Apr 1, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 1
Mike DeWine: (04:13)
Good afternoon, everyone. I wanted to start today with a really kind of good news story about how one family was able to celebrate a very important day in spite of what is going on with the coronavirus. Starts with Greene County probate judge Thomas O’Diam, who utilized technology to continue the court’s work and to bring a family together.
Mike DeWine: (04:43)
First, let’s meet the Whitt family. There they are. Of Columbus. They woke up this morning for the first time as an official family following the finalization of the adoption of their son, James Harley, or as they like to call him, sweet baby James. To accomplish this, they used Zoom technology. Yesterday, they were able, from their own home to finalize the process consummating the adoption and working with Judge O’Diam in the Greene County probate court.
Mike DeWine: (05:25)
What’s special about this is that their family from all across the state was able to witness this special day welcoming sweet baby James into the family and they all could do it without leaving their home at all. So that’s pretty neat. Great, great stories. So congratulations to the Whitt family and congratulations to the judge as well.
Mike DeWine: (05:52)
I want to talk for a moment about hospital capacity and what we are doing and kind of bring you an update and we’ll update you every several days as we move forward. This is one of the things that we have to do to get ready for the surge that’s coming. It’s important that we not only build out the hospital capacity, but we’re also going to be are in the process of building out capacity with medical personnel the same way we’re doing with personal protection gear, equipment for the folks who are in our hospitals. I’ve asked Dr. Acton and General Harris really to lead this, but they both have a great teams, great people who are working on this every single day.
Mike DeWine: (06:50)
Let me start with a map. There it is. Many people may not realize this, but the department of health already divides the state into eight separate areas, eight regions called health preparedness regions. The hospital systems in these different regions already work together to do emergency planning in their areas. This is something that they are used to, but the coronavirus and what’s happening of course is unprecedented in what is going to happen is unprecedented. And so as we learn more about the impact or the coronavirus on our communities, it really became clear, I think to all of us, that not only do hospitals have to work outside their individual systems, they must also work beyond their traditional preparedness regions as well.
Mike DeWine: (07:47)
And so we have divided the state further into three big zones. Cleveland, there’s the Cleveland area, Columbus, and Cincinnati and Dayton. And the purpose of this is to get the hospitals ready, get everyone ready for what’s going to happen when this surge hits us. So a couple of points.
Mike DeWine: (08:25)
One, what you do today, if you have an emergency is the same as you’ve always done it. That is not changing. Whatever that is. Working with your individual doctor working sometimes with an emergency squad. That is not changing. In fact, one of the things that’s been happening is that as we have asked everyone not to do elective surgeries, actually the space in the hospitals by and large is increasing. So there’s capacity there, and there’s more beds that are right at this moment actually open. But as we look forward to what we know is coming, and if anyone wants to wonder why we’re doing this, I would ask them just to turn on the news in the morning, turn on the news at night, watch what’s happening in New York.
Mike DeWine: (09:25)
New York is much more densely populated. It certainly may travel quicker there. But what we’re seeing in New York is what we work every single day to avoid here in the state of Ohio when this wave finally does really hit us. And so this is what we’re trying to prepare for.
Mike DeWine: (09:45)
So when we get to this, the surge, we’re, let me just go back if we could to the map for a moment. Again, these are the different regions. And I don’t want anyone to think that if you’re in Cedarville, Ohio, you’re going to necessarily end up in Cincinnati. But there’s really two variables, and the reason we’ve divided the state into three areas is to deal with these two variables.
Mike DeWine: (10:19)
One variable is capacity. If the hospital that you’re normally going to is full, obviously you need to be going somewhere else, and so we have to be able to have the ability, the medical people to direct you to that other hospital. So capacity is one variable and then the level of care is the other variable. So you might be in a situation when you’re in one hospital and your situation, it gets more difficult and it might necessitate based on medical decision, a move from that hospital to a bigger hospital. So again, this is to prepare for what we know is coming, and it’s necessary really to have this build out.
Mike DeWine: (11:07)
I’ve asked General Harris to send some members of the National Guard to Cleveland, Columbus, and to Cincinnati to start planning and assessing the structures needed for the anticipated surge. The teams from the National Guard are working with health care experts and engineers to understand what’s needed ranging from utilities such as water, electricity, those kinds of needs to also understanding how many beds, bathrooms, sinks, et cetera, are needed.
Mike DeWine: (11:36)
So this is not something that just the National Guard is doing. Hospitals have had plans for some time about how to build out when that was necessary. So all of these things are being integrated together and the hospitals are working very, very closely with the National Guard on this.
Mike DeWine: (11:54)
Right now, for example, as I speak today, our Ohio National Guard is meeting with Columbus Convention Center folks. Also, at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, they’re there this afternoon to assess a possible buildup. Again, no final decisions with either location has been made, but they’re there today assessing this situation.
Mike DeWine: (12:17)
Over the coming days, the National Guard will continue to help communities expand this hospital capacity. And you will continue to see this through the communities.
Mike DeWine: (12:27)
What are the possibilities of expansion? Well, pretty much what you’ve already heard on TV and what you’ve seen other states have been doing. It might be a college dorm, might be a convention center, it might be a closed hospital, or an unoccupied medical office, or there may be other possibilities. But they’re assessing all of those things to give us increased capacity. And I think Dr. Acton may have more to say about that as well.
Mike DeWine: (12:55)
As we’ve talked about getting ready for this surge, we talk about capacity and hospitals, but we know there’s also a need for capacity in regard to personal protection equipment for our first responders, for folks who work at nursing homes, folks who are in hospitals or medical personnel and we know we have a real need to increase the numbers and we have to increase them significantly. So I am pleased to announce today the establishment of what we’re calling the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to fight COVID-19.
Mike DeWine: (13:34)
Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to fight COVID-19. This is a collaborative public private partnership tasked with better coordinating efforts to provide health care workers and first responders with the PPE and other medical devices they need to safely care for patients. Again, we know we have a shortage and so we’re asking the manufacturers to step up, look at what their capacity is, see what you can do.
Mike DeWine: (14:04)
The major partners of this alliance are as follows, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, the Ohio Hospital Association, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network Magnet, the nursing home organizations, Jobs Ohio, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the Ohio Department of Development Services Agency and the Ohio Department of Health all have come together to form this.
Mike DeWine: (14:35)
And so here is my request. If you are a manufacturer, we need your help. We need your help right now. If you are a manufacturer and you think you have the potential capability and competency to create any of the materials, any of the products that we need, we have a new website for you to go to and that is, coming up, repurposingproject.com. repurposingproject.com and so what you can do is go to that. When you go there there’s a place for you to click to see what we actually need, and the list is a long list but if you click there you will see all the different things that we need.
Mike DeWine: (15:29)
You can determine then what you have the ability to provide. So again, we would ask you to go to repurposingproject.com, and when you go there, click on, you’ll see all the different things that we need. Please take a look at that to see whether or not you can help us move forward. Some of these items include swabs, sample collection tubes, ventilators, oxygen, goggles, gowns, mask. And again the full list is on the website and it’s an extensive and long list. Let me just say that the money will be there. What we need for you to do is to let us know what your capability is, what you think you can do, how long it will take, so we need your help. Please go to that webpage just as soon as you can.
