Aug 25, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript August 25
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on August 25 to give coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of his news briefing here.
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Mike DeWine: (10:18)
Good afternoon. Today I’m wearing a Belmont College tie. Belmont College is located in Belmont County, Saint Clairsville. They also have campus locations in Harrison County, as well as in Monroe County. The college offers more than 28 degrees, 24 certificate programs and disciplines, such as allied health, building preservation, restoration, business engineering technology, information technology, industrial trades and public safety.
Mike DeWine: (10:55)
So Eric, let’s go to the slides and we’ll look at our numbers. Our case numbers are lower today. Sometimes we’ll see that on Mondays and Tuesdays. We’ve seen this pattern actually pretty regularly. Healthcare utilization may go down over the weekend and sometime it’s reflected in the numbers. We had relatively few deaths reported today, although, unfortunately, we’re nearing a grim statistic. We’re getting close to 4,000 deaths from this horrible, horrible disease. Hospital and ICU admissions are holding steady and really are kind of near their recent range. Eric, let’s look at the cases. These are the cases from 1 to 88. We started doing this a few weeks ago, and this is to really reflect how many cases in the last two weeks each county has had. But then it is figured by 100,000, calibrated by 100,000 population. So if you look what we’ll see, we’ll go to the top 10, Eric, and we’ll look at the top 10 here.
Mike DeWine: (12:17)
You see the continuing spread into rural Ohio. Now our top 10 counties all have populations at or below 60,000. So Darke County has moved up, along with Mercer is number two, Jackson County, then Henry, Preble, Fayette, Auglaize, Gallia, Ottawa and Lawrence. So from north to south, the only area that really is not very much represented would be Eastern Ohio, Gallia County can be called Eastern Ohio. But the far Eastern Ohio is not represented there. But again, this trend continues to go into the rural counties. I want to take another look this week at some tragic headlines, just from this past weekend. We did this last week, and this is just a sad, sad story. Weekend gun violence. From Friday through Monday, at least, at least far as we can tell, 25 people were shot in Ohio, 13 of them were killed. Here are just two of the cases and some of the more … They’re all tragic, but these just are sickening.
Mike DeWine: (13:40)
From WCMH in Columbus, police say pregnant teen’s unborn baby killed after shooting in the Linden area. A pregnant 15 year old girl was shot in the abdomen. She survived, but her baby tragically, according to reports, a little baby boy did not and died just a few weeks before he would have been born. From cleveland.com. 14 year old boy dies after shooting in Lorain Park, police say. The boy was found near a basketball court with multiple gunshot wounds Saturday night, he died Sunday. The man accused of killing the teen had been convicted of a violent felony in the past, meaning that obviously he was legally prohibited from having a gun, and he had the gun nonetheless. According to the allegations, he had that gun anyway and used it against this child.
Mike DeWine: (14:47)
Our legislation, pending today in the general assembly, will go along way to deal with this problem. And the problem is repeat violent offenders who have a gun. Our legislation would give our judges, would give our prosecutors, our police a lot more ability to deal with these individuals and get them out of our communities. Cincinnati Police shared some of their data with us regarding gun crimes committed by those legally prohibited from having a weapon. Over the past three months in just three of their districts, nearly two dozen people who are forbidden from carrying a gun because of their prior felony conviction were arrested for shooting or shooting at someone. And it’s not just Cincinnati, this is happening all over the state. Here’s another case in the headline this week. From Akron Beacon Journal, Akron man wanted in four shootings in three states arrested in South Dakota. This man was a target of a nationwide manhunt after alleged shootings in Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana. Two people died. The suspect, due to his criminal history, is legally prohibited from possessing a gun.
Mike DeWine: (16:07)
As I’ve been saying for months, Ohio’s law and illegal gun possession aren’t tough enough. Right now when someone who is prohibited from having a gun is found with a gun is often not considered a serious felony offense, so they frequently receive probation instead of jail time and they go right back to the streets. Under our bill it would become a second degree felony, which is a more serious offense, with a presumption of a prison sentence. The bottom line is this, those who illegally possess guns are oftentimes the ones who use them again. Ohio’s failure to properly address felons who carry guns and use them to commit crimes allows these individuals to wreck havoc throughout our communities and stay in those communities. If we truly, truly want to address the issue of gun violence in this state, we must deal with a small number of criminals who are willing to illegally use a gun to inflict harm on others. Our legislation would give judges better ability to sentence these offenders to prison and get them off the streets.
Mike DeWine: (17:15)
This is a bill, and this particular provision in the bill is something that chiefs of police have been talking about for a long, long time. And notice I said, it’s a relatively small number of people. I think if you talk to your chief, if you live in a city, if you talk to your chief or talk to a police officer, they will tell you that the majority of the violent crime is committed by a relatively small number of the criminal element, and in a large majority of these cases, these are people who have already committed felons, they’ve been told they’re not allowed to have a gun, they can’t have a gun, and yet they go ahead and commit the offense. So having the ability to find that person in possession of a gun before they commit an offense, and get them off the streets and give it the judge the discretion to sentence them for a significant period of time will save a lot of lives.
Mike DeWine: (18:12)
I want to take a few moments to talk about the sport’s order that we issued last week, and particularly the variance process, because we put this in here for a very specific reason. And I know some school districts, I’ve talked to some of the superintendents on the phone, they’ve had some questions about this. So let me kind of go through this. And just remember, our goal is to have the athletes playing, the young people playing their sport, and have the ability of their parents, family members to attend and actually watch them. So the goal is no spectators, other than family members. Either family members of the ball team, or if it’s a football team and there’s a marching band at halftime, we want the parents to be able to come in and see their children play in the band as well. So that’s really the goal.
Mike DeWine: (19:09)
We limited the maximum number of spectators gathered to the lesser of 1500 individuals or 15% of fixed permanent seated capacity for outdoor sports events. So that’s for outdoor sports events. For indoor, it’s the lesser of 300 individuals or 15% of the fixed seated permanent capacity for indoor sports venues. The primary purpose of permitting spectators at school sports event is to allow officials, and family, and household members and loved ones of the players, of the coaches, team staff members, other event participants, including marching band and honor guard, for both home and away teams to attend and share in the experience. Ideally the spectator limit would enable at least two, and maybe four, family members to attend the sporting event provided that the venue is large enough to allow at least a six foot of social distancing between individuals who are seated.
