Mar 30, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 30
Karen Kasler: (00:16)
Good afternoon. This is live coverage of Governor Mike DeWine’s daily update on Coronavirus in Ohio. I’m Karen Kasler, State House Bureau Chief for Ohio public radio and television and the studios of the Ohio Channel at the State House in Columbus. Thanks for joining us via Facebook Live, the Ohio Channel’s Facebook Live feed or tuning in on public radio and public television stations. Our audience does include kids and also this week public television stations are starting to air a learn at home initiative. So we’re interrupting that right now, but we will return to that after the governor and Lieutenant governor John Houstoun and Dr. Amy Acton finish. We are expecting a lot of important information on what’s happening with state’s response to Coronavirus and the things you can do to stay healthy and safe at home since we have to be at home until at least April 6th. So let’s start as always with my colleague Andy Chow. You covered one press conference this weekend, I covered the other one this weekend. What do we know right now as we go into today’s press conference?
Andy Chow: (01:07)
Well, we do have new numbers that are being confirmed with the Ohio Department of Health. Now again, the Ohio has limited amount of testing. So they are not testing everybody. So the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio right now is 1,933. That’s 1,933 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio. But remember, we are not testing everybody. The state of Ohio is not testing everybody. So the number of cases in Ohio is expected to be much, much higher than that. The number of people in the ICU right now is 163 people. The number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 is 475 people. There are now 39 deaths being reported in the state of Ohio due to COVID-19.
Andy Chow: (01:51)
And Karen to your question, this weekend was really interesting because the state is definitely kind of turning its attention away from social distancing because most of the important orders, those sweeping orders are in place. The stay at home order is in place for the time being. And so now they’re working on building up capacity, trying to make sure that the state has enough hospitals, enough medical gear and enough staff to be able to take on a huge increase in the number of cases here in the coming weeks.
Karen Kasler: (02:19)
And that was what yesterday’s press conference was really focused on was this idea of this technology that’s being developed at Battelle in Columbus that would allow for the sterilization of up to 80,000 of these N95 masks per machine per day. There are two machines in Ohio, so 160,000 per machine in Ohio alone per day. And then they’re also sending machines to New York and Seattle. And that was what they were waiting on yesterday. The FDA had allowed a sterilization of up to 10,000 masks per machine per day. And governor Mike DeWine was angry about that. He called that a reckless decision. He called president Trump, he pushed for this for the FDA to come forward, which they did late last night. And so now those are all up and running. But yeah, that whole PPE question and will there be enough because we’re already seeing in different parts of the country that that equipment gloves, face shields, masks, they’re running out.
Andy Chow: (03:11)
Yeah. It’s a chicken and egg scenario where you have to have a certain number of beds. So they’re trying to build up just the overall infrastructure to have enough rooms, to have enough beds to handle a huge influx in patients due to COVID-19, and then if you have all those beds and if you have all those rooms, then you need to have the enough personal protection equipment. So the day before on Saturday, Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, we all know her, so don’t really need to tell her title, but just to make sure they held up a big poster that listed off the top 10 pieces of equipment that the state needs and no particular order.
Andy Chow: (03:49)
And it listed off those masks, it listed off the gowns and the face shields and saying, “This is what Ohio needs and if we’re going to build up enough beds and build up enough capacity, then we need to have that kind of equipment for the medical staff.” Now it’s not only best practice, it’s not only to protect the medical staff, but what we’re seeing around the country right now in places that are really seeing the surgeon COVID-19 cases is also a rise in cases of trauma among healthcare workers. Healthcare workers who are seeing death and seeing this virus spread out of control and having to deal with the mental health consequences of that. And what Governor DeWine said and what Dr. Amy Acton said was giving these healthcare workers the equipment that they need, making sure that they can use best practices can help decrease that trauma.
Karen Kasler: (04:37)
And actually the folks at Battelle also said the same thing, that they wanted to provide this because it could ease the mind of those people who are on the front lines. Of course, there are other companies and other institutions that are doing similar work. The University of Nebraska is doing some work with the UV and trying to find some other ways to sterilize and reuse. But this one was a big one for Ohio because again, 160,000 masks potentially being sterilized in Ohio every day, each of those masks then being used up to 20 times and being recycled. And those machines can be taken apart and moved over to another area where they’re needed. And so you know, New York and Seattle, those first two possibilities. But then also there were to talk about Chicago, Washington, D.C. Other areas that are in need of that kind of sterilization equipment so they can make sure that they have enough equipment for everybody.
Andy Chow: (05:27)
And it seems like what the mission here is it’s all hands on deck approach. So calling out to places like Battelle, if you can figure out a way to help the state, help us. This is the message from Governor DeWine, if you can help try to help us. So places like Battelle, other private sector organizations trying to work together, even just individuals at home. So what the…
Karen Kasler: (05:46)
And we have to go now to the governor Mike DeWine.
Mike DeWine: (05:47)
I want to first say thank you to all our Vietnam veterans, yesterday was National Veteran Day. Thank you very, very much for your service. A special shout out to Dan Rivers WKBN, Mahoning Valley who show I’ve been on a number of times and has a lot of very faithful listeners. Dan, thank you for your service and also thank you for the service of your good buddy, my brother-in-law Ken Struewing. And I know you two have continued to be great friends, but to all the Vietnam Veterans, thank you so very, very much for your service. We’re all very, very grateful.
Mike DeWine: (06:33)
We talk a lot about social distancing and I think probably one of the hardest things is for a young person or an older person when they see a basketball hoop to resist going there and having a pickup game of basketball and we know that this is a challenging thing. So we thought we’d have a little fun today. We want to show a video of some Ohio girls from Pickaway and Fairfield counties dribbling and playing at home and then virtually passing the ball. We’ll start with that. Yes. You got to have the crowd noise. We all do crowd noise. Yesterday evening, actually quite late evening, the Lieutenant governor and I moved on there at Battelle, we were on a conference call with a number of people from the FDA and what had proceeded that during the day since our press conference yesterday afternoon was a lot of calls back and forth between the FDA and Battelle. They compressed what normally would take a matter of days going back and forth with questions and answers.
Mike DeWine: (08:45)
They managed to compress that into a few hours and I’m very grateful for everyone who was able to do that because late last night we got very good news and that is that the FDA had approved Battelle to move forward at full capacity in regard to being able to take the masks that are so very, very important to our first responders and to our doctors and our nurses and everyone in healthcare and to be able to sterilize these at a very, very high rate every single day.
Mike DeWine: (09:22)
And so we are very happy about that. We know that today they are moving forward and within a few days we’ll be up to full capacity. This is a major breakthrough for us in Ohio, but it’s also something where we’re taking Ohio technology and helping other states. So we’re very proud of that. We know Battelle already has one of the machines in New York. I had the opportunity to talk to Governor Cuomo late yesterday afternoon and we know the other machine is on its way. This will also help Seattle, we believe also the Washington, D.C. area and Battelle will continue in the weeks ahead to get more of these machines out to different parts of the country. So a great victory yesterday and we’re very, very happy about that.
Mike DeWine: (10:14)
Just as we have throughout this crisis relied on good medical counsel for us, good science counsel, we put working group together of doctors to give us advice. Lieutenant governor and I think that it’s also very important as we look to the future and look to when we’re going to come out of this and how we come out of this, that we have a group of businessmen and women who reflect Ohio, who are Ohio, look like Ohio, small businesses, mid size, larger businesses to give us advice in regard to how we best do that.
Mike DeWine: (10:58)
So this group will in the next several days we’ll actually officially name that and we’ll come back and talk about that, but I want to give you a little preview. We will be doing that, it’s a work in progress. We’re almost done assembling the group and they will be on the phone every day or so giving us advice and counsel. Also, looking at issues such as how business can better follow the guidelines and force the social distances.
Mike DeWine: (11:26)
Those businesses that are still operating, they’ll give us counsel in regard to that, but also counsel as we go forward because we know that there are so many people who are unemployed. We know there’s so many men and women who have a business, small business and they’re very, very concerned about whether ever be able to open. Again, these are all things that are very, very important and so having good as we move forward just as we relied on good counsel to make the decisions in regard to protecting us the medical decisions we need help as well and counsel and advice with the business decisions.
