals. It’s a very good question. It’s a question that our hospitals and health systems have been looking at from the beginning of the pandemic. Early on the issue really was an issue that related to the space and the supplies that we needed to be able to safely care for patients with COVID-19 and we rapidly responded and stood up a whole variety of capabilities. And the Battelle capability is one of, I think the great examples of as an example of incredible innovation in Ohio and incredible cooperation across the state and across healthcare organizations in the state, working with industry in this case, Battelle, but now as we’ve moved forward, you’re correct. The issue really is not the space and the stuff. Our hospitals in fact, have been able to activate units, they’ve been able to repurpose units, and physical capabilities extremely rapidly.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (58:04)
It’s really been the issue of personnel. And here’s the challenge. Healthcare personnel are not people you take off the street and put at the bedside. Preparing healthcare providers of all sorts of definitions requires a lot of training, a lot of preparation, certainly more than can be accomplished in a matter of months. Now, organizations across the state from the beginning of this pandemic have been working with educational institutions to accelerate training programs. We’d been looking at innovations in terms of safely orienting healthcare providers at the bedside, cutting time off of that, by using some innovative models to assure that we do that safely, and I could go on and on. The issue really is about helping to prepare a workforce, but doing it safely as you do it rapidly.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (59:08)
In terms of therapeutics, there actually has been quite a bit of work going on in the state, looking at how we can take therapeutics that have been clearly demonstrated and approved by the FDA for use in the outpatient arena and applying them there. And I’d point today as the best example to the two monoclonal antibody therapies, which are available in Ohio and which are being utilized pretty broadly across the state. Those are therapies that the research has shown very clearly are best suited to the outpatient arena. Some of the other therapies that we’re using in the hospital, unfortunately the research primarily points to their impact on sicker hospitalized patients. And one thing we wanted to do is avoid getting ahead of the research.
Mike DeWine: (01:00:03)
Okay, thank you very much.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:00:06)
Next question is from John Reed at and Gongwer News Service.
John Reed: (01:00:11)
Good afternoon, governor, [crosstalk 01:00:13] This question’s for you or Dr. Vanderhoff. With the weather getting colder and people still wanting to gather, and we spent the summer seeing people visiting friends outside, hanging out in the yard, things like that. We’ve seen a lot more people on say a screened in porch or in a tent or in a kind of enclosed area outside that might not have great ventilation as people are coming up with their plans for the holidays, things like that. What should they be looking at for safety? Is just being outside safe enough?
Mike DeWine: (01:00:48)
Well, I’ll take a swipe at that and then let the expert talk about it, but I think ventilation is very important. We’ve learned more about ventilation. Basically I would look as the exchange of air. We’ve learned that this is important inside that you should set your air conditioner, your heating system so that there’s significant exchange, more exchange. So, while outside is better, I suppose if you’re in a situation that you’re in a place where there’s not much exchange of air that probably is not a great thing. Doctor, I’ll turn it over to you.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:01:34)
Thank you, governor. Actually, I think the governor answered the question extremely well. The one additional appoint I’d ask people to consider is look in whatever space you’re in, think about how many people you’ve got in that space and how much ventilation you think you can achieve in that space. We, really, at this time of year just cannot have crowds, whether it’s in an outdoor tent or inside with windows open. The ventilation issue, as we’ve learned more about the way that this virus spreads, which is through the air is really, really an important one.
Mike DeWine: (01:02:16)
There’s things that we have done. Campfires. We’ll have a campfire and not a whole lot of people around, but a few people around wearing masks, but some of our family members outside. So I think these are things that we all can do again, it’s beautiful day today, but it’s obviously getting colder and that’s tougher to do as you go forward, but whatever can be done outside where you’ve got that air movement is certainly a lot safer than doing it inside.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:02:51)
Next question is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH in Columbus.
Adrienne Robbins: (01:02:56)
Hey governor, thank you for taking questions today. Reading from your Twitter last Friday, it says the curfew masks wearing retail inspections have helped, but they haven’t helped enough. We’ll have to do more. We don’t have a choice. Today, it sounds like we’re doing much of the same with an extension of the curfew and the retail inspections. And then the protocols again are much of what we’ve been hearing during this whole pandemic. At this point, are any new orders off the table for you? And at what point will we get to a place where we need new orders?
