Mar 27, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript March 27
Mike DeWine: (00:00)
… Ohio Strong, fly the flag. It’s great. This picture is from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. I’m told it’s 500 flags. You can go through the Hall of Fame virtually. I would invite anyone to do that. This is the Hall’s Huddle Up America program. Thanks to Flags of Freedom for the flags. Again, we appreciate everyone out there putting their flags up.
Mike DeWine: (00:35)
We now have a signing of a bill. Some of you have not seen a signing of a bill. One of the things that we historically do is you’ll see me with a number of pens. We give these to people who are influential in the bill itself. It may take me a moment to actually sign it, but I want to thank Senate President Obhof, Minority Leader Yuko, Speaker Householder, Minority Leader Sykes. I want to thank all four of them. This bill passed bipartisan. Again, I want to thank the state legislature for stepping up.
Mike DeWine: (01:16)
This bill does some things that we felt needed to be done in this crisis and to help us get through this crisis that we are in. Some of these things that are in this bill are temporary. They only last during the crisis, but I thank the members of the General Assembly. I thank the members of the General Assembly, they passed in a bipartisan way last year the budget as well as a transportation bill. This continues a great tradition of everyone working together. I’m very, very grateful for them for doing that.
Mike DeWine: (01:55)
This bill does a number of things, but let me just kind of highlight for those of you watching today things that I think will certainly impact your lives. First of all, it waives the state testing requirements for our school children for this year. Again, we got a lot of questions about this. That takes care of it. It also extends the professional licenses of nurses, for example, and others who during this crisis do not have the opportunity to get those licenses renewed. Those will be extended. Third, local government. Local government wants to abide by the no big public gatherings, but we also, of course, want them to abide by sunshine laws so that people have the opportunity to see exactly what they’re doing. What this bill does is makes it very specific that they can do virtual meetings. Again, they have to notify the press. The press has the opportunity to see what’s going on. Fourth, income tax deadline to mirror what the federal government did. It extends ours to July 15th. These are some things that are in this bill. As you can see, it’s quite a lengthy bill. I will sign it. That was the mic. That’s it. That is now done. I want to thank our Ohio Congressional delegation. I know that they’d been working very, very hard, Senator Portman, Senator Brown. Also the members of the House that represent Ohio. We’ve been in touch with them. They’ve been just great. They’ve been reporting back to us as have the two senators on what they’re seeing out there in Ohio.
Mike DeWine: (04:21)
We’ve also been working on legislation that you’ve been reading about. Congressman Shabbat, Beatty, Latta, Johnson, Gibbs, Davidson, Kaptur, Stivers, Gonzales, Joyce, Ryan, Bolderson, Fudge, Turner, Jordan, Wenstrup, I thank you. We thank you for your very fine, fine work. Tomorrow we’ll have the opportunity at 2:00 when we do this to hear directly from Senator Sherrod Brown, but now we’re going to hear from Senator Rob Portman. Rob, thank you very, very much for the good work that you all have been doing out there. Could you just give the people of Ohio a report on what’s been going on and anything else you want to share with them? Thanks, Rob.
Rob Portman: (05:12)
Great. Thank you, Mike. I appreciate it. I want to start by just commending governor DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Husted, Dr. Amy Acton for all your hard work and strong leadership during this difficult time. Like many other Ohioans, Governor, I have been glued to the TV for these 2:00 press conferences. I think it’s helped to put Ohio in a leadership role nationally and helped to provide a model for other states.
Rob Portman: (05:41)
Obviously, this coronavirus pandemic is posing unprecedented challenges. That’s why the House of Representatives just moments ago passed unanimously unprecedented legislation. This is a legislation that the Senate passed night before last. Even while we’re in this press avail, I would imagine the President will sign it into law. It’s really important because it is the rescue package. While we’ve got these huge challenges on the healthcare front, we’ve also got businesses closing, lots of people out of work, schools closed and our social safety nets are being tested as never before. That’s what this legislation is meant to address.
Rob Portman: (06:29)
I know everybody on this call is affected and therefore we’ve all got to pull together. I just wanted to briefly outline some things that are in the legislation. It is almost $2 trillion. It is very complex, but I think there are three major aspects to it that will really help Ohio. One is an attempt to keep people at work. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a lot of calls from Ohioans including conference calls with the businesses that are most effected, the hotel people, the restaurant people, the nonprofits who are out there trying to help. What they have told me is that they need some help right now to keep people at work. Many of them have no revenue coming in. They’d like to be able to keep their employees. This legislation deals with that directly.
Rob Portman: (07:21)
Second, it helps those who have lost their job through no fault of their own to provide a cushion, a safety net. We’ll talk about that in a second as to what that is. But it helps a lot of Ohio families right now who need the help badly. We all know somebody in that situation. Then third, and Governor, I would say maybe this is the most important part of the legislation that’s gotten the least amount of attention and that’s the healthcare side of this. It does provide significant funding for our hospitals, our healthcare providers and ensures that we are dealing with this pandemic in the appropriate way, which means more testing, which means an antiviral medication as soon as possible.
Rob Portman: (08:06)
The funding here, $150 billion for healthcare providers, 100 billion of that is in grants. $50 billion is in payment increases for reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid to our hospitals. I’ve talked to two of our hospitals today, this morning already, major hospitals in Cleveland and Cincinnati and we’ve been in touch with our healthcare community over the last couple of weeks to put this legislation together. This will help. It may be enough, it may not. We may have to come back and help people more. But at this point, many of our hospitals are suffering economically because they’re not doing the elective surgeries, which tend to be a significant part of their revenue. In some cases, they’re only profitable business really. That’s right. It’s the right thing to do not to do the elective surgeries to be prepared for this pandemic, but it’s causing even more stress. Then of course, there’s just the additional stress they’re all feeling with regard to their healthcare system dealing with the pandemic.
Rob Portman: (09:06)
It also has $4.3 billion in the package for CDC and state and local health departments. Again, Dr. Acton can talk about this, but our local health departments are on the front lines here. They need more help. They need more help not just to help with the testing along with our hospitals and other healthcare providers, but also to be able to get the data to be able to track this virus. In the phase one part of the bill, we had some money to go directly to the states. In this bill, we have one $1.5 billion going directly to the states. Ohio will get its share. Local counties can apply to the state for these dollars.
Rob Portman: (09:45)
It also helps specialty hospitals, like children’s hospitals, rural hospitals, cancer hospitals like the James. It helps them to maintain their cashflows while they voluntarily again suspend these elective procedures to be able to preserve the PPE, the masks, the gowns, the other equipment that is needed like the ventilators and respirators. It does all this in a way that builds on an existing Medicare program that allows for these specialty hospitals to be able to get what are effectively loans to be able to have a minimum of a four-month grace period on those loans.
Rob Portman: (10:25)
We also have funding in here for the state. I’ll let Governor DeWine speak about that. This money goes directly to the states. The states then determine how it’s allocated. That’s very important for the state budgets right now. The second part of this I talked about earlier is people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This program is unprecedented in its scope because it has a new unemployment insurance system that has expanded unemployment insurance $600 per week, but also expanding the eligibility so people who are currently self-employed or independent contractors will now be able to get unemployment insurance. This is really important to a lot of Ohioans who have contacted me with, more than 3 million people now having been laid off as a result of this crisis. The unemployment insurance benefits are really important for folks to be able to make ends meet.
Rob Portman: (11:15)
For every individual, whether you’re working or not working, there is a check. This is the direct payment we’ve been hearing about. Republicans and Democrats have both support this. The President has supported it early on. If you are an individual and you have reported to the IRS either in 2018 or if you’ve already filed in 2019 and you have less than $75,000 a year reported, you will receive a check of $1,200 one-time direct payment. You can make up to $99,000 and still get some part of that. It phases out. If you are a couple making $150,000, you will get a check also of $2,400. That phases out where you’ll get a check with a lesser amount up to $198,000 in income. Again, that’s reportable income to the IRS. On top of that, every child in an eligible household would receive an additional $500.
Rob Portman: (12:11)
This is something that is essential right now just to give people some cash quickly. This will probably be the fastest implementation. We hope by next week we’ll begin to see these checks start to go. Again, if you’re getting a refund from the IRS typically, that’s where this check will go as well. It will go [inaudible 00:12:28]. It’s automatically sent out if you filed income taxes last year for your 2018 returns or this year for your 2019 returns. It’s also automatically sent out if you received social security benefits. You don’t have to do anything, but if you don’t receive a check when other people have, portman.senate.gov, let us know. Give us a call and we’ll see if we can track it down for you. Most individuals are also eligible to use the IRS free file program if they get a check. So you can check at irs.gov/freefile if you have questions.