Mike DeWine: (12:12)
Let me bring up another topic. I had the opportunity to talk with our mayors about this a little bit, but that is our efforts to reach out to non English speakers in Ohio or people who first language is not English. And let me tell you where we are in regard to that, it is a work in progress. We intend to continue to do more because it’s important that every Ohioan get all the information that we have in regard to the Corona virus and as the Health Department shares information, as I share information, the Lieutenant Governor does, we want to make sure that everyone is getting that. So currently when you go to coronavirus at coronavirus.ohio.gov which is the place where you look, this is up in Spanish, Chinese and in Somalia. That is the top tips, basically the executive summary part of that.
Mike DeWine: (13:22)
Chemical abstract here in Ohio is working and it’s doing this for free and we are very, very grateful for them. They are also translating everything, a longer version into Spanish, Chinese, Somalia, but also into Arabic. So that will be coming online shortly. Let me also give a shout out to the Ohio Channel. You can go up on ohiochannel.org and see these press conferences, but the point is not that you have to go watch them again or you want to watch them again but you can go after they’re uploaded and you can pick your language and you get close captioning in that language so that might be again, something that people can utilize.
Mike DeWine: (14:12)
Let me also give a shout out to the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs. They’ve been our partners throughout this and they are doing a very, very good job as well. Let me move to another topic. To all the hospitals out there, we really have a request and it’s a request that I think is clearly the right thing to do. It’s going to get you better results or at least quicker results and that is please send your samples, when someone is tested. Please send them either to a neighboring hospital that does quick testing and they can get the results back to you quickly or send it to the Ohio Department of Health. I don’t think it’s acceptable as we go through this crisis to be in a situation where we are waiting and people are waiting four or five and six days.
Mike DeWine: (15:09)
Unfortunately, that is what we’re seeing from the outside labs that some of you have contracts with. So again, the Ohio Department of Health, will do this for free. It’s in the best interest of your patients, the best interest of you to get that to us. We will get that turned around in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s eight to 10 hours and gets you back the results. This is something that I think is very, very important and again, there’s nothing wrong with private labs, they do good work but they’re behind. We are not. We can get these results back to you very, very quickly. Please, please you use us to do that.
Mike DeWine: (15:55)
Dr. Acton will in a moment along with General Harris, give you all an update in regard to our hospital build out and what our plans are, how that progress is moving forward. And again, this is something that is so very, very important. We’ve got two variables. One is all of us slowing this coronavirus down by distancing from others. The other is it’s a race for time as we build out the hospital capacity and it’s not just of course the hospital capacity. It’s also buying us time, not just to build out the hospital capacity and get ready for that, but also allowing more technology to come online that helps us in so many ways. For example, what Battelle did and what we are getting this week now for the first time.
Mike DeWine: (16:49)
So all of this technology that’s coming online every day that we can delay the real onslaught of this tidal wave that’s coming to Ohio is a day that we can see the technology move forward and we can get better ready for that. So in a moment, Dr. Acton and General Harris will give you that update. We historically don’t really have a hospital system in the state, we have hospital systems. What we’re doing, and I want to thank the hospitals they have really, really come through. They’re working together, they’re talking to each other, they’re helping us plan. So I just want to give a shout out to our hospitals. Thank you, you’re doing a great job as we go through this and go into our eight regions and put a plan together and then execute on that plan in the eight regions.
Mike DeWine: (17:42)
Again, our goal every single day is to protect Ohioans and for any Ohioan who comes down with the virus, we want them to be able to plug directly in their healthcare provider to a process that will work very, very well and that is coming along as we move forward. Let me talk about our K through 12 schools. We originally rolled out an order that separated our students from the physical classrooms for three weeks. We’re today giving an additional order that Dr. Acton will sign that will take this to May 1st, which happens to be a Friday. We’ll reevaluate this as we get closer to May 1st, so this should not be a surprise to anyone, but I wanted to clarify that today. Get that out so everybody knows how to plan.
Mike DeWine: (18:45)
I want to thank the teachers, administrators, you are doing a phenomenal job in very difficult circumstances. I want to thank the parents, I want to thank the students. This is a problem not of our making, but it’s a problem that you all have stepped up to and are doing a great job and so thank you very, very much for that great, great work. Let me now talk a little bit about another effort that’s going on to get us ready and that is some work that’s being done in Ohio prisons. Our Ohio prisons are working hard to make additional PPE, personal protection equipment. So far they have made 500 hospital gowns. They will be able to make 44,000 as soon as they get the additional fabric, which we hope is coming soon. They’ll be able to start making masks, similar surgical masks. These would be the lower tech masks. Soon they’ll be able to make 5,000 a day up to a total of 2 million. So these will be very helpful.
Mike DeWine: (19:56)
They’re now waiting the delivery of ingredients that they expect to get here around April 14th and then should be able to make 1,400 gallons of hand sanitizer. So these are all things that they’re working on. They’re also gearing up to make a face shields, they’re currently sourcing out the materials and making patterns and further each prison has its own workshop and will make mass for the people in those prisons. So again, everyone is coming on board and I will thank the director for that and all our folks that work in our prisons and we thank the prisoners for working on that. Again, very, very important.
Mike DeWine: (20:39)
One of the issues that we have been working on and working with our mayors and working with our communities and our local health departments has to do with the homeless. And so I want to give a little a report on that. Now, everyday we talk about the importance of social distancing. We talk about staying home, but there are people who may rely on homeless shelters or domestic shelters and that is where they go. There are also people with developmental disabilities or severe and persistent mental illness who live in group homes. There are people living in recovery houses as well. As part of a strike force that we put together, we’ve created homeless team dedicated to this specific work each day. For example, the CDC issued guidelines about homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters. While these documents are available to communities in Ohio now, our state homeless team is customizing those for Ohio’s local use. We are grateful for groups such as the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio, the Ohio Chapter, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Ohio Recovery Housing who are all helping us work through what’s needed on the front lines. The big challenge is still helping reduce the number of people in our homeless shelters.
Mike DeWine: (22:04)
Shelters are not built as you can imagine for social distancing and they present unique problems and challenges. Many communities are in fact finding alternatives to shelter. We’re spreading out to other locations. We are asking all of our communities to include homeless shelters in your planning so that we can more quickly help support these Ohioans to meet the social distancing guidelines. The CDC guidelines and information about all these funding opportunities are on the corona.ohio.gov website. The site will continue to be updated as this work progresses this week and into the future. Also, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has created an email address and that is, and I’ll read it, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll read it again, that’s email@example.com…
Mike Dewine: (23:01)
I’ll read it again. That’s COVID19Housing@mha.ohio.gov. If you or your organization have questions or concerns, that’s a place to look. Let me again say that that is the right address, COVID19Housing@mha.ohio.gov.
Mike Dewine: (23:26)
Dr. Acton and I talked on the phone, and Lieutenant Governor, to the mayors of our major cities today, as we do every day, and exchanged, I think, some very good ideas in regard to homeless people and how we can best serve them and serve the community. So, again, this is part of our efforts to continue to focus on social distancing.
Mike Dewine: (23:51)
Let me now turn to General Harris, who I believe is going to come up there in a moment. We’ll get General Harris up and ask him to give us a little report, and we’ll follow that with the Lieutenant Governor and then Dr. Acton. General, good to see you.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (24:18)
Thank you, Governor.