Mike DeWine: (01:03:32)
Well I have a lot of faith in the people of the state of Ohio. And if you looked at what happened at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving inherently is a gathering of people and inherently you’re going to have more spread. All the votes aren’t in yet. We don’t really know for sure, but we’re sure that there is more spread there, but Ohioans pulled back at least in driving by a third. If you drove around some neighborhoods, you saw fewer people gathered together, no scientific data on that, but Ohioans responded to the request and responded to the evidence and the facts. What we’re really doing today is saying this next period of time, when we have holidays together, where we have the holidays and then Christmas, New Year, for example, and when people are normally gathering together, doing a lot of things, they’re watching football, they’re doing other things, that this is inherently a dangerous time, but we also understand there’s a real pull, and we want to be able to interact with our family.
Mike DeWine: (01:04:47)
And so if you look at the things that we put up here, you look at these, these are the best shorthand that we know of, that the medical community knows to achieve what we need to achieve, which is to slow this virus down. If Ohioans did that, if the vast majority of Ohioans would follow this, we will accomplish in the next 21 days, what we need to accomplish. I mean, the whole idea of, I mean, just take one of them, for example, if you’re around someone who you don’t live with, wear a mask, kind of easy to say, sometimes it’s harder for us to do. If that’s a friend, if that’s a neighbor, if that’s our brother, brother-in-law or our mother, sometimes that’s harder to do, but if we can do that, we could do that, that one of those 10, we would achieve a tremendous amount.
Mike DeWine: (01:05:51)
And so I have confidence that we can do this. And I also know that whatever orders the state issues, ultimately what each individual does in their own life is more important than any order that anybody can issue. And our job through the doctors that you heard, and the other experts who helped us put this together is to get the best information, to put the tools in the hands of Ohioans. And I’m confident that they can take those tools and that my fellow Ohioans will take it, and in the next 21 days reach a result that will allow us to be able to open schools back up and we want our schools back open. So I just ask just one example of what comes after January one. Look, I get emails, I’ve got a lot emails on sports and high school.
Mike DeWine: (01:06:48)
I get different points of view from even superintendents about it, but everything, it’s not just the sports. It’s being in class in person, which I think most of us firmly believe is better for students. All of that after the first of the year, it depends on what we do in the next 21 days. I don’t want to be overdramatic, but it’s just a fact. If we continue to see these high rates and we continue to see our hospitals fill up school will not be able to open, your kids won’t be able to go back to school. Things will not be where they need to be. Why? Schools won’t be able to put bus drivers in the bus. They won’t be able to put teachers in the classroom. They’ll have too many kids quarantined. So this is really going to depend on until we get the virus until we get the vaccine administered to enough people, we got to live with this. And the way we live with it is by following these 10 items. Thank you.
John Husted: (01:07:53)
Governor, could I add one thing to that, because I know a lot of times when we put things out there and somebody sees that list of 10 things, when you see that list of 10 things, we’re not talking about what somebody else should do. We’re talking about what you should do. And don’t think this is all of us as individuals owning this responsibility for the collective good of our state and our communities and our kids schools and healthcare workers, we all got to own this.
Speaker 2: (01:08:20)
Next question is from Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.
Mike DeWine: (01:08:24)
Jim Otte: (01:08:25)
Governor, you talked about the sporting variances. I’m thinking about religious ceremonies, and events, primarily midnight mass, things like that. Can you speak to the issue of whether or not those religious ceremonies and holiday events are covered under the curfew or not?
Mike DeWine: (01:08:47)
Well, Jim, when you ask about midnight mass, that’s the exact question that about an hour ago, my wife Fran asked me when we were talking about these and the answer is that they are not impacted. Any religious service is not impacted. We always ask people, be careful. We ask people, wear masks, but no order we’ve issued, no curfew, nothing impacts religious services.
Speaker 2: (01:09:16)
Next question is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.
