Mar 31, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript March 31
Mike DeWine: (00:00)
… For getting us off to a good start today. A couple of things to start, just a reminder to everyone in regard to the physical distancing we’ve got to keep this up. Everyone’s doing great or most people are doing great across Ohio so thank you very, very much it matters a lot. It’s buying really our medical community, our hospitals, additional time to get ready and so it makes a difference, it’s keeping us safer. Just a reminder that under the order that we issued it’s an obligation of both the store that is open as well as the customers in the store to keep that social distancing. So we would remind both parties you both have an obligation to do that.
Mike DeWine: (01:00)
The management also of course has additional responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to the employees to make sure that they are in a safe environment and that they are protected. One of the requirements also is that the store maintain separate distinct hours for our most vulnerable populations and I’ve seen pictures in the paper where stores are doing that so again thank you very much. Just make sure that there’s enough hours in there so that we don’t create a big surge of people during a limited period of time when those are the most vulnerable individuals. So, if you could allow enough time in there for those folks to get in and be safe that would be great.
Mike DeWine: (01:54)
One of the great assets that we have in Ohio in regard to job creation is an entity called Jobs Ohio. This was started under the Kasich administration by the state legislature and by the governor. They have a great track record and I have asked them to really be thinking and focusing on what we need to do and where they can really be value added when this is over and we’re moving back and trying to get everybody back to work. So, I just want everybody to know there’s planning going on in that area, people are working, it’s very, very important. I’ll be announcing in the next several days our business advisory group to give me and the lieutenant governor direct advice. But this is something that we’re planning for as we continue to observe the social distancing, the physical distancing. But Jobs Ohio can play a real role and so I’ve charged the board to really focus on that. J.P. Nauseef who heads it up, Bob Smith who’s the chairman of the board I talked directly to both of them in regard to thinking of ways that they can really help our economy move forward.
Mike DeWine: (03:15)
Let me read to you something that they have done, an announcement that they’re actually making today and Bert we’re very excited about that announcement. Today Jobs Ohio is announcing it’s providing a $2 million growth fund loan to Appalachian Grove Capital or AGC. The announcement is part of Jobs Ohio’s new strategic initiative to provide more economic development funds to areas of Ohio hardest hit by the economy, those Ohioans who are the hardest hit.
Mike DeWine: (03:54)
AGC provides small business financing in the 32, the 32 Appalachian counties of eastern and Southern Ohio. It works with local and regional banks as well as secondary lenders to support business in that region of the state. The Jobs Ohio investment is a longterm low interest loan that will boost AGCs ability to provide low interest funding to businesses in the Appalachian community. This partnership comes really at a very critical time when Appalachian Grove Capital is working to help more small companies in Appalachian Ohio with financing during this very difficult time. The lending support is intended to sustain small Southeast Ohio businesses during this COVID19 outbreak and create sustainable growth for the region beyond the crisis. Let me again thank Jobs Ohio for doing this and for the other things that they’re doing to get us ready to come out of this and get people back to work. One of the things that I know you’ve heard about on the national news as well as Ohio news is the ventilators and how important the ventilators are. Dr Acton is issuing an order today that will help us keep track of where the ventilators are, how many we have. So that when the time comes if there is in fact a shortage and these have to be moved around we will have the ability to do that. Let me also say before I talk about that order that we are also working independently of this to secure more ventilators in Ohio and we will have more information about that in the coming days.
Mike DeWine: (05:42)
Today Dr Acton is issuing order that will help us gather statewide inventory of ventilators as well as other machines and devices that provide breathing assistance. The order requires weekly online reporting of these devices by any entity in the supply chain from the creation of it to its end use. Manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, transporters, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals, medical facilities, all need to report. This will allow for the identification and the redistribution of machines from health care providers who are no longer performing elective procedures. It also will help our regional hospital collaboratives by giving them information on the availability of these machines in their respective regions. Along with mechanical ventilators other devices to report are CPAP and BPAP machines commonly used to treat sleep apnea.
Mike DeWine: (06:42)
Also, there will be other machines and various treatment masks and tubing that will be needed to be reported. Exemptions are ventilators that are in your individual possession for personal use. Those are not, you do not need to report those. Or ventilators that are in transit across Ohio and they’re not destined to stay in Ohio those do not have to be reported. Inventory is to be reported online at coronavirus.ohio.gov/ventinventory. So again, that’s coronavirus, one word, .ohio. gov/ventinventory each Wednesday by 5:00 PM. So the first reporting will be tomorrow. Hospitals are also to continue to report daily ventilator data through the Ohio Hospital Association reporting tools.
Mike DeWine: (07:54)
On March 12th I directed our state agencies to begin assigning state employees to work from home to do telework. Since that time we have successfully deployed a large number of state employees, almost 18,000, to do their work remotely. This is particularly important as we continue to try to again keep the social distancing that we talk so much about. As Dr Acton and I have said social distancing must continue to be present and it’s there to protect all of us. I have directed state agencies to continue with this current practice through at least Friday, May 1st, 2020 I have also asked them to look again to see if there’s additional workers that will be able to do this from a distance and I’ve charged them with coming back to us with those additional individuals.
Mike DeWine: (09:04)
Our director of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Laurie Stephenson, has just now signed a statewide order to maintain public water service for the COVID19 crisis. Let me tell you what the order does. Number one, it prevents a water system from shutting off someone’s water service due to non payment during the declared state of emergency. Two, if someone previously had their water shut off dating back to January 1st the water system is required to reconnect. This will help us assure that as many people as possible have safe water during this state of emergency.
Mike DeWine: (09:48)
For those who are eligible to get their water reinstated they must, they have the responsibility to do this, they must call their water utility to request that reinstatement. The reconnection will happen without any fees. However, it does not excuse people from paying the bill. You’ll still need to pay your bill moving forward. When a homeowner gets their water turned back on after a period of it having been inactive they must first flush the system. The Ohio EPA will be putting out guidance on how to do this and we will get it up also on coronavirus.ohio.gov, that’s the normal place where you look for information. There will also be guidance to help minimize water quality degradation related to deteriorated stagnant water in plumbing that can lead to health risk.
Mike DeWine: (10:42)
New story out yesterday, I’d like to comment on. Ohioans continue to lead the way in rapidly responding to this pandemic/ in addition to their work on mass sterilization Battelle scientists have partnered with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and have jointly developed a new rapid sensitive diagnostic COVID19 test. We congratulate them and thank them for doing that. The new rapid test will allow for fast turnaround times on test results which will help as we keep talking about flatten that curve. Right now the system can process approximately 200 tests per day. However, when the infrastructure is fully built out over the next few days the goal is to process and have the ability to process more than a thousand tests swabs per day. The OSU Wexner Medical Center will administer the new test under its existing FDA certification permits. Since March 14th 100 OSU Wexner Medical Center researchers and clinicians have worked with Battelle researchers at night and on the weekends to stand up the lab that will support this COVID19 testing. Again, thank you for doing that.