Mike Dewine: (24:19)
Thank you very much. Give us a little report.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (24:22)
I’m here today working in the emergency operations center in Columbus. This emergency operations center is the nerve center for this whole government response to the COVID crisis, and I have to give a shout-out to the [inaudible 00:24:34] professionals who are working here and tirelessly coordinating and synchronizing this whole government approach. We’re so deeply grateful for everything that they’re doing here.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (24:43)
The main effort that’s happening here as the obvious preparation for the medical capacity surge that we know that we’re going to need as this COVID spread peaks. Now, when I talk about building out capacity, we really look at that in a number of lines of effort. For example, we look at leasing or acquiring facilities as necessary or even looking across the spectrum of unused state facilities that we can bring to bear for this problem.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (25:11)
It may include building out facilities, in partnership with the regions that I’ll talk about in a second. It may include surging equipment, pushing that equipment forward it’s most needed, surging personnel, helping with staffing, because we know that the workforce is going to be stressed during these peak periods. Obviously, as everyone knows, we’re looking to surge PPE, because that is a such in-demand item right now.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (25:39)
Now, Governor Dewine has directed that we use every approach possible, and I will tell you, we are turning over every rock possible. We are innovating as much as possible to include and engage in the public sector, the private sector, every resource possible, to bring every resource that we could find to bear on this problem.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (25:59)
The best thing happening here in Ohio, as the governor said, is this collaboration that’s happening out in the regions. These healthcare providers are doing a fantastic job of coordinating and planning their strategy for patient care so that they can maximize the resources. What that does is it creates the opportunity for us to better target the resources that we bring to bear, not only for maximum efficiency, but making sure that we’ve got the right stuff in the right place at the right time for when it’s needed during this peak. So this allows us to optimize.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (26:36)
Now, I promised that when the National Guard had a new mission or we were going to be in your communities, that I would tell you. So I’m telling you. You’re going to see service members in uniform in your community, doing things in increasing numbers here in the very near future. Now, they’ll be a conducting site assessments, but the most important thing they’re going to be doing is liaisoning with these regional leaders to make sure that we know what the requirements are and we’re bringing the right requirements to the right place in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health with those regional leaders.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (27:15)
So I need to emphasize, one last time, that every person is a participant in this. Your actions, your individual actions are critical to ensuring that we continue to fight the curve. We’ve had tremendous success with that so far, but we need tactical patience now, and we need to continue this fight, because the actions that we take now will determine how tough that fight is for our frontline personnel, those medical providers, those practitioners that are going to be on the front line during this fight. Our actions now determine how hard their life is during this peak.
General John C. Harris, Jr.: (27:51)
So thank you for your continued contribution, thanks for your patience, and, most importantly, looking forward to how this turns out, because I know we’ll all be better for it when we come out on the other end.
Mike Dewine: (28:04)
Thanks, General. I appreciate it very much. Lieutenant Governor?
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (28:08)
Thank you very much, Governor and General Harris. I’m going to try to get through my part quickly so we can get on to Dr. Acton. But the governor and I get a lot of calls and contact from people all around the state, and one of the things that has been emerging is concern over the commercial lending market. You may think this is just about business, but it’s not just about business.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (28:31)
If you recall, after the financial crisis of 2018, we had a lot of businesses that weren’t able to pay their mortgages. So we had a lot of businesses that were vacant, empty, spread throughout our state, and that’s not a sight we want to see in our communities.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (28:51)
To the Ohio banks and credit unions, most all of them have embraced their responsibility in this. What they have done is they’ve deferred loan interest and principal payments to the back end of the loan, taking 90 days to give businesses a chance to have the cash to get through this situation, and then we’ll recover it on the back end of those loans.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (29:17)
But of that marketplace in Ohio, Ohio-regulated institutions are only about $15 billion of that market. Outside of Ohio,-regulated entities are $240 billion if that market. So we only have a limited control from our institutions in Ohio. What we need these other institutions to do is to work with businesses on this issue.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (29:41)
To give you an example of how this trickles up the supply chain, or the daisy chain, so to speak, we don’t want, say, for example, somebody who has an apartment to evict somebody for 90 days. We’ve said that, and we’re working with the court system to make sure that that doesn’t happen. But if you own an apartment complex that, say, had 32 apartments and eight people couldn’t pay, well, the person that owns that apartment complex will not be able to pay their mortgage and could be foreclosed upon.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (30:12)
This is how this all fits together. We say we’re in this together. It’s not only in the health standpoint. It’s from the economic point of view as well. So we’re asking these particular commercial mortgage bank backed securities to work with local businesses on this, but we are working with the business community. One message that we want to have, and lenders, that we need to come up with a state solution. We talked with our congressional delegation about a federal solution today. Just know that this conversation is ongoing and that all of you who’ve called in and asked us to look at this issue, we’re preparing some action on that.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (30:51)
I also would like to add that, reminder, voting April 28th. You can get your absentee ballot request at votoohio.gov, or you can call your local board of elections and request that ballot. Please don’t wait. I know I’ve talked to Secretary LaRose about this. I talk to local boards of elections. Every time we announce this, people get reminded to do that. So call. Get your absentee ballot so that you can participate in the election that’s coming up for final vote count on April the 28th.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (31:26)
Do want to echo Governor Dewine’s thank to the FDA. Over the past week, I think I talked to the FDA probably as much as I’ve talked to anybody in the state or federal government. That quick turnaround yesterday really helped us put Battelle in a position to help those frontline healthcare workers get the supplies that they need to keep themselves safe.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (31:52)
Tacking onto the announcement that the governor made about the continuation of education from home, as the reporters out there writing their stories, remember that our public television stations in this state have content that they are producing both for viewers throughout the day, with students, and also online at PBS Learning Media. So please include that in your story so that the folks out there who are trying to continue the education of their children from home have access to that so that they can enrich the lives of their children and ultimately strengthen our education system in the state. So, with that, I will turn it back over to the governor. Thank you, Governor.
Mike Dewine: (32:37)
Dr. Amy Acton: (32:39)
Okay. Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s good to see you again. As the governor mentioned yesterday, I was not at the unexpected press briefing. I was actually out with General Harris at the emergency operating center. We’ve been doing a lot of work, as he said. It’s such a joy to work with him and all of the members of the National Guard as we sort of strategize how best to deploy the resources we have.
Dr. Amy Acton: (33:11)
In that work, we’re working tirelessly with hospitals, with civic leaders, with members of the community, with nonprofits, with philanthropy. So it really is this very integrated, complex effort, an effort that really has never been done in this country. So when I say things like inventing or innovating, it really is, and it’s up to us in Ohio to find our best strategy. I have to say, it’s been an honor working alongside of them.
Dr. Amy Acton: (33:41)
So I’m going to start out with a little bit of numbers just to catch everybody up, if we could. So, again, our dashboard, which is on the coronavirus.ohio.gov, as well as a lot of the other addresses and websites you hear about, we always try to put them all in one place for you at coronavirus. ohio.gov, is our dashboard, and we are now at over 1900 cases and many hospitalizations, 475.
Dr. Amy Acton: (34:14)
Remember that we are testing right now. With our limited testing, we’re testing the sickest and our healthcare workers and highest at risk. So, of course, those are going to be folks who are more likely to be in need of hospitalization, and we’re seeing that in our numbers. 25% of our cases have actually been hospitalized, and about 8% right now are requiring ICU higher-level treatment like intubation and ventilators.
Dr. Amy Acton: (34:42)
I’m very sad to say that we now have 39 deaths in Ohio. Those have ranged. Right now, the deaths span 19 counties. So that is information I’ve just received. We do have cases in over 70 counties at this point. We have 88 counties in Ohio. Let’s go ahead and look at our next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (35:10)
Also, at this point, we know that we’ve tested about 27,000 people in Ohio, and that’s still just the tip of the iceberg. We are maximizing our testing. As the governor said, make sure, if you’re a hospital and you’re testing someone, if you want it turned around quickly, you can get it. We have a couple hospitals, you know who they are, in your region who can do the testing in-house, or you can also send it to my lab, Ohio Department of Health. It’s on our website. We can get that run for you in eight hours it takes us, about, to run a test. That time is getting shorter all the time. So it’s really important. We don’t want to wait that five to six days. Next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (35:53)
Again, this is just showing that a huge percentage of our cases in Ohio are requiring hospitalization. This is our curve, again. We’ve talked a lot in the past. Last time I was here, we talked about the hurricane analogy for our modeling. Our forecast, our weather station gets a little better each time. The more we feed data into this model, the more accurate it gets, and so we’re feeling that they’re getting some pretty good numbers. It gets better with each day and more accurate, but we still see that our peak is a going to be, we’re thinking, in a couple of weeks.
