Dec 3, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 3
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on December 3 to provide coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of the briefing speech here.
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Governor Mike DeWine: (00:08)
Good afternoon, everyone. Well, as we go further and further into this pandemic, more and more of us know someone who’s lost their life because of COVID. And this week, Fran and I lost another friend to COVID, and that’s our friend Fred Lindenberger. We first got to know Fred in 1976. I was running for County Prosecuting Attorney and we had a tent campaign, tent at the Green County Fair, and Fred and his wife Mary and his dad had their hardware store, or their tent for their hardware store right next to our tent. And so we got to know Fred, spent that week next door to each other, and got to know him very, very, very well.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08)
Later on, I asked Fred to head up our campaign for County Prosecutor, and he ran our annual Ice Cream Social. He was such a good friend that for 40 years, he was the ice cream social. He ran it from the time it started with 200 people out in our yard, we thought was a big deal, and it’s gotten to be as high as 3,000, 3,500 at different times. And Fred was just an absolutely amazing, amazing friend.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:42)
He’s someone that we rode the river with, went to the Grand Canyon together. He went with our family, put up with us for eight days on the river. Even went with us, some members of our family, when we went down to Haiti to visit the school named after our late daughter, Becky. And you could just see how impacted Fred was, a man of great, great compassion, when he was seeing some of the children, and just was really taken by the the poverty that he saw there. A man of great, great, great compassion. And we were fortunate. Fran and I are very fortunate that Fred has been a major part of our life for better than four decades.
Governor Mike DeWine: (02:37)
We also lost this week, we learned yesterday that our friend, Sciota County Commissioner Mike Crabtree, also died from COVID. And so we extend to his wife Diana and his family our deepest sympathy and our condolences.
Governor Mike DeWine: (02:57)
Each of these lives … We lose people every single day. Each of these lives matter. Whether it’s your friend or my friend, or who it is, each life matters a lot. And I think all Ohioans deserve, your families deserve for us to be guided by the facts and to do everything that we can to battle this virus until help is here. Help is on the way with a vaccine that is coming. You deserve, your family deserves to be able to live your lives safely, to have peace of mind and to get back to normal. And I get it. That’s what we all want. We can get there if we all work together and we do the things that we need to do each and every day. On Tuesday, Fran and I had the privilege of visiting members of our National Guard. We toured the Department of Health’s receipt store and storage and stage warehouse facility, where Department of Health workers and members of the Ohio National Guard have been diligently preparing and practicing. And we watched them practice to break down, repackage, and then ship out large amounts of vaccine to those providers who require smaller amounts. Packages that are going to come in from Pfizer will have 975 doses in them. There will be some counties and places where those need to go, that that’s too big of a lot. And the National Guard is working on repackaging them.
Governor Mike DeWine: (04:57)
It’s not your normal repackaging. They process this and do it in two minutes, because they don’t want that to be out of the dry ice, out of that deep, deep cold longer than two minutes. And you can bet the National Guard is doing it. Fran and I were there watching them and they’re ready to go. I’m going to have more to tell you all about this tomorrow, about exactly how this is going to be not only distributed, but what the priorities are going to be. We continue to work on that and we continue to be in touch with federal government.
Governor Mike DeWine: (05:38)
We were on the phone yesterday with CVS and with Walgreen. They are two companies that have been picked by the federal government to handle the nursing homes, and so we were working with them, wanted to make sure everything is going to go well in that regard. So we’ll have more about this tomorrow. I really don’t have time to do it today. And also, frankly, we’re still working with federal government on a lot of the details, and we’ll have better information tomorrow when we talk about it.
Governor Mike DeWine: (06:11)
Our hospitals not only remain in crisis, but the crisis is worsening and getting more serious. Eric, let’s look at the slide. This is the slide that shows the number of people in the hospital today who have COVID. 5, 142. Of those, 1,204 are in ICU. Let’s go now, Eric, and look at the big trend indicator, our normal slide today. We’re reporting 8,921 new cases in Ohio. That is the fifth highest count we’ve seen in this pandemic. We have 396 new hospitalizations, 33 new ICU admissions that have been reported in the last 24 hours. Sadly, we are also reporting today 82 deaths that have been reported to us in the last 24 hours. So the numbers obviously are grim.
Governor Mike DeWine: (07:25)
I want to go now and look at the chart that we’ve been putting up for a few months. And this is the chart, all 88 counties ranked by highest occurrence. And what you’ll see, Holmes County is the lowest. The bad news is that Holmes County itself, even though it’s the lowest, is almost three times what the CDC calls high incident rate, high incident rate of COVID. So it means all these counties are blue. It doesn’t matter where you are. It is very, very high.
Governor Mike DeWine: (08:06)
I’m going to talk about this in a moment, but this chart is an excellent chart for you to look at to see what the danger is in your county. And if it’s a larger county, you can break it down by zip code. You can see what the danger is inside that zip code, because what it shows is how many confirmed cases there have been in the last 14 days. So it’s not historical. It’s not two months ago. It’s what’s going on in your county or your zip code, whatever you’re looking at, in the last two weeks. And they’re measured so that you’re comparing basically concentration of it.
Governor Mike DeWine: (08:48)
So you go from here, Eric, let’s look at the top 20. So you go from Hogs County that was at the bottom. Darke County is unfortunately now at the top. A little over 1,100 cases per 100,000 the last two weeks, which simply means that’s 11 times high incident rate spread. And so if you’re looking at where you need to be most concerned, that is probably the best indicator because that tells how widespread it is right now in your county. Let me now go to continue our discussion about hospitals. Let’s let’s go to Dr. Andy Thomas. Dr. Thomas, you’ve been with us before. We appreciate that very much. You are on the zone calls, I know, 6:30 AM every morning, seven days a week. Tell us where we are now with our hospital crisis.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (10:01)
Thank you, Governor, for having me back representing my colleagues in the zone leads, but also the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, all healthcare providers around the state. First, let me say I’m so sorry for your loss that you started the press conference with. I know many of us have friends and family that we’ve lost as a part of this, and it never gets any easier. So I’m really sorry for your loss.