Mike DeWine: (16:28)
Let me now talk a little bit, give you an update in regard to testing. We know that Ohio, like other states has not had as much testing as we would’ve liked. We’ve had to ration that testing or our target that testing. Dr. Acton will be issuing orders today to accomplish a couple things. Both will help increase our testing turnaround time to reduce anxiety of people who are sick. They need to get the results as quickly as possible, and I’ve talked about this before, but today we’re actually turning this into an order for our hospitals.
Mike DeWine: (17:16)
Dr. Acton is signing an order directed at all hospitals that don’t do their own testing, which is the majority of the hospitals, those hospitals that send their specimens to a third party. Beginning today, when Dr. Acton signs this, you will be required to send this to another hospital that is doing testing and that can make a quick turnaround for you.
Mike DeWine: (17:47)
We’ve already confirmed, for example, that Ohio State, Cleveland Clinic, university hospitals in Cleveland and Metro Health in Cleveland all have capacity. They all have capacity and they are willing to take your tests so you need to be in contact with them. Some of these labs have a very significant unused capacity each day that’s not really been fully utilized, and these labs are able to turn around results much more quickly than the private labs. So beginning today you no longer will be able to send those to the private labs. And again, the problem has been turnaround four, five and six days, which is simply unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to the patient. It’s unacceptable for the rest of us. Because knowing when someone tests positive or doesn’t test positive is information that we very, very desperately need.
Mike DeWine: (18:51)
Let me also say that the Ohio Department of Health itself will continue to analyze tests and these for the most part there’s already the protocol that the hospitals know, but for the most part these are critical patients including hospitalized and healthcare workers who are showing some symptoms of the coronavirus. So that criteria does not change. The Ohio Department of Health is certainly open for business and certainly open to do that testing.
Mike DeWine: (19:25)
We would anticipate that there may be other hospitals who have capacity and as soon as we know and those hospitals have confirmed, yes we do have capacity. Yes we can do testing. We will post those and we will let you know about that.
Mike DeWine: (19:39)
Let me turn to the second part about the testing and the second part of of Dr. Acton’s order. You have read and heard about the rapid tests that are coming on the market. We’ve been in contact with some of the companies that are bringing these on to the market. We will start using these just as soon as they are sent to us in Ohio, so we know that some of them already have hospitals lined up where they’re going to send those. We cannot control when those are sent, but we would anticipate this would start within the next week and we’re certainly looking forward to that. Again, depending on how much of this we have, we will be utilizing free standing emergency departments, urgent care centers, freestanding ambulatory surgery centers in hospital, multi-use healthcare facilities that house a lab service. This will be very, very helpful, but again, stay tuned, we’ll have more information once we start getting these and seeing these come online in Ohio, we will let everyone know that.
Mike DeWine: (20:58)
Let me move to another topic to help ensure our most vulnerable Ohioans have access to food while this is all going on while helping to keep potential exposure to COVID-19 to a minimum, we’ve been working with our federal partners, the department of agriculture for example, and also working with grocery stores on what we’re calling a click and collect option to get groceries.
Mike DeWine: (21:25)
Now those receiving SNAP benefits are able to shop online and go to their grocery stores to pick up their items in the car. SNAP recipients will be able to swipe their EBT cards from their cars now without entering the store at all. Again, trying to keep people apart from each other.
Mike DeWine: (21:43)
Now with this new system, a mom who does not have childcare, the adult with an underlying health condition, or the senior citizen high risk can order groceries at home and just go to the store to pay and pick up curbside where that is available. For those stores that do not have a mobile point of sale device, a SNAP recipient can continue to order online, then pick up the groceries and pay inside the grocery store. This option reduces the time snap recipients are in the grocery store and reduces the risk of community spread.
Mike DeWine: (22:18)
Happy census day. Today is national census day. This is the date used to count the number of people living in our households for the census. If you have not yet completed your census, this might be a good opportunity to do so. What will the census do for us? It’s in everyone’s interest for everyone to be counted. I tell people this is one time when everybody ought to have agreement. Whatever your political persuasion, wherever you live, it’s important for the census to count all Ohioans. It will determine how some of the federal funds are distributed. It will determine how many representatives we have in the United States Congress.
Mike DeWine: (23:03)
It will determine how many representatives we have in the United States Congress and many other things. By now, you should have received a notice in the mail from the US Census Bureau with a code. You can respond online at 2020.gov, that’s 2020census.gov, by phone at (844) 330-2020, that’s (844) 330-2020, or also by mail. Since all Ohioans need to stay at home right now, you can fill out the census online or you can do it over the phone. If you lost or misplaced your mailer you can still fill out the census even without the ID number. If you want to ensure Ohio has the resources that we need, that we are properly counted, please be part of this.
Mike DeWine: (23:56)
Yesterday it was announced after our press conference that we received a FEMA disaster declaration. We’re very happy about that. This is what’s called a major presidential disaster declaration approved by the president yesterday, provides grants from FEMA, both to the state and local governments for costs associated with the emergency protecting measures such as EOC operations, fire and police, emergency medical care, sheltering, et cetera. This declaration shifts some funding burden from the state and local governments to the federal government with the federal government picking up 75% of certain COVID-19 costs. They include the following: emergency operations center costs, state agency purchases in response to COVID, disinfection of eligible public facilities, PPE and temporary medical facilities, and enhanced hospital capacity. Another key component of the declaration is it allows direct federal assistance to local governments, such as support from the Ohio National Guard as well as support from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Mike DeWine: (25:19)
In just a moment, I will be signing an executive order that seeks to provide some assistance for our small business men and women who have been hit so hard. We know that many of them are hurting. We know that they’ve had to make some very, very tough choices. We also know that our small business owners are resilient. They are no strangers to hard work, and to sacrifice, I understand about small businesses. Through this order that I’m going to sign, I’m issuing a plea, a plea to the lenders, and a plea to the landlords across Ohio to work with their small businesses and suspend payments for at least 90 days. And let me sign this now and then I’ll turn it over to the lieutenant governor to further explain exactly what this order does. Lieutenant governor?
Speaker 4: (26:46)
Great. Thank you governor. That is a very important executive order. Really the goal behind it is to stop the economic spread of the virus of foreclosures, to use the language of the crisis that we’re currently in. Foreclosures can create a huge crisis throughout the business landscape, and I want to explain how this is all connected. You know that a while ago the federal government, through the federal housing finance authority, stopped the foreclosure on residential mortgages, and provided a 12 month forbearance for those. You know that also earlier, through actions of the legislature, and with the signature of the governor, that the courts in Ohio have the ability to suspend evictions through July. But there is a connectivity to all of this. If somebody cannot pay their rent and we’re not evicting them because they can’t pay their rent, well, that means that the person who owns that apartment complex, who also has a commercial mortgage, that they aren’t receiving the money that they need to pay back their lender.