Dr. Amy Acton: (36:36)
We’re seeing it more toward mid, late April. Depending on how successful we are with our staying at home, with the social distancing, that might push that out a little farther, but we know and we already see from the stories from the frontline, it’s a lot of work right now in ICUs and hospitals. They’re really already seeing this. We’re certainly seeing a lot in our frontline workers, especially in nursing homes. Next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (37:08)
We’re also tracking as best we can, because there’s not great, accurate data out there. I’ll share this with the media, and we’ll keep sharing with you what we have as we have it. But this is a graph which will be on our website. It’s talking about different levels of PPE masks and what our hospitals have right now. As best as we can tell, we have the amount of currently available, and when you look at the yellow, that’s where there’s already critical shortages. This is just going up to their typical 100% occupancy.
Dr. Amy Acton: (37:39)
What the general and I are working on with all our hospital CEOs is basically doubling that capacity again, at least doubling what they already do. With that, they need all the increased equipment, all the increased staff, and, of course, the locations. So that’s a little bit of a map of where we are currently. Next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (38:03)
Similarly, looking at this line-up here is our current capacity. We know we need to double that. We don’t have exact numbers, because, again, we can’t put exact case numbers in yet. But we know right now, currently, the hospitals have done a great job of freeing up the equipment by not doing elective surgeries. Right now, it shows you that, for instance, we’re at 54% occupancy across, it varies by hospital, on our med surge beds that are in current use. 30% of our ventilators currently are in use. Now, we need to free up all the way up to 100% and then go up to 200% is our goal. Next slide.
Dr. Amy Acton: (38:44)
So I’d like to talk a little bit more for a moment about what we’re working on. I know we’ve talked a little bit about regional plans, and I think that sounds like a very concrete thing, like there’s this one blueprint for how our hospitals are acting. In truth, no hospital system in this world has ever faced what we’re facing around the world with coronavirus. So when we say plans, what we’re really doing is ongoing, ever-evolving planning, and that isn’t a static one answer or one fits all. It will actually continue. Our planning will go through the surge, and it will continue after the surge and will continue after we start to return back to normal life. We are never going to work together quite the same, to be honest, and we’re learning a lot as we go through this.
Dr. Amy Acton: (39:40)
First of all, typically, hospitals … I’ll use Columbus as an example, because it’s where I live right now, here in Columbus. We have several hospital systems. We have things like the Ohio State University, Ohio Health, Mount Carmel, Saint Anne’s. We have a VA hospital. We have nursing homes. We have long-term and residential psychiatric facilities. All of these work, and they try to collaborate across those systems, but they’re collaborating just in one city.
Dr. Amy Acton: (40:12)
They also have branches of their hospital that have much larger containment areas that go out into many cities. Throughout Ohio, we have these systems, and there are local, small hospitals in rural areas and suburban areas. They all connect to each other, but now they’re having to connect each other in different ways than they ever have.
Dr. Amy Acton: (40:35)
What I’m so proud of is the CEOs of all these hospitals are working together to create a master system. That’s what I’m spending my time working on. How do we work together as one state? We’re no longer saying, “You’re my patient” or “You’re their patient.” How are we going to maximize our resources? What are we going to build out at the local level and in the bigger urban centers, whether it’s having some centers for more mildly ill folks that might be a build-out of something like a convention center, like an IMX or Duke? Maybe we’re using nursing home beds in slightly different ways. Maybe we’re using hospital and hotel rooms differently. Maybe we’re using dorms.
Dr. Amy Acton: (41:22)
All of that is in progress. There is not one final answer, but that is what we’re working on 24/7, is sort of how we maximize these. We’re working closely with our civic leaders. We’re working closely with our nonprofits. So when we say and when the governor assigned us a plan and a deadline, I think that might have sounded like there was this finishing line. In fact, there isn’t. In fact, we’re building, building, building, building, and evolving, and we’ll share with you as we do that more and more detail as that emerges.
Dr. Amy Acton: (41:55)
But that’s to say, back at the EOC, our job in government is to help these hospitals as best we can remove barriers that are in their way. Perhaps there’s issues around licensing and getting some of our nursing and med students out there. We’ll help with that. We’re there at the control center, working closely with those of you on the ground to get you the resources you need as we have them.
Dr. Amy Acton: (42:19)
So that is part of an ongoing, really, one system, one health approach in Ohio, and we’re also working with our neighboring states, governors, and their hospitals. So we have people that live in Ohio, but maybe work across the border in Michigan or Kentucky, and all of that has to talk to each other. That’s the system we’re building.
Dr. Amy Acton: (42:43)
One last thing. Someone has told me that it is Doctors’ Day, which, of course, I didn’t know, Governor, that there is such a thing. I had the opportunity to watch this press conference yesterday from the EOC, and it got me thinking. My husband shares a little bit of what he’s seeing out there.
Dr. Amy Acton: (43:07)
I have the honor of wearing this white coat, which I know has become a little bit iconic, but it became very clear to me that I’m wearing a symbol of all my friends and colleagues and your family members who are out on the front lines. I’m thinking about you a lot, more than I can express, because I’ve spent many years on the front lines and sometimes feel frustrated that I can’t just come in there and work alongside of you in doing this bigger picture planning.
Dr. Amy Acton: (43:37)
But this white coat represents all of you. It’s Doctors’ Day. We’re losing people, and these deaths, they’re starting to be personal. I know we lost an ER nurse, I just learned this news yesterday, who was working, again, a younger person who has a family, working alongside our colleagues, and her colleagues had to help her when she got sick. I know we lost someone from one of our health boards, one of the Board of Health members, and all of this is personal. It’s becoming increasingly personal to all of us. So I just want to let you know that I’m wearing this coat and I’m thinking of you every day I put it on. So thank you.
Mike Dewine: (44:19)
Thank you very much. We’ll be happy to respond to questions.
Molly Martinez: (44:27)
Hi. This is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. I have a question for the lieutenant governor. Now that this Battelle deal is a go, can you sort of expound on what this means for jobs, what this means for Battelle, what this means for Ohio, and what this sort of means for the workflow of getting these masks sanitized?
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (44:47)
Well, I appreciate the question. The people that it matters most to are the people who work in our healthcare institutions or hospitals, because they were running low on the protective equipment that they need. So, every day, they’re going to be able to send that off to Battelle, and Battelle will go through the process of decontaminating that and then sending that same equipment back to the same medical institution. So that’s what they’re going to do.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (45:15)
At last, when I talked to Lou Von Thaer late last night from Battelle, they will be ramping this up as fast as they can. I know that they expect to do 10,000 tomorrow, and then every day that they can get the shipments in from the hospitals, and then they will process those as fast as they can. How the machines work, that there are four chambers in each machine, they can run at least 10,000 in each chamber. There are four chambers in each machine, and they can run that for two shifts. So each machine, under two shifts, should be able to ultimately decontaminate 80,000 of those N95 masks and then …
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (46:03)
N95 masks… Then they have two of those. Once they get those fully up and running, they should be able to do 160,000, but that’s not going to happen immediately. They are going to ramp up to that. There’s a supply chain of both getting those from the hospital, and the logistics of getting them there, and then getting them back. Starting basically today, they are gearing it up, and they will start delivering, I think, as early as tomorrow.
Speaker 2: (46:29)
Then do you know why there was a lag getting this green-lit by the FDA?
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (46:38)
I think the FDA thought they were doing what Battelle was asking. As they explained it, FDA thought they were doing what was right. Battelle had asked her something differently. Once the governor really brought his personal influence into that discussion and then got President Trump involved, it got everybody together so that what might have taken days happened in hours. We’re very, very much benefited by everybody pulling together from the governor, to the president, to our team, to the FDA team. In the end, it got done yesterday. There will be no hold-up in the process for Battelle getting its work done.
Speaker 2: (47:23)
Jim Otte: (47:27)
Jim Otte from WHIO-TV in Dayton. Thank you, governor. I have a question for you. I want to get to the thought process of balancing safety for kids in the classroom and then all the logistical hassles of starting back up when you give them the green light. Could you talk for a minute about your considerations here? At some point, you have to decide if we’re going to have a school year at all. When do you have to make that decision? Is there a possibility this school year could go into the summer? Is that possible?