Mike DeWine: (11:57)
We’re so very, very grateful for their very hard work and know that with this more rapid diagnostic process it makes a huge, huge difference. Healthcare providers, public health officials will be better able to identify, treat and prevent the spread of COVID19, this work will certainly save lives. And again, what you’re seeing is more and more technology is coming online. Ohio ingenuity is working and there are more things coming. John and I both have heard and Dr Acton from different companies that are trying to produce different things and we’re going to continue to see that happen. But again it is another reason why we have to slow down the spread. We’ve got to buy time not just to build the hospitals up, not just to get enough rooms in place, not just to get intensive care unit rooms up and running but also to allow this technology to come online and it’s happening and it’s going to make a huge, huge difference.
Mike DeWine: (12:59)
One of the things that we really worry about is everyone’s mental health as we go through this. We know that this is not an easy time for anybody. Our routines are changed, we’ve talked about and Frans talked about up here a few days ago about different things you can do with kids, different things that you can do to reach out long distance to grandkids. And so I know people are doing that but mental health concerns all of us. And so I’ve asked Lori Criss who heads up our department who’s the director of mental health and addiction services to talk for just a minute, a few minutes about exactly some ideas she has and some things that are going on out there. Again, keeping our mental health strong, healthy is just, is very, very important. Lori, director thank you for joining us.
Lori Criss: (14:01)
Yeah, thanks governor.
Mike DeWine: (14:03)
You look like you’re in your home, are you home?
Lori Criss: (14:06)
I am at home. Yes.
Mike DeWine: (14:09)
Thank you very much.
Lori Criss: (14:13)
Yeah it’s good to be here. And I’m here to talk today about how we can take care of our whole health, our total health. And while we’re all busy focusing on our physical health care and staying home to help support the health of all Ohioans it can be stressful for all of us. And so, after working in the recovery field for about 30 years there is a lot of wisdom and information that I’ve gleaned based on research and also on the experience of people in recovery. I rely on each day they keep a healthy balance and so I want to share that for all Ohioans to learn from this wisdom.
Lori Criss: (14:52)
The first thing that we think about is that recovery and wellness it takes a lot to be well and stay well and that includes having a safe place to live, having physical and emotional health, a sense of purpose and a connection to community. So I’ll spend a little bit of time talking about that today. Home has taken on a new meaning for all of us right now and as you talked yesterday governor not all Ohioans have a safe place to live. So the DeWine administration along with local partners and our statewide community coalitions are working really hard to make sure that every Ohio family, youth or adult who are experiencing homelessness have a safe place to live and be well and that work is continuing all day, every day.
Lori Criss: (15:47)
We also know that for others of us home is now very different, it’s our office, it’s our school, it’s our playground, it’s our movie theater. And for some of us we are spending a lot of time with our roommates, our families, maybe a little too much time and this can be stressful in different ways. And for those of us who are living alone it can be lonely and that can be stressful too. So we’ve got a lot of good things happening, things that are going well and good resources for all of us.
Lori Criss: (16:22)
For those of us who are staying home right now able to do so to make our contribution to flattening the curves some strategies that we can use are waking up at the same time every day and showering and getting dressed and starting off about our day, having meals at normal times. And really keeping a schedule for ourselves and our household, scheduling and leisure time too. And if we’re able to create a space for school or work to do that away from our other activities to give us a sense of normalcy. And if you live alone reach out to friends and family each day so that you’re able to really connect with them and not feel lonely or isolated.
Lori Criss: (17:09)
If you have a neighbor that lives alone, older adults for sure, but neighbors of any age please reach out to them as well. Leave a kind and cheerful note, offer to run an errand, just give them a call to say hello. I want to emphasize checking on friends and family and neighbors who live alone is really important right now. It can be difficult to spend that much time by themselves and so making sure that they’re okay, giving them a chance to talk about their worries, their stresses, and also giving them an opportunity to enjoy memories together or talk about things they are looking forward to. Those are helpful for all of us in decreasing the isolation that people might be feeling. And if home is hard for you right now maybe you don’t have enough food or you’re not living in a safe environment it’s important to reach out for help. There are food pantries, social service agencies that can help meet your needs and we urge you to reach out to them and take advantage of the help that’s being offered.
Lori Criss: (18:17)
Health is another essential element of staying well and being well, not just our physical health but our mental, emotional, social, financial and spiritual health too. So, stay in touch with your primary care doctor if you have chronic illnesses and medication management issues and if you have any new symptoms too. Also stay in touch with your mental health and addiction counselors if you’re already in treatment for those issues and if not reach out to them. Both physical health care doctors and mental health and addiction centers are open and you need to reach out to them and see if you can connect by telehealth or if there’s an option for you to come in person if it’s something that needs to be seen in person. Also, if you’re involved in a faith community stay connected to your faith leaders. Reach out and see ways that you can be connected to online or Facebook opportunities to gather with other members of your faith community. And go to the coronavirus.ohio.gov page so that you can learn more about resources for faith communities too. And maybe just spending time in nature can be really helpful for your spirit as well. So we know that being outside, getting fresh air, listening to the birds, seeing the signs of spring, sitting by water, these can all have calming effects and it’s a good opportunity for us to do that for ourselves each day. Even just sitting still and breathing or just clearing your mind can be really helpful for all of us in terms of our mental health.
Lori Criss: (19:58)
Living with purpose contributes to our sense of wellness and for all of us that might look a little different, it might be working or volunteering, going to school, parenting, taking care of family members or pets, and that might be different today than it was a month ago. And so, some things that we need to pay attention to in creating some balance and wellness for ourselves here are if you’re working or studying from home you might find that you’re at a relentless pace right now where you’re not having the same kind of social opportunities with your coworkers or your teachers or your classmates so build that in for yourself and set a schedule. Without that you could work from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed so really build in that social time for yourself as well. Also, if you are someone that likes to volunteer in your volunteer opportunities aren’t the same right now the state has created volunteer opportunities for the COVID19 emergency that we’re in so go to togetherohio.gov.
Director Lori Criss: (21:01)
So go to TogetherOhio.gov and you can find volunteer opportunities there. Create some time and space in your home if you have the ability to do that and that will help you create some opportunities for doing your purposeful activities in the work and school environment and then having other space in your home to enjoy your family or leisure time. And then set boundaries for yourself too. Remember to halt. If you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, you can give yourself a break and take care of your own needs as well.
Director Lori Criss: (21:40)
And thinking about community, it’s important to remember that school is community for the young people in our lives and that afterschool activities like music, sports, and clubs are really important places that the kids in our lives find community to develop mentally. Friends are of primary importance to kids, especially to teenagers. So create opportunities for your kids to connect with their friends and their classmates in new and different ways right now. Remind them that this is a temporary way to connect and that they’ll be able to see each other again in person in the future.