Governor Mike DeWine: (10:25)
Dr. Andy Thomas: (10:26)
As we discussed on Monday, we crossed 5,000 COVID patients in Ohio’s hospitals. On Monday, today, we’re still over that mark at 5,141. As you described earlier, over 1,200 of those patients are actually in intensive care units around the state. As I talk to hospital leaders, doctors, nurses around the state, that’s really one of our biggest concerns right now. Many hospitals around the state have been able to increase their capacity for a routine, what’s called a med surge bed. That’s kind of a routine bed where you might get IV fluids. You might be on some supplemental oxygen.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (11:07)
But in many hospitals, we’re able to increase those numbers to a degree, but the hardest area for hospitals to increase their capacity or increase their number of beds is in the intensive care unit. You need very specialized staff, specially trained nurses and doctors. Not just any nurse or doctor, but very specially trained respiratory therapists, staff, to a level where they can help manage the patient’s oxygen. I think we’ve discussed on these press conferences before the concept of proning a patient, where you actually lay a patient on their chest when they’re on the ventilator, and you have to turn them back and over multiple times per day to optimize their lung function. That takes four people at a time in the room, to turn the patient over and back.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (11:50)
In those intensive care units, one out of every three patients right now has COVID. If that number continues to grow, that is going to crowd out the ability of non-COVID patients to be able to get the care they need in an intensive care unit. Hospitals do not have the capacity in an unending way to grow the number of ICU beds that they have. And what I hear on our daily calls is really that as our biggest concern, that at some point regional hospitals, community hospitals hit their cap on ICU beds, then they need to transfer to other locations, and at some point, those ICU beds at the other hospitals will be full. So with one out of three patients across Ohio in an ICU having COVID, in our rural hospitals, it’s actually 50% to 60%. So more than one out of every two patients in the two rural regions of our zone that are in the ICU have COVID. That’s not sustainable for those hospitals to be able to manage.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (12:52)
At this point, hospitals around the state are making the difficult decision to postpone non-emergent surgeries and procedures. So think that neighbor who’s scheduled to get a knee replacement or a hip replacement, or that friend from high school who needs back surgery for arthritis in their back. That’s a major issue when those people, it’s not an elective cosmetic surgery, but it’s also not an emergency, like an open-heart surgery or surgery for a broken hip from a trauma, right? These are surgeries that can be delayed for a period of time, but it’s still causing pain and suffering for those patients. It’s causing delays in care. Diagnostic tests that would potentially diagnose cancer might be delayed. Other things. So it’s really having an impact now, as we see COVID patient growth numbers grow, that hospitals are making these difficult decisions to delay care. No one wants to see that.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (13:49)
The big problem, too, that we still have not yet to see the impact of Thanksgiving on our inpatient admission numbers. Thanksgiving was a week ago today, right? We are seeing people, over the next seven to 14 days, that will be being diagnosed with COVID because they went outside their bubble to a social event. Then usually it’s about a week after symptoms start or a week after they’re diagnosed when they need to be admitted to the hospital, and sometimes a week after that, before they end up in the ICU. This is not the beginning of the end. This is not even the end of the beginning. We are in a really difficult spot here when hospitals are already at their highest COVID levels and at high capacity across the state, and we’re just heading into what the CDC Director has described as the most challenging three months of this pandemic.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (14:42)
So I do know that the surveys are showing that more people are wearing masks. That’s great. We need that. We need people to be committed to what they’re doing at work or what they’re doing at school, in their personal life. That’s the exact message we need people to understand, so that whether it’s your neighbors or friends that might work in a hospital, or someone you care for or love who needs to be in the hospital, you don’t want to see them negatively impacted by the number of COVID patients crowding out other patients who really need care moving forward. So that’s what we’re seeing, but really ICU beds are the area of capacity where we have the biggest strain right now across the state.
Governor Mike DeWine: (15:30)
So in your two most rural, I guess that would be seven and eight-
Dr. Andy Thomas: (15:34)
Governor Mike DeWine: (15:37)
… Southern Ohio, Southeast Ohio, they’re over 50% ICU COVID patients, which is just phenomenal.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (15:45)
Right. Of all their patients in the ICU, 50% to 60%, and it differs by hospital obviously. Some of our hospitals in regions seven and eight are actually running at 120% of their normal ICU capacity, so they’ve expanded a little bit, but one of those hospitals over the weekend, over the holiday weekend, needed extra ventilators. They were running low on ventilators, and Ohio Health, Mount Carmel, and Ohio State all chipped in a couple of ventilators to send to them. So they’re doing the best they can all around the state. Large hospitals, small hospitals, everybody’s pulling in the same direction and trying to take care of this surge in patients, but it’s just not sustainable.
Governor Mike DeWine: (16:30)
And one last question. You’ve talked about this before. You touched on it again here, but so that all of us, myself included, understand, and every patient we know is different, but on an average, someone who shows up on a case today, let’s assume that they go to the hospital and then let’s assume that they end up in ICU. So what is the kind of average length of time until we see that? I mean, you’re talking about Thanksgiving, so-
Dr. Andy Thomas: (17:03)
Correct. So the timeline of when you’re exposed, it’s generally not less than three days before you would start having symptoms, but it’s anywhere from three to 10 days where most people would develop symptoms. From that point, so when you think about it, if you were exposed to someone on say Thursday or Friday last week, you’re right now in that window where you might develop symptoms, where you may become positive, and then you’re going to get tested, and you’re going to find out you’re positive. It’s usually from the onset of symptoms to the time of needing to be admitted to the hospital, and most people being admitted to the hospital have the COVID pneumonia that we talk about, so they need oxygen for their lungs because they have pneumonia. That’s usually about seven, sometimes 10, maybe even 14 days after the time they develop symptoms.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (17:50)
And then once they’re admitted to the hospital, most people, especially if they come in in a timely manner, are not put on the ventilator in the emergency department, right? They’re started on two liters of oxygen, but then by two or three days later, they’re on six liters of oxygen. Then they’re on high flow, heated nasal cannula oxygen. Then they’re on a mask that’s tight on their face so that we can try to help them breathe, because the last thing we want to do is have to put them on the breathing machine. We’ve found with these other oxygen delivery methods that we can reduce the need for people to need to be on the breathing machine.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (18:22)
But from that period of time when you’re admitted, it’s about a week later on average where a patient would then need to be on the ventilator. And then that patient could be on the ventilator for another week to two weeks before unfortunately they may get so sick that they may pass away. So we are just seeing the beginnings of people being tested today or tomorrow or Saturday, seeing the beginnings of the impact of Thanksgiving now. This surge that we’re seeing is not about Thanksgiving.
Governor Mike DeWine: (18:50)
Right. Okay. That’s helpful. Thank you. We’ll be back to you if you can hang on.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (18:57)
Yes. I will.
Governor Mike DeWine: (18:58)
I appreciate it very much. Last night at 9:00, I had the privilege of being on the phone with a number of infectious disease doctors, and the time 9:00 was picked because they’re so busy that was the only time they could all get together. I mean, they’re out there literally every single day doing just amazing work. I asked one of the doctors, it was a great conversation, very helpful, very factual, very helpful to me to understand exactly what they are seeing, and I’ve asked one of the doctors to be here today.
Governor Mike DeWine: (19:32)
Dr. Nora Colburn was with us last night on the phone. Dr. Colburn is the Associate Medical Director for Clinical Epidemiology at the Ohio state University Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Colburn, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it very, very much, and I wonder if you could just share with us what you’ve been seeing, what your experiences are. You sent me an email late last night, and I read it this morning, and I thought it was a great summary of what you all had told us last night. So you can just kind of share what you’re seeing.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (20:12)
I’d be happy to. Thank you again for taking the time to talk with and listen to the infectious disease doctors across Ohio last night. We really appreciate everything you have done during this pandemic and the support you’ve shown healthcare workers.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (20:26)
Quite simply, we’re in crisis. Hospitals across the state are running out of beds, as Dr. Thomas has outlined. Our nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, and other staff are burned out and stretched thin, as hospitals try to increase their numbers of beds, as the virus just spreads rampantly through our community. Right now, our hospitals are being stressed to the extreme, and we haven’t even seen the fallout from infections that occurred over Thanksgiving, as Dr. Thomas outlined. So people who were exposed last week are being diagnosed this week, and will need the hospital in the next one to two weeks. We will be overwhelmed by this increase in patients if things don’t change.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (21:05)
Dr. Thomas did a great job of explaining that hospitals around the state are having to delay non-emergent surgeries and procedures, and this is going to have impact and fallout to our routine health care. People need health care. They need to have their diagnostic screening procedures. They need to have their surgeries for their arthritis. This is not good to delay health care like this, but quite simply, the beds are filling up, and especially the ICU beds. As the ICU beds are filled with COVID patients across the state, this will impact the care of our sickest non-COVID patients. It means that we won’t have the space left to safely care for those critically ill patients with illnesses, such as strokes, heart attacks, and trauma from car accidents. The bottom line is, non-COVID. Patients are being crowded out of the system and will not be able to get the health care they need to stay healthy because the hospitals, doctors, and nurses are being overwhelmed with patients with COVID.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (21:59)
Coronavirus is running rampant in our state right now. The curve of cases has been going straight up.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (22:03)
… is running rampant in our state right now. The curve of cases has been going straight up for weeks. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus right now. I would urge everybody, every time you were with another person and do not wear a mask, you’re risking spreading COVID not just to you, but to your loved ones. It’s simply unsafe to be around anyone outside of your household without wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. So these are some things that all of us need to do every day. And this list was broad consensus of all the infectious disease doctors that gathered last night to talk about this. We need to stay at home except for essential errands like getting food, medications or visiting the doctor. Wear a mask every single time you are out in public around others. This includes indoor and outdoor settings.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (22:49)
Work from home if you’re able to do so. Do not eat or drink with anyone outside of your household. Do not attend gatherings in private homes with people who are not inside of your household. Do not participate in holiday gatherings with people outside of your household. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. So we must slow the spread of this virus. We’ve done it before. It’s not easy, but we can, and we must do it again. And everybody has their part to stop the spread of this virus right now. So governor, once again, on behalf of our nurses, respiratory therapists doctors, and other healthcare providers, thank you for what you’re doing to protect us and to protect the citizens of our state.
