Nov 24, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 24
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on November 24 to provide coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of the briefing speech here.
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Governor DeWine: (00:00)
Let me start with some good news. This was announced several days ago, but the October unemployment in Ohio is down to 5.6% for October. That’s down from the previous month, 8.3%. So certainly headed in the right direction. A second good news story. We had our district reps go out throughout the state as they’ve done in the past, and just randomly go into retail establishments, all over, rural areas, urban areas, suburban areas, and the results were great. They reported back to me last night. 90% mask wearing in compliance. That’s phenomenally much better than it was several weeks ago. So I thank Ohioans for doing that. That matters, makes a big difference, and means that the employees can be safe in these establishments as well as people can feel free to go into them. So it’s great, great news.
Governor DeWine: (01:18)
Third piece of good news. I was on the phone yesterday along with other governors with the White House and the people who are organizing the vaccine. It looks like around December 15th, we will get our first batch, and we’re very excited about that and are in the process of planning how that will get out. It will come out to us in different batches from then on, and we will be getting it out. So we’ll have more information about that as we get closer. But we have a date that looks pretty definite, pretty certain we hope, and things are looking a lot better. This is a time, as we’ve talked about, when we all just need to pull back. We need to slow things down. The time between now and the first of the year is really a critical time, and each one of us in our own lives need to figure out what can we do to pull back, to have fewer contacts.
Governor DeWine: (02:20)
When we talk about the spread of the virus and what we can do about it, there’s really two kind of basic things. One is have fewer contacts with people, and the other is to wear a mask. And those two things coming together make a huge, huge difference. I want to congratulate our colleges and universities. I think the vast majority of them, once the students go home for Thanksgiving, they’re not going to be back in person until after the first of the year. Now, some have labs and have other things, and that’s great, where they need to be in person, but the bulk of the students will be going home, will not be coming back to campus. Again, an opportunity to pull back some and to make a difference, fewer contacts. Let me talk about a couple other ways. And everybody can kind of figure out how to do this themselves, and what in their life can they pull back from. Something that Fran and I have done, we’re going to Mass now online, and it’s different.
Governor DeWine: (03:27)
And we’d like to do it in person, but our friend, Father Tom Hagan, who is in Haiti, has a school in Haiti, he does Mass every Sunday. And for people all over the country, anybody who wants to tune in, you can be a part of that and feel like we’re a part of that. So there’s just different ways… So if there’s a way you can, again, pull back from something, please take that opportunity. Another example, we’ve already seen some schools who have suspended school in person until after the first of the year. And that’s that school’s choice to do that. Let me talk for a moment about sports. Some schools have suspended winter sports until January. For those that have not suspended sports, we would ask you when you conduct winter sports, basketball games, whatever, to do so without fans.
Governor DeWine: (04:40)
This is another opportunity for us just to pull back. It allows our student athletes to continue to play, which as a parent or grandparent is the most important thing, much as we would like to see them play. There’s one superintendent told me today, the idea of bringing 200 adults into our gym is at this point during the pandemic with the spread that we’re seeing… Just makes absolutely no sense. So we would ask schools to do that again between now and the first of the year. That is something that we certainly will reevaluate, but again, this period between now and the first year is just vitally important if we’re going to keep our kids in school, if we’re going to do the things that we really feel are vital and very, very important.
Governor DeWine: (05:36)
Thanksgiving obviously is going to be different, and we’ve talked about that, about what Fran and I are going to do. It’s going to be just different. Fran’s going to continue to cook. She’s already made a lot of rolls and some pies. But for our family that’s close, they’re going to stop by and pick it up, or maybe we’ll deliver it. We haven’t quite decided yet. We have two of our sons and their families who are a good distance away, and Fran’s already sent them a pie. So we hope that’ll be getting there today or tomorrow. So these are just different ways that each one of us can figure out how to pull back. Less contacts, more wearing masks makes a big, big difference. Eric, let’s go to our data for today. We’ll do this quick. The number today for new cases is 8,604.
Governor DeWine: (06:38)
Yesterday’s data was somewhat inflated, because we had a couple of labs that had not gotten theirs in, or hadn’t been able to clear into our system, and so yesterday’s was artificially high. This 8,604 we think is fairly close to where it is. We still have a backlog, we think about 6,000 cases, which need to clear at some point. So this today’s data may be a little higher than that, but again, this is a high number. If you compare it, for example, to what our average cases has been for the last 21 days, you can see it certainly continues to trend upwards. Deaths are 98, hospitalization 364. Again, this is higher certainly than the seven day average, and number of ICU admissions is 29. Currently in our hospitals, we have 4,449 hospitalized COVID patients. That’s 4,449. Of those, about a fourth, 1046, are in intensive care.
Governor DeWine: (07:53)
Statewide, we have about 20,000 patients in Ohio hospitals. Of those, there are 4,449, as I said, who are COVID. So it’s between a fifth and a fourth of our patients in our hospitals are now COVID patients. Tomorrow, we will be putting out, because of Thanksgiving, we’ll be putting out some of our data early. The map will come out tomorrow without a press conference. It will just come out one day earlier than it normally does. Also, our travel advisory normally comes out tomorrow. It will come out tomorrow. And just to note, we are very close ourselves in Ohio to being at a point where we would advise people to be very careful if they were traveling to us. We’re at about 14% positivity now. 15% is where our line has been, where we put on the board, on the map, the different state and say there’s a travel advisory to that state. So I think that just sort of puts it into perspective where we are at this point. Let me turn to the lieutenant governor. Jon?
Lt. Governor Husted: (09:06)
Thank you very much, Governor. Great news regarding the unemployment numbers. We’re moving things in the right direction, trying to do two things at once with having success with the economy and also recognizing we have a responsibility to confront the virus and the complications with that as well. One piece of information that I want to make sure we shared today is a partnership that we started with JobsOhio called Ohio To Work. This pilot project is started in the Greater Cleveland area. It’s seen great results. There was a October virtual job fair, 30 employers, 100 job openings, 700 job seekers. But the key there is that the program has coaches to help prepare those job seekers for the kinds of employers and the kinds of jobs that are going to be available so they have a greater likelihood of being successful at the career fair.
Lt. Governor Husted: (10:06)
The next career fair is Thursday, December the 10th. And as a result of that, please, if you’re interested, reach out to ohiotowork.com. That’s O-H-I-O-T-O work.com to connect with the program, with the job fair, and some of the coaches that can help you out. Again, that pilot is in the Greater Cleveland area, because look, we know the unemployment rate’s going down. More people are going back to work, but there are still people, for COVID and non-COVID reasons, that are struggling. Maybe it’s the technology change. Maybe it’s systemic loss of the kinds of jobs that they’re qualified for, and this program is designed to help with that. And while I’m on the topic of jobs, ohiomeansjobs.com. 195,000 open jobs available right now, at ohiomeansjobs. com. 94,000 of them pay $50,000 a year or more. So another great resource for people who are trying to get back into the workforce.
Lt. Governor Husted: (11:12)
A reminder on the BWC dividends, those will start going out on December the 10th. That’s to 178,000 private and public employers. 4.3 billion to private employers, 687 million to public employers. That will include… I know the schools weren’t expecting this, but they will receive money too. $219 million, which I know this money will come in handy for everybody during this difficult time as they try to account for their COVID-related costs. Additionally, Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund. Governor announced $2,500 available for every liquor permit holder. There are roughly 30 types of liquor permit holders. As of right now, less than 50% of the eligible bars and restaurants have applied to get that money. You’re still eligible to do that. If you have questions, go to businesshelp.ohio.gov. Businesshelp.ohio.gov to see if you’re eligible and how you would apply.