Director Lori Criss: (22:19)
Listen to questions that your kids have and answer them honestly. Monitor the media that they’re exposed to so that you know the kinds of messages they’re getting through social media and use trusted resources of information. Let them express their feelings and help them manage their worries and think about ways that they have opportunities to be in control right now in their lives. And for older kids, give them some time and space to connect with their friends to get this kind of support too. Kids get that support differently from their friends than they do from adults.
Director Lori Criss: (22:57)
I’m hearing a lot about people struggling to stay connected to their recovery supports. This would include things like AA or NA or smart recovery for people struggling with alcoholism or addiction. That connection is really a lifeline for many people. So I want to take a minute to talk about that. For our friends in recovery, these are really hard times and you can do hard things. The opposite of addiction is connection, so it’s vitally important that you stay connected to your recovery supports.
Director Lori Criss: (23:35)
You can connect with peers in recovery through phone calls. There’s recovery coaching opportunities that are available. There’s online meetings and meditation groups. All of these things are available. They might be different than what you’re used to in seeing people in person and getting that support, but they are effective and we urge you to use them. Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery has a website that has a lot of great information about linking to these resources. So I urge you to connect with that.
Director Lori Criss: (24:07)
And if you have a family member that’s living with or recovering from alcoholism or addiction, I urge you to reach out and encourage them to stay connected to their recovery supports or to get help for the first time if they haven’t before. Please don’t let stigma or discomfort stand in the way. These are potentially life threatening illnesses. So we need to make sure that all of our friends and family are taking care of themselves. So, make that effort and do that today. Ask them how it’s going, ask them if they’re staying connected to their recovery supports and let them know that you care and that you’re here to help.
Director Lori Criss: (24:44)
The same is true for people living with mental illness. Reach out and support them and let them know that you care and that you would be able to be helpful to them in reaching out for their treatment and their recovery as well. And for the families of people living with mental illness and addiction, I urge you to stay connected to your support groups as well. Groups like the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, NAMI, have local groups around the state and they’re there and available to help connect you to resources if you need.
Director Lori Criss: (25:18)
If you know someone who’s feeling helpless or hopeless or like they might hurt themselves, please I urge you to have them call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1- 800-273-8255. And for all of us, there are lots of ways that we can connect to the emotional support that we need right now. The coronavirus.ohio.gov website has some really helpful tips on managing COVID-19 related stress and anxiety. And there’s also a tab called resources for adults that will link you to videos and online support apps that you can use to support your mental health and addiction recovery too.
Director Lori Criss: (26:04)
And finally, I’d like to just close with some wisdom that my friends and family in recovery live by and that I find helpful each day. Seek serenity to accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference. Live one day at a time [inaudible 00:26:27] this together, Ohio.
Governor Mike DeWine: (26:33)
Director, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Good, good, good words. Lieutenant Governor.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (26:40)
Thank you Governor. Lori, that was terrific. Director Criss is a real treasure. We are fortunate to have her as part of the team. Let me just say that I’m going to focus on two things today. Much of what I’ve been working on in the last 24 hours are kind of things that are going to happen in the future, but there are two really important things that I feel an obligation to address and hopefully give some relief to people who are in need of it.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (27:12)
First of all, let me address the unemployment compensation system. Right before I walked in here, I finished a call with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services leadership, the CIO and the technology leadership of the state and the vendors, the private sector vendors that support that system. I was very clear to them that the governor and I, our members of Congress, the legislature, our mayors and the public in general have been communicating with us that some of them, many of them, have frustration getting through on the system.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (27:53)
I wanted to convey throughout the system people that are doing this. That folks out there are scared about both the health and economic consequences of what’s going on and that we wanted to bring even greater sense of urgency to solving some of these challenges. I was reassured that the capacity of the system has been increased 20 times on the website, 20 times the capacity on the website. They’ve added 100 employees to the call center. And I said to them, “That’s not enough. We got to do more.” And I was reassured that the vendors are adding capacity so we can take more phone calls, that they’re going to put 180 new people, training them up to put them in the call center.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (28:41)
This is important to know because you can’t just put anybody in there. This is a complicated system that has to comply with the rules and regulations outlined in state and federal law, and they need to be trained to do this right. And that also the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation system is in the process of training and lending some of their employees to this effort. But the reason I’m bringing this up is because for all of you who have had challenges, I want you to know your voices are being heard and they’re being acted upon.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (29:13)
I also feel the obligation every time to reassure you that even if you have trouble, your benefits will be backdated to the date that you were eligible to receive them. The folks who are doing this, the ODJFS team on unemployment compensation who are on the front lines, when you get through to them, understand they’re not the problem. They are working so hard to try to serve you. Don’t express frustration to them. What they need are better tools. They’re on the front lines. We need to give them better weapons, better tech tools and more reinforcements. We have ordered those reinforcements to the front lines to help them in the work that they are doing. But you also need to know, I think it’s important to know that the system is working for most. As a matter of fact, to put this in perspective, I try to think of a way to explain just what those folks are facing as they’re trying to do this. If you take the last two weeks, really since this has all picked up steam, they have handled twice as many people in two weeks as we typically have on average in the entire unemployment compensation system over the past two years.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (30:33)
That just gives you a little insight into what has happened over that two week period. As Dr. Acton I thought thoughtfully said yesterday, there is no system in the world, no hospital system in the world that’s designed to handle what we’re dealing with. Well, our unemployment compensation system is the same way. It’s just that they are not having time to prepare for the surge. The surge is now.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (30:59)
And so, they have been tasked with deploying a larger build out of that system. We ask that you be patient and understanding and know that they understand the sense of urgency that’s involved here and they are employing even more resources than they already had towards solving this problem. So, I wanted you to know that, wanted you to hear that and understand for those of you who are experiencing some challenges that action continues to be taken to address it.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (31:32)
Let me add something here on insurance. We have asked the Department of Insurance to do several things over the course of time and perhaps I’ve not done a good enough job of communicating what all of those things are and what you’re eligible for, so let me just take a moment to do that now. First of all, for employers and their employees, a grace period was issued on March the 20th for employers who can’t pay their premiums as a result of the emergency declaration and the subsequent orders.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (32:02)
Health insurers have been ordered to provide flexibility to help those employers and the employees to maintain employee eligibility for their health insurance during this period of time. Also on that same day, March the 20th, there was an order issued regarding out-of-care network for hospital bills through insurers to make sure that they provide the same rates as they would in network.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (32:37)
That they’re also required to pay for COVID testing. The COVID-19 testing that people need, whether they’re in or out of network. Those are two important things, actions that have been taken. Additionally, maybe you have an insurance policy that requires you to have a valid driver’s license to be covered. Know that a bulletin has been sent to the insurance companies that they cannot cancel, not renew or refuse to issue an auto insurance policy or deny a claim on the basis of that driver’s license provision because we know that our BMVs are not open to serve you.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (33:11)
And so, that has been also something, important detail that’s important to have incorporated into the insurance landscape. And then most recently for property and casualty life long term care insurance, insurance companies have been ordered to provide their insurance with at least a 60 day grace period to pay insurance premiums and for non-cancellation for nonpayment.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (33:39)
Now, I’m going to say this, it’s similar to what the governor said earlier. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay your bills. You still have to pay your bills, but I encourage you to work with your insurer. They’ve been given either order or given the latitude to work with you to work through all of these issues as issued by the Department of Insurance, and those services should be extended to you through your insurer. This is all available to view under the coronavirus.ohio.gov/businesshelp section or you can contact the Department of Insurance for further information.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (34:19)
And in closing, we are always on the phone literally nonstop from the time we leave here to the time you see us again the next day talking to different people across the sectors of the economy and on the front lines of this. Had a call with nursing home operators just talking about the anxiety that the people there who are working on the front lines have every day.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted: (34:44)
For all of you, whether you’re in the nursing homes, wherever you are in this fight, we really truly appreciate from the bottom of our hearts the sacrifices that people are making to help others. We keep using the line we are all in this together, but we know that some people are in it a little more than others by the nature of what they’re called to do during this period. We are grateful for you. You are lifesavers, you are inspirations for all of us. Keep up the good work. Governor.