Governor Mike DeWine: (23:27)
Well, doctor, thank you for that very concise summary. Appreciate that very, very much. We appreciate what you do and everyone else in the health care community who’s dealing with this every single day. I want to ask you one last question. You went through the list and you talked about the things to do. And you talked about if someone is not inside your household, literally, you don’t need to wear a mask if you’re with them. Our health department commissioners all over the state who I talk to every Monday morning, tell me they think that’s the toughest thing. That people, when they’re with friends, they let down their guard. They think if I go out to the store, I’ll put a mask on because I’m going to see strangers. But if I’m with somebody close to me, that’s probably okay. And the message there again is what?
Dr. Nora Colburn: (24:39)
So I think a lot of people think they’re being safe, but in reality, their social circle is much bigger and more dangerous than it really should be. So if you are interacting with people without your mask on, if you’re interacting with three other households, that’s actually quite a bit. And when you kind of put all of those contacts and those bubbles together, it actually up being quite large. And it’s very easy for the friend of your friend to get COVID then to very easily give it to you. So a good rule of thumb is, put the mask on when you’re with anybody outside of your household.
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:13)
Doctor, thank you. We appreciate it. Thanks for coming on.
Dr. Nora Colburn: (25:16)
Governor Mike DeWine: (25:17)
Appreciate it very, very much. I want to go now to a map we put out every Wednesday, we put out yesterday and that is the travel advisory. And this is the map that we put up and something different has happened this week. If you remember, we warned people about any state that’s above 15% positivity. Now we are one of those states that we’ve been warning people about. So Ohio is now at 15% positivity and that number has been going up. Just continues to go up. Our travel advisory says this from yesterday. It was what was posted. This is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15%. The state has seen record levels of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in the past week and all Ohioans can help to limit the spread and impact of this virus.
Governor Mike DeWine: (26:17)
This includes recommendations to stay at home except for necessary trips for supplies, consistent mask wearing when around others and frequent hand washing. So this includes stay at home except for necessary trips for supplies, consistent mask wearing when around others and frequent hand washing. Together we can help stop the spread of COVID-19. That’s what we posted yesterday and I think that’s pretty much exactly what Dr. Colburn had to say. As you can see from this map, really for the first time, if you look at our neighboring states with the exception of Pennsylvania, our neighboring states, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, all are doing better than we are as far as the positivity number. And ours continues to go up.
Governor Mike DeWine: (27:12)
I want to bring on now, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health. He’s with us today. We’ll talk a little bit about Ohio’s positivity rate and kind of maybe explain the significance of the positivity rate. Because I think, doctor, that’s one of the things that I had no idea before we went into this pandemic, what in the world that even meant. And I suspect we have people who kind of are wondering what really does that mean and what’s the significance.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (27:40)
Thank you, governor. Well, you’re absolutely right. Our moving, for the first time since April, to a positivity rate above 15% is really bad news. Rates between 10 to 15% have been described by some people as the equivalent of being in the midst of a very bad thunderstorm and rising about 15% is being in a tornado. Ohio is in a tornado. Not surprisingly, that tornado is associated with some of the numbers you’ve shared and that my colleagues have highlighted. We’ve got record numbers of cases, of deaths, of hospitalizations. And the rising hospitalizations, as they both referenced, should really worry every Ohioan. It means that our doctors and nurses are facing very difficult questions. Questions like, are there enough beds left at your hospital or will you have to move to another hospital, perhaps even another community? How long will your surgery have to wait as Dr. Colburn referenced.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (28:48)
Now, governor, I don’t think this should cause Ohioans to despair, but it’s a wake-up call and it should be a call to action. Lots of medical research and our own experience as Ohioans reminds us that we really can work together to limit the spread and impact of this virus. And again, as Dr. Colburn said, “We’ve done it before.” Remember, this virus spreads from me to you when we’re near each other. For a little while, we need to stay apart. And that really means that we have to stay at home, except when it’s necessary for trips for supplies, or going to work. And when we must go out, I want to underline what Dr. Colburn said, we have to wear a mask every time, all the time. Together, governor, I know we can slow this thing down until the amazing vaccines that are headed our way pull us out, but we’ve got a lot of work to accomplish together.
Governor Mike DeWine: (30:00)
Doctor, thank you. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate the work you do every single day. Eric, let’s go to our color map. This is Thursday. This is the day we show the color map. As we look at today’s advisory system update, we have five new purple counties; Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Lake, Lorain, and Montgomery remains purple. There are also three new counties on the watch list. They’re back high again, Fairfield and Madison counties. I’ve asked Dr. Andy Thomas to come back on in a moment to walk us through the situation in regard to Franklin County. As you see, Franklin is no longer purple. But before we do that, I want to talk just a little bit about this system and really what it means. Five months ago when developed this system, it was intended to serve as an early warning system. To let Ohioans know when to take increased precautions at a county level.
Governor Mike DeWine: (31:04)
So it was a warning. The alert system really is an early warning indicator, like maybe looking at a weather forecast for what the weather is going to be tomorrow or in a couple of days. That’s why it includes whether or not cases during the past two weeks are at a certain level or hospital use is at a certain level. But it also includes indicators of increasing trends and new cases. The trend lines. What’s the trend in cases? What’s the trend in outpatient visits, emergency visits, new hospital admission? All those are trending. This is all very helpful information to tell us the storm might be coming. However, today we are in a storm. And so quite candidly, this map has less value for us. Still, we’re going to put it up. Still it’s going to be there. You’re going to see what’s what’s happening. It is what it is, but it does not have as much relevance as it did when we started.
Governor Mike DeWine: (32:06)
What has the relevance is really when you look at where are we in regard to hospital utilization, which we just talked about and are our hospital’s filling up, particularly in regard to ICU. And that tells us what’s the danger to our hospitals and therefore to all of us if we have to use a hospital. That is one key thing to look at. The other key thing is our chart that we had up here a moment ago, 1 to 88, which simply shows what is the spread in your county. What’s the spread in your zip code in the last two weeks? And that tells you what the odds are, quite candidly, of on the street or in a building or somewhere else, running into somebody or talking with someone or having a beer with someone or whatever who has COVID. And that is a great indicator of that. So those are really the most important two things that we have going.