Lt. Governor Husted: (12:19)
But anybody who’s a liquor permit holder, any one of those 30 liquor permit holders is eligible, and we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity there. And then finally, we are all planning alternative Thanksgivings, at least I think most people are. That’s different than usual. Remember that there are restaurants out there, caterers, people who are willing to serve. There’s still time to get your order in. You can do those kinds of things to maybe relieve mom of her cooking duties, or grandma in that case. I know we’re all trying to stay distant. Maybe you can send a meal to somebody, but make sure you use those Ohio restaurants if that makes sense to you.
Lt. Governor Husted: (13:01)
And then I wanted to amplify something that the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants announced, Buy in Ohio campaign. The Buy in Ohio campaign. This is their attempt to remind you that your local stores and retailers are available to purchase those holiday gifts. I saw these statistics I think were pretty amazing, that $30.5 billion is spent annually by Ohioans to buy goods outside of Ohio. And if we could just get 10% more business from Ohio consumers with Ohio businesses, that would make a dramatic impact to help our retailers during this difficult time. So the initiative with both of these, with restaurants and with retailers, is to buy in Ohio, and we encourage you to do that in the coming days and weeks as we’re headed deeper into the holiday season. Thank you, Governor.
Governor DeWine: (14:02)
Jon, thank you very much. We have four guests today who’ve experienced this COVID in different ways, but I think they kind of illuminate what our fellow Ohioans are going through and have gone through. First, I’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Marshall, a respiratory therapist at Grant Medical Center in Columbus. She’s been on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic. She is a COVID patient. Stephanie, thank you very much for being with us today. We appreciate it very, very much. And I know you’re there with your husband Ryan, who may pick up the conversation at some point as you move forward. Can you just tell us your story?
Stephanie Marshall: (14:50)
So being a respiratory therapist at Grant, we’re very busy. So for eight months, being frontline, from ER to the ICU, intubating patients, we’ve seen all of the good and bad of COVID. And the beginning of November… Sorry if I tear up. The beginning of November, I developed symptoms of COVID, and I ended up having just congestion, sore throat, headache, really didn’t think anything of it. And within 12 hours, I was hospitalized for difficulty breathing. I’m a healthy 37 year old. I have underlying asthma, but that’s all. My asthma is under control, so I really didn’t think anything of… If I got COVID, I would be okay. Well, a lot of people think that. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. I was hospitalized for two days, and then I was discharged. And I was home for two days, and I got really bad.
Stephanie Marshall: (16:03)
I had developed pneumonia in both of my lungs. And as a respiratory therapist, I knew that I was bad. And I knew what was happening to me, and that made it scarier. My husband dropped me off. Because of my husband and family… I have two small children. Because of them being in quarantine, they had to drop me at the door of the ER, which was the hardest thing, because I knew how sick I was and I didn’t know if that was the last time I would ever see my family. And they dropped me off at Grant where I work, and I was admitted, and they told me that I would have to be intubated because I was so bad. I begged for a chance [inaudible 00:16:53] to not be intubated. And thankfully that worked, and I didn’t have to go on a ventilator, but I was at the hospital for seven days.
Stephanie Marshall: (17:06)
It’s really hard to be a COVID patient. I’ve been on both sides. I’ve cared for COVID patients, and that I’ve been there myself. It’s hard to sit in a room that you can’t leave the room, and the only people you see are in full PPE. And you can’t have family, you can’t have anyone with you. This virus doesn’t just affect your body, but it affects you mentally. The isolation of that is really hard, and seeing both sides of it was impactful for me and the way I’ll treat my patients from now on. And I now am home, thank goodness, but I am home and I’m still on oxygen. I unfortunately will be lumped into the long-hauler crowd. And it’s been difficult, but we take one day at a time, and I just want the word out there to let people know that it doesn’t matter who you are. This virus doesn’t discriminate. And I’m a healthy 37 year old who has two kids, and I’ve been there and I’ve watched people die of it, and now I’m going through it myself.
Governor DeWine: (18:28)
Well, Stephanie, thank you very much for sharing that with us. It gives us some insight. We hear about people and we look at numbers and statistics, but I think it’s much more impactful to talk to someone like you who’s been through it. So how are your kids doing? Kids doing okay?
Stephanie Marshall: (18:49)
They’re hanging in there. They’re seven and one, so my one-year-old has no idea. My seven-year-old, he’s learning how to adjust oxygen.
Governor DeWine: (19:00)
Well, maybe a nurse, maybe a doctor, who knows?
Stephanie Marshall: (19:04)
I told him maybe he could become a respiratory therapist.
Governor DeWine: (19:06)
Respiratory therapist, who knows, right? Yeah. Well, how long have you been a respiratory therapist? How long?
Stephanie Marshall: (19:15)
Governor DeWine: (19:16)
Five years. You’ve dealt with a lot of patients in that time, then.
Stephanie Marshall: (19:20)
Yeah. And I’ve been at Grant the whole time, and we see a lot. And shout out to all my RTs at Grant. We work really hard for not just COVID patients, but trauma patients, and they do a great job.
Governor DeWine: (19:36)
Well, we appreciate what they do, and we appreciate you, and good luck.
Stephanie Marshall: (19:40)
Governor DeWine: (19:41)
Good luck, and best wishes to both of you.
Stephanie Marshall: (19:44)
Governor DeWine: (19:44)
Thank you for coming on. I appreciate it very much. Let me move now… We’ll talk with Susan Norvell from Middletown. She’s going to talk a little bit about her family’s experience with COVID. All four people in her household got COVID, and we’ve all had different experiences. So Susan, tell us a little bit about what your experience has been.
Susan Norvell: (20:14)
Certainly. Thank you, Governor DeWine. I was the person that was exposed to the COVID virus inadvertently, and unintentionally brought it into our home. Our family is comprised of myself, my husband, Keith, and our twin daughters, Sarah and Alison. And it started out… I think our story is important, because within our family, the four of us, we are just about every case that you could have with COVID. My daughter, Sarah, when she tested, she tested negative at first. And I actually had her retest, because I just couldn’t believe that she was negative. She’s been completely asymptomatic this whole time. No fevers, no nothing. My daughter Alison and myself, we developed very mild symptoms. We had what sounded like chest congestion, no fevers whatsoever. We had the telltale symptom of loss of taste and smell. And then my husband, Keith, he started out kind of the same general congestion, whatnot.
Susan Norvell: (21:22)
He typically gets bronchitis every year, and this is Ohio, so it’s typical that you get some sort of respiratory thing each season. But his symptoms progressed. He started running fevers. They would be low grade, but then they would spike up to about 102, 103. Severe muscle aches, severe joint pain, and that just kind of went on for a while. And then I would say probably about day 12 or 13… And for the record, he never lost his sense of taste or smell at all, but he did have the fevers. Around day 12 or day 13, it was a Sunday. He was just having a lot of difficulty-
Susan Norvell: (22:03)
However, day 13. It was a Sunday. He was just having a lot of difficulty. He needed to sit up in the recliner in the living room. He was still able to talk, engage in conversation, not long-winded stories, but nothing that would indicate that anything was amiss, other than he was really feeling pretty bad, but not terrible. His sister, Jennifer, is a nurse and brought over a pulse oximeter. So we put it on his finger and I actually thought I put it on wrong because it registered 55%. I was like, “That can’t be right.” So we did it again and it was 55%. So our doctor, Dr. Cancer, told us to call the squad and we did. And he walked from our living room chair out to the porch, got on the cot and got into the ambulance and they transported him.