Governor Mike DeWine: (35:13)
Lieutenant Governor, thank you very much. Dr. Acton.
Dr. Amy Acton: (35:16)
Thank you. Hi everyone. Good afternoon to you. A couple of things. I do want to thank everyone for that lovely video yesterday. The good news of us not being close and you can’t see all of us at one time is I was bawling, so you got to miss that. I was very moved by the video of sign language by the young folks as well. So I appreciate that and thank you also to Director Lori Criss, my colleague in mental health. I think I’m spending a lot of time trying to explain a part of our public health response, but our health and wellbeing is a very holistic thing. It’s all of us. I think her tips were just outstanding, so thank you so much to everyone.
Dr. Amy Acton: (36:05)
We’re going to start with taking a look at the numbers as usual. Today we are looking at 2000, almost 2200 cases as of this morning. Our hospitalizations are at 585. I’m sorry to say that we have 55 deaths across the state of Ohio and we do now have 71 counties reporting cases. Still difficulty, still limited testing. We are, as the great announcement with Battelle and OSU are working on making our testing faster, and that’s so important because the sooner we can turn that knowledge around, the better we are. But we are still dealing with a scarcity of testing. So saving that testing for the very sickest and most at risk.
Dr. Amy Acton: (36:56)
That means a lot of us, most of us actually are working with our doctors. I’m hearing that clinically we sound like we have a case in staying home. We can’t report to you on all those numbers, but we know it’s a significant amount from what we’re hearing on the front lines. Next slide please.
Dr. Amy Acton: (37:18)
Our age range remains pretty much steady at less than one, but up now to 99 years of age with a median age of 53. I’m startled by the fact that around the country and in some of other countries now we’re seeing definitely deaths while they skew more older, we’re seeing unfortunately a lot of [inaudible 00:37:43] group and numbers and obviously a lot of illness with that and length of stay with that. Again, our health care workers now, because that’s who we’re testing along with our high risk populations, we’re seeing 20% of those cases involving a frontline healthcare worker responder.
Dr. Amy Acton: (38:06)
Next slide. This is something I’m very excited to share with you in the sense of a lot of folks out there ask me, who are the best scientists, who should we be looking to for information? One of the challenges is it’s coming from everywhere. But I want to point out to folks and to the media, take a look at the Harvard Business Review study released late last week. It was an article looking… the chief author was Gary Pisano. I found it fascinating because in the middle of making history in such a rapidly evolving response, it’s really hard to do what we were able to do, the governor, and look at the influenza outbreak of 1918.
Dr. Amy Acton: (38:56)
If you remember, we talked a lot about being St. Louis and not Philadelphia, although we love both cities equally. But it was a difference of two weeks and the responses that were taken that made a huge change in the trajectory of the outcomes for those cities. This Harvard Business Review study is looking at everything we’ve looked at today, but then focusing in on Italy. And in a sense, even in the history that we’re making now, you can look at two different regions of Italy.
Dr. Amy Acton: (39:29)
So even within something that looks very much like the outbreak and pandemic we’re dealing with here in the United States, even in a short period of time, they could see a difference in the responses of Lombardy and Veneto, the two different regions pictured here. I want to say a couple of things from this article. First of all, there’s a lot of blaming and finger pointing going on right now. As I’ve said, often you have to fight the war with what you’ve got. We’re in the situation we’re in, we have the testing we have, and certainly there’ll be a lot of post-mortem.
Dr. Amy Acton: (40:11)
But it’s really important to understand that there are very complex reasons, far beyond anyone, president or any one person, that has led to what is almost a perfect storm of this enemy we’re facing in this virus. An interesting line from the article, governor, was that this virus is faster than any bureaucracy. I think Lieutenant Governor is laughing too. Everything we’re building and doing, including what we’re doing with our healthcare system in Ohio right now, it’s almost miraculous. The science we’re doing as quickly as we can is really miraculous.
Dr. Amy Acton: (40:47)
But the fact is, it’s really a lot of things that will be dissected for history books to come. But what I felt good about from this article is that I feel that Ohio has made the decisive moves it made at the right time. It talked a lot about learning. You have to learn quickly and you have to be able to take in a ton of scientific information, a ton of advice and then make some really hard decisions. But the ability to do that and not have a bias, we all have biases.
Dr. Amy Acton: (41:19)
We all have biases based on the way we’ve interacted with the world prior to the day we’re in. It’s really hard to set those aside in rapid fire information and then be able to pluck the best things and that’s what this article is saying. So the moves we’ve made so far and to continue the social distancing that we’re doing is important. But it’s also some of the response phase we’re in now. We are working very hard to maximize the healthcare to sort of shape the response we’re building. We are building two types of response, a healthcare system surge response, but we’ll also be talking to you more in days to come about our community based response, about the 80% of us in the outpatient area and how we are going…
Dr. Acton: (42:03)
The 80% of us in the outpatient area, and how we are going to, once we have the testing, wrap our arms around the rest of us. And all of that will get us out of this faster, get us back to work faster. Next slide.
Dr. Acton: (42:18)
People talk a lot about the modeling. And, again, you’ll hear debates go on and on. I feel very confident that we’re using the best modeling available to make the decisions we’re making. Let me tell you that the modeling, all the modelers agree on one thing, that this social distancing in its strictest form is essential. And this is a little slide that we’ll have on our website for you that shows the Kevin Bacon Six Degrees of Separation, the rapid, exponential difference of one person, when they have in fact 2.5 people in five days. And you get to 406 and that doubles and doubles. Versus what we’ve put in place and what you’re helping us do. Every person is making a difference.
Dr. Acton: (43:03)
I’m going to ask you to double down on that. You’re still going to affect some people. It’s not going to be perfect. Infection will still spread. But, again, we’re slowing it. We’re decreasing that burden. We’re spreading it out. And what we’ve done in Ohio is we’ve bought precious time. The governor constantly says the John Wayne quote of burning daylight. We are burning daylight right now. We are working full court press on trying to get ready for this storm. And some people will comment. Next slide, please.