Mike DeWine: (47:59)
Well, Jim, the way we’re proceeding is school really continues. It’s not continuing in the classroom in the physical building, but is continuing. One of the heartening things that I see when I talk to Paolo, and talk to teachers, and superintendents is the great job that teachers are doing, the great job that families are doing to continue this education under obviously a difficult circumstance. They’re continuing to do that. We want to take this kind of one chunk at a time because we don’t know exactly where we’re going to be, but it’s clear that we’re not going to be back in the classroom before May 1. We want to signal to everybody today, you can plan. You need to continue on the education until May 1.
Mike DeWine: (48:53)
Is it possible that that will have to continue the way it is now remotely until the end of the school year? Yes, it is. That’s certainly possible. We just don’t know yet until we see exactly where we are. The initial decision was made for the safety of students, but also frankly, for the safety of every Ohioan. We have seen young people get sick. We have seen young people come down with this. Obviously, when you put a lot of kids just in one classroom, you’ve got many, many families represented. If one brings in the virus, then that could go out to every kid in that classroom. Then that goes back to all those families. Kids are obviously just like everyone else, can be a carrier. That was the big concern that we have. Just, it made no sense if we were going to try to slow this down, to continue to have kids congregating in school every single day. That’s why we made the decision.
Jim Otte: (49:58)
Governor, could you extend the school year, if we go back to the classroom, into June or July?
Mike DeWine: (50:05)
Well, you could do that. I don’t know that that’s what we would do. I think it’s more likely that we would try to get by through this school year with the remote learning. Now let me just kind of be candid. I’ve had some superintendents that we’ve talked to who are concerned. They’re concerned that their particular students are going to be further behind. The reason is that not every school has the same ability to do distance learning. Not every school has the ability to do that. You’ll have, in some cases, families in cities, for example, who may not have the ability to do that. We’ll also have in the rural areas… We may have families that can’t access that. Maybe a whole community cannot really access the internet. These are things that we’re going to have to try to figure out as we move forward. How do we compensate these kids for that? How do we give them that extra help that we need?
Mike DeWine: (51:09)
Now, the other factor is we do have money coming in from the federal government. Some of this money has been designated for the schools. We’re still trying to figure out exactly how that is going to work. Some of that will go through the state. Some of that will go directly to the school. These are all the things that we’re weighing. We’re very open to hear from teachers and from superintendents. That communication has been good. We encourage that as we look forward and have to make the difficult decisions, and decisions that, frankly, none of us thought we were going to have to be making this year.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (51:47)
If I could add a little helpful tool for some of the families. The internet service providers… Many of them are putting hotspots out where people can come, and download, and upload content into the computers for their children if they don’t have good internet service at their home, at their place of residence. We are trying to compile a list for everyone so that they know where those are in their own communities.
Jim Provance: (52:17)
Jim Provance with the Toledo Blade. A question for Dr. Acton. There’s been a lot of discussion about building out the physical infrastructure of our healthcare system. Could you talk about the people infrastructure of that system? Where do we stand in terms of manpower? What are we doing to bring in more nurses, more doctors?
Dr. Amy Acton: (52:34)
Thank you so much. That’s a great point. When we talk about capacity, some of it is physical, but it is all the doctors, and the nurses, and the folks that wrap around that. Then it’s also the equipment that they need to do the job. There are many components to upping our ability to treat someone. We have a whole team that’s working on this staffing workforce issue. There’s a couple different avenues in it. When I talk to you more in the days to come about how we’re sort of creating these zones in our state, we’re doing that around the big city. Cleveland is going to be sort of a one area across the northern part of our state. There’s the middle area and more southern. In some places, in one zone, they’ve tried some things. In one zone, they’re already doing online trainings to help take nursing students, or nurses who have been doing other kinds of work or patient-care assistance, and training them for a new job, or training a surgeon how they might become able to do some nursing things.
Dr. Amy Acton: (53:39)
Some of those innovations that one area of our state has already discovered… One of the things I’m doing is trying to universalize that or share the best practices that one place is using or anywhere in this country. We have a group of people that are feeding that into those healthcare systems. Then we’re also looking at things like what our state medical board can do, whether we need to make any waivers. We’re also graduating classes early. In some areas of the state, I’ve heard that the deans who are now all talking collectively… That’s my job, is get them all talk, and then go out, and take their innovation to each other. They’re looking at graduating classes early, so those folks can be deployed on the front lines. There’s a lot of moving pieces to the people problem.
Dr. Amy Acton: (54:24)
It’s not just for hospitals. We are actually working with earlier-year med students and nursing students to get them to be amateur disease detectives. We’re actually building a curriculum for them to be trained in because we know part of the way of getting out of this is going to have five components, which I’d be glad to talk about, as well. We know that to get out of this, we’re going to have to have a bunch of things in place. One of them, once we have that testing where we can be testing much more of the population, we’re actually going to have to go back to the basics that we did in the beginning, which is extensive identification of somebody who’s infected and contact tracing.
Dr. Amy Acton: (55:05)
We’re going to actually need, literally, boots-on-the-ground folks, far beyond anything public health has even had on their payrolls to be able to do that and do that as quickly as possible. We’re designing a new workforce that’s never existed. They’ll be a wonderful learning opportunity for all of those. I mean, the people who are training in healthcare today… This is going to be a memory, a turning point in their careers. All of that is underway. I’ll tell you more and more of sort of those innovations as they occur because everything is moving.
Jim Provance: (55:39)
When you talk about graduating classes early, are there actually medical students that are now in these hospitals?
Dr. Amy Acton: (55:45)
Yes, medical students, typically… You do some first year of classes, but then you spend a lot of your medical training in hospitals. They’ve been through rotations where they learn this. The question is, if you were going to graduate in June or May… Usually, it’s often May. Matter of fact, I was scheduled to speak at the commencement of NEOMED where I graduated. Those folks… There’s nothing that really keeps them from not being able to go out and do that work now.
Jim Provance: (56:11)
John Kosich: (56:15)
A question for Governor DeWine. John Kosich from News 5 in Cleveland. You’ve acted boldly and swiftly throughout this process to position us to be where we are in this state. The decision today with the schools is an example of that. When you look at neighboring states with hotspots that are popping up like Detroit and Michigan, are there other things that you are considering right now, other steps related to travel?
Mike DeWine: (56:39)
Well, that’s a very good question. I have been, in the last a 100 hours or so, in contact with every governor in every state around us. We talked. We’ve been on the phone. I’m aware of what’s going on to some extent in Detroit. I had the opportunity to talk this morning to the mayor of Toledo who did express concern about that. The way we left that conversation was we need to get more specifics about what is going on there because frankly, we’re going to need some of their hospitals too, and so there’s a flow the other way, as well. It is of a concern. We’re looking at it.
Dr. Amy Acton: (57:27)
Governor, I might add. I was on the phone just last night with all the health directors that are my position in these neighboring states, as well. We’re really talking a lot. Our healthcare systems don’t stop at the border. As I said before, people live on one side, work on the other. You might go to a hospital across that. One of the things I’m most proud of is we’re being very communicative and talking across those lines. I do think that one thing we can take into account is if you’ve been somewhere… First of all, all of us should sort of be assuming, once again, that we all potentially have this. We might be asymptomatic.
Dr. Amy Acton: (58:08)
Certainly, if you’ve traveled recently to a place that is one of those more hotspots, you should almost be imagining that you are coming back from China. You really should stay at home, quarantine yourself voluntarily for 14 days, if you’ve been in an area where there’s just a huge, huge amount of activity. The problem right now is that’s starting to be just about everywhere. It’s starting to be even in places that we can’t point at it. It’s because we can’t test and say it’s there. We know the spread’s there. I think part of this whole isolation that we’re doing of ourselves, the quarantining, is with that in mind. Thank you.