Susan Norvell: (22:47)
And when he arrived at Atrium Medical Center, his oxygen levels were at 40%. still talking, still engaging, which I’ve been told by many people that they actually don’t know how that’s possible. While in the ER, he was diagnosed with pneumonia, which I’ve been told is a very common complication of COVID. So he got to the hospital, we’ll say around 3:30 or four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. That evening around 11 o’clock, I was called and notified that he was moved to the ICU, that he was still talking, but to get more one-on-one care, better oxygen support. By 3:30, four o’clock the following morning, so in the span of 16 to 18 hours, the nurse told me that she had spoken with Keith. And while he was stable at Atrium Medical Center, a wonderful facility, they had maximized everything that they could do to him to help him. And that it was in his best interest and he agreed to it and he was intubated and then care flighted to UC.
Susan Norvell: (23:50)
So, he was transported in the middle of the night to UC. He is in a COVID ICU unit. He is still on a ventilator. This is two weeks and two days post when everything happened, and that’s where we are. They just put in a trach yesterday to take him off of the mouth tube to prevent damage from that, and currently they are trying to lower his sedation to check his neurological levels. He wasn’t very responsive yesterday. So they’re doing an EEG to check brain function and then they’re going to go around today and check that. But our house, we’ve had every possible scenario with COVID and that’s where we currently are right now.
Governor DeWine: (24:43)
Well, that’s going to be very difficult for you, your family to go through that.
Susan Norvell: (24:50)
Governor DeWine: (24:52)
You can’t see him, right? Or you can …
Susan Norvell: (24:55)
Believe it or not, I am actually allowed to visit him. I sit outside the room. I wear a double masks because it’s just very scary to be in the eye of the storm, but I do get to at least see him, and he has an amazing medical team. So I just sit outside and I stare at him for an hour every day.
Governor DeWine: (25:14)
Yeah. Wow. Wow. Well thank you for sharing the story. We certainly wish him all the best.
Susan Norvell: (25:21)
Governor DeWine: (25:21)
That he comes out of this and we hope he gets home soon.
Susan Norvell: (25:25)
Thank you. I do as well. I do.
Governor DeWine: (25:28)
Susan Norvell: (25:28)
Governor DeWine: (25:28)
Thank you for taking the time. We really appreciate it.
Susan Norvell: (25:31)
Well, thank you for having me and listening to our story.
Governor DeWine: (25:34)
Thank you. Dr. Matthew Colflesh is a physician for Trinity Health System in Steubenville in Jefferson County. Coronavirus has certainly penetrated southeastern Ohio at a slower pace initially, at least, but now it is everywhere throughout the state. So doctor, thank you very much for joining us and telling us a little bit about what you’re seeing in the eastern part of the state.
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (26:08)
Sure. Thank you, governor. Thanks for reaching out to the people at Jefferson County. I think you have a theme here of different perspectives from different areas of the state. It’s so variable. Being in a rural area, it’s quite different than being at Grant Hospital, being in Cincinnati. We’re not in the middle of nowhere. We actually are nearly a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but we just haven’t felt the ramifications of COVID yet. So if you go back to the numbers in our hospital, back in the original surge in April, our peak number of hospitalized patients was nine. So this went through the summertime and we eliminated elective surgery, and at one point there was a major reduction in the census of the hospital, such that I run a hospitalist group, a group of hospital physicians as well, and I sent advanced practitioners home. I sent doctors home.
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (27:10)
And then in the middle of the summer with the second peak, we only reached a max of five patients in the hospital. So again, we started to increase activity in the community. We opened schools, we didn’t see a spike. But my theme now is that things are different. So in the past two weeks, we have reached a point to where our max hospitalization in this hospital right now is 34. And I would expect that it’s going to climb. So, we never felt the same type of impact that others did in the state. And so when restrictions have come, there’s been a great deal of frustration here. And I think you feel that the fatigue of following the rules, following the masks, falling the distancing, but I can tell you that as of now, things are different. So we are now feeling the impact.
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (28:04)
The type of patients that are coming to the hospital now are those patients that we worried about all along. We planned for them extensively in April. We went through hours and hours of meetings and logistical planning and everything you can think of to make sure that the patients were all taken care of. We had a disaster plan. We were accepting patients in the southeast part of the state. But what happened is we ended up just taking patients to help others out and we didn’t have patients in our own community. We were fortunate for that. And we had a number of elderly population that stayed pretty locked down in this community. But I would say, as we approach Thanksgiving, the reality is that is changed and we are stressed. We have always had a problem with nursing. And if you ask any hospital representative in this state, they’re going to tell you that they’ve always had a problem with getting nurses. I mean, this is a national problem.
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (28:58)
So given that the stress and the strain of losing any staff right now is impactful, and we really are feeling that. So as we lose staff from the virus and as activity picks up, and people, in Ohio, we move together in the cold and viruses accelerate. This is the nature of the business and we’re used to it in hospital systems, but COVID is different. It’s a nasty virus. We’ve always known that from having treated it before. We just never treated it in this kind of volume before. So yes, now’s the time we are feeling it differently.
Governor DeWine: (29:33)
You touched on it a little bit, but the situation with personnel, hospital personnel, nurses, others, how are you doing in regard to that? And what’s the future look, do you think?
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (29:48)
Yeah, it’s a matter of a change day-to-day. It’s planning every day. We have meetings constantly to reassess that. We met right before this meeting. So as of now, I would say we are stressed because our nurses in the critical care field are limited. We may have real estate for patients. In other words, we have beds open, but finding staff is going to be the issue moving forward. We’re always going to be able to manage that in some way, shape or form. We’re going to serve the community. We’ve planned for this for many months. And now’s come the time when we’re actually having to put these plans in place. I would say as of now, we are very strained. We are trying to reorganize our units. We are trying to gather excess help from other areas that we may have not called from before. We’re asking advanced practitioners here in the near future to help us out maybe at the bedside, some ambulatory nurses to help us out in the acute care setting. So these are things we have thought through before, but in reality is now hit us to the point where I have concerns about the time around Thanksgiving.
Governor DeWine: (31:05)
And this was late coming to Jefferson County. And really you’re part of the state didn’t get really that much in the spring, I guess, that much in the summer. But what’s your message then to the people of Jefferson County, as far as Thanksgiving and going forward?
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (31:23)
Yeah. Well, I think people just need to be reasonable. People have been through this long enough to see things and have their own opinions about how they go about the mitigation. But the reality is with our population here of older folks, now is the time to be reasonable with them at Thanksgiving and protect them. I have the same thing happening in my family. For the first time … I’ve been an advocate of trying to be out and about as much as we could to keep the kids in school as much as we could, but I’m reeling it in myself and saying, for my parents at this time, I say, “We’re going to Zoom at Thanksgiving for this year.” Until we see how things come out in the coming weeks.
Dr. Matthew Colflesh: (32:09)
We’re certainly we’re all waiting for the vaccine, but at the same time, we have a great level of protection we have to give in the meantime. I think people can be reasonable. I think the mistakes are being made that are pretty straightforward. People are sick. They’re coming in the house, they’re getting your mom and dad. There’s some things like that, that are easily solved. And I just think at Thanksgiving, we really have to just take a step back and say, “You know what Jefferson County, it hit us now. It’s here. And it’s different.”