Governor Mike DeWine: (33:09)
Dr. Thomas, you want to tell us a little bit about… because I know we get a lot of questions about Franklin County because it has gone and the good news is, it’s gone from purple to red and maybe you can just tell us what that means and maybe what it doesn’t mean.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (33:23)
Sure. Thank you, governor. So as we’ve described this color coded map in the past, we’ve talked that some of the indicators or leading indicators. They look at rises or increases in the metric over time, over the last two to three weeks. Some of them are a measurement of the current state of the outbreak and then some of them are lagging indicators, especially the hospitalizations and the ICU flag. Those are ones as we just described the timeline of when you get this disease versus when you get into the hospital or the ICU, they lag behind the incidence in cases. Well, what I think we’re seeing with going from purple back to red is some of those indicators that talk about the increase being the thing that triggers the metric. It’s not that they’re at low rates, especially the case number and the ED visit metric. When you’re looking at ED visits, where people are describing COVID like symptoms or viral like symptoms. It’s not like that’s now what a low rate, it’s at a high rate.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (34:26)
It’s just not a sustained increased rate at this time. So this does not mean by any means that Franklin County is out of the woods. We still have a rate of cases in the past two weeks in our county which is six times higher than the definition of high incidents of infections per 100,000 people by the CDC. That is not good. We are not on our way down yet. We are still very high. Now, there are some changes that went on with testing last weekend because of the holiday where some of our case numbers per day look a little down over the last couple of days, but I think that’s more a feature of a number of the testing sites were closed over Thanksgiving. As I mentioned in my remarks earlier, I think we’re just now today, tomorrow, and through the weekend going to start seeing the impact of Thanksgiving and that spread.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (35:19)
So governor, I share your happiness of any positive note. Going from purple to red is better than the alternative. However, it is still red. And I think that key metric, that first metric of cases per 100,000 people being six times higher than the definition of high incidents by the CDC is still very concerning to my colleagues. We were just talking about this, this morning on a phone call. That we’re still very, very concerned moving forward. Even though a couple of the metrics look better, that lagging metric of ICU capacity and ICU utilization has flagged this week and that’s a huge concern to all of us.
Governor Mike DeWine: (36:06)
Okay. Dr. Thomas, thank you for, again, doing this. We’ve urged people for a long time to wear a mask. But just a little caution. We are all in this together. There are members of our state, citizens who for a medical reason might not be able to wear a mask. And so I think it’s important that we remind everybody that there are times when you may see someone in a store who has a very good reason for not wearing a mask. May not be a huge of people, but I think we should treat them with respect and love and not assume that they’re just not wearing a mask just because they don’t want to wear a mask. So I think as we go through this, we are all in this together, we’re trying to get through it all together. Each person has different medical situation. And so I just think that it’s important for all of us to remember that. Let me go to the Lieutenant governor.
Lt. Gov Jon: (37:23)
Thanks governor. As we were working through many of our calls this morning, it occurred to me that throughout the virus, we have been talking about doing two things at once. We’re now in the process of trying to do three things at once. We’re trying to slow the spread of the virus so that it doesn’t overwhelm our hospital workers and system. We’re preparing for the vaccine phase, which we’re very hopeful about. And the team is working on building the strategy and the logistics plan for doing that. But we’re also focused on the recovery phase of this from an economic and educational point of view. A little bit of good news. We always worry about what’s happening to people with the jobs and the workforce. And last week we had some good news that first time unemployment claims were down and continued unemployment claims were also down. But we know many people are still out of work. That through technology and because of the virus and how it affects certain kinds of industries, some people have been hit hard and their jobs may not come back for a while.
Lt. Gov Jon: (38:34)
And I want to just remind people of the resources that are out there. OhioMeansJobs, right now, there are 170,000 jobs available. 89,000 of them pay $50,000 a year or more. But the challenge is many of those require some kind of certification or skill that we want to encourage people to take advantage of the resources, to go out there and get that. Because we’re concerned that people are not enrolling right now in these educational programs, which means that as the jobs come back, that many people are not going to be prepared for this. We have a program called TechCred. You can find out more information at techcred.ohio.gov. Lot of good information in there about the kinds of in demand certifications that employers are going to be hiring. The things that jumped out to me on this were Microsoft Office certification, data analytics certification, welding inspection certification, manufacturing technology certifications.
Lt. Gov Jon: (39:43)
These things, you can get many of them online where you don’t have to go somewhere. These are available for you through these varying resources. We had another round of TechCred awards to employers. We’re now at over 15, 000 technology focused credentials that we’ve awarded to businesses to up-skill their employees. But through the resources at OhioMeansJobs, through the techcred.ohio.gov resources, you can get a feel for what skills are in demand. You can earn these credentials in a very short period of time where you can make sure that you are prepared for hiring in a new industry. And we encourage people to take advantage of that. So much disruption going on in the marketplace. We can’t fall behind economically and educationally during this period. We’ve got to gear people up. We’ve got a gear businesses up. Businesses are resilient. People are resilient. We’re trying to provide those resources for them to make sure that they’re prepared on the education and economic recovery side. Governor, back to you.
Governor Mike DeWine: (40:51)
Great. Thank you very much. I think we’re ready for questions.
Speaker 1: (40:55)
Governor, first question today is from Jo Ingles at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Jo Ingles: (41:00)
Governor Mike DeWine: (41:01)
Jo Ingles: (41:02)
I have a question here. Many Ohioans have exhausted or are near the point of exhausting their unemployment benefits. And they’re getting desperate because they cannot work right now. There was some talk about CARES Act funds being set aside with the uncertainty of Congress to pass another stimulus bill. Are there funds now available to help people who are coming to the end of their eligibility for employment?
Governor Mike DeWine: (41:32)
Well, we desperately need a bill out of Congress. And I’ll take this opportunity to appeal to Congress to do this. This is very, very important. I know there’s a bipartisan bill that’s been proposed. It looked like both our senators were favorable towards it or inclined towards it. I don’t speak for them, but it’s what I read in the paper. And I know from talking to both of them in the past, they both believe that we need a bill. So I’m hopeful, still remain hopeful that this Congress and lame-duck session will pass a bill. What Congress did before, in the spring, was phenomenally successful. It kept businesses open, kept many small businesses from going out of business, kept a lot of people working. Enabled them to pay their rent, enabled them to buy their groceries. We need something like that again.
Governor Mike DeWine: (42:40)
And we could go on and on, Jo, with all the different things that are needed, but you certainly have touched upon something that’s very, very significant. So I’m hopeful that we’ll get a bill passed. As far as what we can do, we don’t know whether we can roll this money over that we have beyond December 31st because the current law says for most of these dollars, we can’t roll them over. Second, we don’t know what, if anything, additional is coming. So we need the legislation. I would really appeal to Congress, to members of Congress to do this. I know members of both sides of the aisle are trying to get it done. We just need to get it done.
Lt. Gov Jon: (43:24)
Governor, if I could also add to that. That we put the additional $300 that was made available into the fund that obviously ran out from federal resources. But the PPP program that helps small businesses, look, restaurants and people in the hospitality industry are desperately in need of having access to another round of funding in those areas, especially, to get them through this very difficult time we’re going to face in the coming weeks and months. And their employees need it too. Their employees need to continue to unemployment because many of them are-
Lt. Gov Jon: (44:02)
… just need to continue in unemployment, because many of them are skilled and rely on a sector of the economy that’s just not going to come back until the vaccine is distributed and we get through this. So this is going to be a months long endeavor for many in those industries and they need the support.
Governor Mike DeWine: (44:18)
Yeah, look, this goes back to the bridge we’re talking about has to be built. It has to be built for us, keep this virus down, and we need help. We need help from Congress, because there are many sectors, many people, many businesses, many employees who are not doing very well. And they’re not doing very well as this virus continues to spike up and people pull back more. And this is a natural thing that’s happening. They need help. So we hope congress will get us a bill.