Jessie Balmert: (58:50)
Hi. Jessie Balmert with the Cincinnati Enquirer, for either the governor or Dr. Acton. You had asked the local hospital systems or regions to come up with a plan for building up capacity. I guess, first, did you receive plans from all eight regions? Then what were you able to learn about hospitals’ capacity and their ability to build that up in the coming weeks?
Mike DeWine: (59:10)
Yes, I think I’ll let Dr. Acton answer that because she’s been immersed in that and remains immersed in it.
Dr. Amy Acton: (59:17)
Mike DeWine: (59:17)
Dr. Amy Acton: (59:21)
Much as what I was saying in the earlier answer, the question was, there have been plans all along in the sense that hospitals, schools, health departments, and communities through regionally planning networks to prepare in those activities. Those plans vary from… At this stage, you get all your key stakeholders together, but it might not say exactly who those stakeholders are because each crisis involves a different answer to that question. When we talk about that planning that’s already existed, that means that you have identified all the people you work with and sort of the processes you go through. Those answers specific to this unique public health crisis, this unprecedented crisis… Those never existed. We didn’t have a coronavirus COVID-19 plan.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:00:16)
What we really asked for was, share with us all your thoughts on what you’re thinking. It wasn’t just something they sent to us, although some had various levels of, like here’s who we have on our team. We actually have a team of people who have sat down and gone through a really in-depth interview of those folks because the answers are a little different by community. They’re compiling all that and sort of taking that in. They’re correlating that up into this larger systems approach. That work will not stop. I mean, there won’t be a point… Maybe afterwards when it’s all done, there’ll be a published, how it worked. It will never stop because quite honestly, we’re burning daylight here, as the governor always says. We’re building this every second of every day. Some of those plans include things like, this hospital is going to now become the designated, real high-intensity hospital. They might actually refer more to their low-intensity routine things to the neighboring hospital, but that varies in different parts of the state. It has to do with communications. We have almost like an air traffic control process in place that already exists in healthcare. When we have level 1 ICUs and when you have a trauma, which hospital does it go to next? Where does MedFlight fly the patient to? We’re taking those existing… We’re opening more gates at the airport. We’re doing our air traffic control, but we are actually building a more specific air traffic control tower back at the EOC that watches this alongside the regions. Then they’re opening up more gates at the airport for more traffic.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:01:59)
That is the level of planning we’re doing. We’re building out the exact way we’re going to communicate. Then if we see in one area that all of a sudden… because we know this will surge not all at once. It’ll surge in different communities at different times. Oh, from the ground with General Harris’s folks, we’re short of this PPE, and we’ve just received a shipment. Our job will be to get that out to the right place at the right time.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:02:24)
It’s the logistics of that. That’s the process that’s going on in a nutshell. It’s being invented specifically for this situation. I want to add just real quickly, those plans that go on like that, they are across state borders. Kentucky has already been talking to Cincinnati as part of routine business, so it’s really helpful because we already have those relationships. Thank you.
Jessie Balmert: (01:02:53)
Kevin Landers: (01:02:57)
Hello. Kevin Landers, Channel 10. This morning. ODH sent out a tweet at 10 o’clock saying, “Ohio state’s parks are open. Enjoy the springtime weather by getting outdoors.” We’ve had multiple people who’ve emailed our station saying that there are people who are flooding outdoor parks, and they’re not practicing social distancing. I’m wondering if your order wasn’t strict enough regarding this kind of activity. It seems to be some mixed messages. Could you address that, please?
Mike DeWine: (01:03:26)
Well, we continue to review the order. In fact, we’re in the process of doing that right now. We will have a new order in the next several days. What goes into that order, we’re still thinking about. The concern is the same, that we have to slow this virus down. The only way we slow it down is if people separate. If you looked at the weather yesterday, it was a great day to be out. My wife and I walked on our farm in the morning and we walked in the evening. It was a great day to be out. Frankly, our state parks are pretty big. If people want to walk in the state parks, they have ample opportunity to have that social distancing.
Mike DeWine: (01:04:16)
What we get reports on, I’ve talked to some of the mayors, I’ve talked to some of the chiefs of police, is that as the weather gets better, any day the weather is better, you are seeing people congregate. You’re seeing them sometimes congregate in Metro Parks. You’re seeing them congregate in different places. It is a concern, particularly as the weather gets better, about that social distancing. Again, we’re looking at this. We’ve issued a lot of orders, more orders than we ever want to issue. The question is, do we have to issue any more?
Mike DeWine: (01:04:53)
We’re looking at that. Certainly, it goes back to what we’ve been saying, that ultimately, how well we do is going to be determined by each individual in Ohio, and how well they stay away from others, and going out. We talked a little bit about basketball earlier on. Frankly, some of the mayors have taken the action of just removing the rims, the backboards. This is a work in progress, really.
Kevin Landers: (01:05:25)
As a followup for Dr. Acton, as more people get sick, there are fewer healthier people that would be infected. When you look at Cuyahoga County, which leads the state with the most cases and most hospitalizations, I’m wondering at what point do you ever consider a perimeter to slowly exponential spread?
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:05:48)
Kevin, the biggest problem we have is we just don’t know for sure who has been infected, who is already infected, and maybe didn’t even notice they were infected, or thought they had something else earlier. We just don’t have the data yet on who’s getting better and how quickly. Even in Cuyahoga, when we look at Cuyahoga, they’re drawing from a lot of areas. They’ve had a little bit more testing than, say, a hospital in Southeast Ohio has had. Any information that would allow that sort of geography to be clear, we just don’t have that yet. I can’t say that there wouldn’t be that someday on the other side of this in the future, but it’s just, just too soon to know that sort of information.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:06:39)
Could I add something to the first part of your question, Kevin? Every day, we have an opportunity to be part of the solution or part of the problem. I say this over and over again. The governor and the director have issued orders, and advisories, and everything. I imagine this is kind of like the 70/30 situation, where 70% of the population is listening and following the orders and there’s probably a 30% that’s not doing that. I imagine everybody who’s watching every day is part of the 70%, that you understand it’s up to all of us in our daily lives to help communicate that to people who maybe aren’t getting the message, to politely say to them, “I’m stepping back. I’m not going to violate these rules.”
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:07:28)
It’s being helpful, not rude, to somebody to help them understand how we’re all in this together. It’s going to take every one of us. You can’t make people comply by writing rules. You have to rely on their sense of civic responsibility to do this, partnered up with the enforcement actions that also exist in those rules. Again, it is the truth. We’re all in it together. Every one of us can play a part in helping coach people along so that we get through this more swiftly and more healthily.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (01:08:02)
Hi. Andrew Welsh-Huggins with the Associated Press. Governor, as you probably know, an inmate has sued in the Ohio Supreme Court asking to be released as a result of his concerns about the overcrowded conditions in his cell. Basically, he’s at fear of contracting the coronavirus, and, in fact, has even gone so far as to say he’ll go back to prison once it’s over if he’s released. Regardless of whether you can talk about his specific lawsuit, can you bring us up-to-date on what the situation is in the prisons? We do know one employee has tested positive. What are your concerns and strategies for limiting the spread inside the prisons and the jails, for that matter?
Mike DeWine: (01:08:43)
Well, thank you for the question. We think about this every day. We work on this every day. Our concern, of course, is to keep our prison staff safe and the prisoners safe. I can tell you from having involvement with prisons, going back to when I was George Voinovich’s Lieutenant Governor, that people who work in the prisons…
Mike DeWine: (01:09:01)
… lieutenant governor, that people who work in the prisons, they’re unique. They’re unique. They are in there every day. It takes a special person to do it. Their goal is to keep the prisoners safe, and their goal is for them to be safe. That is our goal.
Mike DeWine: (01:09:19)
Director Annette Chambers-Smith reports to me often on this. She and I talked several times today about it. She not only is a very experienced a person working in our prison for many, many years, but her area that she’s worked in before she became director included a lot of work in the area of the health within the prison and how you deal with the medical situation in the prison. They instituted some time ago a practice of checking on every employee who comes in, and they follow a pretty rigorous protocol.
Mike DeWine: (01:10:06)
I asked the director to give me a summary, and let me just read a little bit of it to you if I could.