Governor DeWine: (32:43)
Dr. Colflesh, thank you. Good luck to you and your team there. We thank them for everything that they do. We know it’s a tough job always, and it’s even tougher now. So, thank you. Appreciate it very, very much. Our fourth guest today is Jasmine Shavers, a nurse in Dayton Miami Valley Hospital, that’s a part of Premier Health. She was there when the very first COVID patient came in, in March. She’s still caring for patients on an all COVID intensive care unit. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it very, very much.
Jasmine Shavers: (33:19)
Governor DeWine: (33:20)
It looks like you’re right there at the hospital.
Jasmine Shavers: (33:23)
Governor DeWine: (33:26)
Just tell us what your world is like today, because we read about it, we see statistics, but you’re there. Tell us what you’re seeing, what’s going on.
Jasmine Shavers: (33:38)
I would say I’ve been up here since March with the first COVID patient. I took a break in October, took a little time off to myself. September is when I started seeing the decline of how many patients we had. I thought, maybe we’re getting ahold of this, since the symptoms was very low. I come back, we’re full again, patients are more sick. They’re going from being on like five liters of oxygen to needing to be on a vent very quickly. This third wave, I feel like it’s way more intense than it was in March and over the summer. We’ve had patients in a span of a 12 hour shift, six patients needed to be on a vent. It’s been very bad. I have a couple of stories I’d like to tell you guys about patients I’ve had experienced on my unit.
Governor DeWine: (34:27)
Jasmine Shavers: (34:28)
I had a medical professional who said, “I just didn’t think it was that serious. I just didn’t think it was that serious.” And he ended up passing, but he was a medical professional, very well educated on certain diseases. And he couldn’t grasp the fact that it was that serious and that it was that deadly of a virus. I also had another mother I talked to that took care of her child because he had some disabilities, but she cried to me on the phone about him. He’s never been alone without her in his life. And I was in there in the room when he passed. I tried to be that support for her. We’re just overworked, exhausted, tired. We’re trying our best. COVID is no joke. It’s a very deadly virus.
Jasmine Shavers: (35:20)
When I see people in the community not wear a mask, I just stayed to myself, “I’ll see them at the hospital soon.” And that’s not where I want to see them. But we as a community, have to care about each other and hopefully people cooperate so we can beat this virus. With the holidays coming up, I’m not seeing my family. I’m staying at home. And I hope that people gather at home with the people they live with, they don’t travel. I’m curious to see if people actually follow the rules on Thanksgiving to see if we surge any more because the hospitals are very packed right now. Census are very high. So I’m curious to see what will come in the next coming weeks or days with these COVID cases and how many critical people we’re going to see in the next couple of weeks.
Governor DeWine: (36:17)
Well, it’s hard to imagine how bad it would be to be there and be the patient and have your loved ones not be able to hold your hand or not be able to see you, but it also has to be very difficult for you to be that person who has to support them and you’re it. I mean, you’re there with them. The two stories you told us about the young boy, young man, it just breaks your heart. If you think you’re a parent, and you think that’s your child in there, it’s like … So, how are you doing? Are you holding everything-
Jasmine Shavers: (36:56)
I’m doing pretty good. I haven’t had any symptoms. I’m doing very well, making sure I’m protected. My family’s fine. So I’m just hoping for the best for the rest of the year. And hopefully the vaccine helps us out because I don’t want to see any more people in the hospital then I have to.
Governor DeWine: (37:15)
Well, thank you for what you’re doing. Thanks. This is so inadequate, but we thank you very, very much and bless you. And the emotional toll must be there, as well as just the physical boom being worn out. So thank you. Thank you for doing it. And thank you for giving us an inside look at what your world is and what the reality of it is.
Jasmine Shavers: (37:43)
Thank you for the opportunity to talk here today, governor.
Governor DeWine: (37:46)
Thank you. We appreciate it. Bless you. Thank you very much.
Jasmine Shavers: (37:50)
Governor DeWine: (37:52)
We are ready for questions.
Speaker 1: (37:55)
Governor, our first question today is from Luis Gil at Ohio Latino Television.
Luis Gil: (38:12)
Governor DeWine: (38:14)
How are you?
Luis Gil: (38:15)
Good. Before I forget, I would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Governor DeWine: (38:22)
Well, thank you. I have not seen you for a while. Thank you very much. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
Luis Gil: (38:25)
Yeah, we have a lot to talk about. Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (38:27)
Luis Gil: (38:28)
Governor, my question is let’s assume that you achieve the numbers you’re looking for, and you have flattened the curve and now things are looking much better for Ohio, or perhaps, and of course, because of the curfew and all the requests that you have asked of Ohio citizens. How about let’s assume that you did not achieve those numbers and the numbers continue to climb. What would be your message for Christmas when families have started making plans right now?
Governor DeWine: (39:03)
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for the question because I think it’s a very pertinent question and spot on. I mean, the doctors who I have talked to are very concerned that what impact the Thanksgiving is going to have on that time right before Christmas, and that if we don’t slow this thing down and if people don’t pull back from the normal Thanksgiving, we could have a real disaster in here by the middle of December leading into Christmas. So not only would that have a disaster for people from a medical point of view, health point of view, but also economically.
Governor DeWine: (39:46)
I mean, I’ve said before that the biggest threat to our economy in Ohio and people’s jobs is this virus flares out of control. So, the next few days, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are just going to be critical. I think we’ll know in a week or so, 10 days or so, 14 days after that. So let’s hope we don’t get there and let’s hope things get better, but thank you for the question. Appreciate it.
Speaker 1: (40:17)
Next question is from Jackie Borchardt, the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jackie Borchardt: (40:22)
Hi. Good afternoon, governor, and happy Thanksgiving. I’d like to know some more information about the vaccine that you just announced. Which company will it be coming from? Who will be targeted for that first batch? About how many people can be immunized with that first batch? And what is the current timeline for the average Joe in Ohio to get immunized?
Governor DeWine: (40:44)
The first batch we were told yesterday will be Pfizer and Moderna is scheduled. Now, this is assuming everything gets approved when they think it’s going to. They’ve got a calendar and they’ve got the timeframe in there when they think that the approval would take place. Moderna would be a week later. We all need to understand that it’s going to take two shots. So the first one, and then the next one is three or four weeks later. So we don’t have the exact numbers yet, but we’re told that once it starts coming, they hope it to be a continuous flow. So, a first batch say around the 15th of December and then it will continue to come in from there on. Then we kick in with a second vaccine and we hope a third and beyond that.
Governor DeWine: (41:43)
The priorities are pretty much what we’ve talked about before. We are refining them and we’re also in consultation with the federal government in regard to the priorities. But it’s basically what we’ve said before, which is that we start off, anybody who is in direct contact with COVID patients, whether that be in a hospital or outside the hospital, that they should be at the first tier. Also very early on, it’s going to be in all probability of people who care for people in a congruent care setting. The idea will be that if you get a nursing home, for example, that COVID generally comes in from the staff. They reflect the community. So if you can vaccinate them, that that will, in my words, at least build kind of a wall around that nursing home. So those will be very early on, but we are still refining that and we will certainly make that order public when that’s done. But that’s generally how it’s going to work.
Speaker 1: (42:55)
Next question is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.