Speaker 2: (44:51)
Next question is from Geoff Redick, at WSYX in Columbus.
Governor Mike DeWine: (44:55)
Geoff Redick: (44:57)
Hi, governor, good afternoon. We saw over the weekend for the first time, I think in Ohio, where the state provided a refrigerated truck in Stark County to help a morgue handle an overflow of bodies there. Is this a new stage, is there a threat of those anywhere else? And what does this represent as far as a next level of preparation, or help that the state needs to provide to counties?
Governor Mike DeWine: (45:25)
Well, I think it’s a stark, gut-wrenching reminder of what’s at stake. And we have seen these pictures in other states. We have not until this moment seen them in Ohio. We’re starting to see them in Ohio. The message when you listened to Dr. Colburn, Thomas, Vanderhoff, today is a pretty simple message. Stay home, go to work, go to school, but really try to minimize contacts with others.
Governor Mike DeWine: (46:04)
And in regard to wearing a mask, take nothing for granted. Once you’re outside your own home and the people who live in your home, you should assume that other people could be carrying it and you’re intermixing with them. So the message is a blunt message. The people of Ohio from three doctors who were here and all the infectious disease doctors that I talked to, I don’t know how many were on the phone last night, 20,30 of them. And the message was all the same. People need to stay home. They need to be careful. They need to wear a mask. We’ve got to do this.
Governor Mike DeWine: (46:42)
And when you see refrigerator trucks and things like that for bodies, that’s a pretty good kick in the teeth for us to understand that this is the reality and this is what we’re facing, and we can change it. We can change the outcome.
Speaker 2: (47:04)
Next question is from Justin Dennis and mahoningmatters.com.
Justin Dennis: (47:09)
Hi governor, good afternoon. Thanks for speaking with us. We’d like to see if there’s an update on additional hospital space that has been coordinated by the Ohio National Guard earlier this year, to find out if any of these centers have been activated. And we’re trying to get a sense of what happens when these regional hospitals hit capacity. Could you maybe break down some of the next logistical steps?
Governor Mike DeWine: (47:32)
Sure. Yeah, let me go back to Dr. Thomas, or Dr. Vanderhoff, either one Dr. Thomas, you want to take that? I think you’re still up.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (47:39)
I am here, sir. I can speak best to what the plans are in zone two. There are similar plans in zone one and zone three, but in zone two, our plan back in the spring, and it would still be our plan if we need what’s called an alternate care site, would be to use the Greater Columbus Convention Center. As many of you remember, Dr. Vanderhoff, myself and Dr. Kreatsoulas from Mount Carmel, our teams put together essentially three side-by-side hospital operations that could have opened up at that center. We did not need it, but the plans are still active and in place. We have a group that meets weekly talking about what we would need to do if we needed to open, what triggers there would be to need to get to open.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (48:27)
At this point, we think there is still additional capacity in our hospitals before we would need to move to an alternate care site. However, the next steps as we were just describing, are we stop doing non-COVID things at our routine care sites first. We need to get further along that continuum before we’d be able to justify, frankly, moving to a convention center where we would have COVID patients. We think there is still capacity, but it’s the decisions to open up that capacity onsite, get more and more complex as hospitals need to look at more and more routine care that they’re going to need to postpone.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (49:11)
However, at some point they will fill up all of their on-site capacity and that plan would be there. In a seven to 14 day period, we would be able to open the Greater Columbus Convention Center. But the big struggle that we would have at that point is where would the staff come to work there? You would see widespread across our region, outpatient doctor’s office is needing to close, because we would need to take those providers, those doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses, and move them into working at a site like that. We would have to postpone a lot more than what we’re postponing now to get there. So we’re all hoping against hope we don’t need that. It’s certainly a worst case scenario. However, we are prepared if indeed it comes to that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (49:56)
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (49:59)
Governor the one thing I would add is that the best option for our communities and our hospitals is always to do everything we can to maximize the ability to care for patients in our existing hospitals. There’s very complex infrastructure and capabilities that are resident there, that simply cannot be reproduced at another site. So just as Dr. Thomas said, our hospitals, thankfully, are working very closely together to exhaust every ability to provide the care that we need to provide within our hospitals. It’s unfortunately necessitating some very difficult decisions about other aspects of patient care.
Governor Mike DeWine: (50:42)
Thank you, doctor.
Speaker 2: (50:43)
Next question is from Jackie Borchardt at the Cincinnati Inquirer.
Governor Mike DeWine: (50:47)
Jackie Borchardt: (50:48)
Hi, good afternoon. Will the Ohio Department of Health adopt the CDC guidelines for shorter quarantine periods for people who’ve been exposed?
Governor Mike DeWine: (50:58)
Yeah, we’re certainly looking at that, and I’ll refer to Dr. Vanderhoff and let him comment on that. He and I have been talking about that and I’ve asked him to take a look at that.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (51:11)
Yes. Thank you, governor. That’s absolutely correct. As you know, those guidelines were just released within the past couple of days. We’re taking a very active look. And we’re doing that in partnership with epidemiologists, infectious disease doctors, and we’ll be making the determination about that very soon.
Speaker 2: (51:33)
Next question is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.
Alex Ebert: (51:36)
Good afternoon, governor. Kentucky is going to receive about 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and December 15th. They’re also going to get about 70,000 of the Moderna doses a couple of weeks thereafter. The most recent figures I’ve seen from you is that Ohio expects to receive about 30,000 doses from Pfizer around December 15. Can you provide an updated number of doses you expect to receive, and also how the state is going to go about distributing that smaller than adequate number to the people that it prioritizes first. Thank you.
Governor Mike DeWine: (52:15)
Sure. Sure. And I’ll get into this in more detail tomorrow, because I’m going to have some chart. I’m going to lay this out a little bit. But the quick answer is these numbers are filling in as we talk. Yesterday from one part of the day, until the other part of the day, we were getting more indication of what the numbers would be in the out weeks. What Pfizer would be in the second week and the third week, we didn’t have those before. And we’re trying to confirm those today and we hope we have something fairly solid for you tomorrow.
Governor Mike DeWine: (52:51)
Now, what they’ve made very clear to us is you’re not going to know those numbers until that week. And you’re going to be told on a certain date, “There’s the numbers. Here’s they’re coming.” And you go from there. But we have been told that the first week, for example, Pfizer, is a little more than 98,000. And that’s what we think is coming. But we’ll try to lay that out for you tomorrow. Both Moderna, Moderna starts the next week, and this is what the schedule is. And we’ll plan on going from there.
Speaker 2: (53:30)
Next question is from Trevor Peters, at WXIX in Cincinnati.
Trevor Peters: (53:36)
Hi, governor. After your tour of the RSS vaccine site and learning how sensitive the Pfizer vaccine is, how concerned are you that some of these limited doses that Ohio is going to get may go bad and may be unusable, simply because of human error. And how will the state track and report when a dose you have been given is unusable?
Governor Mike DeWine: (53:59)
I didn’t catch the last part. Say the last part again. I’m sorry.
Trevor Peters: (54:03)
How will the state track and report when a dose you have been given is unusable?
Governor Mike DeWine: (54:09)
Oh, well, we certainly can report that, and will report that if that occurs. That’s not what we want to happen, obviously. Things can happen, but I talk with my team a lot about this. And these are precious and we want to use them. We want to use them quickly, but we also want to use them correctly. And so while vaccinations are done every year, flu vaccinations at a fairly high volume, I think I can say that there’s been nothing like this in this country for many, many years, at least. So this is something that is new. The federal government has designated, for example, in regard to nursing homes, that the partners will be Walgreens and CVS.