Rob Portman: (13:11)
Final part I’ve talked about here, again, there’s a lot more to this bill, but I just want to touch on the highlights, is that to keep people working, to keep them at their job I think is incredibly important right now. Again, we’ve heard from a lot of companies, particularly small businesses in Ohio who have told me over the last couple of weeks, “I’m holding on, but just barely. Give us some help.” This is a calvary. This is the rescue. This is the opportunity for these companies to be able to hold onto their employees. That’s where most people get their healthcare, most people have the retirement. We want to keep people connected to work also because it enables us to get the economy moving again more quickly once we round the bend. Once we begin to see some success in the coronavirus, we want our economy to come back strong. Keeping people at work is important.
Rob Portman: (13:58)
There are two major ways this bill does this. One is a new and innovative SBA, Small Business Administration, program under the 7(a) loans. Starting as early as next week, over 800 financial institutions that offer SBA loans will be able to start offering this expanded SBA loan for companies. Basically for a small business, it converts from a loan to a grant if they use it for payroll or if they use it to pay the rent, pay the mortgage or pay utilities. This is an opportunity for small business owners to be able to keep their people and have their financial institution, whatever it is, if it’s a regional bank or maybe it’s a local community bank or maybe it’s a savings and loan or a credit union, go to them right away. Talk to them about this. Make sure they know you’re interested. Make sure that they know that you would like to use this to keep your employees.
Rob Portman: (14:54)
Businesses are going to be eligible for loan amounts equal to two and a half times their normal payroll expense for a month. That will be based on their February payroll up to $10 million per business. This is a big deal. I just had a call with dozens of small businesses around the state organized by NFIB. I also had some calls with them putting this together, but we called today to find out how this is going to work and a lot of questions. Bottom line is, again, go talk to your financial institution. Also, you can go on sba.gov.
Rob Portman: (15:26)
I will tell you, Governor, in talking to these businesses today, I asked them to do a survey while we were on the call. 50% of these businesses, some are very small businesses just a couple of people, some are even self-employed. Others are businesses up to 300 or 400 people and this affects all businesses 500 employees or less. But 50% of these companies say they’re definitely going to do it. The other 50% say they’re definitely going to look into it. This could be a big help.
Rob Portman: (15:53)
Then there’s also a new tax credit, called a retention tax credit for businesses to be able to get a tax credit if they keep their payroll. These two can work together if you use the SBA loan for other things like rent or mortgage or utilities. This is a combination I think that can be very helpful. If you’re over 500 employees, and for that matter all employers, you’re eligible for other loans too. These would be more market rate loans. If you can’t get a loan from your commercial bank then you can get one from the what’s called 13-3 proposal here. It’s also called the Exchange Stabilization Fund. That’s through the Fed, the Federal Reserve, and through the Treasury Department.
Rob Portman: (16:38)
That will be helpful for some of our businesses in Ohio that are right now bleeding cash, having a tough time getting a loan. There’ll be able to get a loan through this facility. There will be a special fund for national security companies and for the airlines and for cargo airlines. There’s some companies in Cincinnati as an example of who are in the cargo business who are going to be needing this that I’ve talked to. All of these things are an effort to try to help people weather the storm.
Rob Portman: (17:11)
But again in my view, the most important part of this is the healthcare part. If we don’t set up a robust system for tracking these new cases and be able to have some standards out there that people can look to, some metrics that they trust, people like Dr. Acton and others at the CDC and other professionals saying, “We’ve turned the corner.” I saw the chart you presented yesterday, which was very impressive as to what we have been able to do in Ohio as compared to if we had not taken these steps including just basic social distancing early on and closing down places where people gather, we’d be in a lot worse shape. There’s no question about it. But we also need going forward to be able to give people some data point to be able to understand when it’s safe to send our kids back to school and to go back to work. I hope this legislation, because it funds these kinds of efforts will be helpful in providing that at a national level. Perhaps the economy can be reopened regionally. Perhaps there are ways to deal with folks who are particularly vulnerable, seniors who have a preexisting condition separately. But again, my hope is this legislation in the meantime can ensure that people, including our healthcare workers, our small businesses and all of our families in Ohio have the support they need to weather this once in a lifetime crisis. I thank you, Governor, so much for what you guys have done. We’ll get through this. We’ll get through this together. We’ve all got a role to play. You’ve talked about that recently.
Rob Portman: (18:41)
I heard a story from a friend of mine about how she is organizing kids who are home from school to make masks using their mom’s sewing machine. I had some grocery store owners this morning tell me they need masks. I connected them to this volunteer. There are people just doing amazing things out there. In our neighborhood, we have a listserv where people talk to one another and volunteers for stepping up as I saw on the listserv saying, “We’re happy to have our seniors stay home. We’ll go grocery shopping for you.” That’s happening in every community. People are giving blood. There’s a need for that. I’ll be at the Dayton Community Blood Center later today giving blood. Everybody’s got a role to play. If we all stick together, we will not just get through this, we’ll come out strong at the other end.
Rob Portman: (19:28)
But again, I appreciate the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Acton, what you all have done to ensure that we have clear rules to follow to get us there quicker. Thanks for letting me join you today.
Mike DeWine: (19:40)
Thanks, Rob. We really appreciate what you all are doing and thanks for that very good report. I appreciate it.
Rob Portman: (19:47)
Mike DeWine: (19:51)
Each one of us has local shops and restaurants that are our favorites. We can’t go there now, can’t go in person at least to shop or to sit down and eat, but we certainly can still support them. Today the state is launching an effort to try to help support these small businesses through a campaign that will encourage Ohioans to continue to support the many wonderful local retailers and restaurants by shopping online, choosing local, ordering carry out from their favorite restaurant and also taking virtual tours of well-known attractions around the state. There are currently more than 250 local restaurant shops and virtual activities being featured online. To find a local shop or restaurant to support or to your business featured, go to ohio.org/supportlocalohio. Let me do that again, ohio.org/supportlocalohio. These certainly are challenging times for the state, but we are in this together. If we can support our local shops, our local restaurants, that is great. It’s very important that we try to do that.
Mike DeWine: (21:26)
Throughout the press conferences that we’ve held since the beginning press conference, we have committed to you that we would tell you what we know when we know it. Today we continue that. This morning I had a call with the Cleveland Clinic, folks at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Acton and I did. They gave us the new information that they have in regard to their modeling and their projections. I’ll give you that basis of that modeling or what their result was in a moment. But throughout this crisis, we have said that there really are two different variables that we’re trying to impact. One is the distancing that Dr. Acton and I and the Lieutenant Governor talk about so much. I’m sure people are kind of sick of thinking about it, talking about it and us talking about it. But that’s something that each one of us can control. We’ve issued orders and we’ve done things, but ultimately each one of us can control that.
Mike DeWine: (22:53)
By more distancing, by people staying at home, by not being in clusters, we slow the spread of this virus. We know it’s spreading. We know it’s here. We see it in the data, but there’s also a lot of spread we’re not seeing, but we know is there. Slowing that process down buys our hospitals and our public health infrastructure more time, more time to get to where we need to be. Again, two variables. One is what we’re doing and the other is how we’re trying to build up our medical system, particularly our hospitals to make sure that we’re ready when the surge comes.
Mike DeWine: (23:43)
A couple points from the highlights of what we were told this morning by the Cleveland Clinic and their modeling. First of all, within about two weeks, and we’re continuing to see it go up, but within about two weeks, it’s going to kick in much harder. We’re really going to start getting hit very hard in our hospitals and our hospital admissions. They project that we may not hit the peak until now mid-May. Again, modeling is a science. It’s an art, but this is the best information, the newest information that I wanted to share with you.
Mike DeWine: (24:29)
In addition to that, they are telling us that we need now to look to a two and possibly three times build out of what we have today in our hospital beds, ICU beds. This is a look at the chart up here. This is a chart that Dr. Acton has been showing you. Again, this is the projected peak. At that projected peak, if we’re looking at we need to go up three times in our capacity, that means our capacity is somewhere in this area here. They’re telling us now two to three times and we really ought to plan for three times. As you can see, we have a long way to go. That’s the stark reality.
Mike DeWine: (25:35)
The good news. Our hospitals have all been thinking about this, planning for this and beginning to move forward. But in that regard, we are now really closing up the planning, now moving to the action. Some of them have already taken a lot of action, but now we’re really going to have to accelerate this very quickly. We’ve been on the phone today with a number of the hospitals. We’re going to have another call later to kind of bring them up to date in regard to this.