Governor DeWine: (43:01)
Geoff Redick: (43:02)
Good afternoon, governor. I meant to ask this yesterday. I think it’s actually better suited today with the healthcare personnel you have on, and I’m curious if they would comment. We see a lot of comments, as you do on social media. I just wanted to highlight a few. Maybe they could respond. People who say, for example, “Well, Governor DeWine says our state is on fire. Stop. It’s flu season. Don’t believe the hype.” Another, “Stop letting teachers close down school and hold the hospital workforce hostage. We never had problems before. Doctors and nurses need to be put back to work.” Another, “I don’t understand why ICU nurses and doctors are so fatigued. They’re doing the same work they always did.” These kinds of things are written a lot, and I’m just curious if you or those personnel would reply to them.
Governor DeWine: (43:53)
I’m going to let the people who are at the front line reply. If anyone wants to do that. I don’t know. Jasmine, if you want to say something, or really anybody else.
Governor DeWine: (44:03)
I don’t know. Jasmine, if you want to say something? Or really anybody else who wants to jump in here and respond. Could you hear that question?
Jasmine Shavers: (44:08)
Yes. It’s because the people are more sick. We have a thing in the ICU where if a patient is on certain medication and stuff like that, they are either singled, we only got one or two patients… Everyone is needing to be prone, which means we’re putting them on their belly. And we have to do all this other high, critical things. And we can’t just take care of everybody and everybody’s needs efficiently because of how sick patients are and how we need more staff to be able to appropriately staff the units, appropriately actually get the job done. So I’m just surprised at those comments, but we try our best.
Governor DeWine: (44:54)
I know you do. And anyone else? Dr. [inaudible 00:44:58] or any anybody else wants to comment on that?
Stephanie Marshall: (45:02)
I want to say something. As coming from the respiratory side of things, we only have so many ventilators. We only have so much equipment. And it’s a respiratory illness. So you run out of that, then what happens? We have other people come into the hospital that need care other than Covid. So it just adds on and piles on. And we also are having staff members who are sick. Other hospitals around the whole country, healthcare workers are getting Covid like myself. So that makes it harder on the people who are working. And we’re running bare bones staff and working our tails off for our community. We want to take care of our community, but we’re exhausted. And we’re running with minimal staff, minimal equipment because we’re full.
Stephanie Marshall: (46:04)
So if the community could see actually what we do in the hospital and what’s happening, they would realize how serious this is. And I think that’s what Jasmine and myself and every healthcare worker would like to get out is that this is real and it’s serious. And just wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, and that would help the healthcare community not be overrun and exhausted and be able to take care of our community better.
Governor DeWine: (46:33)
Thank you. Anybody else? Okay, thank you very much. We’ll go to the next question.
Speaker 2: (46:42)
And the next question is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.
Governor DeWine: (46:47)
Kevin Landers: (46:48)
Hey, Governor. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Governor DeWine: (46:50)
Thanksgiving, thank you.
Kevin Landers: (46:51)
Governor, we heard a few weeks ago that Ohio was in line to get about 30,000 doses of the vaccine. We heard from doctors yesterday that’s not nearly enough vaccine for our state’s first responders. Are we getting the 30,000 doses? Will spouses of first responders be excluded from getting the first wave of that vaccine? And should people who have recovered from Covid get the vaccine? Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (47:17)
Yeah. Our folks are still consulting and looking at that, trying to put that list together. But I don’t want to mislead anyone. You don’t have it until you have it in hand. But our understanding is that the first batch comes in maybe at 30,000, but that these batches are going to come in every few days. So obviously 30,000 is not going to go very far. We probably have, if you just look at all healthcare workers, I won’t guess how many, but there’s a lot of healthcare workers and we’re going to start with those who are dealing directly with Covid. But right behind that will be other healthcare workers as well.
Governor DeWine: (48:04)
We also have the people in nursing homes and the people who work in nursing homes. So 75,000 or so people work in nursing homes. The quicker we know, when we know more, we will certainly let you know. But we shouldn’t just think it’s only going to be 30,000 for the month of December, because that’s not our understanding. Batches will be coming in every few days. And we’ll have a specific priority list out so that everyone can see. We’ll be very transparent about it. Obviously, you’d like to vaccinate everybody in the state on the first day, but obviously that’s not possible. This is going to take a few months. But we’re going to start and go as fast as it’s shipped to us.
Kevin Landers: (48:56)
Just as a followup, will first responders’ families be excluded from that first wave of vaccines?
Governor DeWine: (49:03)
I don’t know if that decision has been made yet or not. I don’t know. Bruce, do you want to jump in there?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (49:11)
Yes. Thank you, Governor. Yeah, many of the questions that you’re asking are very good ones, but they will be answered by the advisory council on immunization practices, which is a national body which provides detailed guidance regarding all immunizations. So we are working in close concert with federal authorities, including the ACIP, to assure that we’re acting in a common way across the country.
Speaker 2: (49:42)
Next question is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH in Columbus.
Adrienne Robbins: (49:46)
Hey Governor, thank you for doing this today. We talked a lot about Thanksgiving, but a couple other events that are coming up that could potentially be super-spreaders could be the night before Thanksgiving, a historically big drinking night, or black Friday. I Understand that the state can’t do much when it comes to Thanksgiving and what people do in their own homes. But did you think about doing any orders to try to limit those other events? For example, Pennsylvania is banning alcohol sales on Wednesday night.
Governor DeWine: (50:23)
Well, we’ve not done that. We have put a curfew on, as you know, which basically means that these bars close by 10 o’clock. So the alcohol, I guess you could buy a drink at five minutes till, but you’re going to have to drink it pretty fast. And so it pushes the hour back is my only point. It pushes the time back when people will be doing that. So we’ve done that. We’ve achieved a lot better mask wearing. And again, we’ll have agents out in the bars that day and we’ll have people in retail as well. As far as Friday is concerned, retail has really pulled back in the sense of trying to spread that out. A lot of online sales and a lot of the specials have been spread out over a week or two weeks, which we think shall help as well.
Lt. Governor Husted: (51:25)
Governor, if I could add to that, that’s also a part of the campaign that the Ohio council of retail merchants is advocating, is buy in Ohio, but also buy online and do that. As the governor mentioned, they’ve tried to spread this out. You’re not going to see a lot of promotion about big events. They’re discouraging the big events. But they are encouraging people to buy in Ohio, to buy online, to support your local retailers. They have curbside pickup in some cases. They have online options. So the retailers are really trying. And as we see the mask compliance is up, they are owning, trying to improve that. So this is basically an industry-wide effort to manage this as well.
Speaker 2: (52:22)
Next question is from Andy [inaudible 00:52:25] at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Governor DeWine: (52:28)
I’m wondering if you and maybe Dr. Vanderhoff can go into a little more detail about something that was just brought up a minute ago, about who fits into which tier. Does the state decide what the tiers look like? Or is it that national body that Dr. Vanderhoff brought up? How does that process work of who fits into each tier?
Governor DeWine: (52:52)
Doctor, you want to take a shot at that?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (52:54)
Yes. So the authorities at the federal level have provided us with a general framework that we should adhere to. We have then been working to flush that out with the expectation, the understanding that as we get closer to vaccine release date, they will be able to give us further refining guidance about those lists. But essentially, the governor has described it very well. We are looking at getting vaccines first to those who are at the greatest risk and the healthcare providers who work with them, and then it will cascade from there.