Geoff Redick: (01:09:21)
Good afternoon, governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:09:23)
Geoff Redick: (01:09:24)
To check what data’s or number you’re using to determine that there has been a slowdown we’ve set new daily case records Tuesday, again, almost today. Positivity just had its first slight tick downward first one since September 24th. So, what number or numbers support the idea of a slow down right now? And what about that supports [crosstalk 01:09:46]
Mike DeWine: (01:09:47)
Yeah, Geoff, if I said slow down, I that was wrong. I should not have said slow down, if that’s what I said. What has happened is that the rate of increase has slowed. The rate of increase has slowed. That’s why we can’t declare victory. That’s why I can’t tell the people of the state of Ohio that we’re doing great. What I am saying is I think some of these measures have helped, that’s good, but we got to do more.
Speaker 2: (01:10:14)
Next question is from Spenser Hickey at Hannah News Service.
Spenser Hickey: (01:10:18)
Thank you. Governor, you opened by congratulating Representative Fudge. Can you talk about what the timetable may be for the primary and special election for that seed, especially given the pandemic?
Mike DeWine: (01:10:33)
No, no, that’s something I want to talk to the secretary of state about and talk to others about. And I really have not thought much about that, but that will be my job to do, and I intend to do it, but I don’t know what we’ll be doing or what the date will be.
Speaker 2: (01:10:53)
Next question is from Jackie Borchardt at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jackie Borchardt: (01:10:58)
Mike DeWine: (01:10:59)
Jackie Borchardt: (01:10:59)
Hi. So, today, you’re not issuing a stay at home order, but you’re telling people to stay home, to not go to restaurants with friends and others, all of that is going to have an economic impact. How do you plan to help small businesses who see revenues drop in these final weeks of the year and employees who may lack work protections?
Mike DeWine: (01:11:19)
Well, Jackie you’re absolutely right. This pandemic has impacted business, certainly impacted retail, particularly impacted restaurants and bars. Our orders have as well, particularly with restaurants and bars. What we put up today are not new, in the sense of that has been the medical recommendation of for a long, long time. I still believe that the biggest threat to our economy and what I worry about just from the economy point of view and from the jobs point of view is a virus flaming up totally out of control.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:02)
… is a virus flaming up, totally out of control. We cannot allow that to happen. And so they will be many more ramifications. If our hospitals are filled, if we don’t have enough healthcare workers, there will be long-term damage to the state and it will be harder for us to recover. And there’ll be more economic damage during this period of time. So doing the safe things is consistent with knocking down this virus and knocking down this virus is absolutely essential for our economy to be able to continue to move forward. We’re looking for help from the federal government. And you talk about those small businesses. You talk about those employees, federal government came through very, very effectively, and we hope that they will do this again. I hope they understand the gravity of the situation in Ohio and other states.
John Husted: (01:13:02)
Governor, if I could add a couple of things to that. Jackie, that’s why we encourage folks to order out from their local restaurant. What I mentioned earlier, gift cards from restaurants, local businesses, online purchases, locally, all of those kinds of things are helpful to businesses, But I do want to emphasize something, presently $5 billion in rebate checks from the Bureau of Workers Compensation are starting to land in the bank accounts and in the post office boxes of businesses across the state. That $5 billion is more than all of the other relief that the state has provided to businesses during this pandemic so far.
John Husted: (01:13:46)
This is a huge amount of inflow of support that’s coming, we hope at the exact right time. We do need federal help with another round of PPP. That would be if we could get that done this week and businesses knew they had that lifeline. That would be fantastic. But just know that those dollars are landing in the bank accounts of businesses, employers, job creators across the state right now, which we hope will have a major impact.
Speaker 3: (01:14:16)
Next question is from Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (01:14:21)
Mike DeWine: (01:14:22)
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (01:14:23)
Somewhat related follow up question, I think for you and/or the lieutenant governor. Could you just address, we saw this week a pretty big spike in initial unemployment compensation filings, and also the continuing claims have ticked up a little bit. And I still hear from people, individuals who are struggling to navigate the compensation system. A woman I spoke with recently, who was overpaid by accident, and now months later is still struggling to deal with that situation. So if either of you could just address the fact that those claims do continue to go up. And just again, the issues some people were having with the system.