Dr. Acton: (43:44)
I will say one last thing, that our modelers, we’re going to have much more talk about modeling because I know people want to kind of think about that. But what I can tell you is there are slight differences in how big the blue is. We are not yellow in Ohio. We’ve moved to the blue phase. How tall that is, how many cases we will have, how many deaths, when exactly that peak will be, there’s some differences. I can tell you that we’ve looked at worst case scenario and best case scenario. I feel that our modelers at OSU are giving us the most realistic scenario of what we can deal with. And it’s based on that. Next slide.
Dr. Acton: (44:22)
But the biggest thing is there has been some talk about the fact that we currently have capacity in our hospitals. That’s absolutely where we want to be. We are emptying out those beds in our hospitals now. And we can’t do that during the eye of the storm. This takes a couple of weeks to decrease those elective surgeries and to get more and more beds available, more and more ventilators. And those are very hard policy decisions that are making.
Dr. Acton: (44:48)
Some of this has happened naturally. Remember, early on we were talking 70 plus percent capacity. At peak of flu season sometimes in the winter we’re at 95% capacity. Our hospitals are working collectively and tirelessly to get that down as low as they can before the peak of the storm hits. That’s exactly where we absolutely have to be. And that’s why our hospital COs are working so hard to do just that. Next slide.
Dr. Acton: (45:17)
Okay. So, it’s really important to understand that we have empty beds in hospitals right now. We have a calm before the storm. We’re maximizing that and then we’re doubling that capacity again. That is the safest bet we can make, at this point, on having enough response to that. And I want you to understand that.
Dr. Acton: (45:42)
And I want you to think again about your social distancing. I’m asking you to think as much as you can about essential activities. I want you to think about every trip to the store you make now. Every time you go out to go get medicine, you want to minimize even that. You can do it. We need you to be able to do that. But double up. Think about your being out there strategically. Because it’s very, very important right now that we minimize our exposure to others without ordering that into place.
Dr. Acton: (46:18)
I really need you to think about everything you do. This isn’t a time for browsing shopping. We’re asking our big box stores and others are doing things like lining you up with social distancing, wiping those carts down, letting you go in one at a time. And, for them to maximize everyone’s ability to do that, we need to maximize how we use that and how we shop.
Dr. Acton: (46:41)
So, think about that. Continue with the great work you’re doing. It’s lifesaving. It’s absolutely lifesaving. Thank you for what you’re doing there. And I’ll be ready to answer more of your questions. Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (46:55)
Dr. Acton, thank you very much. We’ll be happy to take some questions from the news media.
Jim Otte: (47:05)
Thank you, Governor. Jim Otte from WHIO TV. Your decision yesterday to move the return to the physical classroom to May 1st, a two parter here. Have you received any response from the education community about that decision, plus or minus, pro or against? And then secondly, families now deciding where they’re at in this. They’ve gone a week now at home. And they’re just now thinking, wait a whole other month all at home. How am I going to pay the bills through all of this. Your direction, your advice, your counsel for those people who it’s just now hitting them. We’re in this for another month.
Governor DeWine: (47:46)
Well, Jim, I don’t minimize that. I don’t minimize the sacrifice. I don’t minimize what this means to people. When we issued the initial orders, we knew that this was causing people to be unemployed. This was causing small businesses to teeter and be on the edge, and maybe for some, not make it. So, difficult decisions.
Governor DeWine: (48:13)
But we have to get through this. We have to do everything we can to keep everybody alive, getting through it. We can’t let this monster come up. We’ve got to keep trying to keep pushing it down. And this is a critical time. We need to look at this as once in 102 years. We don’t know if we’ll get this coming back again, but we can say that we really have not had anything like this for 102 years. So, it has to be that type of response. It has to be the type of response that you take in wartime, because we have been invaded literally. And so, people are making sacrifices.
Governor DeWine: (48:56)
As far as our schools, I’ve not had a direct conversation with superintendents, but that’s kind of a continuing dialogue. We have been indicating to everyone that we were not going to be able to start back school now. I think everyone could see this coming. We’ve extended it basically for another month. We’re going to continue to review it. We’ll see where we are. We would like to get kids back in school, obviously. We would like to get restaurants open. We’d like to get bars open. We’d like to get back to normal, but we just can’t do that yet. And it would be a mistake to do it. And all the sacrifice has been made so far would almost be for not if we just pulled back and said, come get us. And we’re just not going to do that. Again, this is once in a hundred years. And we got to do it and we got to stay at it.
Molly Martinez: (49:59)
Hi, Governor. Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. According to the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, Ohio prisons are about one third over capacity and their infirmaries are nowhere near equipped to support an outbreak. Last week you intimated that we can’t just let everyone loose and they have just as much of a chance of contracting it on the outside as they do on the inside. Now that we’ve seen community spread and deaths within the confines of incarceration, do you still feel that way? And what about those who are towards the end of their sentence that have known health problems?
Governor DeWine: (50:32)
I feel the same way I’ve always felt. Look, there’s no change. I stated this yesterday, that the people who run our prisons feel very strongly their obligation to protect the people who work there and the prisoners. I mean, that is an obligation that sometimes I think the public looking at inside what’s going on in prison sometimes doesn’t realize. There is a custodial, there is a feeling among people who work in prisons, this is what their job is. They’re supposed to take care of people.
Governor DeWine: (51:18)
And so, we are very committed to do that. I think I outlined what the director, yesterday, the protocol that the director has put in place. It’s a very aggressive protocol. Quite candidly, she’s getting calls from other states about how we put this protocol in place. Now, it doesn’t mean that something cannot happen. As you know we talked about yesterday about a member of the staff who came down as positive. And we’re taking actions in regard to that.
Governor DeWine: (51:47)
But we have been, not announced it, but we have been reviewing for the last few weeks really, and more intentionally in the last few days, exactly if there are prisoners there who are not in there for violent crimes, who are coming close to the end of their sentence, who it may be much better for them to be out than in. These would be people who have a medical problem, people who are compromised medically, people, because of their age, who may be more susceptible. So, we’re taking a look at this. We’re looking at it on a case by case basis. I have nothing to announce today.
Governor DeWine: (52:37)
We are not going to turn loose sex offenders, sexual predators. There’s things that we are not going to do. So, we’re going to be very, very careful how we are looking at this. And, in the next few days, I’ll be announcing what in that area we’re going to do. We’re not going to do anything wholesale, but we are going to do this on a case by case basis, make this examination, and try to do what is in everyone’s best interest.
Molly Martinez: (53:08)
Governor DeWine: (53:08)
And with the consideration of we do have an obligation to people in prison. We have an obligation to the staff to make it safe. But we also have an obligation to people who are outside. And we’re not going to turn sex offenders loose and people who are in there for very, very serious crimes.