Governor Mike DeWine: (55:05)
I was on the phone yesterday with both of them, with Walgreen a couple of times and CVS, we had good calls with them. So they’re going to take the nursing homes, congregate care settings, and they will be the ones that will be responsible with that with them. But we will be working with them obviously every day and designate and telling them where these are supposed to go. So it is a huge logistical operation made particularly more challenging by the necessity, as you saw in that little clip that Eric filmed the other day. Much more difficult, just because of the importance of keeping it super, super cold. But we’re going to report the best we can, that’s the goal, shots in arms every day. Look, we’ll be transparent. If there’s something that happens, we’ll certainly report that if it’s bad news. But that’s not our goal. Our goal is to get this done as efficiently as we can, and as safely as we can.
Speaker 2: (56:24)
New question is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH in Columbus.
Adrienne Robbins: (56:28)
Hi, governor. We’ve been talking a lot about how to keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, but at this point, Thanksgiving infections are in the past and we’re just waiting to see how big of a surge that will be. How do you plan to respond if the surge is as bad as these doctors have warned it could be. And we’re a couple of weeks into the curfew. Are you hopeful with the results you’ve seen so far?
Governor Mike DeWine: (56:55)
Well, we’re seeing a couple of promising things, things that have helped, but frankly have not helped enough. The curfew, the enforcement of the mask wearing, those two things. I think also Ohioans, just seeing what’s going on, having a better understanding of the gravity of this. I think all those things have come together to make it better than it would have been, but we’re not seeing it start to go down. We’re not even seeing it plateaued yet. The best way I could describe it is, the rate of increase seems to be not quite as steep. And so we think that those things have helped, but they’ve not done what needs to be done. So we’re going to have to continue to look at other things to do.
Governor Mike DeWine: (57:57)
I think the message today should be very clear from myself, from doctors, everyone who I talked to on the phone last night, the infectious disease doctors, and the message was simply very, very clear. If you’re outside your household and talking to someone, close to someone, you need to be wearing a mask. And when we think of our bubble, what these experts have told me time and time again is when we think of our bubble, we think it’s really small, but really it’s a lot bigger than in our mind we think it is, because we’re including people outside of our house. And if we’re including anybody outside of our house, whether they’re our mother, father, sister, brother, whoever they are, you need to be wearing a mask.
Governor Mike DeWine: (58:52)
So this message is loud and clear. And if we want to keep our kids in school, if we want to keep our hospitals from being overrun, these are the things that we have to do. And so I think Ohioans are more focused. Look, we’re seeing mask compliance in retail establishments up dramatically in rural areas. So there’s some good things going on. And we did this twice before, we can do it again. This is tougher, because the spread is more widespread and it’s tougher, but we can do this.
Speaker 2: (59:30)
Next question is from Laura Hancock at Cleveland.com.
Governor Mike DeWine: (59:35)
Laura Hancock: (59:37)
Hello. Hi, I am… Sorry, I was doing something. Restaurant owners continue to ask for help. You have said that you would like to see more money come from Congress. Cleveland is considering limiting how much food delivery services can charge restaurants. So what are things that the state can do at the state level, but doesn’t require Congress to help this industry survive?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:05)
I’m sorry. I missed what you said Cleveland was doing. What were they doing?
Laura Hancock: (01:00:10)
Cleveland is considering legislation to limit how much food delivery services can charge restaurants for taking its food to customers. So we’re just wondering, what can the state do that doesn’t require relying on Congress?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:00:26)
We’re looking at those things every single day. We did something several weeks ago, as you know. And that money is going to be arriving. And that is the $5 billion more pumped into our small businesses from worker’s compensation. It’s about total now of about 8 billion since the pandemic began. We’ve taken as much money out of there as we think as we can, and that’s $8 billion, that’s a lot of money. We’ve taken other CARES Act dollars and done things to help small businesses. We’ve helped individuals, other things, rent, other things. So we’re going to constantly examine what we can do.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:01:17)
The CARES Act dollars, once we see what Congress is going to do, then we can make other decisions, because we have to have enough CARES Act dollars to do the testing and to help different entities do testing. So, as soon as we see what Congress does, we’ll be in a better position, I think, to make some of these dollars and cents decisions, where we can try maybe to get some more additional funds out there.
Lt. Gov Jon: (01:01:46)
Governor, let me just add that we offer $2,500 for restaurants and bars that have on-premises liquor permits. 7,900 of those restaurants and bars have taken us up on that rebate, more than 15,000 still have not. So is Laura, you could help us get that out there, that businesshelp.ohio.gov is the place that those restaurant owners can apply for the $2,500 rebate.
Lt. Gov Jon: (01:02:19)
And also, I do weekly calls with the Ohio Restaurant Association. I have one today after this discussion. They sent a letter to Congress yesterday asking for an additional round of PPP funding. They want to ensure that restaurants can deduct business expenses from PPP loans, provide a tax credit for investments to enhance safety for customers and employees and expand the employee retention tax credit. Those are just the list of the top four things that the Ohio Restaurant Association has asked for at the federal level.
Lt. Gov Jon: (01:02:56)
We are limited in the access to resources that we have at the state level. We’ve put a lot of money out there that we have available. There’s a round of BWC funding, about $5 billion that the governor authorized about a month ago. The checks are going to start coming, landing, to be deposited for those businesses in the coming days. So we’re hopeful that that money is going to hit at the right time, help them get through this. But there is no doubt that they need additional help during this period, because anybody that’s in the hospitality or entertainment industry, by the very nature of what they do that requires people to come together, which is the exact opposite thing that we need to have happen to defeat the virus during this period. And so we really hope that we can get action from the federal government to help these types of businesses through this difficult time. I cannot emphasize how important that action is.
Speaker 2: (01:03:57)
Next question is from Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:04:01)
Randy Ludlow: (01:04:12)
Pardon me. I had trouble unmuting there until authorized by Mr. Tierney. Good afternoon, governor. Regarding the approach of vaccines, will Ohio acquire vaccinations of, for example, healthcare workers, first responders and nursing home workers? Will that be required, and how would that be enforced? Or are you leaving it up to the institutions?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:04:39)
Well, we’re not going to require that. I think that it’s important. This is a question of public confidence. And I think that if you’ve listened to people like Dr. Fauci and others, I think it’s important to everyone to listen to them, as they describe the process that has gone through. One of the infectious disease doctors last night, I’m not a doctor, but any of our doctors jump on here about this, the question of the safety of the vaccine is obviously very, very important. I have been assured by every doctor I’ve talked to who’s following this and who understands it, is that every single step that is supposed to be taken is in fact being taken. Bruce, I don’t know if you have anything on that, or you Andy, either one of you.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:05:46)
Yeah. I’d be happy to start it off, governor. The governor is absolutely correct. The approach that has been taken in the development of these vaccines has been unprecedented in its speed, but that has not been at the sacrifice of safety.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:06:03)
… that has not been at the sacrifice of safety. In fact, one of the leading experts in vaccinations in the country, Dr. Paul Offit, has pointed out that the really serious side effects from vaccines are usually evident within about six to eight weeks of the administration of vaccine. And these vaccines have shown an incredible safety profile.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:06:28)
So now I think it’s really incumbent upon physician leaders, like me and Dr. Thomas, to be able to reach out to the medical community, to nurses, to people working in our healthcare institutions, to share that message and to have them join us as ambassadors for the safety of these vaccines, which are already clearly proving themselves to be very effective in the trials.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (01:07:00)
The only thing I would add to Bruce’s comment is at this point, in terms of the question that was asked, given the supply of the vaccine, just from a practical perspective, there’s not near enough to have everyone be vaccinated. So any sort of requirements are not really on the radar screen right now. I think our goal right now is to get the vaccine into as many arms as possible of willing participants.