Mike DeWine: (01:15:09)
Sure. You want to take that, Jon?
John Husted: (01:15:10)
Sure. Thanks, governor. Andrew, it’s been a challenge all along because of the number of fraudulent claims that are being filed, which has slowed down the processing of people’s requests, because we have to do the extra due diligence to check those claims, to make sure that they’re legitimate and we’re only paying legitimate claims. So that has been a big factor in the last few months of navigating that system.
John Husted: (01:15:45)
And I will also make mention of the fact that while we’ve seen overall the unemployment rate go down, a lot of that is not because jobs are being created. It’s because people are dropping out of the workforce, because moms might have to stay home to take care of children who are not in school, things like that, which has put a lot of strain on folks. And that’s why this has always been a balance for us, of trying to account for the health challenges that COVID presents and the economic challenges that COVID present, so that we’re getting people, the relief that they need. It’s why these BWC checks, dividend checks going out are going to keep businesses open that otherwise would be closed, that are going to stop people from getting laid off that otherwise would have been laid off. And these are the essential pieces of that, of that safety net that we’re trying to build, and grow the economic pie at the same time fighting COVID.
John Husted: (01:16:47)
So these are the struggles we face. We’ve continued to try to upgrade the technology in the unemployment comp system, trying to help people navigate it, trying to prevent the fraudulent claims from occurring. Those are just a list of some of the things that we’re looking at and then doing as this pandemic has proceeded.
Speaker 3: (01:17:12)
Next question is from Laura Bischoff at the Dayton Daily News.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:16)
Laura Bischoff: (01:17:17)
Hey governor. Could you describe for us what kind of marketing campaign Ohio is going to be doing to convince Ohioans to get vaccinated, especially in the minority community where distrust can run really deep. And also, could you tell us where the 50,000 DRC prisoners, where they will be in line for vaccination?
Mike DeWine: (01:17:37)
Yeah, I can’t tell you the second question. We’ve really not gotten to beyond A1, but we will be doing that and as soon as we do that, we certainly make that public for everyone, as far as that information, as far as the prisoners. And I’m sorry, the first question was?
Laura Bischoff: (01:18:00)
Marketing the vaccine.
Mike DeWine: (01:18:03)
Yeah. We are in the process of putting that together. We do have a marketing campaign specifically in regard to African Americans. We have also a general marketing campaign as well. I will say, and I told our team this, I may be proved to be wrong, but while it’s important for us to do this in Ohio, I think people will be more influenced, frankly, by what they’re reading in the media, by what they’re seeing, by what they see when they see a doctor on TV, when they hear what the FDA is doing. The Nightly News tonight, what they see in the news tonight when they turn on, or when they pick up the Dayton Daily tomorrow, and read the stories about what the FDA is doing today. I think all those things go to people’s decision-making about whether to take the vaccine.
Mike DeWine: (01:18:57)
I think a lot of people are taking a wait and see attitude and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with taking that attitude at this point. I think the transparency at which this process takes place, I think is important and that it is available today. People can watch what’s going on, is my understanding. I haven’t seen it myself, but the people can watch that. So I think it’s going to be the cumulative effect. And I think it’s also going to be seeing frontline health workers and seeing them get the vaccine.
Mike DeWine: (01:19:31)
And then frankly by the time we get beyond the frontline health workers and people in congregate care settings, we’re going to have seen a lot of people have already got it. And I think we should not also forget that a lot of people have already received this vaccine in the trial. And they’re basing a lot of what they’re telling us on these people who have gone through this trial and this is the way it is normally done. So I think it’s a work in progress. And I think people will make rational decisions and will process all the information that comes in. And we certainly will be out there talking about it and messaging it as well.
Speaker 3: (01:20:14)
Next question is from John London at WLWT in Cincinnati.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:17)
John London: (01:20:19)
Hi governor, are you a contemplating any changes to winter indoor sports and how soon, this is something our viewers want to know, how soon will relatives get to see their loved ones in nursing homes, once those relatives and loved ones are vaccinated with both shots?