Governor DeWine: (53:40)
And there will be certainly the nuances of this. One thing I’ve talked to our team about is getting that list down. But again, you can have a subgroup that you’re targeting, but if you can’t get it out or identify that group, in other words identify those individuals, then you have to figure out how that’s going to work. So it’s not just making a list and then going and doing it. It’s got to be a list that actually is a doable list, and that you can find those individuals, identify those individuals at that particular time when you get down there. So you’re balancing getting it out quickly. At the same time, you’re balancing getting it out in a priority manner. And both of those are factors that have to be considered.
Speaker 2: (54:33)
Next question is from Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.
Governor DeWine: (54:38)
Jim Otte: (54:39)
Hey, Governor. This comes to us from a viewer, a question from Scott in Mercer County. He says he’s seen so much pop-up testing happening down in Dayton, over at Columbus, up in Cleveland, but his county has got a lot of cases. They’re nearly the top of the list of the 88 counties. If not the top, then near the top. They just haven’t seen much pop-up testing. And the availability of testing concerns him. Also, the cost involved. Why is there not more testing available where the cases are, especially out away from those urban centers in Ohio? What can you do for them?
Governor DeWine: (55:17)
Sure. We can bring testing to any county that wants us. And I’ve said that numerous times to our health departments, I’ve said it to mayors, I’ve said it to county commissioners. Anybody who wants testing, we will bring it there. We would love to bring more testing to Mercer County or Shelby County or Auglaize County. Any county that wants us to come, we will come. National Guard has done a phenomenal job. The only thing that we ask any place that we go is that local community support it and get the word out and get people there so that they can be tested. So we would love to do that.
Jim Otte: (56:05)
Okay, thank you.
Governor DeWine: (56:07)
All really we have to do is be contacted by a mayor, contacted by a county commissioner, contacted by the health commissioner. We are happy to do that. And so I can’t comment. I’m sure the health commissioner in Mercer County can about what the availability of testing has been. So I can’t comment on that, but we are open to go anywhere. And in fact, want to.
Speaker 2: (56:35)
Next question is from Laura Bischoff at the Dayton Daily News.
Governor DeWine: (56:41)
Laura Bischoff: (56:41)
Yeah. My question is for Nurse Shavers. So I was wondering if you could tell me if you would be ready and willing to take that first immunization shot, if you have any reservations about it. And also, what is your most direct message to the folks in the Dayton area and across Ohio about this Covid situation?
Jasmine Shavers: (57:05)
What was that last part of that question?
Laura Bischoff: (57:07)
I’m just curious, what’s your most direct message to people in the Dayton area who maybe aren’t taking this situation very seriously?
Jasmine Shavers: (57:19)
I would say I know that they have a lot of people that they know that might’ve got Covid and didn’t really have any serious symptoms so they don’t think it’s that serious, but Covid reacts differently in different people. I would make sure that wash your hands, stay away from immunocompromised, older people, and just people in general. Stay to yourself as much as you can. We’re trying to limit exposure of the virus to others, because you don’t know how it’ll affect them. They could be on a ventilator and getting ready to pass away just because you didn’t wear your mask or want to take it seriously or thought, “Well, it won’t affect them that bad.” So I would just say be more cautious of each other and limit exposure.
Speaker 2: (58:09)
Next question is from Ben Schwartz at WCPO in Cincinnati.
Governor DeWine: (58:14)
Ben Schwartz: (58:16)
Today and yesterday, we’ve heard medical professionals speak on what the next few weeks could look like in terms of hospital capacity. But I’m wondering, with Thanksgiving coming up and with it being near impossible for many in parts of the state to book a Covid test, are you or anyone else here on the call today able to say what a worst case scenario could look like if cases were to rise a whole lot after Thanksgiving? And with that, heading into Christmas time?
Governor DeWine: (58:45)
Well, I’ll let the doctor talk about that. But let me just start for a moment. What I have been told is the real fear is that at Thanksgiving, this period of time when we traditionally are together, you’ll see a spread that comes from that. And we are already at a very high level. We already are seeing our hospitals fill up, as you have heard today. And pushing that even further with a lot more contact, it’s going to be a disaster. This is not what we want to see. And for those who worry about the economy, as we all do, as we all should… There will be a natural slow down of the economy. There will be a natural pulling back if this virus continues to flare up. And it’s human nature, it’s natural. And we’re going to see that. Bruce, you want to-
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (59:55)
Thank you, Governor. Yes, this is a very straightforward although very serious story. The issue with this virus is when we get close to each other, especially in groups, we spread this virus. And I think one of our guests here today said it very well. Very often, the person who’s spreading it has no idea that they’re spreading the virus. They’re completely asymptomatic. They feel perfectly okay. And what we’re looking at right now, which is putting incredible pressure on our hospitals, hospitals that may have as many as 20% to 30% of its total volume taken up by Covid patients, we’re seeing the results, we believe, of people getting together in and around the Halloween time period. The big fear is that if we don’t take the message of masking, distancing, avoiding coming together in groups seriously, Thanksgiving could have a much more profound impact and could actually result in our hospitals being overwhelmed. So it’s very serious. Our guests here today I think have illustrated that incredibly well. And the plea is there in front of all of us as Ohioans. This is a matter of personal responsibility. We really owe this to each other.
Governor DeWine: (01:01:27)
Okay, next question.
Speaker 2: (01:01:30)
Next question is from Justin Dennis at mahoningmatters.com. We might be having an issue with Justin’s audio. We will go to Bryn Caswell at WKEF in Dayton.
Bryn Caswell: (01:01:56)
Hello, Governor DeWine. How are you?
Governor DeWine: (01:01:57)
I’m well, thank you.
Bryn Caswell: (01:01:59)
All right. So yesterday you had the OHA discussing how stressed our hospital systems are statewide. Medical squadrons from Wright Patterson Air Force Base were deployed to New York City and other states back in the spring to assist with the staffing shortages and these high volume of cases that we are now experiencing. When would you request armed services’ backup to help relieve our hospitals that are now calling in traveling nurses?
Governor DeWine: (01:02:24)
Well, part of our challenge is that we have the whole northern part of the country that is red hot at this point, with very few exceptions. We have all of Ohio that is red hot. So it was very, very different than what we saw in the spring, even what we saw in the summer. Certainly if we have to, we’ll request any help that we can get. But I don’t think we should assume automatically that that help is going to be available. For example, some people say, “Well, call in the National Guard.” Well, the doctors and the nurses and all the medical professionals and the Guard actually have day jobs and we would be pulling them out of hospitals and offices all around the state. You also have a situation you couldn’t be at Wright Patterson where they may equally have difficult challenges there as well. But certainly when we would need that, we would try to pull them in. But I don’t think there’s any guarantee, with half the country on fire, that we’re going to be able to get a lot of help there.
Speaker 2: (01:03:32)
Next question is from Marty Schladen at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Schladen: (01:03:38)
Good afternoon, Governor. My question is for Ms. Marshall. Even as you’re telling your story, people are on social media saying that this doesn’t really exist. I wanted to know how that makes you feel, and whether you suspect that you got this disease caring for other people who have it.
Stephanie Marshall: (01:04:04)
Well, I’m not sure where I’ve contracted the virus. It could have been anywhere from work or the community, not sure. But when people are saying that it’s not real and, “Oh, I won’t have any symptoms, mild cold from this.” Yeah, they don’t know that. I’m a healthy 37-year-old and I’m now at home on oxygen. The virus doesn’t discriminate. We’ve seen patients come into our hospital in their twenties and thirties with no underlying health problems. They talk to us and within hours, they’re dead. This is not something to mess around with. It’s a very serious virus. Unless you’ve watched people die from it, it’s really hard to see the full effects of it. But it is very serious.