Molly Martinez: (53:29)
Jackie Borchardt: (53:33)
This is Jackie Borchardt from the Cincinnati Inquirer. I have a question for Dr. Acton. In the last few days, you guys have been directing samples to be sent to the state lab. So I’m wondering, how many tests can the state lab handle today? And what is limiting our ability to test more widely now?
Dr. Acton: (53:54)
So, testing is still limited in its supply. We are maximizing the testing we have here in this state. So, our lab can do I believe up to 280 tests per day. And they can turn those around in eight hours, and certainly within one day. My understanding, I don’t have exact numbers with me, but I’ll try to get you some of those is Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State University. And a number of other hospitals have built up some capability to do the runs, actually use the chemicals to run the tests.
Dr. Acton: (54:33)
The trouble we’re having more is on the kits side. The CDC has opened up that you can now use different types of nasal swabs. They have opened up that it no longer has to be… we have tubes you put the swab in. There was a viral media solution. Now they’ve said we can use saline. But, even still, we’ve been finding other types of swabs. We have saline. We’re still making kits. So, we’re still limited by the amount of swabs we can do.
Dr. Acton: (55:04)
That said, the other alternative to these faster turnaround times in state and more for outpatient, we had originally said, if you remember, outpatients that have more mildly symptomatic people could go ahead and use the private labs. The problem is many of the private labs are very overburdened from the whole country. And their testing times are, at this point, still taking five days to longer. And that’s the frustration. I think sometimes we’ve seen maybe a hospital with a very sick person could get that test to a bigger hospital that can do it fast or to us. And we’d like to get them that result faster so they have better decisions. We’re working on a way of communicating that to those hospitals better. And we’re using this, obviously, our voice here to say that.
Dr. Acton: (55:57)
But there is a new form of testing coming that’s called point of care testing. It works differently. And that is just still not out in any form yet, and certainly not… you’re hearing different companies like Abbott, and Cepheid, and a few others talking about the point of care. You’ve heard the president’s team talk about it. It’s still not here to market. It’s still not here. I can tell you, we have a team with the governor that’s pushing every place that we have it the second it’s available.
Dr. Acton: (56:29)
And then, there’s a third type of… you’ve heard a little bit about Roche and these high throughput machines. One of my frustrations with the advertising of that testing, which would be spectacular to have is, there are no machines out there. And we’ve talked directly with Roche. We’ve looked in every scientific laboratory. We’ve looked. All of these machines cost quite a bit of money. How can we get our hands on one? And there isn’t one to be found. And so, that was the frustration when you’ve heard about that testing.
Dr. Acton: (56:59)
So, it’s very complicated. My goal though, in everything I’m doing is, the second we have a steady source and ability to test these cases, we have a whole army that is going to blanket the state to get those results as fast as possible. And that’s the strategy I’m working for all the while.
Jackie Borchardt: (57:19)
And just a quick followup, that army you’re mentioning, that would be determined at what point? I’m sorry.
Dr. Acton: (57:29)
We’re already working. I can’t give you a lot of details yet, but we’re working on expanding our existing disease detective workforce. We do not want to take away from the workforce we’re also developing. We’re talking about nurses and doctors coming out of retirement to help with the hospital surge. But we’re working on the fact that we can pretty easily train people, like early med students, and nursing students, and really other public health students early in their career to be able to do some of that contact tracing. That’s really important because we need that to get sort of a blanket sense of what’s going on in our state to really be able to do contact tracing on asymptomatic people and other folks that are mildly ill.
Dr. Acton: (58:14)
Right now, all our bandwidth on contact tracing is, again, around cases and the most, because there’s so many of them now and it’s increasing daily. But there’ll also be technology answers to this as well. And that’s something we’re looking at. And actually, we’re looking at the ability of people to self-report where they’ve been.
Dr. Acton: (58:35)
And then, one more piece of this component will be serologic testing when that’s available. That’ll let us know about people who were sick, even as far back as potentially January, early on in this who never were diagnosed, but perhaps could see that they have developed antibody. So, there’s a host of things that will give us that epidemiologic knowledge that helps us clamp down on that virus, keep it from spreading to others, in addition to the social distancing measures that are our biggest tool kit now.
Governor DeWine: (59:07)
Let me just follow up on what Dr. Acton said and be quite blunt. A message to all our hospitals, we really appreciate working with you, but please, please do not send these tests to a lab that takes five or six days to get it back. We have the capability here to do it at the state lab or you can find one of the hospitals close to you that is doing this. And you can do it basically in real time. Waiting four or five days is just not helpful. So, we would make that plea. Don’t do that. Take it to the state lab or take it to another hospital that has got the ability to turn that around. We still have capacity, as you heard from Dr. Acton. Thank you very much.
Laura Hancock: (59:59)
This is Laura Hancock from Cleveland.com. I have a question for Dr. Acton about the homemade masks we’re seeing. There is this trend, kind of a movement, for people making masks out of cloth or old tee shirts. And, in the Czech Republic, wearing those masks is required. And their infection rate is quite a bit lower than the average in Europe and here in the United States. And the CDC, the Washington Post reported that the CDC is thinking about changing their guidance with the idea of I protect you, you protect me, because the hope is that they’ll prevent the spread of droplets even from people who are asymptomatic. Anyway, what is your thought? Do you think everybody in Ohio should, when they run their essential errands, be wearing homemade masks?
Dr. Acton: (01:00:51)
Well, I am so glad you asked about that, Laura. And you’re right, I’ve heard the same whiffs of Dr. Fauci, and the CDC, and the president’s team are talking about what would be the benefit of all of us wearing masks when we’re out? Because again, I’ve been saying all along, assume you have it, like assume each other has it, assume you have it. And we’re doing all those things we’ve learned, the washing of the hands, all of this, statistically proven to make a difference.
Dr. Acton: (01:01:19)
So, masks can help in not spreading those respiratory big droplets. I don’t know a pleasant way to say it, spewing stuff out into the air. And, obviously, it’s microscopic. So, even breathing close to someone is getting it out there.
Dr. Acton: (01:01:35)
Now, the biggest thing is to stop that spread, but we’re weighing in this country a lack of PPE. And plus, when people use masks, they touch their… they’re not often used well. So, the respirator masks, N95, have absolutely got to go to our frontline healthcare workers, our nursing home workers. We have nursing homes that are dangerously short of even the surgical masks, even the cloth masks.
Dr. Acton: (01:02:06)
So, I think, if you’re at home and you have one, or two, or three surgical masks, keep those. Re-use them. And definitely, again, in other countries, whenever you have any cold, people wear a mask because it’s seen as polite and it stops the spread of disease. And you’re sort of looked at funny if you’re out and coughing without one. But, if you’re using the surgical mask, keep a couple for yourself, please immediately give the rest of them to a local nursing home or your local health department because they don’t have them. And those folks are risking everything to be out there taking care of our loved ones.