Mike DeWine: (01:20:38)
Yeah, that’s a good question. We don’t know the answer to that yet. As far as nursing homes. Now, as you know, nursing homes, there’s visitation, it’s a limited visitation. And sometimes as I’ve heard from people, it’s not a satisfactory visitation. But for the last few months we have opened it up. First, we did in the summer without outdoor. Now we’ve opened it up and of course it ultimately then it’s up to the nursing home today. But your question’s a very good one. I don’t know the answer yet. I think we’re going to have to see and get advise from medical professionals in regard to that.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:14)
As far as winter indoor sports, let me talk about that a minute. I have received in the last five days, a lot of emails from superintendents and some have said to me, “Please let us make the decision about when our team plays basketball”, or whatever the indoor sport is. “Don’t take that decision away from us.” I’ve had a number of them also tell me, “You need to make this decision governor, because it’s difficult for one school to make that decision. And there needs to be some uniformity. And that really we would like to take a pause in winter sports, with the idea that we will end up being able to play more if we take a pause and get through the next few weeks.”
Mike DeWine: (01:21:57)
Those are both very legitimate positions. As you can tell today, we have not ordered, at least so far, anything in that area, but we’re hearing from both sides on that. And the thing that I would say is we have asked the schools, be very careful. Focus has always been from going back, clear back when we were dealing with the NCAA back last March, we never closed the NCAA games. What we said is, “Don’t have spectators.” And so we’ve always put a premium on people being able to play the game. What we’ve said to our high schools and junior highs is, “Kids can play. That’s your decision whether they play or don’t play, but you should limit the number of people who are spectators. We would highly recommend those be limited to parents.” So that parents can go and see their child play, but not open it to the general population. And again, that comes back to the fact that these are indoor activities.
Speaker 3: (01:23:02)
Next question is from Kennie Bass, at WCHS in Charleston, West, Virginia.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:07)
Kennie Bass: (01:23:09)
Hi governor. I’m not an epidemiologist, nor a medical expert, and I’m not criticizing any actions you’ve taken, or questioning your constitutional, or gubernatorial authority. But there are many questions that very smart, intelligent people have raised about curfews and about restaurant limitations and the bar limitations, et cetera. And that the reason that stuff can’t be tracked mathematically, or scientifically is because that data just doesn’t exist.
Kennie Bass: (01:23:36)
So this may be a strange question and I apologize, but how much of science and medical, and what we know to fight the virus from all the experts, is driving you to make decisions. And have you had time for self introspection to ask yourself how much is it the human nature of wanting to do something to stop the spread, even if it might not be the most scientifically based, or proven to be effective. And that’s not a criticism, because that’s human nature to want to do something. Have, you had a chance to look at yourself and say, “What am I doing here?” Have you looked at that?
Mike DeWine: (01:24:18)
I’m not much good at doing introspection of what makes me tick, but I’ll try. I felt since the beginning of this pandemic, that there’s a real sense of urgency. And I think the lesson that you learn from prior pandemics, ,and anytime you have a situation like this is, the earlier you can move in the faster you can move, the better you are. So we try to take things that we know will make a difference. Those are maybe easier. The things that we think will make a difference, maybe are not as easy, but let me take an example, because it was in your question, the curfew. What the curfew is based upon is science. It’s not based upon an example where a curfew was put in at this time, and therefore there was this drop. Although there may be some evidence of that.
Mike DeWine: (01:25:15)
It really goes back to what the doctors tell us. And that is this virus is spread by contact. If you can reduce contact, you’re going to statistically reduce the spread of the virus. So if you can cut down on the time that people are out mingling, you’re going to knock it down. A prime example is if you look at what happened in March, where things shut down. And what you saw was dramatic decrease, 50% decrease in ODOT numbers, Ohio Department of Transportation numbers. And so it means people are moving around less. When they’re moving around less, there’s less spread. So you set it at 10 o’clock. So we said, “Well, what about nine? How about eight? How about 11?” Yeah, you could have picked any of those. We were trying to get a balance.