Mike DeWine: (20:14)
We know that the fixed seating capacity of some sports venues, particularly our smaller schools, might not allow this to happen, and that’s why we have a variance procedure. So one of the reasons why the sport’s order contains a variance provision allowing schools, is to allow schools to submit a plan to their local health department. So you need to go first to your local health department, and then also to the State of Ohio. But the health department, the local health department will take the first action, and then we will follow up in regard to that. So the order requires that the variance plan include, they can have a little map in there if you want to, but a justification as to why the circumstance of the venue justify different capacity requirement. And second, how the submitted plan will adequately achieve similar results as the requirements and guidance in the order. In particular, it is essential that the variance plan demonstrate that it’s proposed increased spectator limit will still enable at least six feet of social distancing between family groups.
Mike DeWine: (21:29)
It is the responsibility of the school venue to the home team to monitor and enforce the social distancing requirement, as well as the prohibition on congregating among spectators, and the other provisions that are outlined in the sport’s order. Evaluating a sports venue’s variance plan may require conversations with school officials, venue officials, and perhaps a site visit, which is why the Ohio Department of Health will rely upon the local health department to first conduct their assessment of the various plan. Here’s kind of my summary. When schools ask for a variance, they should ask themselves these questions. Is the variance necessary to allow home and away family members to be able to attend? Two, can the number of requested spectators that you’re asking to go to, can they be socially distanced? Is it physically possible? Three, can the homeschool adequately prevent the requested number of spectators from actually congregating?
Mike DeWine: (22:40)
I talked to the school superintendent this week who told me, yeah, we can hold this number and we could keep them distanced, but we really can’t control the crowd. And so, you have to kind of work through that. I would further add though, the variance was not designed for a big stadium just to be able to fill fans in there. Much as we would love to have all fans-
Mike DeWine: (23:03)
Just to be able to fill fans in there. As much as we would love to have all fans back, we’ve got to keep our eye on the ball. We got to start off slow. And so, the goal is to have spectators, but the only spectators really be family members of those who are participating in the event, or in the case of band members, those who are maybe playing at halftime or have some other role in the game itself or the halftime events. If it’s football or whatever the sport might be, that you might have another group. It could include family members or cheerleaders, for example.
Mike DeWine: (23:39)
Let’s talk for a moment about the census. Again, we want to remind you about the census, very important. It takes about 10 minutes to fill this out. And really, our representation in Congress will be determined by the number of Ohioans who are counted. The different assistance that comes in, federal funds, many, many things are determined by what the count is. Our goal is to have an accurate count, which means we need you. We need you to fill out your census form. And so, we would ask you to do that.
Mike DeWine: (24:14)
We have kind of a treat today. The people who are really on the front line in regard to coronavirus are our health commissioners. They’re the ones who are out there. I talk to them and listen to them, mostly, every Monday morning, early morning call, and I learn so very much from them. This is really a partnership that we have with them. There are 113 separate health departments around the state of Ohio. First, I’d like to introduce you to Charles Patterson of the Clark County combined health district. Charlie’s been Clark County Health Commissioner for the past 20 years. He has more than 31 years of public health experience at the state and the local level. Charlie, thank you very, very much for joining us.
Charles Patterson: (25:05)
Thank you, Governor DeWine.
Mike DeWine: (25:07)
I guess, maybe look a little bit at Clark County and maybe if you could just kind of tell us how this has evolved, maybe going back to at least when we started the color code and kind of tell us what the evolution has been and maybe where you are today.
Charles Patterson: (25:29)
Well, we started with the orange color code. After about two weeks, we moved up. We had a few weeks of red, back to orange, and then last week due to our current circumstances, we’re back at the red hazard level. We started basically with businesses and employers, especially those essential employees that had to go to work every day. As the schools were closed, and many other businesses were, these folks weren’t allowed to stay home. And so, they passed that along into several large outbreaks, including adult.
Charles Patterson: (26:04)
We had some outbreaks in manufacturing and warehousing in Madison County that affected our community as well. At this point, we’re seeing it in the general population. Unfortunately, that now is starting to affect our nursing homes. And the one way we’re knowing that it’s affecting the nursing homes is because the National Guard testing that’s going on, it’s a phenomenal program. We’re seeing the employees tested every two weeks. Unfortunately, with that testing, we are starting to find the indicators of employees and now residents at our longterm care facilities being affected.
Mike DeWine: (26:42)
In your case, you were actually seeing community spread, then move into the nursing home. Is that kind of the [crosstalk 00:03:49]?
Charles Patterson: (26:48)
Absolutely. Yeah. We were seeing 55 cases a week or so, and now that’s moved into the nursing home longterm care. That’s bumped us up to more like 75 to 80 cases a week now with those residents and employees being affected.
Mike DeWine: (27:07)
And talk to us a little bit, Commissioner, about the start of school. Clark County, you have some schools are remote, I think, and some are in person. Maybe some are hybrid. How do you handle that? Or, what do you see going forward? Because I know that the partnership between you and the superintendents, you and the schools is a very, very important partnership as schools start back up.
Charles Patterson: (27:37)
Well, we do have a great partnership with our superintendents, but as you know, local control is very important in Ohio and local school boards have chosen the entire gamut here in Clark County. We have a couple of districts that are fully remote. We have a couple of districts that are doing a hybrid and a couple that are going back to school full-time. Each of those districts has a plan in place to try to keep those students and teachers in school as long as possible. And we’ll be very closely monitoring that here in Clark County to make sure we can keep those schools open.
Charles Patterson: (28:12)
One of the things that we have to be very careful though, is personal responsibility of all of our citizens. Because just as we’ve seen it effect our longterm cares, we know that if people are not following your guidance with the social distancing and the masking, that we very quickly could see this transmission in the schools, and then we’ll have to work closely with the superintendents that are in person to see if we can continue that.
Mike DeWine: (28:40)
How are we doing in Clark County in regard to social distancing and wearing masks out in public? Do you have any anecdotal … What you’ve seen, maybe what your health department’s seen?
Charles Patterson: (28:53)
Well, we’ve certainly seen a lot more masks on individuals since your mandatory mask order, but I would tell you that the number of complaints we’re getting has also risen because of that. People want to go to a store, they want to go to a place of business and feel safe, and they only feel safe if everybody’s wearing masks. We still have enough people not following the guidance, that that’s throwing our numbers off and that’s why we continue to battle this in our community.