Mike DeWine: (26:15)
I have asked, we’ve divided the state into eight regions. I’ve asked each region to have their collective plan on my desk by tomorrow morning at 8:00 as far as a rough draft. Rough draft by 9:00 tomorrow morning, I’ve asked them to have the final draft. I say final, it’s always a work in progress. There will always be some changes. We understand that, but a completed draft to us by 12:00 noon on Monday. I have asked General Harris of the Ohio National Guard to oversee this build-up. Again, many of the hospitals have …
Governor DeWine: (27:03)
… And again, many of the hospitals have plans down the pathway in regard to the implementation of these plans. But General Harris, it is not in his capacity, really, as head of the guard, but in a new capacity so that we will hear from him tomorrow. I’ve asked him to appear on the screen from our emergency center and talk a little bit about what he is doing and how he sees this.
Governor DeWine: (27:32)
So I wanted today just to bring everybody up to date on, again, trying to share with you the information we have as we have it. We’re moving forward. I don’t want anyone to be alarmed, but I also want everyone to understand what we face. Again, two things we have to do. We’ve got to do them simultaneously. One is a social distancing, one is to slow this thing down. The other is to build up and build up very, very, very quickly. We do not have a lot of time. As I said, the projection is we start really getting slammed in two weeks but may not even hit the peak until mid-May. So our goal, what we want for every Ohioan, is that they be able to be cared for no matter where they are, what county they live in, rural, urban, suburban, that there be a pathway for them if, in fact, they get sick.
Governor DeWine: (28:36)
As Dr. Acton has said, most of us, we hope, who get this will stay at home, be able to be cared for. 20% or so of us will not be and a certain percentage of those will end up in the ICU. The hospital stays are a lot longer than we’re used to and so that’s another thing that’s going to put immense pressure on our hospitals.
Governor DeWine: (28:59)
So again, there’re plans. We will share those plans in broad terms as we move forward. We certainly can not do that today, but each region is working and has been working for this moment. And for this moment is, we now move into really high gear. We put the accelerator down, we go as fast as we can. We’re now into the building mode. We’re now into execution and getting it done. We will also talk tomorrow about what some of the needs are and some of the other equipment. And we’ll have the opportunity tomorrow to talk about that.
Governor DeWine: (29:43)
Let me now turn to Dr. Acton and she can fill you in on other details and give you, I’m sure, much more scientific and medical perspective on what we have in store for us in Ohio.
Dr. Acton: (30:01)
Thank you, Governor. Thank you. Good afternoon everyone. It is very good to see you today. Honestly, I don’t think I could do much better than the Governor just described our situation to you, but I will take you through a little bit more about the data we have, a little more about our dashboard, which we’ll pull up here, and give you a sense of what we have.
Dr. Acton: (30:26)
So on our website, again, starting yesterday, we created sort of a new dashboard page. It’s interactive. You can actually learn a lot about age ranges, demographics, which have remained fairly steady in that sense, also by county. But we do want to say today that we have cases, as of today, we know this is a big underestimate because of our limited testing, but we have 1,137 cases today and hospitalizations of 276. I’m sad to say that we have 19 deaths here in Ohio to report to you and their age range… On the deaths, I asked for an age range of that and that is from 58 years of age to 93.
Dr. Acton: (31:18)
It’s important to say that we are very much in the heavy part of the storm and going into the eye of the storm. I’ve used the hurricane analogy and we are definitely on the up ramp of our slope. This is a very pernicious disease and I want you to take all the precautions we’ve given you seriously. Remember coronavirus.ohio.gov, a great resource for you, not just to look at data, but to learn all the best things you can know about social distancing, about cleaning and any number of circumstances. We keep updating that information for you. Even Senator Portman, appreciate what he shared and especially appreciate what he and the other legislators are doing on our behalf. But as he said, that having that trusted data and trusted information is so important at a time like this.
Dr. Acton: (32:12)
We will go ahead and look at the next slide. Again, our age range stays from less than one years of age, an infant, to 96, with a median age right now with 52. We’ve tested over 20,000. Again, the tip of the iceberg. We are working tirelessly to ramp that up. As Senator Portman said, a lot of what we’re going to do and know is going to come from that wider availability of testing and we have a lot going on amongst my teams to take advantage of that when that is first available.
Dr. Acton: (32:47)
Again, healthcare workers, very important. Trying to keep them healthy for the surge to come and we still see that, of our cases, 16% of those are people who are on the front lines. And everything we are doing is to protect them. Next slide.
Dr. Acton: (33:05)
Again, our pie graph is just staying very constant. The more data we get every day makes our analysis better, our models better. But we’re staying very steady even with this increase in cases of a good proportionate, it’s ranged from the 20 to 25% requiring hospitalization, anywhere from 9 to 11% ending up in the ICU. That becomes very, very important for us.
Dr. Acton: (33:30)
I do want to say for you at home, any one of us could end up needing these services. Certainly we talk a lot about our highest risk populations. Those are folks with preexisting conditions. We’ve known the elderly, but we’re seeing increasingly, a lot of morbidity. We talk a lot in my field about mortality, which is death. But there’s a lot of morbidity with this disease. And people who are getting it, while most of us are riding it out at home, any one of us, we don’t know how our body might react to it and that’s why it’s so important that we have the hospital capability for you if your condition worsens. Next slide.
Dr. Acton: (34:13)
So this is another take on our curves and our graph, our epidemic curve. We’re trying to put this on our website for you. Sometimes, I know, depending on your TV it might look a little bit harder to see, but you can see a shadow. This is our unmitigated. Meaning, if we had done nothing, if we had not as Ohio taken such aggressive decisive action. But we did and we’ve made a difference. We’ve shifted over to the model we want to see, this less steep further pushed out curve.
Dr. Acton: (34:46)
And there’s a shadow here, I don’t know how well you can see it, but it shows that every move we have taken has moved the model and we’re really trying to slow this and steady it. On this Y axis of a curve, we have our cases per day. I know it startled people to see yesterday and our modeling is now showing that at the peak of this curve, we’re now projecting that we may have as many as 10,000 new cases a day. And that is the number.
Dr. Acton: (35:21)
And as the Governor just said, we’ve built up hospital capacity in this country. And I want to say to you, there is no healthcare system in the world that could take on this virus as it was built. When we talk about the Cleveland Clinic or some of our great hospitals here in Ohio, these are international institutions. They’re some of the best healthcare systems in the country. And in talking to the CEO today, we know that there is no system in the world that was preexisting-ly built to withstand what is a once in a hundred year pandemic. So everything we’re doing is to build-out capacity now. If you draw that hospital line on here, and we’ll eventually draw it when the numbers get a little more steady, our hospital capacity preexisting is at about a third of that, would have been a third of this. It’s about a third of this curve. So we have been working in our plans and all along, but we are really ramping up our build-out now and we’ll be coming back to you with a plan and more of those details as the Governor mentioned.
Dr. Acton: (36:36)
I have the honor as the lead agency in our emergency operating system and our center to be the Incident Commander. My job is one more of strategy and serving the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and his team. I am so honored to be working alongside General John Harris, he’s a wonderful colleague. He will be running the operation side of all of this, taking what we need and putting it into action and quick action. And you will see that happening all around the state. He and I have worked together in the past. We do medical operations together. We do weekends of free care where his troops in the Ohio National Guard alongside my public health folks at the local level will give free care over a long weekend. So I’ve worked with him before, I’ve had the great honor. He’s wonderful to work beside and I look forward to working with him in the days to come.
Dr. Acton: (37:33)
I want you to know that everything you are doing, the Governor said it’s two sides of this, more than ever folks, batten down the hatches, the staying at home, everything we do individually pushes this a little more and a little flatter. And that will make the most of our healthcare facilities that we’re building.
Dr. Acton: (37:57)
In the peak of this, when you talk about 6 to 10,000 cases a day, as we go up that curve to the peak, you could fill the ICUs in three days. You could fill hospitals in a week. And so what we are building out is that capacity. But everything you do makes that need a little less sharp. And it really has made a difference. We have bought time in Ohio and that is allowing these amazing hospital systems all over our state to gear up. We bought that time. We have to keep buying that time.
Dr. Acton: (38:30)
So don’t lighten up on this. Go into it more. Talk to your friends and family. You’re watching this. We know that not everyone in Ohio is seeing these numbers or watching it. We need to spread the word and that’s where I need you to don your cape right now to help educate people to tell more people about this that maybe don’t have the opportunity to hear us at 2:00 PM every day.
Dr. Acton: (38:54)
I want to say to you that we are determined. We are determined. The healthcare systems are determined, General Harris is determined. More determined than ever. And I need you to be determined.
Dr. Acton: (39:07)
I want to share one high spot that has touched me lately. My husband shared with me, I guess from some of the material, things are happening so fast, I’m very focused on the work. But he shared to me something that was posted to me. It was a video of an a capella group. It’s under the label, VoicePlay. I hope you can find it. It was an a capella group that sang the song, Bridge Over Troubled Water, the Simon and Garfunkel song. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve seen ever. And so it’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and we, together, are building that bridge. Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (39:49)
Thanks, Amy. John?