Mike DeWine: (01:26:11)
And the balance is to allow people to do somethings, to allow businesses to stay open to some point, but also to pick up something and have less contact. And so you make those decisions. There’s nothing magical about 10 o’clock, other than we knew that that would have less contact with people. And you make these decisions on the best evidence you can. I also talk every single week to the health directors and they’re not shy. They tell me exactly what’s going on in their county. They tell me where they think they’re seeing the spread. And I rely a lot on that, because they’re the ones who are on the ground, and they’re the ones who are talking to people. They’re the ones who have the evidence.
Mike DeWine: (01:27:00)
And so all of these things get mixed in. And we make decisions that we hope make a difference, but also that does not destroy people’s lives in other ways as well.
Mike DeWine: (01:27:16)
Let me now go to the best part of this, last hour and a half. There’s my wife Fran. And one of the things that Fran and I both care about a lot is a problem of food scarcity. I first learned about this problem with my friend, Tony Hall many, many years ago, was congressmen from the Dayton area who was a real champion of this challenge. The challenge continues during the pandemic. It continues to be a challenge for him.
Fran DeWine: (01:27:47)
So the need certainly is great. And the Ohio Association of Food Banks serves Ohioans in all 88 counties. They are our friends and our neighbors. It’s important to note that this year, since the pandemic started, that nearly three out of every 10 people served by these food banks has never done this before, has never needed a food pantry before. So today we want to take you to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, where the Ohio National Guard members are assisting in this effort.
Lt. Jonnierah Smith: (01:28:31)
I’ve noticed what COVID is doing to people in general, let alone our community. And when I heard about this, without hesitation, I was, “I need to be on this.” I needed to know I’m offering help and assistance to my neighbors, my friends, my families, and the people that I don’t know, because we’re all in this together.
Lt. Jonnierah Smith: (01:28:53)
This is my first mission at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, and in general, we are here serving families in the community and actually throughout the state. And we, as soldiers of the National Guard are providing help and extra hands for the food bank in general.
Sgt. Elhadji Mahmadou Sy: (01:29:09)
Good morning, ma’am. After the pandemic hits, we see a lot of people having problem with losing their jobs. A lot of people not working and I was wearing this uniform, represent to help the people of Ohio at the same time, the American people in large. There is people coming for the first time. And we usually have, some days we have 50 people, they’re new. And their number keeps increasing. But every week we have 50, 100, or 200 families, new families, every week. And we keep doing what we’re doing and we keep helping them.
Lt. Jonnierah Smith: (01:29:50)
So we don’t question anybody. It’s their lives, but we are here if they want it. The food, the help, the assistance, a smiling face that they probably haven’t seen in a long time.
Sgt. Elhadji Mahmadou Sy: (01:30:00)
You’re welcome. Anytime. That’s what we’re here for.
Lt. Jonnierah Smith: (01:30:03)
We offer diapers, dog food, cat food, because people have animals that they treat us as children, as family. And if they’re not able to feed them, that’s a whole new consequence of what COVID has provided. I know, as of right now in our tent that we use there’s flowers. So as a positive, we provide flowers for our people, for the community.
Sgt. Elhadji Mahmadou Sy: (01:30:25)
And this is for you ma’am. You welcome.
Lt. Jonnierah Smith: (01:30:28)
It’s just as a little, thank you, as a little pick me up. Other than food, we know that other things are going on, but this is for you.
Sgt. Elhadji Mahmadou Sy: (01:30:36)
Working here in this mission is something that you face the reality of how people are struggling with this COVID-19, and how you put a smile on people’s face and hope. And make the children happy, and give everybody a sense of hope.
Lt. Jonnierah Smith: (01:30:53)
This has brought us together to know that we are all human. We all are going through things, and this is something so difficult alone.
Fran DeWine: (01:31:09)
We don’t have to get through this difficult time alone. Know Ohioans are both generous and resilience. Since March the Ohio National Guard has distributed more than 79 million pounds of food around Ohio. So if you need help, or if you can give help, go to ohiofoodbanks.org/coronavirus. There, you can find the closest food bank to receive help, or you can donate specifically to your local food bank, to the people in your very own community. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:31:49)
Thank you all very much.