Speaker 4: (28:08)
If we don’t solve this chain, then the person at the bottom also gets hurt because the person who owns that particular facility will be foreclosed upon and then unable to provide services down the line. This affects everybody from small businesses to tenants and so forth. And so what we’re really doing with this is creating a 90 day pause in this process where we’re asking that, like most Ohio banks have done, to allow for this 90 day deferral to hopefully get the lenders to put that on the back end of the loan with their principal and interest and avoid those penalties. Because if we do this right, if we hit that pause button, everybody in the process will get a chance to get through this, particularly for small businesses who will want to keep those that cash in their pockets to keep their employees hired and to have the money to restart their business once we get through the period where we’ve hit this pause due to the coronavirus spread. This will … Frankly, this will have a huge impact on what happens when we try to restart things.
Speaker 4: (29:24)
It is so very important that we do this. I think that what we see on a lot of these occasions, this is a perfect example of this in the economy, whether we’re trying to control the spread by keeping people apart, which we know has an effect on what happens in our health community, and our community at large. This has the same effect on the economics of what’s happening in the mortgage industry with commercial residential customers. So again, we’re all in this together. The executive order that the governor just signed will help us get through this from an economic point of view. Additionally, I would like to add just a great plug, governor announced it, but what’s happening with the manufacturers stepping up and saying, “We make things, we’ve produced things in Ohio and we’re all in this with you to step up and to really create this manufacturer’s alliance.”
Speaker 4: (30:24)
Super important because every day, every day, Dr. Acton and the governor and I and a whole team of people are trying to get these top 10 supplies that we’re all after, and so is the rest of the country, and so is the rest of the world, and to have Ohio manufacturer stepping up to start to produce these things, we really appreciate you being part of the solution with us in this. Another thing that we emphasize quite often. We have the stay at home order and then we have the essential businesses and some of those essential businesses are grocery stores, maybe the Krogers, the Meyers, the Walmarts out there. And we have been pretty, pretty forceful at trying to tell them that you need to follow the safe workplace requirements to make sure that we’re not having spread going on, even in our essential businesses.
Speaker 4: (31:20)
We’ve asked them to follow this. We’ve not asked them, we’ve ordered them through the governor, and the director’s executive orders. But they’ve asked us to do something in return to talk to you, because they can put all of the rules and regs in place, but if the customers in the stores are not following the rules, it makes it very tough on them. So here are seven things that those retailers have asked us to ask you. Keep space, keep at least six feet between you and a fellow customer and associate. Just be mindful of that, that you have that responsibility when you’re in one of those stores. They ask that you shop patiently, watch and wait for other customers to be done in the aisle while you’re standing there, and to keep that six foot distance. Limit and consolidate shopping trips. Shop alone when possible. Stay at home when you don’t feel well.
Speaker 4: (32:16)
So if you’re not feeling well, don’t come out to the store. Please have somebody, maybe a neighbor or a family member, pick up what you need and then drop it off at your front step. Wash and sanitize your hands before you come to the store, and then after you’re done shopping. And certainly don’t touch your face and touch products and items in the store while you’re doing that shopping. And if you can wear a mask or gloves while you’re doing that, they would appreciate that as well. And then they also ask shop online through the grocery store, which will either allow curbside pickup or home delivery. These are all the things that they ask you to do to help them keep all of us safe, and to get through this healthier and better off. And they also reminded me to remind you every one of these places is hiring.
Speaker 4: (33:13)
They’re having a difficult time meeting your needs, and particularly if you’re maybe a college student who was planning on doing something else this spring, like being at school, you can go get a part time or a full time job at one of these stores and they would really appreciate it. You are, by doing that, again, you’re part of the solution to helping us get through this a safer and sounder. So with that, we thank you for all the cooperation here with this and I’ll turn it back over to our Governor DeWine.
Mike DeWine: (33:41)
Thank you very much. Dr. Acton?
Amy Acton: (33:45)
Thank you, governor. Good afternoon everyone. I will begin as I always do, I’m giving you an update on our cases. Today, if we can go head. Today we are reporting 2,547 cases of this morning, and representing 72 counties of our 88 in Ohio. Age range, again, from less than one year of age to 99, with the median age of 53. We had talked a little bit in the past about male and female, and we see that being almost equal now. It’s 51% females, 49% male. And our hospitalizations right now are at 27% of the cases, and ICU admissions at 9%. Again, that reflects the limited testing and that testing being reserved for the highest risk, the sickest, hospitalized and healthcare workers and frontline responders. Unfortunately, we do have 65 deaths here in the state of Ohio. Couple of things. I want to talk for a moment about the Groundhog’s Day we are living.
Amy Acton: (35:10)
I feel it myself. I’m sure … The Lieutenant governor just nodded the governor. Sometimes I think a lot of us at home are feeling that way as well. My oldest son, Jake, he actually studied film at Harvard and one of his professors was Danny Ruben who wrote Groundhog Day, which was one of my favorite movies. But if you remember the Bill Murray character went through many stages of grief, the old Elizabeth Kubler Ross stages of denial, then anger, bargaining, sadness, and then ultimately acceptance. And I think a lot of us are going through those same stages, and you go in them and out of them. So if we could go to my next slide, I want to talk without wagging, Colbert wagging my finger too much. I want to just talk about our self awareness and a constant need for us to remember to be kind. And it’s hard.
Amy Acton: (36:12)
I have admitted that I lose my own temper occasionally, especially with the urgency I feel. Have beleaguered staff who are an amazing team and I at times want something and I want it now. I’m famous for that. And that urgency sometimes comes across in harsh ways, and I have to take moments. I try to take some still time to remember how much stress each and every one of us is facing. So many of us are engaging on the phone and I want you to call and keep calling our 1-833-4AS-KODH. But in all these numbers we call, especially when the technology is glitching or things are slow, we have to remember that there’s someone on the other side of that phone. There’s somebody who might be taking care of a sick family member at home, who is going through a lot of stress.
Amy Acton: (37:12)
In our case, our operators are actually at home, often with kids at home, and other family members. I think in the anxiety we’re all feeling, sometimes we forget that everyone we interact with is going through a lot of the same stress. So this is my plea to myself, first and foremost, but to all of us, we have got a bit of a gauntlet ahead of staying in the same Groundhog’s Day. So when you feel yourself take that check, as director Laura Chris said, if you’re hungry, remember to eat a little something, take a little nap and try again and don’t beat yourself up too much. Just try again because just like a virus is contagious. Our moods are contagious and they spread to everyone around us.
Amy Acton: (38:02)
So thank you for joining me in that effort. The governor did a fantastic job of talking about sort of the rollout of our flexible and expanding healthcare capacity. So I’ll wait until questions. I am going to sign an order. I don’t have all the pens that the governor has. I will find my one normal pen here, but I am signing ceremonially here, an order for our hospitals, and to make it easier for our outlying hospitals to get their labs run more quickly. My team back at the Ohio Department of Health has ramped up our testing capability and we have information on our website, but the most important thing is we’re going to three shifts to help get those tests turned around. To my local health department colleagues, we will be routing some tests directly from hospitals straight to the Ohio Department of Health, we’ll be talking to you more about that.