Well, thank you, Governor. And thank you Dr. Acton. As I was listening to the two of you speak and looking at the charts and we hear a lot of natural disaster metaphors with tornadoes, hurricanes, early warning systems. We’re grateful that Dr. Acton was our early warning system, and Governor, we all appreciate the swift action that you took because that curve, what we’re seeing, it could have been dramatically different if we hadn’t. And we know we’re still going to go through tough times, but understand that the direction that you’ve provided and the things that Ohioans are doing all across the state to stay home, to practice that social distancing, personal distancing, and sanitary habits, are helping with all of this. So we just got to stay the course.
One of the things that I know when you hear that is part of the health crisis that we’re experiencing, that there’s also not only health anxiety, but a lot of economic anxiety. And I know that what the federal government just passed, that Senator Portman talked about, gives us the resources to help get through, weather that storm, so to speak, of the economic storm that we’re all facing.
And I want to first talk about the anxiety that maybe people who are unemployed or 1099 workforce, the anxiety that you’re experiencing. You should know that we have not yet received the guidance from the federal government about how 1099 or independently employed people are supposed to go about applying for these benefits, but that hasn’t stopped us. Director, Kim Hall from ODJFS, we have already engaged the private sector, some tech companies that we have built relationships through our Innovate Ohio team to engage in building, preparing to build that system so that you can get access to those resources as soon as possible. That is underway.
You should know, just like we’re building out the hospital system, we’re trying to build the tech system to allow you to get access to these services. For those of you who are under the traditional unemployment system, we know that because of the volume, it hasn’t gone as fast as some of you had wished and I had wished, frankly, any of us. Want you to know, you’re not going to miss the opportunity to apply. If you’re worried about that, know that it will be backdated and it will be backdated to the point that you are eligible. You will get your benefits. Just know that that service is there for you and we will make sure that you get served. A lot of times you’re getting messages about having to meet those deadlines. You do not have to meet them. Apply when you can get into the system. I’ve been informed today that it’s running pretty efficiently although we know that depending on where you live and the internet service quality you have maybe at your home, you’ll get a little bit different experience.
And also, some of you, after you apply, you may see that you get a banner message that says you have to apply for work to maintain these benefits. You do not need to do that. Those waivers have already been granted to us. And you may also, I talked to the tech people about this, you may see the spinning circle that shows that it’s processing. Please resist the temptation to keep clicking to reenter because in a tech sense, you’re sending yourself back to the end of the line when you do that. And so don’t do that, that overloads the system and it’ll probably be slower for you when you go about that. Businesses, for small businesses, Senator Portman outlined what the federal government is doing. We will post all of that and the access to that as soon as it’s made available from us from the federal government at coronavirus.ohio.gov/businesshelp. The federal package, as soon as that is available and those details available, we will get it placed there.
But we also know this, that that federal assistance for businesses probably won’t be enough for some of you. There are still just elements of what the business world is like during a terrible catastrophe like the one we’re experiencing that still need to be figured out. We know that through the Federal Housing Financing Authority that we have set up there a 60 day moratorium on foreclosures and a 12 month forbearance.
But we also have commercial real estate issues. I was talking this morning with a bank CEO. Many of the banks in the state have already taken these steps to avoid those problems. What they have done, and we’re encouraging people to do this all across the commercial lending world, they’ve extended a 90 day forbearance, actually, a deferral is a better way to describe it, and then added that on to the end of the particular loan agreement.
Many banks in Ohio have done this and that includes principal and interest at that and that will help businesses maintain their cashflow. So, if everybody does this, if banks and loan servicers put that 90 day deferral out there, what will happen is then the commercial realtors or real estate operations then don’t feel the pressure to have to pay the banks. Then they can extend that grace to the businesses who are leaseholders or who have obligations to them. And that, through the system, will maintain cash flow for everybody so that not only they can keep their employees on the payroll, but also, they’ll be able to come out of this because they’re going to need cash to come out of this at the end. And if everybody through that system does it, we will come out of this much better than we would otherwise.
And Governor DeWine and I were talking about this this morning, we believe that the private sector can best handle this. Most of them are doing it. We encourage all of them to do it because that will get worked out much better than if we have to pass some sort of government mandate to do it, which we’re willing to consider. All of us will be better if we come out of this collaboratively.
I also want to remind folks that the bill that the Governor just signed establishes a vote count day for April the 28th. And so if you would like to cast an absentee ballot, you can do that at voteohio.gov. You can request an absentee ballot through voteohio.gov. If you do not have the capacity to print that out or or get an absentee ballot application, you can call your local board of elections and get that so that you’re able to vote. Also, while you’re at it, remember we have a census. You can fill out your census. Ohio is going to need everybody to do that. That’s important for our state.
The Governor and I have also had in the last 24 hours, some great conversations with the county commissioners. We have ongoing conversations with the mayors and police chiefs. We thank you for all of what you’re doing. I got a couple messages from Mayor Whaley in Dayton and Mayor Ginther of Columbus, they are working to enforce the stay-at-home order in a common sense way to make sure that businesses are doing what they need to do to keep a sanitary workplace for their employees. They’re out there enforcing it. They’re trying to use common sense. We ask you to use common sense.
Lastly, the last point I’d like to cover is that while we talk about all of the joblessness, we have a large number of businesses out there who are critical to our supply chain, who need your help. I go through this, Kroger’s hiring 10,000 people, Walmart, 5,700, all these in Ohio. Meijer, Giant Eagle, Mark’s, doing the same. Amazon trying to hire up to 4,600 people. Drug Mart is also hiring. Honeywell, 3M, GE are ramping up efforts to produce hospital supplies. They all need support and assistance from their employees. GOJO is manufacturing 24/7 the hand sanitizer that we all need access to and so are many distilleries who’ve switched over from making whiskey or vodka to making hand sanitizer. And everybody… This is just an innovative group of people we have in Ohio, businesses that are coming together to try to help us get through this, changing, in some cases, what they do.
Hardy Diagnostics in Springboro is building diagnostic kits. We have all kinds of pharmacies and food delivery and call centers that need help. Rogue Fitness is producing ventilators and protective equipment, switching over into an entirely new thing for themselves in their business. We have Ohio denim company, Zace brand, who’s switching over to make supplies for medical masks.
And last but not least, Battelle. Battelle, one of these great innovative institutions in our state that has made protective equipment for the military for protecting against biological attack, they’ve built new devices that will help sterilize masks and help allow those masks to be reused in both hospital and protective settings. We’re working with the FDA, the Governor has called, I have called Battelle. We’re all working together to get that going to help add more PPEs to the mix.
And this is incredibly important that everybody’s pitching in trying to raise themselves to the moment. And it’s an important thing to do. I remember during the blizzard of 1978, which I grew up in rural Ohio outside of Montpelier, Ohio and it was terrible there. Very flat, lot of drifts, people couldn’t get out for weeks. And I remember my dad, we had snowmobiles, and he would drive the snowmobiles along with some other people who volunteered to take food and medicine to people who were in need, who couldn’t get it any way else.
And I just ask you, particularly maybe if you’re a high school student or a college student who had other plans. You had a completely different plan for the spring of 2020 and now you find yourself maybe with little to do. Maybe go work at the grocery store or some other place that needs you, that really needs you to be part of this solution because you’re in a maybe lower risk part of the population in terms of health issues and you can step up because I think we’ll all look back at this pandemic of 2020 and remember what we did.
We remember what we did to do our part to get this done. And if you’re in a position to help, to help be part of the essential supply chain, please do it. We thank you for all the great things that Ohio is doing to pull together. We are all in this together and you’re responding.
Governor DeWine: (51:08)
Thanks, John. We can take some questions from the news media that is still in the atrium. Looks like you guys are in the dark a little bit.
Speaker 1: (51:23)
Hi. Hi, Governor. This is Laura Hancock from cleveland.com. Just a moment. Trump has floated the idea of loosening some of the restrictions by April 12 and it looks like Ohio will still be on the upswing during that time. Are you going to listen to your health advisors? Are you going to go with what the President says? You got the letter, we talked about this yesterday, I’m sure you had a chance to look at it. So how are you going to move forward when you have two conflicting sets of guidelines?
Governor DeWine: (51:59)
Well, I’m not sure the details from the President. I’ve not seen the details or the modeling as far as Ohio is concerned. But I’ve kind of laid out today what we’re getting from the Cleveland Clinic. We’ve also looked at modeling from Ohio State. And so what we’ve outlined today is really where we think we are at this point. And so we have to build out our hospital capacity, we’re moving into that new phase right now to do that. We’re asking everyone to continue to help by following the physical distancing that we’ve asked everybody to do. So that’s kind of really where we are.