Mike DeWine: (01:10:15)
“Every member of the department has been encouraged to stay home if they’re ill. They have all been made aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 to make sure they do not come to work if ill. We started screening all department staff on March 11th. Before entering the prison, staff are screened using a questionnaire developed using ODH and CDC guidelines. That screening form requires a temperature to be taken, takes into account travel to countries with a travel advisory as noted by the CDC. Direct contact takes into consideration direct contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 and also any symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, and difficulty breathing.” Then she goes on to talk about this particular… As you noted, we have one member of the staff who has, in fact, tested positive.
Mike DeWine: (01:11:10)
“On Sunday,” the director continues, “we were notified about 3:00 p.m. that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. As soon as we knew we had a positive staff member, we implemented an ODH-approved risk assessment form that takes into account exposure, contact with the staff member who was positive, as well as any symptoms that the individual is experiencing when the risk assessment is done.”
Mike DeWine: (01:11:34)
They are now going through the process of, as we always should, is looking to see who that staff person has had contact with. Several people have been actually sent home. “At this point,” she goes on, “five staff members had no symptoms, but were told to self-quarantine for 14 days. Four staff had symptoms. They were also told to quarantine, then they were to go to their physician and go with guidance from the physician.” I’ve also asked for those individuals to be tested, and that is going to take place.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:23)
These are all things that the prison is doing. We’re implementing the same thing… We’re not implementing it. We have in place the same thing at the Department of Youth Services for our younger people, juveniles who are in state custody. We’ve also implemented similar protocols in our psychiatric hospitals. In anything basically that the state is running, we are following this.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:56)
Is it a concern? Absolutely. It’s absolutely a concern whenever you have a significant number of people who are together. Whatever the circumstances, that is a concern. The director is, I think, doing a very good job. Her team is doing a good job. But it’s always a work in progress.
Speaker 3: (01:13:18)
Thank you. Governor, quick unrelated question. Do we know where the ER nurse is from that the doctor mentioned?
Mike DeWine: (01:13:26)
Do we know what? I’m sorry.
Speaker 3: (01:13:27)
The ER nurse who passed that Dr. Action mentioned, do we know where he or she is from?
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:13:33)
I can’t give that information. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (01:13:36)
Thanks for your answers. Thank you.
Ben Garbarek: (01:13:42)
Ben Garbarek with ABC 6 and Fox 28 in Columbus. My question is for Lieutenant Governor Husted about unemployment benefits. Last week, you told us about some work being done to increase the capacity of the website, extend some of the hours where people might be able to call and talk with someone on the phone. Can you give us an update on where that work stands? Because we’re still receiving a lot of complaints from people who are trying to file for unemployment who are either having problems with the website or they call during some of those extended hours and they’re getting an automated message that the office is, in fact, closed.
Jon Husted: (01:14:13)
Yeah. First of all, let me address the call piece of this. The call center is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We’ve added 100 people to the call center to be able to address those calls. It’s open from 9:00 to 1:00 on Saturdays. That’s where we are with the call center.
Jon Husted: (01:14:31)
They’ve expanded capacity on the website. There has been an increase of capacity with added servers of 20 times what the website was designed to handle. On the end that we are in control of, that has largely… While it’s been slow, it’s not gone down. It’s been functional all the way through. There are two phases to getting in.
Jon Husted: (01:14:58)
A lot of times, I know that when we’ve been doing calls, conference calls and things like that, sometimes we have even trouble getting into conference calls and getting on the internet and downloading things, just because of the volume of things that are coming through from our own homes or our own places of work. That is part of the challenge that we have. We are adding the capacity on the website end.
Jon Husted: (01:15:24)
But also, a word of advice. If you’re sitting there and you clicked on and you see the circling figure-
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:15:33)
Wheel of death.
Jon Husted: (01:15:33)
… the wheel-
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:15:33)
The wheel of death.
Jon Husted: (01:15:35)
… that shows that it’s processing, don’t keep clicking, because what that does is it sends you back to the end of the line again. Just be patient. It will get through.
Jon Husted: (01:15:45)
But one thing that everybody should know, that even if you get delayed in this, that your eligibility will be backdated to the time that you’re eligible and you will receive all of the benefits that you are eligible to receive, no matter when you file. It is moving along. That’s the capacity that’s been added.
Jon Husted: (01:16:09)
I talked to the director just before I came in here. She said that it was running fine, although there are moments that it’s slow. Remember, this runs 24 hours a day, so at peak times it’s going to be slower than if you do it at non-peak times. That’s just a word of word counsel on how you can best get in.
Jon Husted: (01:16:27)
We also know that there are going to be new groups of people, 1099 independently employed folks who are eligible for new benefits under the CARE Act. That is an entirely new, separate system that’s going to have to be set up. This will happen in weeks, not days. It’s going to take… No state has an off-the-shelf solution that they have. We’re working with the private sector to bring the best tech people we can to the solution of standing that new service up as soon as we can.
Ben Garbarek: (01:16:59)
Andrew Tobias: (01:17:05)
Hi, this is Andrew Tobias at Cleveland.com, and I think this question is for Director Acton, although maybe it could be for the governor too. We saw a study out of the University of Washington that came out today, and essentially is much less dire than the projections that the DeWine administration has been citing. Among other things, they expect the cases to peak April 19, 3,900 hospital beds, and so on. It’s much less dire than what you guys have seen, and we’re just wondering what you think of that, if you lend any credence to it, and generally how you weigh different projections when you’re forming your response.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:34)
Well, Dr. Acton and I have been talking about that study, and I’d just ask her, excuse me, to fill everybody else in on what you told me.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:17:44)
That study is some modeling that’s being done at the Institute for Health Metrics in Washington State, which is one of my favorite places to go for global metrics. I’ll just give that asterisk. I’ve had my team take a look at that, and they even say in their information that they want the states to reach out to them to give them more elaborate data as they have it because their models are projecting for everyone and don’t have a lot of the same nuances of the local.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:18:14)
I have not talked to my team yet to understand more about it, but my understanding is that something in the modeling is looking at what a peak capacity on a day will be. But what I explained before in the details of this modeling is we know at our peak, we know that we’re going to have anywhere from a range of 6,000 to 8,000. On the most dire projections I’ve seen so far have been 10,000 cases per day. Remember that only about 20% or so of those cases, ours are higher right now because our testing is of sicker people, will end up in the hospital, and then a percentage of that group will end up in the ICU. But the average length of stay typically in a hospital is three days. The average lengths of stay for any of these cases is up to 20 days. There’s a period of time that they’re admitted to the hospital and then they go to the ICU.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:19:08)
You can’t just look at who might be sick or the number of cases in a day if they’re piling on top of each other logarithmically. Those beds aren’t emptying out. That’s all part of the complicated calculations that I think some of our modelers are trying to take into account. I’ll let the modelers themselves talk through that. I know some of them have been doing videos back and forth with each other. They’re all colleagues, and they’re all talking through those numbers.
Jon Husted: (01:19:34)
Yeah, and Andrew, in support of what Dr. Acton just said, we have a great group of people who are volunteering to check everybody’s homework on this. One of the people that I reached out to, because I saw that story before we walked in here and I talked with Dr. Acton about it, that maybe give you a tip as to how you can view this or look into it and talk to other modelers on the validity and the comparison of these, is that I was told it uses a statistical model and not an epidemiological model in looking at this issue. It’s a different lens to view. It doesn’t make it right or doesn’t make it wrong. It’s just one of the data points that we add in to how we look at all of this.
Noah Blundo: (01:20:22)
Noah Blundo with Hannah News Service. I’m wondering, your projections of what the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction workshops will be able to put out in terms of PPE and sanitizer, does that assume a healthy prison population, or are you assuming some percentage of people and guards being offline?
Mike DeWine: (01:20:43)
Look, that would assume a healthy prison population. We asked DRC, the prisons to see what they could do. These numbers will help. We’re all in this together. We’re trying to get everybody on board to do different things, and these are the things that they felt that they could do.