Mike DeWine: (29:27)
Maybe the last question, if we could go back to the schools for a moment. Just as the nursing homes many times will reflect the community spread, certainly schools are going to … And do, those that are open now, reflect the community spread. What’s the procedure? What the procedure a school follows if, let’s say, that they have some indication they have a student who has some of the symptoms?
Charles Patterson: (30:00)
Well, the first thing that will happen is the contact tracers at the Health Department will work with the school districts. We have designated people at each of the school districts that will be sharing information with. The school nurses are very vital to this effort moving forward. And we’ll look at seating charts. We’ll see exactly who has spent that less than 15 minutes or more than 15 minutes, less than six feet away. And those individuals who surround a positive case will be quarantined. The positive cases will be isolated. And we won’t look at an entire class. If we can, we’ll leave as many kids in places we can. But those individuals who are affected, we are going to have to make sure we stop the spread by that quarantine order.
Mike DeWine: (30:46)
Well, Commissioner, thank you very much not just for being here today, but thank you for what you do to keep Clark County, the citizens of Clark County safe. And we want to thank not only you, but your whole team. You’ve got a great team there and we just appreciate. We know you guys are working really, really hard and there’s no letup in there. So, thank you for what you do.
Charles Patterson: (31:07)
Thanks for acknowledging the team, Governor. They’re doing yeoman’s job out there.
Mike DeWine: (31:11)
They are indeed. Thank you. Thanks a lot, Commissioner. Let’s go up North to Medina. I’d like to turn to Krista Wasowski, Health Commissioner at the Medina County Health Department. She’s been Health Commissioner for 15 years, the past eight of those in Medina County. Before that she was not too far away in Morrow County. She has 28 years of public health service. Medina was red for three weeks. July 23rd and the 30th and August 6th. Commissioner, you want to … First of all, thanks for joining with us. And can you maybe give us, as Shirley did, can you give us the rundown of where you are in Medina County now and where you’ve been and how you got there?
Krista Wasowski: (32:05)
Sure. Thank you, Governor. Medina County, since mid … Early June actually, we’ve only had 17 COVID cases coming out of congregate settings. We too have had the Ohio National Guard in here doing testing. A lot of testing happening within congregate settings. But the cases that we’re seeing in Medina County are really coming from community spread. To give you an idea, back in May we were seeing 14 cases a week on average. And then in July we were seeing 74 cases a week on average. And now in August, we’re seeing 85 cases a week on average. While Medina County has never been designated as a high incidence county, even the weeks when we were red, we do have some communities in our county that are having more significant spread.
Krista Wasowski: (32:57)
Some of the challenges that we’re having are people giving complete contact lists to us. I think sometimes when people have a mild illness, they don’t really want to inconvenience their friends. But really, contact notification, and that tracing process, and working with public health is really the only way that we’re going to get in front of this virus. We want people really to remember that the virus, it may be mild for you, but it might not be mild for that next person. Really, to Commissioner Patterson’s point, those cases that ended up in the community and then finding its way into a nursing home, they’ve actually had some rather tragic outcomes from that in his county.
Mike DeWine: (33:40)
You talked about different parts of the county. Where do you see it most?
Krista Wasowski: (33:48)
The Northern part of Medina County, or our border that’s closest. We’re a suburb of both Akron and of Cleveland, so it’s our Northern end of our county where we’re seeing more of our cases and community spread.
Mike DeWine: (34:02)
And talk to me a little bit, if you can, about reopening of schools and what your relationship has been with the different school districts.
Krista Wasowski: (34:10)
Sure. We work very closely with all of our superintendents. I had a call with them just prior to this call. As in Clark and many of our other counties, people have different plans. The beauty of local control is that those local plans are in place, a lot of safety protocols, but really our ability to keep our schools open and to keep our students playing sports and doing extracurriculars really rely on us being able to contain this virus.
Mike DeWine: (34:42)
And talk to me a little bit about how you’re seeing this occur. You talked about community spread. Maybe anecdotally, as you trace these back, and I understand we can’t always trace them back. Sometimes it’s out in the community and you just can’t really figure it out. But, when you do trace it back, what are you seeing?
Krista Wasowski: (35:11)
Yeah, sure. What we’re seeing is a lot of unintentional exposures. Some of our young adults in particular are having mild symptoms. It seems like a cold to them. And so, they think it’s okay to maybe go to sporting events, or to work, or to other social gatherings. And then, once their tests are coming back, sometimes they’re surprised that they have COVID and that they’ve infected other people.
Krista Wasowski: (35:35)
And so, what we really need across the state, we need with our schools opening really for parents to be willing to step in and keep kids home and keep their friends away while we try to contain the virus. I know everybody is anxious to get back. I mean, we are all anxious to get back and to see one another. And it’s exciting to have school back in session, but those safety protocols that we put into place at sporting events and in school, those need to carry over into the other interactions that our kids are having outside of the school if we want to keep our schools healthy.
Mike DeWine: (36:13)
Maybe walk through kind of a hypothetical case. Let’s say it’s a young person and they have symptoms, or … Well, maybe it’s an older person and they have symptoms. What should they be doing? They go in and let’s say they take a test. Let’s get them that far. They take a test and they’re waiting. What’s the protocol? What are they supposed to be doing then?
Krista Wasowski: (36:38)
Yeah. What we really need to see happen is if there’s that level of suspicion, either on the part of the person to seek out testing or to have a doctor prescribe that and to have that occur is really for that person to assume that their test is positive and to really isolate themselves away from other people. And if possible, ideally, away from other people even within their household. To contain that and to not have other people also become positive.
Krista Wasowski: (37:08)
A lot of times people want to believe that they’re not sick and it’s not COVID. And that’s really where we’re seeing other people becoming ill, because folks are living their normal life and doing what they would normally do while they’re waiting for that result to come back. We really need people … If you are waiting for your test results to come back, truly staying at home and staying away from other people is you being a really good friend, a good neighbor and really a good coworker.
Mike DeWine: (37:41)
And your time counts right during that period of time, right?
Krista Wasowski: (37:46)
It does. If you’re symptomatic, the time that you’re spending at home in isolation, that counts towards your total isolation period, that public health will ask you to stay away from people. You’re just sort of getting a jumpstart on that. And you’re also keeping that list of contacts very small, if you’re staying home and away from other people.
Mike DeWine: (38:08)
We’re part of the way in this. We’re not quite sure how far, but you’ve been battling this for some time, you and your team. Tell me the future in Medina. What do you worry about? What are you optimistic about? You don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t have a crystal ball, but how do you see things in Medina?