Dr. Acton: (01:02:44)
Meanwhile, the cloth mask is a great alternative. And the CDC has always had guidance on using bandanas, scarves, any kind of cloth. So, I’m anxiously awaiting this guidance alongside you. But definitely, I think a lot of people have reached out to me. Remember, when Fran DeWine was here showing some of the-
Dr. Acton: (01:03:03)
People have reached out to me. Remember when Fran DeWine was here showing some of those cloth masks. I think it’s a great thing to be making. It’ll help all of us do this, but do it all the time. And we can use that when we’re out and about on errands.
Speaker 1: (01:03:16)
Dr. Acton: (01:03:16)
Adrienne R.: (01:03:21)
Adrienne Robbins, NBC4. My question is for the governor. You discuss possibly getting Ohio more ventilators this morning. The governor of New York described it as an eBay with 50 States bidding and FEMA bidding on top of them. Has that been your experience with trying to get more ventilators and do you have any concern that Ohio won’t be able to get more ventilators?
Mike DeWine: (01:03:44)
Well, we had the, I suppose the same experience as other States do. We’ve got 50 States. You’ve got the federal government. Everyone’s looking for the same things, but we also are exploring the possibility with Ohio companies to actually make the ventilators. So we’ll give you a report in the next few days kind of the numbers, everything by the numbers, exactly where we are because it’s not just the ventilators, it’s many other things that we’re looking for. Again, a lot of different ways to do it. We can go on the market, which we’re doing, but we also have the ability with some Ohio companies to produce some of these products. And so we’re taking every opportunity out there to figure this out.
Adrienne R.: (01:04:34)
Jon A. Husted: (01:04:35)
Just one little piece that I can add that I think we should probably update. I talked with Battelle this morning. They processed their first 3,500 masks for decontamination last night. They are ramping up as they get the masks in from the hospitals. You will continue to see that ramp up, which is a big, important part of making sure our frontline hospital workers have what they need.
Andrew W.: (01:05:05)
Hi, Andrew Welsh-Huggins with, The Associated Press. Governor, thank you again for doing these briefings and taking our questions, so we really appreciate it. This is a question for Dr. Acton. I’m hearing some reports that some of the private labs are continuing to do preemployment drug screening at the request of companies. We obviously do have a lot of hiring in certain sectors right now. And my question for you is first of all, is that accurate? And secondly, is that sort of in-person drug screening advisable right now both for the burden it puts on the labs, and also, frankly just putting people in a position where they might come in contact with others?
Dr. Acton: (01:05:52)
Well, thank you for that question. It is not something I have even thought about or considered. So I’m going to reflect on that a bit. I’m not sure if it’s the same labs and so I really can’t comment on that. I wonder if the governor, Lieutenant governor have any thoughts. It’s just not an issue that’s been on my radar.
Mike DeWine: (01:06:15)
Yeah. I mean, we don’t have any way of knowing what the private labs are doing. I mean, we don’t know who all their customers are. Simplest way for us to deal with this is simply to tell the hospitals, stop sending it to people that take five days to get it done.
Dr. Acton: (01:06:31)
On COVID, yeah.
Mike DeWine: (01:06:32)
For those. As what they do on other and how they do it, I don’t think I even know how they do the other testing.
Andrew W.: (01:06:42)
Jim Provance: (01:06:47)
Jim province with, The Toledo Blade. I think this question will first before a Dr. Acton, and then I have a quick follow up. As we’re expanding the hospital staffing in anticipation of a surge that we know is coming, is there a concern under the pressure of the situation that there could be an increase in medical error? And then my followup, is there anything being done on a policy front in terms of providing relief in terms of medical malpractice insurance?
Dr. Acton: (01:07:19)
Oh, that question as the camera’s moving to me… I think this is uncharted territory. I mean, I think we have to be honest that I’m a huge chunk of our hospitals, know how to operate in their normal system and some of the best leaders in healthcare are now working together to build out a triage crisis, almost battlefield system. Really a brand new med… I mean, they’ve been working on this. They didn’t start on this just this past week. We’re talking about some of the details this week of how we work together across systems. So all their protocols are in place and I know they’re taking those safety guidelines into account.
Dr. Acton: (01:08:10)
I think you can easily look at the situation and I’ve been in more of these battlefield type situations earlier in my career. Anytime you’re working in that kind of situation, it does open you up for things not going exactly the way you would normally do it, and I think that’s something they have to do everything they can to prevent. No one has talked to me at this point about these issues around malpractice. I think we are very open to understanding what our healthcare systems need to do their very best job as they confront this. And we’ll listen and hear any sort of policy issues and do like we’ve done with everything else. Really dissect that. Governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:08:52)
Yeah, and I’ve not been contacted. I don’t think the Lieutenant governor has either, by anybody in the hospital community about a concern about medical malpractice. So [crosstalk 01:09:03] doesn’t mean they might not, but I’ve not been contacted so far.
Laura Bischoff: (01:09:11)
Good afternoon. Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News. Governor DeWine, you said on Friday that we’d get some plans about what was going to happen for the hospital capacity increases by region on Saturday or Monday that didn’t happen on Monday. We’re told it’s a work in progress, but we’re hearing from Ohioans who are pretty anxious about wanting some concrete details of how their communities will be prepared for this surge. When can we expect those details and how detailed will they be?
Mike DeWine: (01:09:41)
Sure. Every day we have a call at 11:30 with the mayors of many of the major cities in Ohio. They have the same questions as you can imagine. So by tomorrow we should be able to give you an outline of the different regions, and we should be able to give you some information in regard to what the build out will look like. So we look forward to doing that tomorrow. This is something that General Harris has been working on, our team has been working on, Dr. Acton, but they’re working with people out in the field. So we will be able to share some information with you tomorrow.
Laura Bischoff: (01:10:24)
A quick followup. The hospitals in other States are telling healthcare workers not to talk to the media, not to share their work environment. There are concerns about a lack of PPE. Are there similar things going on like that in Ohio?
Mike DeWine: (01:10:41)
I’m not aware of that. I mean we’ve been, as you know, pretty transparent about this. My attitude has always been that the more the public knows the better, even when it’s not good news. We have an obligation to get people the good news. Now, that doesn’t mean that we would do something or we would recommend a hospital do something that would interfere with a patient’s progress or in dealing with the medical condition. But anytime that we can let the public know what’s going on and share that information with them, we think it’s the best thing. We think it’s the best thing for the public to actually gauge exactly where we are and what we know when we know it.
Laura Bischoff: (01:11:21)
All right. Thank you.
Ben Garbarek: (01:11:26)
Hi, governor. This is Ben Garbarek from ABC 6 and FOX 28. My question is about the major disaster declaration requests to FEMA, both Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman had been urging the presidents who approved that requests today. Ohio house Democrats are also urging the presidents who approved that request. Any idea what the holdup may be for why that has not been approved so far, and also what kind of resources might become available if that request is approved?