Speaker 1: (52:44)
This question could be for the Governor or for Dr. Acton. While you’re talking about the numbers going up steeply in the coming two weeks, our neighboring states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, have seen great increases in the number of cases. Pennsylvania is more than double where we were yesterday. Michigan, three times greater than where we are. What’s been the difference in Ohio? For the most part, they’ve done pretty much the same orders that you’ve done. What’s been the difference?
Governor DeWine: (53:17)
Well, I’m going to refer that to the expert, Dr. Acton. Look, we each have different situations. We each have a lot of different variables. And so what we focused on is what we can do in Ohio. We have been consulting and talking. I was on a call last night with all the republican Governors. I’ve been on calls with all the Governors, so we continue to share information. But each one of us as Governor has to make decisions that are based upon the particular unique facts of our state. And what we find is that, obviously, every state is just different.
Governor DeWine: (53:53)
Amy, I don’t know if you have anything to add to that.
Dr. Acton: (53:56)
Thank you. Hi Jim. As the Governor said, we stay very close with our sister states. I mean, I really-
Dr. Acton: (54:03)
As the governor said, we stay very close with our sister states. I mean, I really feel that I’ve said it, but it’s a United States. That word united has really stood out to me and so I have colleagues who are in my same position and all of these states that I know well and lean on. There are many variables in this. There’s the different timing of testing, although as you know, Michigan was in the same boat we were. They really got testing a little bit later as well and I’m not exactly sure when Pennsylvania had their testing up and running.
Dr. Acton: (54:32)
I think some of the early and aggressive mitigation strategies we used from how we handled returning travelers helped. I think we’ve been in a consistent policy. The other night, I was thinking back as the governor mentioned the Arnold Classic and again just how absolutely hard these decisions were to make at the time. And now we’re talking about that same convention center being used to house hospital patients. So all of this has happened in such rapid fire. I feel we’ve been fortunate. We’ve used the testing we have very surgically and that has helped us quickly.
Dr. Acton: (55:15)
Our local health departments, 113, it’s not me. They’re out on the front lines. They were doing all that contact, investigating and really monitoring, quarantining people who had been exposed and thank you to citizens who listened to that guidance and voluntarily stayed at home. The story goes back for me to really around New Year’s Day when I first learned of this virus and from global health colleagues. So we’ve been working on it that long. We planned for it way in advance of that, but the actions we were taking very early on I feel have given us the best chance, it’s bought us the most time, but we’re not immune from this.
Dr. Acton: (55:56)
We are going to see our numbers go up and I think all states will experience this.
Speaker 2: (56:01)
Dr. Acton: (56:03)
Tom Bosco: (56:05)
Tom Bosco with ABC 6 here in Columbus. Speaking of other states, what about travel? We know that Florida and Massachusetts are asking people who arrive in those states to self quarantine for 14 days. Do you anticipate anything like that in Ohio? And really, I guess another question. Are we on the most strict lockdown? Do you, Dr. Acton, or the governor foresee any more strict orders coming?
Governor DeWine: (56:34)
Well, we’re going to do what we need to do to protect Ohioans. That’s number one. We don’t have any plans to do anything in addition to what we’ve done. We have asked the local health departments and I talked to the chiefs of police as well and one of my messages was to the police, particularly as I was talking to them. If you see something out there that you think bothers you that there’s a hotspot, we have people gathering together, very nicely try to go over and tell them that they should not be doing that and they cannot do that.
Governor DeWine: (57:10)
So, I was talking to a lot of chiefs, so I’m sure that nobody knows their community better than the chief, chief and the mayor usually. And so we think that they can be very helpful to kind of make sure that we’re don’t have particular hot spots out there where we’ve got a lot of people who are gathering together. As far as people coming into the state, we’ve not issued an order, but someone coming in, let’s say who’s coming in from Florida, please, please, we would ask you to quarantine yourself for 14 days. I mean, I know people who have done this voluntarily.
Governor DeWine: (57:46)
People who have come in said, okay, I’m coming in from another area. I’m going to quarantine. And so we would ask people to do that. We’ve not put it into form of an order, but look, there’s nobody out there who’s watching this who would want to be responsible for someone else’s death. There’s no one out there who is watching this who would want to unintendedly do some action that caused the significant spread of this. And so again, if you’re coming in from out of state, it’s a different situation. You’ve been dealing with other people, you’re obviously are bringing something in here.
Governor DeWine: (58:25)
It may not be COVID-19 but we just ask people to quarantine for 14 days and that is something that I think people can actually do that will will certainly help.
Tom Bosco: (58:38)
Carrie Ghose: (58:43)
Howdy, Carrie Ghose from Columbus Business First and American City Business Journals. Dr. Acton, you’ve talked in these briefings about how you’re hearing daily from the front lines, things that are going on. I was wondering if you could share some more specific anecdotes about what hospitals are doing to prepare. I believe I just heard you say the Greater Columbus Convention Center could be repurposed as a hospital and the Ohio Hospital Association told me today that this elective procedures order has evaporated 30% of their revenue, so a collective impact of 1.2 billion per month they’re looking at.
Carrie Ghose: (59:22)
So beyond the federal package, can the state help these hospitals financially because they’re getting ready for this?
Dr. Acton: (59:29)
Well. I’ll let my colleagues here talk a little more about the business aspects, although that is something I’m very aware of. By doing the decrease in elective surgeries, they have brought our hospital current capacity down. It was above 70%. They’ve brought it down to 56% [inaudible 00:59:53] especially out in more rural areas of the state to talk to some of the hospital CEOs about what they’re facing, how they’re repurposing their staff to get ready for the surge, but these are very real, very hard realities. I talked very early on about the cascading consequences and how we will come up around that.
Dr. Acton: (01:00:13)
We’ve never done something like this before, but they all understand this is a war against the silent enemy, so they are poised to do all they can even at a time where it does hurt their bottom line to take the actions they’re taking. I do want to say there’s a myriad of solutions. We do tabletops around hospitals and they plan for some of this and they are really working the final ends of those plans right now. We’ll reveal more of that once they have finalized that alongside our state, but they look at all types of options.
Dr. Acton: (01:00:46)
We know that we’d rather have people in bricks and mortar and not in tents. We’re coming upon rainy season and we have tents and we’re using those tents very wisely and often. That’s a place where someone gets triaged to be tested so that someone infectious is not going in the emergency room. We already have tents for that purpose, but we’d rather use bricks and mortar. We happen to have in our state existing structures that we have hospitals that are no longer in business, but those buildings are being looked at. We have dorms that are empty because of the changes we’ve made.
Dr. Acton: (01:01:21)
Some of those changes, for instance, hotels have offered up their spaces and part of the solution will be hospital workers who are fatigued and tired but might not want to go home and expose their family to what they’re being exposed to. We might be using hotels for actually hospital workers. Within a hospital, we’re repurposing existing spaces like NICUs and surgery intensive care units and using ERs as ICU. So there’s a whole host of things. There’s also a whole host of conservation practices already in play and in the days to come, we’ll detail more of that for you.
Dr. Acton: (01:01:58)
But I do feel what the hospital association, they’ve been doing a tremendous job on helping us work with all the hospitals and these are very, very hard times. These same health care workers, the same hospitals are also going to what we’re going through in our businesses, in our livelihoods. So it’s all of us going through this together and I would like to let others comment.
Governor DeWine: (01:02:22)
Well, I want to thank the hospitals, they’ve really cooperated with this. That’s increased their capacities. That really has grown the number of available beds and that as we get ready at this real surge to come in, it matters a lot. We’re still analyzing the federal bill. There is some assistance for hospitals in there, so I think we’re going to have to see where that goes and really I think it would be, I should not be making any commitments about what we can do in regard to the state. But we want to work the hospitals and we appreciate very, very much what they’re doing.
Carrie Ghose: (01:02:58)
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:02:59)
I want to add something if I could that I heard the governor talk about on a conference call this morning as well as Dr. Acton is that keeping up with the surge, the PPEs need to come along to. That’s incredibly important. You can’t build more capacity in the hospital without having the proper safety equipment, and so we’re pushing every one of these supply lines to get what we need and we just want to provide the reassurance that we get what all these pieces are that need to come together and are pushing every resource we can to bring it to bear.
Carrie Ghose: (01:03:36)
Julie Carr Smyth: (01:03:42)
Hi, Governor. Julie Carr Smyth at the Associated Press. You, the lieutenant governor and the secretary of state advocated for a much longer voting period than is contained in the bill you signed today. How concerned are you that voters will be confused or disenfranchised by the timeline that’s in the bill?