Krista Wasowski: (38:30)
Yeah, yeah. I’m very optimistic. We have the Mask up Medina campaign. We’re seeing more masks being worn, to the point that Commissioner Patterson made. People are expecting to see masks when they go into places as a safety measure, so I’m very optimistic about that. Some of the things that concern me are that spread that we’re seeing within our younger citizens. We really need to get ahead of this. And we need to get ahead of this before flu season starts, that’s for sure.
Mike DeWine: (39:07)
In getting ahead of it means what to you?
Krista Wasowski: (39:11)
To me, it means keeping one person who’s ill, keeping that number … That they also get ill very, very small. Back in the beginning, our lists, we only had maybe one contact and very few … A little bit of disease spread. But as we come up now, we’re having 10, 15, many contacts. And so, that just exponentially potentially spreads that disease. When I say, “Get in front of it,” I mean, all of us being very responsible, really, to one another. And if we’re feeling ill, staying away and containing that illness.
Mike DeWine: (39:52)
Well, Commissioner, thank you very much. And also, thanks to all your team, the Medina Health Department. Thank you. We appreciate what they do. We know they’re working long hours and tough and the end is not in sight. It will get here, though. We know that. But we thank you and thank them.
Krista Wasowski: (40:11)
Thank you, Governor.
Mike DeWine: (40:13)
Appreciate it very much. Thank you. I’m going to turn it over to Jon Husted. It happens to be the Lieutenant Governor’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Lieutenant Governor. And I’ll let you take it from here.
Jon Husted: (40:29)
Well, thank you, Governor. Appreciate that. I have something that was sent to me and you got some of these too. It’s from the Centerville Noon Optimist. I think we’ve both over the course of years, spoken to them and they’re handing out masks to people to spread a little optimism in world. And so, we thank the Centerville Optimists club for that and all the great service organizations that are out there helping young people, doing things to weave their community together and serve others. So, we thank them. I got a little economic news, a few workforce-related items I wanted to touch on today.
Jon Husted: (41:13)
Look, we’re on the road to recovery, economically speaking. We got to keep the momentum going. You don’t want it to stall out. We’ve seen the unemployment rate drop from 17% to 8.9% presently. A lot of people are going back to work. And they’re also finding, as they look for work, that the nature of work sometimes has changed. There are different opportunities out there that require different kinds of skills. One great resource, we use this as kind of a gauge on how things are going, is Ohio Means Jobs. There are currently 169,151 total jobs on there. Nearly 80,000 of those have a salary of over $50,000 a year. Plus, there are 1800 internships available. And all of that is at ohiomeansjobs.com.
Jon Husted: (42:08)
And that brings me to another opportunity that exists out there, and that is through our Development Services Agency. They have a scholarship program called the Diversity and Inclusion Internship program. And the goal of the Diversity and Inclusion Internship program is to recruit eight non- typical students that maybe don’t pursue tech as a skill to help them get access to an internship and opportunity. Anyone is eligible for this, but there are 200 scholarships available. Our challenge right now is only 26 companies have offered themselves up to provide these internships. This is a message to two audiences. We need employers to offer up those internships. The application period is open right now for companies and that’s through September the 8th.
Jon Husted: (43:06)
And there’s every reason for a company to want to do this because through the scholarship program, we’ll pay two-thirds of the cost of the intern’s wages to help develop those skills in that tech area. And for students, the application period opens up today and is available through September 22nd. We know in a COVID world that a lot of people are rethinking work, they’re rethinking education. Maybe they want some real life experience and they can use the distance learning opportunities that are available through some of these internship programs and others. It’s a great win for people. Tech talent, development for businesses, individuals learn some real work experiences. And it’s really a great economic deal for the businesses to help get a lot of that internship paid for.
Jon Husted: (43:58)
We encourage folks to go to the development.ohio.gov website. We’ll also push this out on social media to get businesses and students involved. A little update also on antibody testing, serological testing, we’re conducting … The Department of Health is conducting the survey. It’s getting very close to the end. Remember, we do these surveys to basically come to the conclusion of how many people out there in the population have antibodies that they may have developed as a result of having COVID-19. We get a little snapshot of this from the American Red Cross on a weekly basis. And the latest data from the American Red Cross in Ohio shows that we have an uptick on that number. About 2.2% of the population that gets tested at the American Red Cross has the antibodies.
Jon Husted: (44:51)
And so, we can presume that some … Well, to some extent reflects the population who’ve had the virus. And then, Governor, really appreciate … I know a lot of families appreciate the update you gave about sports, because when you read these orders, we know they’re written in legal language many times, and we get the questions. But look, we’re going to accommodate families. We want the families to be out there watching their student athletes participate and there’s a way to make sure that every school can do that for both home and away fans. And we know our Department of Health is looking at those variances in conjunction with the local department of health. And we’re going to get mom and dad out there to see their sons and daughters participate. Thanks, Governor.
Mike DeWine: (45:37)
We’re ready for questions.
Governor, your first question is from Ben Schwartz at WCPO in Cincinnati.
Ben Schwartz: (45:49)
Good afternoon, Governor DeWine. I’d like to ask about a letter that Representative Thomas West’s office says was sent to you earlier, urging you to consider deploying the National Guard to work as poll workers, if needed.
Ben Schwartz: (46:03)
Consider deploying the National Guard to work as poll workers if needed? I’m wondering if you’ve been able to give that request any thought yet and if you’d consider deploying the Guard.
Mike DeWine: (46:12)
Well I’m going to rely on Frank LaRose and see what Frank thinks. I know Frank has plans and I know locally they’re working to recruit people to be the poll workers. So what we do have, and I think it’s a very good question and I think it’s a good point, we have some older poll workers who in the world of COVID may not feel safe sitting there 13 hours where the polls are open and they got to get there earlier than that, so it’s a long day and they’re exposed to a lot of different people, so I think that’s going to be our challenge this year and so I’m going to rely on what the Secretary of State, he’s all over this, but if we see a problem, we’re open to any kind of suggestions but we want people … We want to continue to be able to recruit people to be poll workers. It’s a process that needs to take place and so we’ll kind of watch this and see how it’s going. We thank the poll workers by the way who spend long days and do this. Thank them very much.