Mike DeWine: (01:11:51)
No, I’m not concerned about it. I mean, I think they’re working it through. This is sometimes when you’re dealing with these specific… My experience has been when you’re dealing with any kind of declaration like that, the bureaucracy kicks in and they do what they do and that’s not being critical, but they have to make sure all the guidelines are met. And so they’re going through that process. If it goes too long, obviously we’ll get concerned, but at this point I’m not concerned. John, do you want to [crosstalk 01:12:18]
Jon A. Husted: (01:12:17)
Yeah. I know that in some of the other States that had been approved, you put in the major declaration in this big list of things that you need that are eligible. And then they’re backing that out from the Care Act, so the Care Act took care of some of those things. And then they have the remainder of that list, which as they cut down and approve. I’m sure that’s the process they’re going through right now, but we’ve been given no indication that it’s not going to be approved to the extent that that’s helpful. But we’re urging just as the congressional delegation is. The sooner the better is with all of this.
Ben Garbarek: (01:12:58)
And what about the resources that would be available if that were to be approved?
Mike DeWine: (01:13:03)
Well, we have specific requests which we were happy to share with you, what we’ve asked for.
Ben Garbarek: (01:13:09)
Andy Chow: (01:13:14)
Hi, everyone. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and television Statehouse News Bureau. We’ve talked about the Ohio national guard and what’s what it’s doing and Ben just brought up FEMA. What role is FEMA playing in Ohio’s buildup efforts? Do we expect any maybe resources or PPE to come from FEMA or any help from the Army Corps of Engineers in the future?
Mike DeWine: (01:13:35)
Well, FEMA is always an integral part and they can help us in certain ways, but they’re very, very much involved. And our disaster management team always works very, very closely with FEMA. So it’s just part of the whole process. I mean, they’re there to give us the help that we need. I mean, for example, on Sunday I actually got a call from FEMA after I’d called the White House, they called me right back. And so to some extent they’re kind of running point for the White House and the administration on a lot of this.
Andy Chow: (01:14:16)
Mike DeWine: (01:14:16)
Thank you. We are down to about six minutes, so I’m going to try to… We see three of you out there. So we’re going to try to do this as quick as we can do it.
Kevin Landers: (01:14:26)
Kevin Landers, WBNS-10TV. This question is for Lieutenant governor Husted. It was reported today that you had told Dayton business leaders about the potential of extending the stay at home order. Is that true? And what did you tell them and is that something you’re supporting?
Jon A. Husted: (01:14:41)
It’s consistent with what the governor said yesterday that we’re looking into it and we’re asking for feedback. We talked to the mayors about that today. We talked to the business community about it. It’s an order that’s been in place. We learned from the feedback we get from folks on it, whether that is extended and when that’s extended is a governor’s decision. And we are trying to compile all that information and get it to the governor as soon as as we can so that we are making informed decisions based on what we’re hearing out there on the ground.
Kevin Landers: (01:15:18)
So you didn’t tell them that the order was going to be extended?
Jon A. Husted: (01:15:20)
I explicitly told them the order was… That what I was saying in that phone call was not an announcement, and it was not in any way to be construed as one.
Kevin Landers: (01:15:31)
Luis Gil: (01:15:36)
Good afternoon, Luis Gil with Ohio Latino TV. And this question might be for… And thank you by the way for your leadership. This question might be for the governor or the Lieutenant governor, While we go through this crisis and things potentially can get worse, do you think in the future will be necessary to create another department, another official? Like Homeland Security came after 9/11?
Jon A. Husted: (01:16:04)
Well look, we learn things from every one of these situations that we go through. We feel like we have a great team, doesn’t mean that there won’t be lessons that we learn as we go through this process. But right now, we play with the team that we have on the field. We think we’ve got a great team, we think we’re making great progress, but there’s no doubt that we owe it to the public. And frankly as an entire nation to look at how this whole situation was handled, and whether or not we need to restructure the way government acts in these circumstances.
Mike DeWine: (01:16:38)
And I would just add, to repeat something I said. Two big lessons out of this, at least so far. One is we need to build up our public health system nationwide. Two, we can never ever, ever be in a position where our medical equipment, medical gear to protect doctors and other things are outsourced to another country. We need to produce these here and I think people get it. We all get this after going through this experience.
Luis Gil: (01:17:15)
Great. Thank you governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:16)
Randy Ludlow: (01:17:21)
Good afternoon, governor. Randy Ludlow with The Columbus Dispatch. I’ve been informed I have the last question or questions. More than a week ago, you instructed your cabinet directors to begin identifying dramatic cuts to their budget allocation through mid 2021. Where does that process stand? When will we see the cuts and have you decided if any areas such as schools or public assistance will be exempt from reductions?
Mike DeWine: (01:17:48)
We’ll be having that in the next few days. It is still a work in progress, but we knew going in, we wanted them to aim for 20%. We knew some of the departments wouldn’t be able to do that, and we also knew the candidly for policy reasons there would be other areas that we would be exempt from that. So we’ll have more in the next few days.
Randy Ludlow: (01:18:10)
Okay. And when can we expect you to sign the extension of the stay at home order?
Mike DeWine: (01:18:16)
The extension of the stay at home order?
Randy Ludlow: (01:18:18)
Mike DeWine: (01:18:20)
That runs out in a few days and we’ll probably have this in the next couple of days.
Randy Ludlow: (01:18:25)
You will be extending that?
Mike DeWine: (01:18:26)
Well, I didn’t say that but, look, I’ve given every signal. I’ve gone with the best science that we could follow, and everything you’ve heard me say, the Lieutenant governor say and everything you’ve heard Dr. Acton say, would indicate that we cannot let this monster up. We have to keep battling it. We can’t walk away or it’s going to rear-up and it’s just going to kill more Ohioans. So we’re not to the point where we can let up, but what we’re trying to do as the Lieutenant governor said, is to come up with… Take all the information that we’ve received from Ohio citizens, all the feedback we can get about how this is working. And in the next order, reflect what we’ve learned. And we’re constantly learning, constantly learning from Ohioans.
Randy Ludlow: (01:19:20)
Thank you governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:19:21)
Thank you. Every morning I start with a briefing from Dr. Acton and General Harris and this happens to be General Harris’s birthday. So we want to say to him, thank you very much. Thank you for your leadership and happy birthday. We’re going to end on a happy note. In this case, on several notes from Ohio University’s marching band, the Marching 110 otherwise known as the most exciting band in the land. And personal note here, Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati Enquirer who I think is watching this. I am told that at one point she was a member of the Marching 110. So I’m sure she takes a great deal of pride in watching her Alma mater perform.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:13)
I want everybody to take a look at this. This is Ohio University’s fight song, stand up and cheer and I think you’ll be amazed how it was all put together. And this is dedicated, we’ll dedicate this to all our first responders, all the people in the medical community, all the people in our nursing homes who are keeping us safe and keeping the patients safe, and who are really at the front line. Thank you for what you’re doing. This is from OU, honoring all of you. Thanks to Ohio University. That was great. We will see you all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thanks a lot. (silence).