Amy Acton: (39:09)
This is an emergency situation and we’ll run those tests and then we will get that information to our local health departments also a lot more quickly than waiting on some of the beleagued testing and private testing. So we will get that information to the local health department to do that contact tracing, but we are working with our hospitals. There was a message that went out from the hospital association and talking to the CEOs and we’ll be putting out a lot of information on getting that to our labs in partnership with some of our bigger hospital labs to take the overflow. So we’ll do our best, governor, to get those test results as fast as possible so we can make our decisions as quickly as possible. With that, we welcome your questions.
Mike DeWine: (40:02)
Who has questions? As they’re coming up, I want to kind of describe the scene again, you all cannot see it out there on TV, but the reporters are spread out in a big room and the atrium of the capitol building, and they’re observing great distance between each other, and we’re going to start with Mr. Adi from WHIO, channel seven in date. How’s that Jim?
Jim Adi: (40:29)
Thank you. Governor. This is a question for Dr. Acton. Could you express your perspective on what’s happening in hospitals right now? Some of them in our part of the state and I expect elsewhere are actually putting some people on furlough. This seems a little odd that we’re getting ready for a national emergency and that surge that you’ve been talking about, but I’ve been speaking but the hospitals, they’ve explained it. Yet some people at home can’t quite understand this. We’re getting ready for a surge, but at the same time, short term, sending some people home. Your perspective.
Amy Acton: (41:02)
That’s right. One of the metaphors of the hurricane is that you have to evacuate when it’s still sunny out for it to be really effective and a lot of what we’ve been doing over the past few weeks in our hospitals, and again this is being led by our hospital CEOs, is getting the hospitals ready, and so everything we’ve done from the elective, getting rid of most elective procedures, trying to get folks to other outpatient, triaging, is freeing up those beds, freeing them up for this surge of cases that we know is coming. We are blessed in Ohio, the actions we’ve taken and the actions that everyone is taking at home has slowed down the spread of the disease and has lowered … It has taken that category five hurricane of surge and wind and storm and turned it into what we hope will be a more of a category three hurricane.
Amy Acton: (42:10)
But then nonetheless it’s a hurricane, and much like you don’t want to … You sometimes pull the fire alarm early in a fire and maybe you go a little bit ahead of it. You certainly don’t want to be going to put out a fire once the fire is over, or right when you’re in it. So it is about that prevention and getting ready, and there’s a lot of components to that. So we need all that time. So again, blessing that we have the time to prepare. But what you’re seeing is some hospital workers are being asked to rest up now because they know they’re going to go … My daughter is a patient care assistant at Ohio Health, and she’s off today and she’s resting up because she knows she might be working nonstop, nonstop shift shifts to come. So that’s kind of what you’re seeing. It’s the calm before the storm, but no one should think that the storm is not coming because it is calm.
Molly Martinez: (43:09)
Thanks doctor. This question is for Governor DeWine. This is Molly Martinez with Spectrum News. Hobby Lobby in several states, including Ohio, have reopened in defiance orders and they say that they are essential business and in other state’s police officers are starting to forcibly close them down. Is there any plan for that here in Ohio, for businesses that just refuse to comply with your orders?
Mike DeWine: (43:31)
Yeah. Molly, who did you say? Who did you say stays open? I’m sorry.
Amy Acton: (43:34)
Mike DeWine: (43:36)
Look, everybody has to follow the law. I’ve talked with our mayors today. I want to congratulate them and thank them. They’ve been very aggressive. I know one mayor sent out 250 letters several days ago to companies that were in violation, so they have every ability to shut them down. This’ll be done conjunction with the local health department. Many of the cities have health departments, so look, this is a national emergency. This is a state emergency. What people do in their own life usually is their own business, but when what they do in their own life endangers other people, we have to take action. And that’s kind of a basic principle of government is that we want government to leave us alone, but if it’s protecting all of us, then government has to take action. That’s why we have polices, why we have fire, it’s, it’s so these laws need to be enforced. The order is there. We will be issuing another order tomorrow, and we’ll talk about that tomorrow. But the enforcement is very, very important.
Molly Martinez: (44:53)
Thank you governor. Thank you,
Jim Province: (44:59)
Jim Province with The Toledo Blade. Another question for Dr. Acton. You said yesterday that this virus recognizes no borders. These plans that have been submitted to the governor’s office to build out capacity. Do they anticipate using any hospitals in other states, maybe Michigan or Kentucky, or do they anticipate patients coming in from Michigan or Kentucky or other states?
Amy Acton: (45:23)
Absolutely. We know that the virus does not know borders and fortunately in a lot of our emergency preparedness planning, those natural affinities already happen. Hospitals have containment zones that cross borders where they work with smaller hospitals leading into larger when there ever is a surge or an accident or a trauma. And so that is most notable in the Toledo area across the border with Michigan. And it’s also very common in the Cincinnati area with Kentucky. There are collaboratives in Cincinnati-
Dr. Acton: (46:03)
Kentucky. There are collaboratives. In Cincinnati, there’s something called the Healthcare Collaborative, which is a regional planning structure and they already kind of naturally do some of that. It’s one of the reasons why on one hand we do want to ask people traveling to quarantine up to 14 days, to self quarantine and make that choice. We’re really asking all people right now to the extent possible to self quarantine, but we have to remember that people live and work and hospital systems work across borders. They’re not walls in the sand.
Dr. Acton: (46:39)
So those things are all part of the plan. They’re all talking. I should also add that the governor and I’ve been talking to our counterparts quite frequently in other states to make sure that we’re all communicating that as well.
Speaker 5: (46:55)
Ben Schwartz: (47:00)
Good afternoon. I’m Ben Schwartz from WCPO in Cincinnati. I have a question for Governor DeWine. Governor, I want to ask you about churches. We’ve had some concerned callers asking about potential church closings, particularly there’s one in Butler County which is apparently still holding services without practicing social distancing. And we know a Florida pastor was arrested for something like that as well. So we want to know if you are considering any type of order involving churches and why or why not?
Governor DeWine: (47:37)
We’ll have the order tomorrow, so I’m not going to talk about that. But let me just say, anybody who goes into a big group of people is making a very, very serious mistake. They’re endangering themselves, they’re endangering their family, they are endangering total strangers. Any pastor who brings people together in close proximity to each other, a large group of people is making a huge mistake. It is not a Christian thing to do. It is not in the Judeo Christian tradition to hurt people. And I’m sure no one intends to do that. But by bringing people together, you are risking their health and you are risking your health and you are risking total strangers’ health.
Governor DeWine: (48:38)
This is just a huge, huge mistake. And so if anyone’s doing that, when they’re doing that, I would just ask them to think about that. Our churches, our mosques, our synagogues, however people worship, they have all utilized across Ohio. We have great examples of them bringing people together on their day of worship. They can do it remotely. They’re doing it online. They are doing it in many, many different ways and so thank you for doing that. Thank you for reaching out to your congregation. I know that this is working, so we would hope that everyone would use those tools to do that as well.