Jon Husted: (47:27)
Yeah, governor, [inaudible 00:47:28] add something to that. Look, everybody who’s watching today, you could be a poll worker. Everybody who’s out there across the State of Ohio, 11.7 million people almost I guess, we can get them out there and be poll workers. We’re really encouraging high school students where there are provisions that allow high school students to get out there and work at the polls and they may not be physically in school that day or even online because a lot of schools close down on Election Day because their facilities are being used, convert those high school seniors to poll workers, they’re young, they’re strong, and they also can make a little money at the same time so we hope to enroll a new generation of workers out there as well.
Mike DeWine: (48:12)
Speaker 1: (48:14)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Jack Windsor: (48:18)
Hi Governor. Five Texas Republicans as you may know sued Texas Republican Governor Abbott over a $295 million contact tracing deal signed during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators there say the governor skirted separation of powers agreeing to a contract without following state statutes. As you know, I have been waiting for months now for information on our contract with the company assisting us with contact tracing, Partners In Health. I have to assume that is a multimillion dollar contract and our audience is interested in understanding the length and value of that deal so Governor, how much have we paid Partners In Health, how much are we obligated to pay them, and how long is the contract?
Mike DeWine: (49:05)
I don’t know the answer Jack but we certainly can get that answer. I don’t see any reason that we cannot get that answer on Thursday, exactly where we are. I would point out that while Partners In Health, you’ve kind of highlighted them with some questions and I talked about them several times because they have done this worldwide, this type of activity but the tracing relies really on our local health departments. They’re the ones who are doing most of the hiring. We have come in and hired tracers so that we can … If a county is overrun, something happens, so that we can put tracers in there so we hire, they hire, Partners In Health have played some role as far as advising because we respect the work that they do in that particular area but we’ll get you that information.
Speaker 1: (50:04)
Next question is from Jessie Balmert at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jessie Balmert: (50:09)
Hi Governor. My question is as students are returning to schools, how are students going to report COVID cases to the public?
Mike DeWine: (50:20)
Well, actually that’s a very good question. I’m laughing a little bit because we’ve been discussing this and I’ve tasked my team with coming up with basically a consistent state plan, in other words, the way these are reported to the public should be whether it’s in Belmont County or Huron County or Hamilton County, it should be the same way. So we will have a procedure to outline for you on Thursday. So your question anticipates something that we’re working on because frankly I felt it needs to be consistent. We need to protect … Because the law says we should and because it’s the right thing, individuals’ health information, but knowing that something is going on is important and so it’s also important not only that it be reported, it needs to be reported to the health department obviously, but it needs to be also in realtime reported to parents so that parents have an idea of what’s going on and then it needs to be also reported to the news media. So we’ll have the specifics of that for you on Thursday.
Speaker 1: (51:39)
Next question is from Laura Bischoff at the Dayton Daily News. I think Laura may have dropped off so our next question is from Jon Reed at Gongwer News Service.
Jon Reed: (51:56)
Good afternoon Governor. With college students returning to campus, there have been some major outbreaks at colleges in other states in Alabama, in North Carolina. Have you seen any evidence of similar situations maybe happening here and if so how do you prevent that, how do you deal with that when it comes up?
Mike DeWine: (52:17)
Well I was on a call this morning that I put together to talk with our university presidents of our state four year institutions. We went through that, we talked a lot about that. You have seen just from the news media … You saw Miami’s announcement this morning or last night, saw some news, Youngstown State. I’ve talked to both presidents about that. They both have it under control but look, I think the lessons that we see in colleges quite candidly are similar to the lessons that we are seeing among the population that’s not going to college, usually older, and that is that the spread is occurring because people are letting their guard down. The spread is occurring because people are getting together and because they’re with friends, they’re in a social situation, sometimes they’re drinking, they let their guard down, they don’t wear a mask, they don’t keep a social distance.
Mike DeWine: (53:21)
If you look at the outbreaks on college campuses, a lot of them have come directly from that type of a party or that type of an event. I have told the college presidents, I told them yesterday morning, I said, “Look, I think that you certainly are in a good position and you will protect your students. You have a plan, you’ll protect your students when they’re in class. You’ll protect them in the library, you’ll protect them probably pretty well in the dorms but what I worry about is what they do the other times and just human nature being human nature and what it is.” One university president I talked to this week, one of our private schools, I think summarized it pretty well. He said really it’s going to be up to the students. If the students want to stay on campus, if they want to continue to be able, all of them to be in class or to be on campus with some … Either a mixed hybrid process or entirely back in class, they’re going to have to control it and they’re going to have to have the discipline and they’re going to have to frankly have a little peer pressure on other students who maybe are doing things that are not very productive to staying in class.
Mike DeWine: (54:52)
So am I worried? Yes I’m worried. I think we have every right to be worried as we … K-12 goes back, many places in person. Many places where we have significant community spread. At the same time, our campuses are filling back up with students and to state the obvious even when campuses are remote for a while, we’re still seeing students go back physically to the campus. Particularly those who are living off-campus. They’re just moving back and you can be remote, you can be online, but they’re still back and congregating in whatever community that is. So these are all challenges that we face but I think the good news is I’m confident that every state university, I’m confident that the private schools all have a plan, they’re all on it, they’re doing the best that they can but it’s ultimately going to come down to frankly what the students do and what kind of year that they’re going to be able to have.
Speaker 1: (56:12)
Next question is from Max Filby at The Columbus Dispatch.
Max Filby: (56:17)
Hi Governor. We’ve heard from some longterm care facilities, nursing home, assisted living centers that are struggling financially and just having trouble resource-wise with addressing the pandemic. I’m curious, is there anything more that the state can do to step in and help with that and if so what might that be?
Mike DeWine: (56:36)
Well, we’ve been paying as you know for a great deal of the testing. We understand that they’re under certain stress. We’ve been helpful in regard to those who have Medicaid patients. So these are things we will constantly monitor and constantly continue to talk with them. It’s important that every … Whether it’s an assisted living, whether it is a nursing home, obviously that they have the ability to keep going and they have the ability to employ people and they follow the best sanitation practices and that the testing be occurring, so we’re helping them with the testing, we’re trying to help them in regard to the sanitation but we’re certainly open to look at other things that we might be able to do.
Speaker 1: (57:33)
Next question is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.
Kevin Landers: (57:38)
Hello Governor, thanks for taking my question. Two parter for you, first of all, are you taking calls for your impeachment seriously and secondly it’s been several weeks since the order was in place to curtail alcohol sales at bars. Do you think that is going to last through the end of the year? Is there any data that you’ve seen that shows that’s working? Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (58:04)
Sure. Well let me talk about the first question you asked. My focus as governor is going to continue to be, and my priorities are to keep people safe and to get our economy moving faster, getting people to work, growing our economy, and saving lives. So that’s where my focus is. If there are others in the legislature who want to spend their time on drawing up resolutions and filing articles, look, it’s a free country if that’s how they want to spend their time. I would just say to them have at it but my focus is to do what I’m sworn to do and that is to protect the people of the state of Ohio, to get this economy moving faster, to save lives. That’s what I’m going to do.