Stephanie Marshall: (01:05:03)
And I just wish people would see that it doesn’t matter what is wrong with you or if you have health problems or not. It could affect you. And if one person could stay home this holiday and not go to a party and not go to their Friendsgiving, to not get this virus, it would help from the spread of so many others. So just wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance. It’s one or two holidays that could save many lives. It is real. You can see me, I’m on oxygen, and my two little kids are running around and I can’t run after them. And I don’t have health problems other than my asthma. So I hope that people listen.
Governor DeWine: (01:05:53)
Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: (01:05:57)
We’ll go back to Justin Dennis at mahoneymatters. com.
Speaker 2: (01:06:00)
… first.com. Right, Justin is still having audio issues. We will go to Laura Hancock at Cleveland.com.
Laura Hancock: (01:06:17)
I have a question for Dr. Vanderhoff. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about, we have some instances we know of with people who have had the coronavirus and then three plus months goes by and they’re doing well and they’re recovered and then they get sick again. And so I talked to somebody at the health department who said that they count each case as an individual because there isn’t clear definition of what are new coronavirus cases on the same people. And I was just wondering if you could talk a little about that, and then if you could talk a little bit about, I mean, is some of this due to this post-COVID syndrome that we’re hearing about and how that plays into this and how we don’t have definitions of a new coronavirus infection versus somebody who’s just suffering from post-COVID syndrome?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:07:08)
Thank you. Yes, those are two very good and related questions. First I’ll answer the second question and that really relates to the so-called long-term phase three effects of the virus, or some are calling it the long haulers. We’re coming to recognize that that is a real phenomenon. It is true that we don’t really understand it yet. Clearly though, there is a subset of the population who acquire this virus and after sometimes many months continue to have symptoms that are sometimes debilitating. So that’s a very real thing. We’ll continue to study it. Your second question really speaks to, is it possible and have we observed people who acquire the virus a second time? The answer is yes we have. We do know that that’s a real phenomenon. Generally, you’re right. We’re talking about something that would occur after more than about three months. And the numbers though of that are very, very small and probably relates to people who are acquiring a second type, a mutated version of the virus, not the exact same virus they saw the first time. So that’s it in a nutshell.
Speaker 2: (01:08:34)
Next question is from Lucia Walinchus at Eye on Ohio.
Lucia Walinchus: (01:08:39)
Hello, governor. Thank you so much for taking my call. Just a quick question on hospital capacity. Thank you so much for releasing those numbers. And obviously we’ve been talking a lot here today about how are our hospitals capacity is really sort of being strained, especially by the Thanksgiving holiday. I was wondering if you could talk little bit about, I’m assuming you’re to release this information every day and just in general what sort of solutions you have for expanding capacity if you do get to that level where you’re unable to take any more patients?
Governor DeWine: (01:09:17)
Bruce, you want to take that?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:09:20)
Yeah. So you can imagine that all of our work and our effort is in fact to assure that our ability to care for the patients who need that care is in fact not exhausted. But what that means is that as we have more and more patients who require immediate care, require acute care, we have to make some decisions. We have to forego other care that may be less pressing, but nevertheless is very, very important. Our hospitals, our health systems are already in the early phases of having to do that, having to make those kinds of decisions. But that’s the process we go through and we’ll go to extraordinary lengths to get people the immediate care that they need, but let’s not kid ourselves, every yes in that circumstance is a no to something else.
Speaker 2: (01:10:21)
Next question is from Dan DeRoos at WOIO in Cleveland.
Dan DeRoos: (01:10:26)
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours governor.
Governor DeWine: (01:10:28)
Dan DeRoos: (01:10:30)
Question on behalf of a coworker, she has heard from a caregiver I believe that in order to come back to work has to continue to get tested to see if he or she comes back positive or not. What is in place to make sure the same person who maybe tests twice in a week, twice in two weeks, when you know you can still be contagious, what is in place to make sure that that same person doesn’t go into the daily roles multiple times? Are you assigned by your social security number? How do we make sure that somebody that’s getting tested again and again and again to see if they can reenter the workplace doesn’t go down as another positive case?
Speaker 2: (01:11:17)
Bruce, you want to take that?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:11:19)
I need to ask some clarification, Mr. DeRoos. Are you talking about healthcare workers or are you talking about people in other settings?
Dan DeRoos: (01:11:28)
In this particular case, it was a healthcare worker that reached out to one of our reporters to say, “Hey,”-
Governor DeWine: (01:11:35)
Bruce, I assume it’s anybody you’re talking-
Dan DeRoos: (01:11:36)
Right, tight. It would go down as anybody that gets tested multiple times.
Governor DeWine: (01:11:41)
My understanding, what I’ve been told is that everybody is a case. So, but Bruce, you can-
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:11:47)
That’s correct. Yes. So what should happen is that once you test positive for the virus, you could continue even after were not infectious at all, you could continue to test positive for that virus for a very, very long time. So you really should not be repeatedly tested. Repeat testing does not tell you, you can return into the workplace. It is actually isolation, the period of isolation and the guidance that comes from the CDC about isolating, including being no longer symptomatic, that’s the clear guidance and there’s really good science behind it. The continuous testing can give you a misleading result because RNA, the molecule that is the genetic code for the virus that can be in your system for a very long time and it has nothing to do with your infectivity.
Speaker 2: (01:12:44)
Next question is from Chris Welter at WYSO in Yellow Springs.
Chris Welter: (01:12:50)
Hi governor. So I covered the two protests in front of your house last week, especially on Friday, the protest was in response to the curfew.
Governor DeWine: (01:13:06)
So hey Chris. So I heard you got a national story out of that. Congratulations.
Chris Welter: (01:13:11)
Yeah, I got a lot of mileage out of it. Yeah. Anyway-
Governor DeWine: (01:13:16)
I’m sorry. Go ahead.
Chris Welter: (01:13:17)
Yeah. So there were people packed in vans being shuttled from the library in Cedarville and from the university to your house. There were flood lights set up and there was a large police presence. I only saw the troopers intervene one time when an errant firework exploded in your yard. I know you’re concerned about public health and the spread of the virus, especially right now. And you said last week about the curfew that when police see large gatherings of people they’ll investigate and break those groups up. I’m just wondering why you didn’t enforce the curfew when more than 100 unmasked protesters showed up at your house last Friday?
Governor DeWine: (01:13:55)
Yeah. Look, I don’t make those decisions. Anything having to do with security is left to the security people. I’m not passing the buck in any way, but that’s not what I do. So the security that we have is left in the patrol’s hands and is left of local law enforcement. So those are not my decisions. None of it.
Speaker 2: (01:14:22)
Next question is from Spenser Hickey at Hannah News Service.
Spenser Hickey: (01:14:27)
Thank you. I was just wondering governor, could you comment on what your plans are regarding SB 89 on EdChoice Scholarships?
Governor DeWine: (01:14:38)
We’re looking at it and we’ll have an announcement when we make a decision.
Speaker 2: (01:14:45)
Next question is from Dustin Ensinger at Gongwer News Service.
Dustin Ensinger: (01:14:49)
Good afternoon governor. Lately when you discussed your STRONG Ohio plan, you focused almost exclusively the provisions that would provide sentencing enhancements for repeat violent offenders and those illegally in possession of firearms. Are you hoping the bill is pared down to those parts in lame duck and passed while leaving the safety protection orders and other provisions to be considered by lawmakers in the next general assembly?