Governor DeWine: (01:04:07)
Well, the timeline was not, as you pointed out, not the timeline we wanted. We wanted a longer period of time. But I’ve talked to the secretary of state, my understanding is that he is going to send a postcard out that will notify people that what they need to do to apply for an absentee ballot. So, look, people have a month and we just encourage people to go ahead and fill out the application, send it in, get their ballot, and go ahead and vote. This is a period of time, people have the opportunity to do it, and I think that when it sinks in that there’s going to be no in-person voting, that this whole thing is going to be by absentee ballot, people will fill them out and get their ballot and vote.
Julie Carr Smyth: (01:05:02)
Lieutenant Governor Husted, would you like to add anything? I know you.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:05:06)
Only that, one of the things Secretary LaRose is encouraging people to do is if you don’t have access to a printer or can’t get access to an absentee ballot request, you can call your local board of elections and request one over the phone. That’s not something you typically would be allowed to do, but this election cycle, that’s going to be an option for you and that will create some efficiencies there that we otherwise wouldn’t have in the system, which we hope will help people. So your absentee ballot application is a phone call away.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:05:38)
You request it and get it out to you as soon as possible so you can cast your ballot.
Julie Carr Smyth: (01:05:45)
Randy Ludlow: (01:05:50)
Good afternoon, Randy Ludlow with the Columbus Dispatch. Governor, question for you. Yesterday, obviously the state put out projections that daily new cases could reach six to 8,000 a day, weeks out. Now that number has been bumped up to 10,000. What do you say to Ohioans who are incredulous about that number and do not believe that could happen?
Governor DeWine: (01:06:24)
Well throughout this we have tried to describe what the best science tells us. We’ve tried to describe what the best medical advice is. I can tell you in the phone conversation we had today with some of our hospitals, with people who are looking at the modeling, that there was a sense of great urgency. They truly believe that this is coming. Everything that we see on the ground indicates that it’s coming. It’s already here. Every piece of evidence would indicate that this doubles somewhere between four or five, six days.
Governor DeWine: (01:07:16)
So whatever our number is today, we can see it at least in six days doubling and then doubling in the next six and doubling in the next six. And that just goes out. And so this is a train that is moving and when I worked loading for DeWine Seed, our family company loaded boxcars. They’d spot a boxcar there, the train company would, and we’d load the boxcar. But sometimes you’d have to move the box car and a little bit. And it’s kind of like that you start pushing and pushing and it’s not that we’re pushing, we’re pushing the other way, but it starts to move and move very slowly and that keeps getting faster and faster and faster and faster.
Governor DeWine: (01:08:05)
Somebody just take a pad, write down a hundred and then see how fast, if you double that every six days, see where you are at for a month. And that’s what is happening and that’s the multiplier effect that we know is inherent. I think all people have to do to be convinced of this is look at on the nightly news or the morning news or any other news and look at the news coming out of New York. Look at the news that’s really starting to come out of Louisiana. Every state is different, but this virus does not respect state lines and it multiplies just as well matter what state it’s in.
Governor DeWine: (01:08:58)
So it’s coming. Now, there is some variation of the modeling. What I shared with you all today is new modeling. Cleveland Clinic has taken Pennsylvania’s modeling, which they’ve used in the past. They’ve continued to tweak it. They continue to try to bring it up to date on based on what we know. They came up with that it could take a three time build out of our hospital capacity. Could it be two? Yeah, it could be two. Part of the problem in modeling is we are not totally aware, we have some idea, but we’re not totally aware of all the actions that Ohio has taken, the full impact of that distancing.
Governor DeWine: (01:09:46)
So there’s a couple of variables here, but the best evidence we can get is exactly what Dr. Acton has said. Again, we have shared this information. We’re going to continue to share it. And I can tell you if you’d listen to our calls this morning when I’m talking to our emergency center and if you’d listened to my voice, you would have felt a real sense of emergency and a real sense of urgency. There’s an urgency to what I’m doing every day and what our team is doing. So whether it’s going to take doubling our hospital capacity or tripling our hospital capacity, either way, we got a lot of work to do.
Governor DeWine: (01:10:33)
Either way, it’s important for people to stay far apart. Amy, you want to add anything to that?
Dr. Acton: (01:10:39)
I do. Governor, thank you. I know we’ve said all along, Randy, that this is so hard for people to get their heads around and just as the governor said, watch what is happening in New York City now. I had the privilege to work in New York City in 1990 during my residency during the peak of the crack cocaine epidemic and I remember what a battlefield it was there and if you watch any of the footage from colleagues there now, I mean they’re running out of supplies quickly. They are wearing garbage bags as gowns. I mean it is not a good scene.
Dr. Acton: (01:11:19)
I said this is going to be true anywhere in the world, no matter how developed the healthcare system is. That is the unique threat. As Bill Gates said of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where they have spent their whole fortune really building out the prevention of these sorts of things and their work about infectious disease globally. If you listen to what he had to say, again, this is that worst nightmare of a pandemic. It’s a pernicious disease and it’s wreaking this. If you look in Louisiana, if you look in New York, if you look in Washington, New Jersey, and as it spread, you’ll see versions of this a little bit later, a little bit heavier.
Dr. Acton: (01:12:04)
But it is, we had community spread. It was seeded throughout our country and it’s just a matter of time, the doubling time. Some as short as now predicted to be three days, not six days. So I’m proud of Ohioans, we’re fighting back, we’re determined, we’re doing everything in our power in the same way we built out our hospital system. Those CEOs, I’m telling you these are CEOs. When you talk to the CEO, Dr. Mihaljevic of the Cleveland Clinic is an international hospital system. He has been hearing on the ground from our hospitals all over the world.
Dr. Acton: (01:12:43)
He is saying to us, I’m telling you the worst case scenario. That is what our modeling is doing and I’m planning for the worst case scenario and I hope I’m wrong. I hope it’s less than that. But we owe it to Ohioans to do everything we can for that worst case scenario and we Ohioans owe it to our hospitals to do everything we can to help them through this.
Randy Ludlow: (01:13:07)
Adrian Robbins: (01:13:13)
Adrian Robbins, NBC 4. Dr. Acton, could I quickly get a clarifier on when we think the peak will come? The governor mentioned possibly mid-May at this point. I know it’s a constant moving target and the graph’s a little bit hard to read, but I was hoping you could just clarify it for us.
Dr. Acton: (01:13:30)
So, my original projection, and again these models are being done of Ohio and in Ohio, so these models get better all the time. But my very early prediction on this was end April to mid may. And I think that really holds true. I think while we have two weeks to build up, Monday will be worse situation than today is and that goes on and on. So it’s not like we go on hold for two weeks and then we’re in a bad situation. It’s ramping up. But this keeps moving out. The Cleveland Clinic thought the worst of it might be mid-May. Our Ohio state modeling that my team has been doing had been a little bit earlier than that, but we know it’s somewhere in that range.
Dr. Acton: (01:14:17)
So just to give people a sense of it. It’s not July. It’s closer at hand.
Adrian Robbins: (01:14:23)
Okay. Thank you. And for the Lieutenant governor, we’re getting quite a few questions from people who were on unemployment before this all began and now are worried about their benefits possibly running out. Do you have any recommendations for those people? It’s obviously a hard climate right now to find a job if they are off those benefits.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:14:41)
Yeah. They will be able to reapply for an extension of those benefits and they will not lose those benefits. They will be approved assuming that they meet all the criteria, which I’m sure most of those folks will, if not every one of them.
Adrian Robbins: (01:14:58)
All right. Thank you.
Sean Cudahy: (01:15:03)
Sean Cudahy with WHIO. Question for either Dr. Acton or Governor DeWine. When we talk about a build out with the hospitals of two to three times what they are at right now, where are our hospitals right now when it comes to staffing, because obviously they’ve got a staff that big increase in facilities?
Governor DeWine: (01:15:21)
Staffing is certainly a major issue and we’re well aware of that, the hospitals are well aware of that. That is part of what goes into the ingredients of all this and I’m going to ask because this is something that Dr. Acton and I were talking about today. I’m going to have her answer that, but one of the things we’re trying to do is pull people in. Some people who had been retired, people who, let’s say, you have a dermatologist, maybe that person can fill some other role in the whole hospital operation. Amy.
Dr. Acton: (01:15:56)
Yeah. Governor, when you think about building out hospital capacity, you think of a couple things. You think of beds meaning like a physical place, but it is all the equipment that surrounds that and it’s the people. I said that early on it’s the doctors and nurses and it’s also making sure that we maximize the equipment we have. So for instance, ventilators are going to become an increasingly important part of this equation when we talk about it. But there’s been some innovative new technology, there are studies done on using one ventilator for multiple patients with extra tubing.