Mike DeWine: (59:06)
Second question in regard to the bars, Kevin, it’s a work in progress. We’re going to continue to evaluate this. Fortunately most bars are doing a good job as you can tell by the citations that are issued we have some that are not following the law. So this is something that we’re going to continue to look at. No decision has been made.
Speaker 1: (59:33)
Next question is from Andrew Welsh-Huggins at the Associated Press.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (59:40)
Mike DeWine: (59:42)
Andrew Welsh-Huggins: (59:44)
Governor, just as a follow-up on Kevin’s question, so the impeachment proposal announced Monday was obviously a tiny effort, just four lawmakers but several other of your fellow Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns about your approach to the coronavirus and what they call a heavy-handed response and they’ve sponsored a number of bills to restrict your and the health director’s powers so I guess my question is what concerns do you have … Not about the impeachment, but about your legislative support regarding the pandemic as time goes on and the health orders stay in place?
Mike DeWine: (01:00:24)
Well we don’t want any health order to stay on a day, an hour, or a second longer than it needs to be on. We’re going to get through this, and my goal is for as many Ohioans as possible, all of us if possible, to get through this. Because we’ll get through this. There will be a vaccine, there will be things that are there to get us moving so we’re going to get through it but we got to get through it. Look, there’s nobody more open than I am. Every legislator has my cellphone as we found out when one of the legislators posted that on the internet so everybody’s got my phone number now but look, I have a great deal of respect for the four leaders. I communicate with them, they communicate with me, it’s a two-way street as far as information but ultimately, this is a once in 102 year pandemic and this is not an ordinary time and so we’re going to have to do what we need to do to protect Ohioans.
Mike DeWine: (01:01:40)
I think the good news is that basically everything is open. The restrictions you mentioned, there’s one mentioned in the last question, 10:00 p.m. cutoff of liquor. We got a requirement that people out in public wear a mask but really what we’re looking at is sacrifices that compared to the gravity of what we’re dealing with are relatively small sacrifices. The biggest sacrifices I think most people are making is self-imposed sacrifices, not seeing their grandkids or keeping a distance when they do see their grandkids and look, these are just tough things, but they’re not imposed by me, they’re basically self-defined and we tell people, keep a social distance. We do all those things because that’s the best health instruction that there can be, but we’re going to get through this and we’re going to get through it and Ohio is going to move forward. Ohio families are going to move forward.
Mike DeWine: (01:02:46)
So look, I do not shy away from making decisions. Somebody has to make those decisions when you’re dealing with a once in 100 year pandemic and I make the decisions, some people agree, some people disagree, but the thing I can assure you is that each decision is made with the best advice I could get from the health community and it’s made with my dedication and my commitment to the people of the state of Ohio and to keep them safe and to keep our economy moving.
Jon Husted: (01:03:23)
Governor, I wanted to add some information to the answer on the nursing home question. So far, there have been $205 million that are appropriated to longterm care facilities, $180 million to help them through coronavirus relief funds, another $25 million for infection control and then additionally there are approximately $400 million in provider relief across all spectrum in addition to behavioral health, rural hospitals, et cetera. So that money has gone out, much of it’s gone out to longterm care facilities, some of it’s still in process waiting on the documentation but to the earlier question, we understand the challenges that they all face and we’re trying to get the relief dollars out to them as fast as we can.
Mike DeWine: (01:04:19)
Speaker 1: (01:04:22)
Next question is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH in Columbus.
Adrienne Robbins: (01:04:27)
Hi Governor, thank you for doing this again. Is there any update that you could give when Ohioans could see the additional $300.00 for unemployment and ultimately when it does come do you think that’s going to be enough money for these people who continue to struggle during the pandemic?
Mike DeWine: (01:04:46)
Well look, I know people are suffering. We made the application, the application is in and I talked to the labor secretary actually yesterday about that. My team tells me that assuming things are approved in a timely manner, we make the switchover, mechanical switchover and things that need to be done that we’re talking about, the first check’s going out in mid September to late September and those would be retroactive so the first check would be up until that point in time. I’ve made it clear to my team we need to get this out just as absolutely quickly as we can. People are hurting, people need it.
Speaker 1: (01:05:34)
Next question is from Scott Halasz at the Xenia Daily Gazette.
Scott Halasz: (01:05:42)
Hey Governor, thank you for doing this again.
Mike DeWine: (01:05:44)
Scott Halasz: (01:05:46)
I’ve gotten a couple emails and a couple calls from some restaurant and bar owners here in Greene County who have paid extra with their liquor license to be able to be open till 2:30 and from what they tell me it’s several thousand dollars extra with their liquor license. They understand having to be closed at first, now they’re reopen and they can’t sell alcohol past 10. They were wondering, because they’re all struggling financially, would they be able to get a break? They used the term refund on their liquor license what they paid from the normal 1:00 a.m. to the 2:30, would they be able to get a break next year? I’m sure there’s over owners around the state that may have that same question.
Mike DeWine: (01:06:27)
Yeah, we can certainly look at that. I think that’s a valid point. We gave them some break, every bar, when they started back up after they’ve been closed in regard to the first … I think it was $500.00 of the liquor but I know this is a different issue and so we’ll look at that. Good question. We’ll look at it.
Speaker 1: (01:06:51)
Next question is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.
Geoff Redick: (01:06:57)
Afternoon Governor. You were talking earlier about this variance plan for schools and of course we’ve all been in these shoebox gymnasiums especially for youth sports and you said that a variance must still ensure six feet of social distancing. How can you ensure that all family members will be able to see these events?
Mike DeWine: (01:07:20)
I think it can be done outside. I think inside, I grew up in a high school that had a very, very small gym. I’ve seen a lot of small gyms so yes, those are difficult. What we’re simply asking schools to do is to prioritize families and they’re going to have to do the best that they can. We’re trying to get a balance here. We want our young people to play sports for all the reasons that we know sports are important. We want families to be able to be there to support them, but we also want to minimize the spread. When you’re talking about inside it just becomes a much more difficult situation. We have learned over this coronavirus five months or whatever period of time that inside is just so much more dangerous than outside. So the numbers are smaller inside but social distancing is still very, very, very important, so it’s a balance each school is going to have to kind of take priorities which have been set and I think it’s priorities frankly that we heard from families. Kids want to play, we want to see them if we can, and so we’re trying to take those priorities as established by Ohio families and work them through the biggest school with the biggest gym to the smallest one and the smallest gym. It’s not always easy, but I’m sure that schools will do the best that they can.