Ben Schwartz: (49:29)
Kevin Landers: (49:35)
Kevin Landers, WBNS-10TV. My question is for Dr. Acton.
Dr. Acton: (49:44)
Hi. Takes a little while.
Kevin Landers: (49:47)
My question is for you, Dr. Acton. When we hit the surge, do we have an exit strategy? How long after that do you think life will come back to normal? There are parents who are now thinking about their summer camps for their kids and pools and things like that. Can you give parents any idea how long of a time you think that will happen after the surge? Thank you.
Dr. Acton: (50:09)
Yeah. This is something I live with this question, so I relate to parents. Not that my kids are small enough to be at home, but my husband is a teacher and his principal is doing these videos from home now and they’re all getting a little antsy as well. And so I wish I could give you hope about your summer, but the truth is if we’re really looking at this peaking in the May time area, it’s because we are flattening that curve, which is exactly what we have to do to have the flexibility of hospital resources that we need for all of us.
Dr. Acton: (50:49)
It’s also going to be a slow flat top and then it’s going to slowly go back down again. And with the lieutenant governor, I have created a task force, a group of people who are only looking really at what that recovery will look like. We’re bringing together some of the best researchers and data scientists, so both the folks who have been working on the modeling that we’ve been using now, but also people that are health economists and sociologists and all sorts of folks who are saying, what will that look like? We know you have to have five key components to begin the slow removal of the social distancing.
Dr. Acton: (51:35)
And those components include things like having adequate testing and a really good snapshot of the cases you have and therefore being able to show that the cases are now very low, so the bottom part of the curve and then also staying stable. You have to have all the gear, the protective gear that you need so that your health workers stay safe and there aren’t resurgences in nursing homes and high risk areas. You have to have that capacity of your hospital stabilized and built out and there are a number of other factors that go into that.
Dr. Acton: (52:11)
Again, beautiful. I know Scott Gottlieb had done a report that’s recently out. People can take a look at that. There are numerous folks weighing in on that exit strategy or recovery. But I have to say to be very realistic and honest, this will not be a switch that you flip and life goes back to normal. It really will be a gradual returning and in some ways because we still don’t have a vaccine or treatment, life will be different for quite some time to come and maybe in some ways that are permanent, but also ways that are good.
Dr. Acton: (52:51)
Some of the things that we are doing, we really needed to be doing well to prevent infection all along. So we’re going to see gradual in and gradual out.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (53:00)
If I could add to that, Dr. Acton and I and the governor talk about this stuff all the time, about how we’re going to solve the problems that we have now and then how we look out into the future and how we’re going to deal with this thing. So that’s why I continue to say that for businesses understand even when we ease our way out of this, you’re going to have to continue to be part of the solution by offering safe workplace environment to really focus on the cleanliness and the hygiene and the spacing and the testing and the tracking of this information.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (53:38)
This will all be part of an exit strategy. It’s not going to be like flipping a switch. It’s just not going to happen overnight where there was a day that we’re all going to go back to normal. It’s going to be an easing out probably a lot slower than we ease … We didn’t really ease in. We kind of flipped the switch to get this thing going to shut down the spread, but it will be an easing back in over time.
Laura Bischoff: (54:03)
Hi, Laura Bischoff Dayton Daily News. I have a question for I guess Lieutenant Governor Husted and Governor DeWine. You guys have put out the word for more help on PPE in previous pressers and now you’re kind of ramping it up with this repurposing project. Do you have some sense of like which manufacturers are able to flip a switch to start making masks and gowns and ventilators and how long will it take to ramp up that kind of production?
Governor DeWine: (54:35)
Well, that’s one of the things we’re trying to find out. We have people working on this who are talking to different manufacturers. If you saw, we got a great break in regard to Battelle. It wasn’t a break. Battelle has been working on this technology for a long time, but that means that we can basically recycle the most important masks at 160,000 a day once they get totally ramped up. But this is a process. We brought people in from the private sector. We bought some people in who are retired and they’re working with manufacturers.
Governor DeWine: (55:12)
I had a call this morning, lieutenant governor and I did with Jobs Ohio. Jobs Ohio probably knows Ohio business about as well as anyone. They know where the resources are, they know where the capabilities are, and so we have tasked them to be very, very aggressive and to reach out and to make this an absolutely top priority, so that’s the process. Jon.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (55:39)
Yeah. I would just add to that at the emergency operation center, they are keeping track of what the needs are, where the supplies are, what might be in the supply chain. You have a lot of … I say this time and time again, the whole world needs these things and every state in America needs these things and so we’re trying to source them from wherever we can. But the good news about getting Ohio’s manufacturers in this is that we get to be the priority then. If you’re making these things in another state, they’re just going to that state as we would expect Ohio manufacturers to make Ohio a priority.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (56:21)
If you’re making it some other country, some other state, that’s where they’re going to be the priority. That’s why what the governor announced and what the manufacturers are doing to get in this fight and what Jobs Ohio is doing is really important to sustain this because it’s as I just mentioned in the answer to the previous question, we need this stuff now. There is no doubt about that. We are at crisis need for these products, but a lot of these things we’re going to continue to need as we cycle out of this and so it’s important to build the supply chain in Ohio.
Laura Bischoff: (56:52)
Do you have any direct contacts with the companies that can manufacture ventilators on the quick?
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (57:01)
We have contacts with all of them. How successful those will all totally ultimately be and what timeframe they’ll deliver them, I don’t have that information right off the top of my head, but I know we’re tracking that …
Governor DeWine: (57:13)
We’ve got several companies and they’re in different stages of that.
Laura Bischoff: (57:17)
Ben Garbarek: (57:21)
Hi, Governor. Ben Garbarek with ABC 6 and Fox 28 in Columbus. My question is about the testing. You mentioned having some of these rapid tests coming possibly within the next week or so. Can you give us a sense for how many tests of that sort might be coming as well as how short is Ohio on the number of tests needed so that medical professionals and the sickest patients no longer need to be the only ones being tested but anyone who needs to be tested can get one?
Governor DeWine: (57:46)
Well, I’m going to let Dr. Acton answer that, but I’ll start. We can use all the testing we can get basically. The more tests you have, the better information you can get. The more you can do isolation, the more you can make better decisions and so that is important. We were on the phone early this morning with a government affairs person from Abbott and we went back and forth about this. And that question you asked is the exact question we asked and I think after a half an hour conversation I would say we’re just going to wait and see.
Governor DeWine: (58:26)
They told us they were starting to come. They listed five or six hospitals that they already were in line to start sending to, but until we actually see it, I’m not saying we’ll believe it when we see it because they told us it’s coming. But as far as the actual numbers, we’re going to have to wait until we start seeing those and frankly see how fast it comes out because Ohio is obviously not the only state that is getting these. They’ve got commitments all over the country.