Dr. Acton: (01:16:36)
So there are a lot of innovations that are underway. So to even say an X number of ventilators right now, we’re actually turning what we have into more. But the staffing one has been a very interesting one. We’ve been working on it for a while. You’ll hear more. Our hospitals had already been working on staffing and they’re actually redeploying people. My daughter Mattie works at Ohio Health here at Riverside and she works on one unit, but they’ve already been working to train her to move to a different unit. And similarly you’ve seen models where surgeons are becoming nurses.
Dr. Acton: (01:17:12)
We’re looking at all med students. We’ve been working with the heads of all the medical colleges about early graduation, earlier year medical students and nursing students. We have surgeons who are doing, maybe you are a plastic surgeon, but now we need you to do something in terms of intensive care. So there’s a whole plan underway. I’ll have more kind of details to share with you, but we’re looking at that. Meanwhile, we’re looking at waving some of the licensure requirements and so there are many moving pieces to the staffing issue.
Dr. Acton: (01:17:42)
But when we say building out capacity, it is the human beings and it’s keeping those human beings healthy, which is what all of us do when we aren’t exposing them to us. So all of that is a part of the staffing equation.
Sean Cudahy: (01:17:57)
Dr. Acton: (01:17:57)
Isaac Dreier: (01:18:01)
Isaac Dreier, WHIZ News. This is actually a question for either the governor or the lieutenant governor.
Governor DeWine: (01:18:10)
Isaac Dreier: (01:18:11)
With so many businesses pushing employees to work remotely and to change the workflow up, is there any concern that we might see businesses be hit by an abnormal amount of cyber crime?
Governor DeWine: (01:18:27)
Well, look, it’s always a concern about cyber crime. That is always something that is a concern. There are people out there, different places in the world who try to attack us. Sure. It is a concern.
Isaac Dreier: (01:18:48)
Governor DeWine: (01:18:48)
I don’t know that there’s … Everybody is aware of it and I know businesses that are doing this now are taking actions to make sure that they do everything they can to stop that from happening. Jon, you got anything?
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:19:02)
Yeah. The only thing I could add to that, look, cyber crime is always a threat. We should always take it seriously, but I think sometimes people who may be in a fragile state of mind or a little anxious about something may be more susceptible to say, click on something or respond to something that they otherwise might not. I know that that even ourselves, we have a bunch of people pitching us on, we have PPEs, please send us the money in advance and we’ll send you the masks in return, which we know in many of those cases it’s just a fraudulent attempt to try to get us to send them money.
Lieutenant Governor Husted: (01:19:40)
And so there’s probably going to be stuff like that. I’ve seen it on job hirings and other things, so you really have to be careful, particularly when you have a sense of anxiety or that you may urgently need something to be careful about how you interact on the digital platforms that are out there.
Isaac Dreier: (01:20:01)
Laura Bischoff: (01:20:06)
Good afternoon, Laura Bischoff Dayton Daily News. I just have a couple of quick questions. One is a map of the eight regions in which the hospitals be cooperating, is that going to be posted online? Will the plans, the rough draft or certainly the noon Monday plans, will those be posted online?
Governor DeWine: (01:20:24)
I don’t know that we’re going to post the actual plans. What we will do, we will post the regions and we will make available to the news media exactly the broad outline of what people in that region can expect to see. There may be security reasons why we don’t want to put all the details up there, but we’re going to let people know in each region exactly what’s going to be happening, and we’re going to do this as we move forward. So we’re going to be very open about it and make that information available. But again.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:03)
… And make that information available. But again, as Amy said, we don’t have the plans yet. We’re not getting the rough draft until tomorrow morning. We’re not going to get really the first complete draft until noon on Monday. But we will be making that available through our press team.
Speaker 3: (01:21:17)
And could governor, either you or Dr. Acton give us an update on, I understand Battelle has a new method for cleaning and nine to five-
Mike DeWine: (01:21:26)
Yeah, John’s actually been working on that and I just … I’ll let him explain it but it’s very exciting. They’ve been working on this. We are blessed to have Battelle in this state. One of the things that they should be ready to go as soon as we get the final federal approval. We expect that any day. John, you want to kind of share a little more information about that?
It’s amazing timing for that question, because actually during the middle of this press conference I stepped out and took a call from the FDA who is looking at giving us the approval or giving Battelle the approval to do this. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we should have something on that this evening. And if that approval is granted, the way Battelle has explained it to me that they would be deploying machines, they would have to have them in Ohio that could sterilize up to 160,000 PPE masks a day. And that would really be super, super valuable to keeping the supply chain that we need.
Because if you can’t keep up with the hospital build that the governor and dr Acton had been urging by supplying the PPEs that are necessary, we’re going to fall behind. And these two have to go in concert, this would be a huge benefit to Ohio and to the country because they’re going to deploy these machines in other places as well if we get this done. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll get the approval hopefully today, and this will be important going forward cause we’re going to need these supplies even as we restart the economy so that we can continue to practice safe sanitary behavior throughout the supply chain of our workforce. And certainly, certainly now with first responders and hospitals.
Speaker 3: (01:23:21)
John, could you … Lieutenant governor, could you just briefly like how many of these machines do they have and what kind of magic do they use?
As I understand it, they would have two of them in Ohio. They would also deploy two to New York, I believe. They would deploy some to Seattle and some to Washington DC but I don’t … That’s what I know so far. But none of that can happen until the FDA approves their use.
Speaker 3: (01:23:53)
Mike DeWine: (01:23:54)
Let me just add also that this is the number one concern that we hear from doctors, from nurses, from first responders. We have an urgent, urgent, urgent need for this in Ohio. And so we are really requesting that they approve this just as quick as they can because this is vitally important and it is the number one concern expressed to me by people in the medical community.
Speaker 3: (01:24:23)
Kevin Landers: (01:24:29)
Kevin Landers, WBS 10 TV, happy Friday, governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:24:33)
Kevin Landers: (01:24:35)
My question to you is, you said that you’re not going to add any more orders. And in terms of mitigation versus suppression, the numbers are going up. People may be wondering, why aren’t we doing more to slow the spread, and what advice are you getting that’s saying we shouldn’t be doing more?
Mike DeWine: (01:24:54)
Well, I didn’t say we wouldn’t do more. I said, we’re not announcing anything more. Look, we’ve issued an order that people are supposed to stay in their home. They have to get groceries. There’s no problem with them walking their dog. That doesn’t cause any spread, as long as they’re doing it away from people. So the order’s in place. There are some businesses that have been allowed to continue because they’re deemed by the federal government, by Homeland Security to be essential. So if every Ohioan practices the distancing that we need, then we will have done everything that we can. And again, I just ask Ohioans please, please do be careful. And we’ve issued the orders, we’ve issued very tough orders. We’ve closed the schools, we’ve shut down any access to basically to nursing homes. We’ve banned any gatherings over 10 people. So we’re about out of orders. I suppose we could come up with some more and we may, but all ultimately people shouldn’t wait for more orders. What they should do is kind of look in their own heart and see what they can do and that’s how we’re going to get the best results.
Kevin Landers: (01:26:21)
And for Dr. Acton, when hospitals reach their capacity, what is ODH’s guidance for care, who gets a ventilator, who doesn’t? And would nurses who are now unemployed because elective surgeries aren’t going on, would they be getting first priority to be deployed?
Dr. Acton: (01:26:40)
Absolutely. Absolutely. The nurses are needed and, and we want those nurses to be redeployed. So absolutely we won’t leave anyone. No one will be sitting at home bored during this. What I do want to say about the difficult question you just asked. There are guidelines, there are guidelines done by the Institute of Medicine, there are guidelines the CDC has put out. Everything we are doing. I can tell you the urgency the governor is saying, it’s so deeply felt and in a conversation I had with him this morning, I already had a sense of urgency and I became more determined that we are going to do everything for every life we can in the state and Ohio. We do know that this is a battle and there are things that happen in battlefields and there are policies about that. It’s something our state is taking a look at, as are all states to help. We have as ethicists and other people looking at those sorts of very difficult decisions, and we’re doing everything we can to not have to deploy those sorts of tools.
Dr. Acton: (01:27:57)
So I’ll share more on that as time goes on here. I want to add very quickly for the question, Laura had asked again about the Battelle technology. We already have hospitals keeping their old masks. We really are waiting for that FDA approval. FDA out there, please. This is a great technology. We know it’ll make a difference. Between this and the University of Nebraska’s UV treatment and this sterilization, which is almost my understanding is sort of like a steam like technique. This can make a huge difference. We’re already saving those masks and going to get them to them the second it’s operational. Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:28:39)
Let me just add. Our worst nightmare is that we’d be in a position where we would have to take those guidelines and doctors and nurses, medical professionals would have to make life and death decisions and follow those guidelines that are already out. We don’t want to get there. We want to be in a position where every person gets the maximum help that they can get, and we’re fighting every day to make sure that we don’t have that situation in Ohio and we need your help.