Dr. Andy Thomas: (01:07:24)
Now, that being said, we’ve been doing vaccine trials here at Ohio State. I think many of us have been keeping track nationally and internationally on how these vaccines have worked. And certainly like most vaccines, you can get a little bit of pain at the injection site. Some people get some aches and pains for a day after they’re vaccinated or two days. Some people might even get a low grade fever. But the number of, beyond what you would call a mild symptom from having gotten the vaccination, there are very, very few more serious side effects from the vaccine. And I think with a proper education, with proper perspective and understanding, the validation that’s happened for these vaccines, I think a very high percentage of people will voluntarily, at least in terms of health care providers that are on the front lines, are going to voluntarily want this. And I think that once it’s proven that those individuals who have gotten it and have done well, I think as this gets forward to the general community, I think adoption will be high with that appropriate education and understanding of the process.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:27)
Speaker 3: (01:08:29)
Next question is from Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.
Jim Otte: (01:08:34)
Governor, a point of clarification. I want to go back a couple of minutes. You mentioned the number 98,000. Are we talking about 98,000 doses since the Pfizer is a two-step? Would that be then 49,000 people would be vaccinated? Or is it something else? Could you clarify?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:08:50)
Sure. My understanding is the way this is going to work, obviously you’re always going to have to have a second dose. So it’s going to have to be there. You have to be assured that it is in the system somewhere. But what we would plan on doing is those 98,000 plus would go out just as quickly as safely as we can get them out. We’ll get them out to them safely and we’ll get them out as quickly as we can.
Speaker 3: (01:09:23)
Next question is from Scott Halasz at the Xenia Daily Gazette.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:27)
Scott Halasz: (01:09:29)
Good afternoon, Governor. How are you?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:09:31)
Scott Halasz: (01:09:32)
Good. A non-COVID related question, if that’s okay. There are a couple of reports out there that Congressman Mike Turner was not picked as the armed services ranking GOP member, which is kind of an influential position with regards to legislation concerning national security. With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base being here in Greene County and one of the more important air force bases, any comments or any thoughts on that? He’s been a big advocate for the base.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:10:03)
Well, look, Congress, they make their own decisions. Party members make their own decisions. But I’m disappointed. It would have been a great asset. Mike Turner understands the base. He’s a great advocate for the base. We would’ve loved to have had him in that position. I hope some day he is, but apparently it’s not going to be this time. So we’re disappointed, but glad to have him there. And the rest of the delegation there fighting for Ohio.
Speaker 3: (01:10:35)
Next question is from Brittany Bailey at WBNS in Columbus.
Brittany Bailey: (01:10:42)
Good afternoon, Governor. I hope you’ll also indulge me one non-COVID related question. Wanted to ask about the Strong Ohio Bill. Today marks one year since the last time anything happened with it when it was in a committee hearing. And it looks like with the legislative session ending at the end of this month, that it likely will go nowhere and fall apart. And this obviously was released to great fanfare as an answer to the Dayton mass shooting. How do you feel about the fact that it looks like this bill will not go anywhere and what’s next for [crosstalk 01:11:17]-
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:11:16)
Well, I think I paraphrase Mark Twain, I think the report of its demise is a little premature. We are having good conversations about a lot of things with the Speaker and the Senate President, other leaders. This is certainly still on my high list of items and we’re going to continue to talk about a lot of different things. My experience has been that some amazing things can happen in a lame duck session. So we’ll see. [crosstalk 01:12:00]
Lt. Gov Jon: (01:12:00)
Governor, if I could add to that, there has been action that the administration has been taking during this period is that we are building the technology platform for the streamlining of the background check system so that we don’t have holes in that, so that people who are not allowed to legally own a gun slip through. We are building the technology platform to do that, and that will be ready next year. We do need the legislature’s help to authorize to the require that people enter it into the system. But pieces of this are moving forward in a way that is helpful at making sure nobody slips through the cracks as they can in our current system.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:12:48)
Outstanding warrant for a serious offense needs to be in the state database, needs to be in the national database. And we need to require that for the most serious crimes. You shouldn’t be able to go across the county line and be home free and you shouldn’t be able to go across Indiana line or Kentucky or Michigan line and be free. There’s a lot in this bill. That’s one thing John just mentioned we’re preparing for, we’re getting ready, but we need that requirement. And it will save lives. I don’t think anyone wants to see these criminals running loose. So again, this is a process and we’re staying focused on it.
Speaker 3: (01:13:35)
Next question is from James Pilcher at WKRC in Cincinnati.
James Pilcher: (01:13:41)
Good afternoon, Governor. Thanks for taking my question. I remember asking you about this over the summer before the CDC issued its a moratorium on evictions, but that is set to expire on January 1st. Have you been looking at a statewide ban on evictions or help for either renters or landlords to avoid possibly putting people out on the street in the midst of a pandemic?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:14:11)
Yeah. I mean, we were able to get, working with the state legislature, taking some of the Cares Act dollars to assist in that. I understand it doesn’t completely solve the problem. These are ongoing problems that we have. So we’re certainly are looking at all kinds of things again.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:14:29)
We need a bill out of Congress. We do. There’s a limit to the money that we have, particularly during the pandemic, and we can’t print money. But we’re very concerned. And if there’s ways that we can move additional money once we know what Congress is going to do, which way they’re moving on this, there’s possibilities that we would be able to do some other things. And we’re-
James Pilcher: (01:14:58)
If I could follow up on that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:15:00)
James Pilcher: (01:15:00)
Would you endorse the CDC extending that moratorium?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:15:07)
Look, I’d have to take a look at that. I don’t know. But look, this is a problem. This is a problem. And it’s something that we are in fact focused on.
Lt. Gov Jon: (01:15:18)
We’ve put some money into this through Cares Act dollars through the Development Services Agency. The challenge that we all have, and the reason we need Congress to act is that if you do a moratorium on evictions, well, there’s still somebody that has a mortgage to pay on that facility who has a default that could potentially happen with their lender, which creates a whole chain of events and series of events. So there has to be a financial solution to go along with any moratorium so that we don’t create a chain reaction in the system that that causes additional problems.
Speaker 3: (01:15:57)
Next question is from Farnoush Amiri at the Associated Press.
Farnoush Amiri: (01:16:02)
Hi, Governor. I also wanted to extend my condolences for your loss this week.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:07)
Farnoush Amiri: (01:16:08)
Separately, I wanted to ask you about Darke County. It has remained number one on the state’s list of counties with the most amount of cases per capita for a number of weeks now. And at the same time last week, as you and health officials and the CDC were begging Ohioans to rethink their Thanksgiving plans, the state lawmaker representing the county tweeted, “Do not cancel Thanksgiving. Do not cancel Christmas.” How are Ohioans supposed to know what to do when there’s such conflicting advice from their elected officials?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:16:37)
Well, I think Ohioans are independent thinkers. That’s been my experience throughout my life. They think for themselves, and I think they looking at what the facts are. I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing around the state at the local level. You’re seeing people come together. John and I have had the occasion to talk to leaders in Darke County, at the county level, local level, mayors who are doing things. And so we’re seeing one things that’s kind of a hidden story out there that, particularly in the last few weeks, we’re seeing counties come together, people come together from the business sector, from the public sector, the faith-based communities, and working together to emphasize the importance of wearing masks, emphasize the importance of washing your hands. Just trying to message we’re in this together, we got to stay safe.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:17:34)
And when that message comes locally, it has a lot more power. But I also think that Ohioans are one tweet or one post on a Facebook … Ohioans are independent thinkers. I don’t ask them to take my word for it, for what we’re saying. Listen to the doctors, listen to the facts, make your own decision. That’s what I think people do.