Speaker 1: (01:08:59)
Next question is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.
Speaker 2: (01:09:02)
Next question is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.
Alex Ebert: (01:09:06)
Good afternoon, Governor. We’re doing coverage of Governors that are issuing executive orders or contemplating doing so that would mandate flu vaccines for longterm care workers. They’re about 65% compliance when it comes to flu vaccine, which is worse than every other healthcare group. Ohio has 55% of its COVID-19 deaths are in longterm care facilities. And there are groups around the country that are worried about a confluence of longterm care deaths due to COVID and flu this fall. Would you consider issuing an executive order mandating healthcare workers in Ohio receive the flu vaccine and or COVID-19 vaccine when it comes out? Thank you, sir.
Mike DeWine: (01:09:50)
Yeah, that’s a good question. We’re very concerned about the flu. We’re already starting to plan in regard to the flu. Frankly, what I’m hoping is that in the world of the COVID virus, that we’ll see the use of the flu vaccine go up. And so that is what my hope is. My hope is that’s what Ohioans will do. I think Ohioans will recognize that now we will have two risks, one is the flu and one is the COVID. And if there’s a vaccine for one, there’s not for the other, let’s get the vaccine for the one that there is. So we don’t have any orders in mind at this point, we’re going to do everything we can to encourage people to do that and encouraging them to do that.
Mike DeWine: (01:10:41)
You’re going to see us it’s probably with a media campaign of some sort to do that because it’s so very, very important, but that’s how we’re going to approach it.
Speaker 2: (01:10:52)
Next question is from Andy Chow at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Andy Chow: (01:10:57)
Hi Governor. I was wondering if we could talk about new cases and where they’re coming from. I know that you’ve talked many times about how there’s a lot of spread through informal gatherings. I’m wondering if you can talk about how much of the new cases are coming from the workplace. Is that more or less than from informal gatherings? Is there any indication from these new cases that show you that the workplace standards and protocols are working?
Mike DeWine: (01:11:24)
Andy, it’s hard to get a exact data to answer your last question, are these standards working? Anecdotally, we think they are. What we’re seeing and what health departments are seeing generally is that businesses are doing everything they can to comply. We know that some businesses are more inherently dangerous, for some reasons. Meat packing places where it’s cold or winter actually is kind of brought inside, for some reason those are seeing a higher rate, but I don’t really have any data. And part of a part of the problem remains, we’re not yet to the point where we can take the tracing and turn that into statistics. We can take the tracing and turn it into anecdotal evidence, but turning it into the statistics is something we can’t yet do.
Mike DeWine: (01:12:40)
We do know that we have seen outbreaks. The health commissioner in Clark County a few minutes ago, talked about the outbreak at Dole manufacturing company, food processing company. So we certainly have seen some of those. But as far as statistically comparing one to the other, we can’t do that.
Speaker 2: (01:13:07)
Next question is from Shane Stegmiller at HannaH News Service.
Shane Stegmiller: (01:13:10)
Hi Governor, thanks for doing this as always. I wanted to ask you about the capacity on arts and sports entertainment facilities. Performing arts and sports places are 15%. Some of the others don’t seem to have any capacity or like the casinos, they’re at like 50%. Are you planning on reducing any others to 15%? How do you come to which are set up as 15% and which are not?
Mike DeWine: (01:13:46)
Yeah, look, I think that you make an interesting point. We’re constantly evaluating and trying to reevaluate. One thing I want to assure the people of Ohio is that we’re trying to do this from a scientific point of view, a medical point of view, and talking to the best experts about how we slow the spread.
Mike DeWine: (01:14:13)
So when we talk about these venues, for example, the theaters. We know that the numbers that we have set for a commercial production is probably not going to work for them. They pretty much have said that. But we also know that it could work maybe for a high school theater company or the senior play or theater. We’ve seen so many kids get so much out of theater. Under these guidelines, they can probably figure out some way of doing that, understanding that there are risks. You’re inside and you’re projecting, as a good theater major would do. So you have to kind of compensate. So one step at a time, but we’ll continue to evaluate all the other things that we are out there doing. And the other limits that we have set.
Shane Stegmiller: (01:15:24)
Thank you, Governor.
Speaker 2: (01:15:27)
Next question is from Marty Schleiden at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Scheiden: (01:15:32)
Mike DeWine: (01:15:33)
Marty Scheiden: (01:15:36)
Just as a general observation, it seems as if during these conferences, we spent a lot more time talking about youth sports, entertainment, sort of middle class concerns than we do what’s going on in poor and minority communities, which are most vulnerable to the virus. And I’m being told by some people who I don’t think are being alarmist, that things could get bad enough that it could contribute to civil unrest among these people as they don’t have jobs and become economically desperate. Do you think your administration is focused enough on that and more broadly, do you think society as a whole is?
Mike DeWine: (01:16:15)
Well, I think we understand it. Marty, you’ve got two different things, and I think you’re talking about two different things that are certainly related. One, we continue to see a difference in the COVID, it’s impact on African-Americans, it’s impact on Hispanic. In fact, we had a chart that I had in my briefing this morning that I thought about bringing in, we just didn’t bring it in, but we could bring it in which shows that the disparity that we see among adults, there’s certainly been carried forward in regard to young people. So we’re seeing African American children who have these higher rates, higher numbers. And again, that should not surprise us. So in regard to that, we put a lot of effort in the National Guard going into areas that are underserved. I continue to focus on our team.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:12)
And when we look at the Guard now has been pulled out of the nursing homes and we’ve got testing going on now that the nursing homes themselves will be doing. We were at two weeks now, we’re trying two weeks and now as we look to the future, we’re trying to get that down to one week, but the Guard now has more ability to go into other communities. And so again, if anyone is watching, any of our legislators who have ideas about areas that we need to go, congregate living settings, maybe apartment buildings, other places to do testing, we are very much willing to do that. And so again, trying to get underserved areas in regard to that is very, very important. We talked about this the other day. We have discrepancies, not just in health, we have other discrepancies and the plan that we outlined, we have other discrepancies, not just in health. We have it in health, we have in housing, we have in education, between African Americans, Hispanic and the white citizens of this state. So we laid out a plan, but we’re always open to more ideas and more things to look at. So I don’t know, John, whether you have anything you want to add to that, you’re going over some data with me today in regard to unemployment and other things.