Dr. Acton: (58:55)
Hi, Ben. You didn’t move yet. That’s good. So we still have fractional testing and even when we have the rapid tests, they are going to be … It makes it go faster but it doesn’t give us a huge volume or I will work very hard to get you some numbers on that because I have seen some. I don’t have them with me. I’m very excited. We did talk to Abbott today. They have some technology that we can use here in Ohio. There’s something that hospitals can use. That’s I believe called the FT 1000. There is some testing they’re doing that can be out in the field.
Dr. Acton: (59:36)
They called it almost like a toaster size. It’s a small kit called the ID NOW. Those are all great technologies. They’re working on other technology. But there are companies like Bodysphere, though you probably have heard about the experiment in Telluride. United Biomedical trying to do a test where they’re doing it on a whole population. That is my dream. That is my dream that we will get that level of testing. The second, it’s very hard for these companies even when they make them to scale it fast enough and as the governor said, it’s needed across all of these states.
Dr. Acton: (01:00:15)
So we are making a plan now for the second serologic testing, which is blood. Any of the current types of testing are available on a mass scale. We actually have the system being built to do that rapidly so it reaches all Ohioans. So we’re working on that so that the second we have the ability to test widespread, we’re going to do it. I have to say, and this is me speaking, some of these things are going to have to, we’re going to need help because we can’t have States being pitted against each other. This really is something that we have to take a strong look at.
Dr. Acton: (01:00:55)
The Defense Production Act, we have to look at using the defense logistics agency. One of the things we’re talking a lot about is the national stockpile. And this is a nightmare for all concerned. This isn’t a blame thing, but we have to lean into some solutions that are more wide and scale. If we have the people who can produce, we just need the how-to of what’s produced and we could be doing it in all of our states. And I know these manufacturers make these amazing lifesaving tests are having the same wish to be able to scale quickly. So I do think this is a national conversation we need to have about how to scale and scale rapidly. And it’s never been done before, but I think a lot of folks are willing to have that. And we have to do all on our side to be ready once we have that. I want to say one more thing. With the national stockpile, because we have these hotspots in our country, they’re clearly hotspots. New York is in a terrible situation and so you’re trying to get all the supplies to them. The problem we’re going to face with this unique pandemic is that within two weeks a lot of us are going to go off at the same time and there needs to be a combination strategy of prioritizing hotspots as they exist.
Dr. Acton: (01:02:15)
But as we know with the delay in testing, we can’t all prove are about to be hotspots and we know they’re going to happen in simultaneously across 50 States and territories as well. So how do we do some sort of per capita allocation of scarce resources in addition to funneling? Nobody wants to be sitting there with an idol ventilator while in another neighboring state, they need it that day. But unfortunately, the way this pandemic is happening across our entire country, we need to think about the distribution of these resources in a very thoughtful way.
Dr. Acton: (01:02:49)
Eric Halperin: (01:02:54)
Eric Halperin with NBC4. Question for the lieutenant governor. Sir, earlier you mentioned how a lot of retailers or essential stores have been asking certain things they wanted you to ask to get that message out to the people. Some other states have issued orders limiting the number of people that can be inside those essential stores at a time. Is that something that Ohio is looking at?
Governor DeWine: (01:03:17)
We’ll have that more for you tomorrow. Jon, you can answer it, but it’s a work in progress and we’ll announce it tomorrow.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:03:26)
What he said.
Eric Halperin: (01:03:27)
Danny Eldredge: (01:03:33)
Hi, this is Danny Eldredge with Hannah News Service. A question for Governor DeWine. Can you clarify the small business order that you mentioned? Is it directing lenders to take 90 days or is it just asking them?
Governor DeWine: (01:03:47)
That was kind of both actually. I will let the lieutenant governor who’s been working on this take a stab at that.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:03:53)
Yeah. In a sense, there’s two parts to this is that I use the term essentially in the order, we want to avoid foreclosures for the next 90 days. And we cite in there the authority in which we believe the governor has the ability to order that. But we are requesting the remedies that are in there under the order. So the requesting part, this is very consistent with what New York and California did. And by the way, nobody is going to, I mean everybody’s going to have to pay, you’re going to have to pay eventually, but we’re requesting some remedies that we believe are thoughtful ways to go about it.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:04:42)
By deferring the 90 days, adding that onto the end of the loan along with the interest and the principal at the end of the loan. Because that way, it allows businesses to have the cashflow that they need to keep people employed, to restart when they have the opportunity, and it doesn’t create that daisy chain effect where we don’t want people to get evicted, but the apartment owner has to pay his mortgage. And if we don’t give them that ability to defer that payment for 90 days, then they get foreclosed upon. What happens to the people in the apartment who are there?
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:05:20)
It’s how it’s all interconnected. So don’t want foreclosures for 90 days requesting as we have in the order the manner in which we want them to go about doing that. Although obviously, that will ultimately be up to the lender and the person who has the mortgage to work that out.
Danny Eldredge: (01:05:43)
I also have a question for Governor DeWine about hospitals. I think the governor has said that some hospitals have had issues working together on this and cooperating. I just want to know how they’re working together on this and then also how they’re going to avoid losing so much money.
Governor DeWine: (01:06:05)
Well, first of all, hospitals are, everybody’s working together. Hospitals, we have small hospitals. We obviously have hospitals that are part of a larger group of hospitals. Historically, hospitals don’t necessarily work together unless they’re in the same group, but they’re stepping up. They’re doing what they need to do. We broke the state up into regions. They’re working regionally, but they’re also now having to collaborate in regard to what’s the flow of a patient. When a patient comes in, if the patient is got coronavirus and they’re at this stage, then this is where they go.
Governor DeWine: (01:06:49)
If they’re at this stage, this is where they go. If they’re worse, some of them may end up, for example, in one of the big city hospitals or Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati. So it’s that kind of working together and the hospitals. Look, I think they’re doing a good job. They’re working with our health department and they’re also now working with the National Guard. So there’s a lot of moving parts and people are stepping up and they’re doing what they need to do. And you had a second part of the question?
Danny Eldredge: (01:07:18)
Yes. Is there a plan to help make sure that hospitals aren’t having to lay off workers or are losing so much money they have to close? Like what does Ohio plan to do about that?
Governor DeWine: (01:07:30)
Well, we certainly are seeing that. And even before the coronavirus, we were seeing some smaller hospitals, mid size hospitals that were clearly struggling. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. And so once we stopped the elective surgeries that for many of those hospitals had a direct impact, it impacts the number of patients there. So yes, they’ve been hit. All the hospitals have really been hit by that. Now, the bad news is that what’s going to happen is there will be a surge and there certainly those hospitals are going to fill up if what we think is going to happen does happen.
Governor DeWine: (01:08:15)
Not only are they going to be at full capacity for a while, but we’re going to need more capacity. And what Dr. Acton has pointed out, what is different about this is the average hospital stay today is what, two days, three days. It’s pretty quick. But the coronavirus, it may be a lot, lot, lot longer than that. And so that’s why they’re going to fill up and hit that capacity. So, we’re going to see what happens in this. We’re not too far away from maybe as early as two weeks, three weeks. We don’t know as far as this surge really hitting, but clearly the number of admissions is going to be going up.