Speaker 4: (01:21:09)
That was the last question.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:13)
Okay. I guess that is it. In conclusion, a couple things. I want to wish my grandson Brian a happy birthday. Brian, happy birthday. It is great. Our daughter-in-law Becca as well. Becca, happy birthday. As you can see, this is a big birthday day in the DeWine family. Our nephew Ben’s birthday is also today, and our niece Rachel had her birthday this weekend. Happy birthday to all four of you, and to everybody else who’s having a birthday today.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:53)
We observe National Doctors’ Appreciation Day today. As Dr. Acton said, she’s representing not only the doctors, but everybody in the healthcare community. We thank you for what you do each and every day. We thank you for the sacrifice that you make. You all are at the front lines, and we are very, very grateful for everything that you do. We do have a little video which we would like to roll. And if we could do that, Eric, thank you very much.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:22:29)
I want you and all of you at home to don your cape. Don that cape. Keep being a force for good.
Speaker 5: (01:22:36)
Hi, my name is Amy Acton. Any questions?
Speaker 5: (01:22:39)
Keep up the great work.
Speaker 6: (01:22:46)
We’re going to be a great team and try to figure this out and not be scared. We are a little nervous, but we’re not going to be scared.
Dr. Amy Acton: (01:23:21)
I am not afraid. I am determined.
Speaker 7: (01:23:24)
I want to be like you, Dr. Amy.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:40)
To all our heroes out there, thank you very much. We’ll see you all tomorrow.
Karen Kasler: (01:23:51)
That’s Governor Mike DeWine’s daily coronavirus update featuring Dr. Amy Acton, who was at the end being honored for National Doctors’ Day with a little video, probably from the Dr. Amy Acton fan page on Facebook.
Karen Kasler: (01:24:04)
My colleague Andy Chow is here. We only have a few minutes to go over some of the highlights here. The big thing, of course, 39 deaths as of today. That’s an increase. The numbers are going up every day. What else did you take away from this press conference?
Andy Chow: (01:24:17)
Well, the school closure being extended to May 1st. It’s a big announcement, but it’s something that we’ve seen coming for a long time now. You could also hear the governor talking about how, listen, if the peak is projected to mid to late April, and maybe even May 1st, then this will obviously be something that will have to be revisited once in a while.
Andy Chow: (01:24:38)
Hearing from Adjutant General John Harris was interesting. He’s at the Emergency Operations Center talking about what Ohio’s plan is to build up capacity with those eight regions. I thought it was kind of interesting that we’re still not getting quite a lot of information about what’s going on as far as those plans go. I don’t know if maybe they need to put more things into the works before actually releasing things publicly, but we do know that the state is being split into eight regions, and that buildup process is being carried out through all the eight regions, led by the Ohio National Guard.
Andy Chow: (01:25:08)
I thought it was also interesting the general was warning people, listen, you will see uniformed members of the Ohio National Guard in your community. It sounded like he was saying, don’t be alarmed. They are there to help. They’re working with your local health department to help build up this capacity, getting ready for the peak of COVID-19.
Karen Kasler: (01:25:27)
Yeah, they’ve already been dispatched to 12 food banks in the state. And in the same way that they’re often deployed to floods and tornado recovery and that sort of thing, that’s the goal here for the National Guard.
Karen Kasler: (01:25:40)
These plans that each of these eight regions were supposed to submit, drafts were due over the weekend. The governor gave them the homework of getting the final draft. That was the rough draft on the weekend; the final draft due today at noon. He says he’s going to share some of that information with the public, but some of it is also going to be held back, I guess, because it’s in development. We’re trying to find out a little bit more about hospital capacity and where hospitals can go. We’ve heard that hospitals have to be built out potentially two and three times what the capacity already is.
Andy Chow: (01:26:08)
Yeah, and I imagine that there’s maybe contracts that still need to be negotiated or something like that. The plan might be get place A, and then they have to actually go get the place that they’re trying to get. I do imagine that we’re going to hear more information about that in the future.
Andy Chow: (01:26:22)
I also thought it was interesting he talked about two populations that we’ve heard a lot of concern about, people who are homeless and then the prison populations. The governor and others went deeper into those plans, talking about how there was a member of the corrections staff that-
Karen Kasler: (01:26:39)
Andy Chow: (01:26:40)
… in Marion that tested positive, so there are different risk assessments in place to determine exposure and trying to figure out… All around the country, prisons has been a big issue, because how do you implement social distancing in a place like a prison? That is something that it sounds like the governor and state officials are looking at.
Andy Chow: (01:26:57)
Then the homeless population, really encouraging communities to work with their homeless shelters, make sure that homeless shelters are in their social distancing plan on the local level. That was an interesting thing to hear, too, because they really need to make sure that they’re working with people to help reduce that population in each shelter.
Karen Kasler: (01:27:15)
On the prisons note, the governor did announce that the prisons are going to start making some PPE, which is interesting. Ohio Penal Industries already does make certain things, so this is potentially an outreach of that.
Karen Kasler: (01:27:27)
Trying to find out, what else was today? There was no stay-at-home order extension, though over the weekend, President Trump said he wanted to extend it to April 30th, the federal guidelines anyway, so I imagine that’s something that we should be on the lookout for at some point.
Andy Chow: (01:27:42)
That’s right. The stay-at-home order on paper right now is for April 6th, I believe.
Karen Kasler: (01:27:46)
Andy Chow: (01:27:47)
That clearly is something that will likely be extended. If schools are being extended to May 1st, then it’s a likely given that the stay-at-home order will be extended too. This is all something that seems to be fluid. I think you can even tell from the governor that he doesn’t want to really put his foot down on exact timing until he’s ready to make that claim. For example, we did hear that we might see more public health orders when it comes to social distancing. He said that in response to a question about parks and how there’s been a lot of people saying, “Hey, go out and enjoy the park.”
Karen Kasler: (01:28:19)
The governor said that.
Andy Chow: (01:28:19)
He said that. Yes, in theory, that’s a good idea, but if you have 100 people going into one space of the park, maybe it’s not a good idea, so trying to add some more guidance as far as being able to enjoy the outdoors, but from a distance. I know when I walk around my community, people are trying to make sure that they-
Karen Kasler: (01:28:37)
Move off the sidewalk.
Andy Chow: (01:28:38)
… stay away from each other.
Karen Kasler: (01:28:38)
Everybody gives everybody a wide berth, right?
Andy Chow: (01:28:40)
Yep. Maybe it helps, if you’re on a run, maybe you run a little bit faster to get away from people.
Karen Kasler: (01:28:44)
Maybe you do.
Andy Chow: (01:28:45)
And then there are signs at parks, too, and playgrounds saying, “Listen, I know this looks fun, but you have to stay off of these playgrounds.”
Karen Kasler: (01:28:50)
Even some basketball hoops have been roped off or even taped down with wood to keep people from playing.
Karen Kasler: (01:28:56)
Thank you, Andy Chow. We’ll see you again tomorrow.
Karen Kasler: (01:28:58)
Just to go over some of the final numbers here, 39 deaths from COVID-19 in 19 counties, 1,933 confirmed coronavirus cases in 70 of 88 counties, 475 hospitalizations, 163 people in intensive care. And it’s an even split, 50 males, 50 females. Patient age range, less than one year to 98 years old, a median age of 53. But once again, there is an increase in the number of deaths reported. Most of those deaths, interestingly, in Summit, five deaths there, and also Miami counties.
Karen Kasler: (01:29:29)
That concludes our live coverage of Governor Mike DeWine’s daily update on coronavirus in Ohio. For more information, tune into Ohio’s public radio and television stations, and go to our website, statenews.org. My thanks to my colleague Andy Chow and also the staff here at Ohio government telecommunications. I’m Karen Kasler. Thanks for listening.
Speaker 8: (01:29:46)
Ohio Channel. Any duplication, retransmission, or other use of any portion of this service without the express written consent of The Ohio Channel is strictly prohibited.
Jeff Smith: (01:30:12)
We’re going to read a little selection from Bone. The setup here is that Fone Bone is now living with Thorn and her grandmother in a little cabin in the middle of the woods. It’s at night, and the cabin is surrounded by rate creatures, these big, shaggy-