Jon Husted: (01:18:47)
This is why we’re applying for approval from the federal government for the $300 additional payment for people who are unemployed. This is why we have some exciting things that we’re working on we will announce soon with Jobs Ohio and our folks from the Department of Job and Family Services who are working on with local communities to target populations who are traditionally underserved and where there are high unemployment rates. You see what we were talking about today is bringing the private sector and public resources together to educate nontraditional students in tech. So we have Tech Cred, which we talk about all the time, which is upskilling different populations. We’re trying to serve everybody. This has been our administration’s goal all along. When we started, it was a 4% unemployment rate and businesses couldn’t find enough people and we were doing everything under the sun to bring everybody into the game, to get everybody off the bench we could and put them into a training program or job opportunities.
Jon Husted: (01:19:58)
And we’re very focused on that. And we don’t want to leave anybody behind. Whether you’re at the low end of the economic scale in terms of skills, we want to upskill you. We want to get you into a good job. We want to start people moving up that economic ladder. We’re focused not just on the middle class and not just on the poor, we’re focused on everybody because that’s what it takes to have a vibrant economy. We need everybody in the game, employers need talent. We need to keep upskilling people. That’s why we wanted schools to get back into this session so that we wouldn’t lose academic progress from our young people. And so I think we’re very focused on this topic every single day.
Speaker 2: (01:20:44)
Next question is from Laura Hancock at Cleveland.com.
Laura Hancock: (01:20:49)
Hi, Governor. Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana, Michigan, Massachusetts and Ohio have come together to buy a big batch of coronavirus tests, rapid tests and rapid antigen tests. And we were wondering if you can give us like an update about where the state is on procuring that. And also if you’re at all concerned just because of rapid test had come in false positive for you.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:16)
There’s a place for the antigen tests, but you’ve got to be strategic about how you deploy that test. And so we’ll be talking more about that, we’re still working on it, working with the other States. So don’t really have anything more to report today, but there is a role for antigen tests. It just has to be understood what they are, what their strengths are, just as the PCR tests have certain strengths and you have need to understand that. So we’ll have more in the future, but we’re not there yet.
Speaker 2: (01:21:52)
Next question is from Ori Givens at Spectrum News.
Ori Givens: (01:21:57)
Good afternoon, Governor DeWine. I’m wondering if you could just react to the news from over the past week or so with colleges reopening, particularly from the perspective of positive cases and also from some of the concerns around distancing on campus or off campus places, especially.
Mike DeWine: (01:22:15)
Yeah. I think what you worry about, and I’ve talked to all of our college presidents and what they worry about is what happens not in the classroom. You got to do that right. But I’m convinced they know how to do that. In the library, they know how to do that. They’ve got a plan for the dorms, but it’s all the time that the young person is on campus or in the, in that community, maybe not directly on campus, but in that community and what they do the rest of the time. But that’s no different, frankly, than what we see with the rest of us. We all kind of let our guard down sometimes. And the strongest message I believe that we can give to young people.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:02)
And it’s not from me, but from college presidents, but it really is from their fellow students is, “Hey, if we want to stay on campus, if we want to have a regular year, as close to a regular year as we can, we got to be careful.” We can enjoy this, we can have fun, we can study, we can learn, but it’s not going to be quite the same. And you’re going to have to keep the distance. These informal activities, you have to be very careful with them and you just can’t let your guard down. And that’s really the message that I hear from college presidents. And as I talk to people who are on campus, that’s kind of the message. Students got to do it.
Speaker 2: (01:23:55)
Governor, next question is the last question. And it belongs to Jim Ottie at WHIO in Dayton.
Jim Ottie: (01:24:02)
Governor, thank you. The question I want to go back to the articles of impeachment. In terms of defending your approach here, what would you tell the people who are behind this attempt? Not just those four law makers, but the people who have been following them. In terms of defending your approach, they say it is just not conservative enough. You’re still hurting businesses. The mask mandate is an infringement upon their freedoms. What would you tell them directly?
Mike DeWine: (01:24:27)
Well, I am a conservative, I think conservatives, historically, are to preserve life, to preserve Liberty, and the things that we’ve done and the things that we’ve talked about doing, keeping a distance, wearing a mask, and the other things that we’ve done, it’s about preserving life. Look, we’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this. We don’t need to lose any more than we need to lose, people who could get through this and who could come out the other side and have a great life ahead, no matter what age they are, we don’t want to lose them. So I think that what we have done in consultation with health experts is in the tradition of conservatism.
Mike DeWine: (01:25:27)
It is the great tradition of freedom in this country. And that is, we have always as a people, always, I think it’s one of the things that makes us different than other countries, or at least something we’re very proud of, is we’re willing to make sacrifices now for longterm gain and the sacrifices we’re talking about now, yes, they are sacrifices, but the longterm gain is not just we save lives, longterm gain is we don’t destroy our economy, because the biggest threat we have today to our economy, to our way of life, to job creation, biggest threat we have is this virus come roaring back through Ohio. It’s smoldering, it’s there, it’s flaring up in some counties.
Mike DeWine: (01:26:21)
We got to put that fire out, but that’s all about preserving, protecting Liberty, freedom, and basically our way of life. And I think my actions, this administration’s actions, that have been so informed by the best evidence that we could get all the way through. We may not have been right on everything, but they’ve been taken in the point of view of that, in preserving our Liberty. And so that’s my answer to the people who are critical. And look, there may be people watching today who think I’ve not done a good job. They have every right to think that. We have a strong, strong First Amendment. Members of the state legislature who want to spend their time on, instead of dealing with the violence that we have out there, where we have some bills that we know will make a difference that will save lives, instead of some of the police reforms that we’ve talked about. And by the way, these police reforms are being put together by representatives of police, along with others.
Mike DeWine: (01:27:35)
These are the things we ought to be spending our time worrying about. But as I say, have at it, if members of the general assembly want to spend their time on this, they certainly have every right to do that. And that’s their call. I’m going to focus on Ohioans, our lives, I’m going to focus on our freedoms, I’m going to focus on keeping this state moving forward. I guess that’s the last question. Thanks, Jim. We’ll see you all on Thursday. Thank you very much.