Governor DeWine: (01:15:13)
Well, I remain convinced that this entire bill should pass. I’ve been around long enough in legislative bodies and observing legislative bodies to know that doesn’t always occur. But I have been talking about that particular section because frankly every time I pick up the paper, I see someone killed by gunfire and the state of Ohio, many, many, many times are convicted felons who have no business having a gun at all. And I know from talking to law enforcement for many years, chiefs of police, that a enhanced penalty for what we call weapons under disability would have taken these people out of society and they would not have been there to kill a child. The most heartbreaking thing is when you see these kids, read about these children who are killed and it happens almost every week. So that gets my temper up. And I talk about it at different press conferences, but look, the entire bill I would like to see passed. I have not changed my position at all. It’s a very strong bill. It’s a bill that respects the Second Amendment. It’s a bill that that needs to pass.
Lt. Governor Husted: (01:16:33)
Governor, I want to add some background information to Dan DeRoos’s earlier question on how we track cases. If you test positive, you’re recorded by your name and your birth date as your unique identifier. And if you test multiple times positive, you’re still only recorded as one case because they do use the name and the birth date as the unique identifier to take every positive test you would have and still treat it as one case from a statistical point of view. Just wanted to make sure that we were clear on that.
Speaker 2: (01:17:14)
Next question is from Ashley Kirkland at WLWT in Cincinnati.
Ashley Kirkland: (01:17:20)
Hi governor, happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Governor DeWine: (01:17:22)
Ashley Kirkland: (01:17:24)
You’re advising people who traveled to a state with a 15% positivity rate to quarantine for two weeks. Now, if Ohio passes our 15% positivity rate, does that influence or will it influence if you’ll Institute another lockdown for Ohioans?
Governor DeWine: (01:17:41)
No, not a lockdown, but I tell you, that data point I hope it gets people’s attention in Ohio because we’ve been saying, we’ve been these states that are 15% and over positivity, which we say is, we’ve been saying consistently, and this is what the medical professionals, health professionals tell us, is very, very dangerous. We’re [inaudible 01:18:04] this state. I mean, there’s no indication that this is stopping. We’ve not hit a plateau. We wish we were at a plateau, no indication. The positivity rate continues to go up and as cases continue to go up. So it’s a measure of how dangerous it is and we just need to pull back. We just need to draw back. We need to reduce the contacts that we’re seeing. And each one of us can contribute to that. And we’re just asking people to do it, pull it back, slow it down.
Speaker 2: (01:18:38)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Governor DeWine: (01:18:42)
Jack Windsor: (01:18:45)
Hi, happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Governor DeWine: (01:18:46)
Jack Windsor: (01:18:47)
As well as the Houston family. So two-part question. How does the level of hospital capacity right now compare to say 2018 and 2019? And also we’re hearing that patients who wants therapies can not get them with outpatient visits or outpatient ER visits, but they’re having to be admitted in order to get, say remdesivir, HCQ and other things that they could maybe take orally. Is it possible to get the therapies to people more proactively? And would that help take some of the pressure off hospitals and would it help lower the number of people who are getting seriously ill from the virus? Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (01:19:23)
Yeah, I’m going to let Bruce do that. But as far as the hospital capacity, I mean, what we quoted you today of course was COVID in the hospital. Of course we didn’t have COVID in the hospital in 2018 or 2019 as far as the total capacity. Are you talking about the capacity, Jack, or you talking about how many people are in there?
Jack Windsor: (01:19:42)
Yeah. Thank you for clarifying governor. I get a lot of messages and many people were saying, at this time of the year, hospitals are traditionally extremely full. And so we don’t have necessarily visibility into that. So I’m just asking, based on previous years how we’re looking with overall capacity?
Governor DeWine: (01:19:59)
Well, let’s ask a man who’s been working in a hospital for a long, long time. So, Bruce?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:20:05)
Yes, and thank you, governor. So first in terms of hospital capacity, our hospitals are extremely busy. I think you undoubtedly heard that yesterday from the three zone leads. I can tell you as someone who has been responsible for helping to guide one health system’s response that that’s very, very real. Our hospitals are, any time that you have a single diagnosis that is occupying 20, 30% of the beds in your hospitals, you’re extremely busy because that’s unheard of to have that single diagnosis using up that much of your capacity. So that’s the capacity question.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:20:53)
The question that you’re asking about access to medications in the ambulatory arena is a really, really good one. But what we have to understand is that most of the medications that have been available that we’ve had emergency use authorizations or have been otherwise released for us to use have in fact been targeted to the very sick patients who are in the hospital and the research has demonstrated their effectiveness in that environment. It’s only been very recently that we’ve had medications that have come to us that are really targeted to the outpatient environment. And the best example are these new monoclonal antibodies. We in Ohio received those medications just toward the end of last week. And in many instances, within 12 hours of receiving them, our health systems around the state were already putting them into, because these are infusions, by putting them into patients. So it’s a good question, but I think we are responding very rapidly to getting what can be given in the outpatient arena there. It’s just, we’re waiting for more to come.
Speaker 2: (01:22:12)
Governor. Next question is the last question for today and it belongs to Kennie Bass of WCHS in Charleston, West Virginia.
Governor DeWine: (01:22:19)
Kennie Bass: (01:22:21)
Hi governor. Thanks for taking the call. Look, I’m not an expert on curfews, nor am I an epidemiologist. And in hearing the stories of your healthcare workers today, obviously this thing is very serious and we should all take it seriously. But now you’ve instituted the curfew in Ohio, there’s really a lot of questions about if they’re effective, that instead of curtailing or getting the results that you want that often people are condensed into visiting businesses into a more narrow period of time, means more crowding, more potential exposures. And also instead of maybe being at a business that some of these gatherings are moving to private residences, private structures, where they’re exercising the same lack of caution. So have you been seeing, or do you have research or anything yet to show you if anything positive is coming from the curfew that you institute? Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (01:23:08)
Yeah, Kennie, good question. I think it’s too early to get a data or really to see it. It takes a while for these things to take effect. And it’s only one of many things that we’re doing and that we ask people to do, but it’s very consistent with what we’ve talked about today and that is pull back, separate, closing businesses. This is not a business curfew actually. It’s been described that way sometimes, but this is a curfew. So it’s a curfew for the state, so everyone should be home. So instead of going somewhere else, there’s no retail place open, legally open, that anybody could go to. And so what we hope is that go home and it is one way to reduce the amount of contact. But the most important thing again is what each one of us does in our own lives and how we pull back, particularly during the next three weeks, four weeks, up until the first of the year. And we may have to continue to do that, but we’ve got to knock this thing down and we can do that.
Governor DeWine: (01:24:10)
We’ll be back either for a press conference on Monday and Tuesday. We’ll announce that in the next few days, but for now I want to wish everyone a blessing Thanksgiving. Our prayer for our own family and our prayer for your family is really the same, and that is that next Thanksgiving, when we are free of this virus, we will all all be together. I’m reminded of a World War II era song and I like to read the lyrics that I think it certainly reminds me of what we hope for and what our aspiration is for in the future, next Thanksgiving. “There’ll be love and laughter and peace ever after tomorrow when the world is free.” We will be free of this. We have to have faith, we have to have hope, we have to take the right actions, but we will be free of this. And we’ll all be together, all of us, next Thanksgiving. Thank you very much.