Andy Chow: (01:09:01)
Hi everyone. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio-
Andy Chow: (01:09:03)
Hi, everyone. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Getting back to the lending order, what sort of consequences do lenders face if they don’t follow the order, and have you thought about extending this to residential renters?
Mike DeWine: (01:09:17)
You want to take that, Jon?
Jon Husted: (01:09:18)
Sure. Well, first of all, I’ll take the second part first. Residential mortgages largely are covered under the Federal Housing Finance Authority under Fannie and Freddie, and that was done several weeks ago. We do have a provision in there that does deal with the small number of residential mortgages that might not be covered by that, so that is also in this process. Any foreclosure process would go through the courts. We hope the courts would enforce our order.
Andy Chow: (01:09:49)
Residential renter, so just somebody who rents an apartment with a landlord, any sort of thought of giving a similar order for those?
Jon Husted: (01:09:58)
We’ve done that. Yeah, we’ve done that already through the law change that gives the courts up until July to avoid those evictions. We didn’t put a full order on it because you could have a situation where somebody was involved in domestic violence or something like that, where you want to do the eviction. Governor?
Mike DeWine: (01:10:16)
Well, and just layered over that, of course, is order put out, instructions put out by the chief justice in regard to that. So a judge certainly has the ability to … and there was the time limit that judges normally have to hear an eviction is waived, so that judge does not have to hear that case, and that time is really suspended. And that’s what we expect the judges to do unless they’re in a situation where someone is committing domestic violence or something else.
Mike DeWine: (01:10:51)
But I would expect throughout the state you’re going to see those, even when those evictions are actually brought, I think in most cases they’re not even going to be brought, but when they are brought, judge has the ability now to hold on to that.
Mike DeWine: (01:11:04)
So frankly, we felt that the relief was in place for that individual tenant. And when we looked at the cascading effect that could happen, as John talked about, we felt that this order was very, very important. A lot of people who really understand the business community looked at that and said, “If we just hold up on that, hold that for a while, we’re going to buy everybody some time and you won’t have this domino effect of everything falling down.”
Jon Husted: (01:11:40)
Yeah. If I could just reiterate, a couple points that have been made on this because I think it’s a really important, it’s a pause for 90 days. We want to see that across all places. We want to see it in the residential market, we want to see it on evictions, and we want to see it with commercial mortgages. But unless you do that for all of them, then you’re disrupting the financial chain between somebody who’s paying the rent, the person who owns that facility and has a mortgage on it, and their ability to pay the lender. So if you don’t take care of all three of those phases of the linkage in the financial chain, then it collapses down and usually the people at the bottom are the ones who are hurt the most.
Andy Chow: (01:12:27)
Then the first part of my question, what kind of consequences do lenders face if they don’t follow the order?
Jon Husted: (01:12:33)
Well, you would have to go through the courts. The courts where most of these foreclosure consequences occur, court would uphold our order as we see it.
Andy Chow: (01:12:46)
Jackie Borchardt : (01:12:46)
This is Jackie Borchardt from the Cincinnati Enquirer, thanks again for your time. I’ve heard from several people who have been denied unemployment benefits because they don’t meet the minimum qualification amount. Some of these are college students who relied on these jobs to get whatever income they have. Is there any support for the idea of lowering that minimum benefit at this time and also do you support mandating, either at the state or federal level, overtime or hazard pay for health care workers, grocery employees and others who are putting themselves at risk doing these essential jobs?
Jon Husted: (01:13:27)
Well, I can say that hazard pay is something that many people who are in a position to pay it are doing. There’s also the challenge that our healthcare institutions have financially right now, that we hope when we get the rules from the Federal Government and what was in the CARE Act, that we will be able to help nursing home operators, hospitals, because they’re under deep financial stress right now, which we realize. It’s important.
Jon Husted: (01:13:59)
The CARE Act did cover 1099 or independent contractor type of employees. Understand there’s no mechanism or rules that have yet been written for delivering that money back out that the Federal Government appropriated. So we are waiting for those rules and trying to identify what systems they would like us to use if in partnership with them to get that money back out the door.
Jon Husted: (01:14:24)
The group that you talked about, I think the number is that you have to be employed for 20 weeks and make at least $265 a week. I’m trying to remember this off the top of my head. That was not included in the federal package as I understand it. And additionally, our unemployment system in Ohio does not have the capacity as it’s currently financed to structure an unemployment system for those employees that were not accounted for in the existing system.
Jon Husted: (01:14:58)
So if in the coming actions from the Federal Government, the resources are made available to cover that community of part-time workers, then we would certainly willingly apply that if the resources are available.
Jackie Borchardt : (01:15:15)
So just to be clear on the answer to my first … the first thing you asked about, you do not support a state or federal mandate for hazard pay at this time?
Jon Husted: (01:15:24)
Well, the challenge we have is that some people just don’t have the money to provide it. And I wouldn’t know where that money would come from. We are certainly always open to suggestions if people have ways that we can fund things that are important to help our essential workers and people who are in need. But we are limited by the resources we have no matter. But as we always say, if you have ideas about how we could fund these things, we’re always willing to listen.
Louis Gill: (01:16:00)
Good afternoon. This is Louis Gill from Ohio Latino TV and this question’s for you, Lieutenant Governor. In terms of … today’s the first of the month, majority of tenants had to pay the rent today, and you suggest that they should have conversations, hold on payment until they have a resolution between tenant and landlord. Is there official site or a letter that the tenant can show the landlord this is things that are being suggested by the governor? How can we find a resolution? Those three months, those 90 days that you asking, are they going to put back into the contract, the end of the contract? How are things the tenant should approach the landlord in these situations?
Jon Husted: (01:16:46)
Okay, I’ll start on this. If governor wants to add to this, I’ll try to do my best to answer that question as best as I can. We want everybody in this chain, whether you’re a tenant or somebody who pays a mortgage or a rent, to contact either your landlord or the mortgage holder, the bank, and work with them on the terms. Because what this is focused on, what all of this coverage is focused on, is people who can’t pay due to the effects of coronavirus, COVID-19. It doesn’t cover other circumstances. It’s focused on this, and it doesn’t mean that if you aren’t covered by that, you shouldn’t pay your rent. Because understand we can’t have people just not paying their rent, we can’t have people not paying their mortgages if they’re capable of doing it and their circumstances are not covered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jon Husted: (01:17:45)
And so contact your landlord. Understand that there is an executive order out there. There’s also a law that’s been passed by the legislature and signed by the governor allowing for the courts as Chief Justice O’Connor has said to limit court action on evictions or foreclosures as it relates to coronavirus.
Jon Husted: (01:18:09)
So that’s the best I could provide you here in terms of what we can do to give people guidance. Talk to your landlord, talk to the bank, the mortgage holder. They’re supposed to work with you under these orders. I don’t know, Governor, if you want to add to that?