Speaker 3: (01:18:02)
Next question is from Judith Bird at Hannah News Service.
Judith Bird: (01:18:13)
Thank you, Governor. We understand that you’ve been in discussion with legislative leaders concerning the possible veto override of Senate bill 311. Can you share the alternatives that you’ve been discussing?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:18:35)
Well, I talk to the leaders a lot and we talk about a lot of different things. In the vast majority of things, we’ve been able to, not only been able to agree, that we want to agree and have agreed and have gotten things done. We have things we want to get done in this lame duck session. They have things that they want to get done. So I’m just going to let it go at that. I mean, I’ve said what I have to say about diminishing the health department’s powers. And I don’t think there’s any reason to go through that again right now. So we’re working on a lot of different things. Some of them have been mentioned today, others have not. And there’s a lot of the people’s business to be done. And I think people expect us, even if we disagree on some things, to find common ground on other things. And that’s what we’re trying to do and we are doing.
Speaker 3: (01:19:37)
Next question is from Tom Jackson at the Sandusky Register.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:19:42)
Tom Jackson: (01:19:44)
Hi Governor. Thanks for taking my question. My question is along the same lines as the previous one. Have you vetoed that bill yet that would restrict health orders? If you haven’t vetoed it, when is the veto coming? And are you going to be lobbying members of the legislature hard to uphold your veto?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:20:06)
Well, yes. I vetoed it this morning.
Tom Jackson: (01:20:10)
If you haven’t vetoed it, when is the veto coming-
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:20:15)
Getting a feedback there, I guess. Yeah. I’m sorry. A little technical problem there. Yes. I vetoed it this morning and we have a veto message. That will be put out today sometime if it hasn’t already been put out. Obviously my statement about it is based upon what facts medical experts have told us. And in fact, in the veto message itself, we quote some of the people that testified and some of the people who have talked about this. Again, we’re trying to rely on the facts. We’re trying to rely on what the best experts say. And that’s what we quote in the veto message.
Speaker 3: (01:21:10)
Next question is from Luis Gil at Ohio Latino Television. Next question is from Luis Gil at Ohio Latino Television.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:28)
Luis Gil: (01:21:30)
Hello, Governor. [inaudible 01:21:34] having a little technical difficulty. Can you hear me okay?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:36)
I can hear you now. I can indeed. And see you. Good.
Speaker 3: (01:21:39)
Next question is from Luis Gil at Ohio Latino Television.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:21:42)
Yeah. We’re getting an echo there. I’m not sure what’s going on.
Speaker 3: (01:21:51)
We’ll come back to Luis. Next question is from Marty Schladen at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Schladen: (01:21:54)
Good afternoon, Governor.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:22:00)
Marty Schladen: (01:22:01)
First of all, I want to thank you for putting yourself out there for our sometimes impertinent questions as often as you do. It’s not exactly what tyrants do, although on Twitter, you’re regularly accused of being a tyrant and exaggerating the threat of coronavirus to increase your hour. When I asked what power is meant by that, I get suggestions that you’re angling for higher office, like in the Biden Administration. So I want to ask just are you looking for a post in the Biden Administration and does this in any way help you politically?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:22:46)
No. No. Look, this is a once in a hundred year crisis and lives, a lot of lives, are at stake. A lot of jobs are at stake. People’s futures are at stake. And I try to get the best advice I can and I make the decisions that I think are best. So, no, I’m not, first of all, I’m not looking for another job. I wanted to be governor. This is a great job and it’s a job where you can have an impact every single day. So I’m not looking for another job. I like this job fine. And it presented some interesting challenges this year that no one had expected.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:23:40)
I was thinking last night, once you’re elected, you go to kind of a meeting with all governors, Democrats and Republicans. And one of the things that they tell you is you’re going to face a crisis. Now, I don’t know what it’s going to be. It may be on day four or may be two years into your administration, but you’re going to face some crisis. And we all said, “Okay, well, wonder what that’s going to be.” And I don’t think anyone had a clue that the crisis would be a worldwide crisis and this would be kind of a once in a hundred year crisis. And it is what it is, but no, I enjoy my job very much. And I think this is where I can make a difference.
Speaker 3: (01:24:24)
Governor, next question will be the last question. And it belongs to Dan Derose at WOIO in Cleveland.
Dan Derose: (01:24:31)
Good afternoon, Governor. And again, my condolences to you and your family. I want to go back to the vaccine just a little bit. I want to get real clarification here at 89,000 doses. Yes, that will cover roughly 45,000 Ohioans in the first week. Also, does that include, when we hear that number of 89,000, does that include the Pfizer shipments that will go directly to the 10 largest hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, UH? Does that include in that number or are they separate getting their own separate doses?
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:25:06)
Yeah, as I remember, and I don’t have the numbers in front of me, I think it’s 98,000. My understanding, I think the way we need to look at this, is that there’s another dose for each one of those back there. So we should not look at is we’re going to go put half of that in people’s arms and then hold those other ones. We’re going to go with those 98 and as quickly as we can. My understanding is that everything comes out of our dosage, but I will check that and report tomorrow. So it’s what we’re going to get, my understanding, is 98,000. But again, I will double check on that.
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:25:48)
Well, one of the things that I mentioned is we’re seeing local elected officials doing amazing, amazing things. And some of them have sent me videos. And just some of the things that they’re doing. Erie County, many counties that have answered our call created local messaging efforts. We wanted to share their ad featuring leaders who are helping spread the message. So Eric, if you could run the ad and we’ll close on that. And we will be back tomorrow at 2:00.
Speaker 4: (01:26:17)
In today’s world, information comes from many different sources.
Speaker 5: (01:26:21)
It can feel overwhelming.
Speaker 6: (01:26:22)
When we’re not sure who to trust.
Speaker 7: (01:26:24)
But there are people right here in our own community-
Speaker 4: (01:26:27)
We can turn to for guidance.
Speaker 5: (01:26:29)
This isn’t about fear.
Speaker 8: (01:26:30)
But we need to take this seriously.
Speaker 9: (01:26:32)
We need to do our part.
Speaker 10: (01:26:33)
For our community.
Speaker 6: (01:26:34)
For those of us on the frontline.
Speaker 7: (01:26:36)
For our students and for our teachers.
Speaker 5: (01:26:39)
Speaker 8: (01:26:40)
Because we see the effects of COVID-19 every day.
Speaker 4: (01:26:43)
So please, think about our grandparents.
Speaker 7: (01:26:46)
Speaker 9: (01:26:47)
Those with circumstances different from our own.
Speaker 5: (01:26:50)
This isn’t about our politics.
Speaker 8: (01:26:52)
It’s about taking care of each other.
Speaker 6: (01:26:54)
Because if we wear masks and social distance …
Speaker 11: (01:26:57)
We’ll have a better chance of putting this behind us sooner rather than later.
Speaker 7: (01:27:00)
But first, we need to be responsible.
Speaker 5: (01:27:02)
So please, practice social distancing.
Speaker 12: (01:27:06)
And wear a mask.
Speaker 8: (01:27:07)
Because it works.
Speaker 4: (01:27:08)
Speaker 13: (01:27:09)
Speaker 7: (01:27:10)
Governor Mike DeWine: (01:27:14)
Well, great work Erie County. Thank you all very, very much for that video. And we’ll see you all tomorrow at 2:00. Thank you.