Thanks to the Battelle team. This is not something that we called NASCOM to do. They were ahead of it. This is the kind of stuff we need from the innovators in Ohio to help us solve these problems. Thanks. Thanks Battelle team for your great work.
Jackie Borchert: (01:29:30)
This is Jackie Borchert from the Cincinnati Enquirer. I have a question for Dr Acton. Dr Acton, there’s been some criticism about the imperial college model. I know you guys are working with OSU and the Cleveland Clinic. Can you explain a little bit more of what our Ohio specific modeling is based on? I think a lot of people might see it was 8,000 peak yesterday, 10,000 today. How does that kind of a jump happen, and has there been any attempt to determine a hospitalization rate or a fatality rate at this time?
Dr. Acton: (01:30:02)
Right. There are some things out there on hospitalization rates. We only know what we know from our data in Ohio so far, which I still feel is insufficient data to firm it up, but we’re seeing a fairly high hospital hospitalization rate, and we’re seeing some younger ages being hospitalized. Not necessarily dying, but needing hospital resources. So the modeling, I think there’ll be a day, or maybe it’ll be a side video we do. I’d love to really dig deep in the science on this for people. This modeling has a lot of assumptions. So people always say that about assumptions, but they’ve been very useful assumptions. They are a compass. They’re never exactly dead on, but they definitely give you the sense of directions you need to take. And so when I say … I didn’t need this modeling, I said words to you probably a month ago now that would have predicted exactly what we’re seeing now.
Dr. Acton: (01:31:01)
I had far less data then, because some of these things are just inherent in the nature of what we’re seeing with this infectious disease as it unfolds around the world. But the modelers will argue, and it is great fodder for TV, but the gist of it is, it’s based on two assumptions. One is about some assumptions about the mitigation strategies. Those nonpharmacologic interventions which have been fairly well studied, but it’s very variable based on how we human beings adhere to them. So there’s variability built into that. On the other side, there’s something called SIR and if you remember I told you about a Washington, I believe it was Washington Post graphic model, and dig it up again for viewers, but it was showing us all 11.7 million Ohioans as dots, and it’s based on theories of how diseases spread and how quickly they reproduce, and how susceptible we are to them, how infectious they are, [inaudible 01:32:04] you hear about, one person doing 2.2 people from each infected person, but you have S, I, and R. S is susceptible people. That’s someone like me who has not yet caught it.
Dr. Acton: (01:32:18)
You’ve got your Is, your infectious people, and then you have the people who have recovered, who have recovered from it and are no longer infectious and what we’re seeing so far, again, remember what we learn every day, and the science changes, but the people who are now recovered. We’re seeing some sense of immunity at least for a while. And so therefore they’re not going to be giving it to someone else. And it really is a statistical modeling that is based around millions of points of data, but you don’t have to my word for it. You can just watch what’s happening on the streets of the world and that and that pretty much matches the modeling.
Jackie Borchert: (01:33:02)
Do we have a number of recovered patients?
Dr. Acton: (01:33:06)
I don’t think we’ll have an accurate number of that. We can talk about based on the date of onset in the 14 days. And you can look at the cases we have. But as I’ve told you, I’ve seen drastic numbers about how many more cases there are than are being tested for. We know we can’t … We’re only testing the tip of the iceberg. We know many, many people have had this disease. In fact, if you’re having this disease and you can’t be tested, you’re hearing from your doctor to assume you have it and stay at home and they’re helping you ride it out.
Dr. Acton: (01:33:38)
So to say who’s recovered or not, when we’d have no way of knowing what doctors talked to what patient and if they’ve recovered. We just don’t have anything like that yet. I do have hopes there’ll be new modeling and different types of statistics done once we have serologic testing, there’ll be other information that we’ll do on sort of mass surveillance of asymptomatic people when we have the testing that will help us get some guesstimates on that. You’ll never know every single person, just like we never know every single person who has the flu because not everyone who has the flu is tested for the flu or everyone gets treatment for it.
Mike DeWine: (01:34:17)
And I think if I understand what the doctor’s been telling me, you do have people who don’t show up so your numbers are skewed. If you look at the number, the percentage of the people who have this who end up in a hospital, those numbers have to be skewed because some of them aren’t counted at all. They’re not counted as being even part of the whole. Someone may not know they have it. They may have other symptoms and they somehow … We’re not necessarily counting them. So again, I think when we look at the hospitalization numbers, they look high, but that may not take into account the people who don’t know they have it or don’t get counted someway and ride this thing out at home.
Andy Chow: (01:35:04)
Hi everyone. Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. I was told I have the last question. When it comes to the new modeling and showing that the peak is at 6,000 to 10,000 per day at its peak. Is that the end all be all number. Is there any way that that can still come down? Are there any tools still in the toolbox mitigation wise to help bring that number down?
Mike DeWine: (01:35:36)
I’ll let the doctor take that. I think these numbers can move as we know more information, and the more facts we get, the better the modeling becomes. But it is a dynamic, and the number that we rolled out today, which is to me the number that we need to focus on is we need to build out three times. Now it may be we only need to build out two times, but we’ve got to err on the side of being cautious and err on the side of saving lives. So I think doctor can address it more expertly than I do, but it is somewhat a moving target. Further along you go probably the closer you are to the reality.
Dr. Acton: (01:36:25)
Yeah, the models, Andy, will get better and better the more data that we can put into it, the more information we have, they’ll get a little more accurate with time. But I encourage people to see this as it is. It’s that compass, it’s that tool that helps point us in the right direction. But we were already planning on building out hospitals to this capacity before we even had Ohio specific modeling, because we were learning from what’s going on around, and I do think everything every one of us does makes a difference. There’s hope every day that perhaps an antiviral will be something that makes a difference, and that will drastically give us a tool right in the middle of the battle that we didn’t have before. The scientists are working full bore.
Dr. Acton: (01:37:14)
I mean, again, this is something that Bill Gates was speaking to. They’re funding … Dr. Fauci Is moving vaccine production along in ways that have never happened before. We always hope that there’s something that can help change that trajectory. We are very gifted that you helped us in Ohio buy more time to get more ready and every day helps us, and I hope every staying at home pushes us, remember, further out in time. It slows it down. It flattens the curve. That means the peak will be later and later. So please keep doing everything that you can to make a difference.
Andy Chow: (01:37:53)
Dr. Acton: (01:37:53)
Mike DeWine: (01:37:58)
Thank you all very much. In conclusion, during this crisis, life and death continue. Life and death unrelated to the virus that we’re talking about every single day. Francis and I lost a dear friend yesterday morning. Our neighbor, Keith Sheridan, Keith is in the Ohio Auctioneers Hall of Fame. He was known by auctioneers throughout the state. Whenever I traveled, if I ran into an auctioneer, they knew Keith Sheridan. Keith never met a stranger. He was someone who always had a great, great story. If you went to one of his auctions, it was a real treat. Whether you wanted to buy something or didn’t want to buy something, didn’t matter. Watching him up there trying to coax additional bids out of people was absolutely phenomenal, and he always had stories and he always brought a smile to everyone’s face. This is a picture of Keith when I first knew him, Keith and I overlapped at DeWine Seeds.
Mike DeWine: (01:39:07)
I was in high school and then college and, and Keith was a very, very young salesman for our, our family. He was great. He was a farm boy who would bring in grain to the elevator when he was growing up and my grandparents and my parents spotted him and said, ” That guy’s special.” And they put him to work when he was 18, right out of high school, and did a phenomenal job. Many of you who are watching this may have seen Keith at our ice cream social. We do an ice cream social every single year at our home, started in 1976. We asked Keith to be the MC. He was the MC up until I think the last one or two, and I just want to play a short clip in a moment from the last ice cream social that he emceed, and you’ll see in here that Keith kind of jumped the gun a little bit on my race for governor. I had not made any announcement, and you’ll get … At least I get a smile and I think you’ll get a smile by watching this about 22 second clip.
Keith Sheridan: (01:40:22)
I’ve had personal experience. I worked for his parents for 10 years, and if you didn’t work, you weren’t around very long. Folks, it’s a great deal of pleasure for me to introduce to you the next governor of the state of Ohio, Mike DeWine and his family.
Mike DeWine: (01:40:46)
We will miss him very, very much. We’re going to close now, the way we’ve closed the last couple of times. In this together, Ohio, and we’re going to hear from some Ohioans around the state.
Speaker 4: (01:41:05)
We’ve always been Ohio strong, and now we need that strength more than ever. It’s up to all of us to stay home, stay positive, and stay healthy. And even though right now we can’t gather together, in Ohio, we will always stand together.
Mike DeWine: (01:41:33)
We’ll see you all tomorrow at two o’clock. Thanks a lot.