Mike DeWine: (01:18:27)
Dr. Acton wants to add something to that. Dr. Acton?
Dr. Acton: (01:18:28)
I’m going to add on a different topic. I wanted to clarify an earlier answer I gave. Apparently I didn’t hear the word about hospital workers being furloughed, so I missed that in the question. So I just wanted to clarify that statement because the phones are lighting up here. I was talking about people having time off, like my daughter, to rest up and also that’s not a furlough. And some hospitals, some smaller hospitals that I’ve spoken with, have actually because they are not doing elective surgeries, have staff that have been working for other hospitals. So they’ve been giving them other assignments to do. So somehow I just wanted to clarify that furlough is not what is happening. Thank you.
Louis Gill: (01:19:19)
If I may on that note, that I was talking to the Lieutenant Governor? If the order is to stay home and people are staying home, would that be qualified for the coronavirus situation? In terms of paying the rent and the conversation I was having earlier of peoples having conversation with their landlord’s versus a tenant.
Mike DeWine: (01:19:48)
Look, we would suggest that conversation, but this whole thing comes about by the fact that we have this dip in the economy, we have people staying home, we have people who are out of work. All the small businesses that aren’t able to function. So all of that brings about this order.
Louis Gill: (01:20:08)
Okay. Thank you so much.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:10)
Randy Ludlow: (01:20:14)
Good afternoon. Randy Ludlow with the Columbus Dispatch. Perhaps a first quick question to Lieutenant Governor as head of Innovation Ohio and our IT efforts in the state. We’re familiar with the horror stories of trying to access the unemployment claim system, but we have also fielded complaints to other platforms being offered during the health crisis. People submitting complaints of what they feel are improper mass gatherings, such as one gentleman who’s concerned about gatherings not practicing social distancing on the new pedestrian bridge in Dublin. Received an email from a distributor who has gloves, N95 mask, and other materials. He submitted it to the state through the online portal, received no acknowledgement, has not heard from the state what is being done to correct these problems?
Mike DeWine: (01:21:09)
Well, first of all, let me just say that in regard to anybody who sees something out there where they’ve got gathering of people together, they should go right to the local health department. I mean we have 113 health departments, we have city health departments, we have county health departments. And what you’re seeing is health departments in cities are being very aggressive in this. As I said, we had a conversation with a number of mayors at 11:30 today and they went through mayor by mayor what they are doing in this regard. So they would welcome that information and that’s really the effective way for that to be enforced.
Jon Husted: (01:21:53)
Okay. I will-
Randy Ludlow: (01:21:54)
[crosstalk 01:21:54] from a distributor who has some materials you badly need and he can’t get any response.
Jon Husted: (01:21:58)
So well, first Randy, let me back up and say this, that the things you described have nothing to do with technology, setting aside the unemployment compensation system, which we addressed yesterday. It is the fact that at some points in time people do get overwhelmed and we’re trying to bring as many people to these tasks as we can. In many cases, we’re assigning new people who’ve never done these kinds of things before. We’re trying to bring in the private sector. We’re bringing every human asset we can to bear on these issues.
Jon Husted: (01:22:33)
I have received those kinds of complaints as you said, where somebody contacted … and look, our team has to track that down because we have a lot of people who are offering things and you end up finally getting to the end of it and it’s somebody operating out of China who wants 100% of the money upfront and then they’ll deliver the things on the backend. That we have to be very cautious in handling taxpayer dollars, that we are not being defrauded. So sometimes these things take time to get through. This team is focused on getting access to every one of those top 10 list things that they can and if you would take that particular person that’s let you know about that, if you would send them to me, you know how to find me, I will follow up on that today.
Randy Ludlow: (01:23:25)
Okay. Well, on the distributor, we did forward that to the Governor’s Press Secretary, so hopefully that’s in the hopper somewhere. A quick question, Governor DeWine. It’s now in court, we have a two week TRO. Can you address what Ohio’s going to do on abortion? Whether you’re going to define that elective surgery or not, whether that’s an essential operation or not?
Mike DeWine: (01:23:49)
The order by Dr. Acton, I think we’ve explained this many, many times, why the order was issued. The order was issued in regard to elective surgery so that we could preserve all the personal protection equipment, all the other things that we need. We are not the only state to have issued this. Most states have in fact issued this. This applies to abortion clinics, as it applies to urologist, as it applies to anyone else. The health department, as you know, got complaints about some abortion clinics. They also got complained about urologist’s. They have done investigation. Now you have an action by Planned Parenthood and an order that’s been issued by the judge, but it certainly is still in litigation. We believe the order is correct. We believe the order is in the best interest of the people of the State of Ohio. I’ve instructed the attorney general to take whatever action he needs to take to support the order that was issued by a Dr. Acton. I think that’s what people of the state expect us to do.
Randy Ludlow: (01:24:53)
Laura Hancock: (01:24:58)
This is Laura Hancock from cleveland. com and I’ve got the last question. Dr Acton, you’ve talked about the serum testing for antibodies and just in the last day the FDA did approve that. So can you explain a little bit the plan? Will there be random testing to figure out who has antibodies, who’s had COVID? Can you explain that?
Dr. Acton: (01:25:24)
Thank you, Laura. So by serum testing, you’re talking about looking in the blood for antibodies, and that is not available to us yet in any usable form. But what that will allow us to do, antibodies develop whenever you or I get sick. It’s not the best for telling you you have the infection now because it takes awhile for those to build up as you’re fighting. But it is a remnant of something that happened in the past, so it will let us know that you developed immunity, basically that your body fought it off. Those same antibodies actually are being explored as a potential treatment. That’s a very old school thing. It’s how we developed some of our early vaccines and immunity before they had the vaccines that we have today. So I think there are many ways we’re going to try to look back in history.
Dr. Acton: (01:26:17)
We are currently already doing a type of … something that’s called Sentinel Surveillance, but the surveillance is a scary word, but all that means is trying to look out at the population at large. So we have some, for instance, we’re doing a study right now with the CDC at the Ohio Department of Health where we’re looking at people who sent in a swab, same nasal swab for flu, and they tested negative for flu. And that system of looking for flu is a Federal-based system and that’s how we generate a lot of the numbers on how many flus we have in a year. Well, some of those same samples will be tested for coronavirus to see if perhaps somebody who back in January or February tested negative for flu, but actually was having respiratory distress, looks a lot like a pneumonia, but was flu.
Dr. Acton: (01:27:11)
So these sorts of things will help us look backwards. Perhaps there were people who did get sick during this. Obviously most of the people getting sick will never have been tested, and it might give us a chance. I have dreams in my mind of, just like a diabetes test, where you get a prick of blood and you can tell very quickly if somebody has a high glucose, we’re hoping that we can find that they had high antibodies. So that will be an elaborate strategy that we hope to have in the future. Thank you.
Laura Hancock: (01:27:40)
Mike DeWine: (01:27:41)
Dr. Acton, thank you very much. Thanks everyone for tuning in. We’ll see you all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thanks a lot.