Sep 22, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript September 22
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on September 22 to give coronavirus updates. He discussed COVID-19 transmitting through aerosols. Read the transcript of his news briefing here.
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Gov. Mike DeWine: (05:45)
Afternoon, everyone. Today I’m wearing a Moeller High School tie. Our grandson Matthew went to Moeller but that’s not why I’m wearing it today. I’m wearing a Moeller High School tie in honor of 2020 Moeller graduate Michael Currin. Michael was a student at the University of Dayton. He died over the weekend. Michael was a starting point guard on Moeller’s 26-1 basketball team last winter, and a member of the 2019 state championship team. Fran and I offer our deepest sympathies to the entire Currin family and to all those who lose children. Fran and I just came back from the funeral for a friend, Beth Baumgardner. And just as a personal note, Beth worked for me as a nurse analyst at the Medicare Fraud Unit of the Attorney General’s office. Also a long, long friend. For over 30 years, she was a nurse and truly took care of people as our nurses do. So we’ll miss Beth very much.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (06:55)
I want to start today by talking about Rowan Sweeney. He was a four year old. He was an innocent child. His future full of infinite possibilities. Yesterday, he was shot to death. Gunned down after someone walked into a home in Struthers and opened fire. Police say the boy died in his mother’s arms. She was shot too, along with three other adults. What a horrible, horrible senseless tragedy. Over the past two weeks, we’ve found reports in the news media of at least 88 people shot in Ohio. Of those, at least 34 were killed, including another young boy named King Pleasant. A picture of King right there. King was just six years old. He too had a future, infinite possibilities until he was shot to death last week. According to the Canton Repository, King was excited about first grade. He loved the superhero Black Panther. The person accused of killing King is also just a child 11 years old. Now charged with juvenile reckless homicide.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (08:28)
Authorities are investigating how the child managed to get the deadly weapon. All of this is just absolutely heartbreaking. Here’s some recent headlines. In Cleveland, 10-year-old boy hospitalized after being shot in the back. Reports say this young man was critically injured. He was taking out the trash when he was hit by a stray bullet fired in a drive by shooting in the neighborhood in which he lived. Here’s another headline. 23-year-old woman shot, killed in Akron Wednesday night. The next day, two more people were shot at a vigil held in the victim’s honor. I’ve been doing this. I’ve been doing this every week. This time next week more will have died, which is why I will keep talking about our legislation that we have in front of the General Assembly. And I would ask the General Assembly to please take it up and pass it. Most gun violence that we are seeing is committed by people who legally cannot have a gun anyway. Already they can not have a gun. Current law clearly is not tough enough since these individuals continue to illegally carry and use weapons anyway.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (09:54)
Our bill that I’m asking the General Assembly to pass will toughen penalties for this group of people who are breaking the law by having a weapon. The people who are most likely to use a gun to kill. Our bill provides added penalties for these individuals, what we call Weapon Under Disability. They’re not allowed to have the gun because they’ve committed a felony. And we would enhance the penalty, give judges more discretion about what to do with them when their previous crime was a crime of violence. We have an obligation as leaders of this state to take action, to protect people. This is an easy one. This is not hard. We need to get it done. All right Eric, let’s move to our data slides. Today, we have 685 new cases reported in Ohio. And again, we always get a little concerned if the numbers are accurate. And they’re accurate for what’s been reported, but sometimes on the weekends things just don’t get reported as much.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (11:06)
So we hope that this is a new trend, 685 cases. We’ve been hovering above 1000 cases. We certainly would like to see those numbers go down. This is in fact, the lowest number of cases reported since September 8th. We’ll look and see tomorrow about this time when we see the new numbers for the next day and see if we are really in a good trend. We are seeing a little trend downward. We’ll anxiously await tomorrow’s numbers. We also have 12 deaths reported yesterday. Additionally, there were 70 new hospitalizations and 11 new ICU admissions during the past 24 hours. Let’s go to our top 20. I guess we’ll go 20 highest occurrence counties. And again, we started doing this a month or so ago just to show you the number of cases in each county in the last two weeks based on 100,000 population. So we’re comparing apples to apples. What you’ll see here, and I’ll just go down and you start with Mercer, Putnam, Shelby, Athens, Lawrence, Miami, Butler, Delaware, Darke, Auglaize, Wood and on.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (12:24)
So heavy concentration in the Western side of the state. These are counties where the positivity is high, but the number of new cases is what actually we are in fact measuring. So when you look at how your county is doing, that’s a good chart to look at. The other one of course is our one that we unveil every Thursday, which is the color coded by county. Let me go to another chart. We update this daily at 2:00 o’clock. We’ll go to the next one, Eric. And what this shows is, number of cases run every day and then it also shows on the chart, the positivity. And so this positivity is displayed for that day and a seven day running. Positivity is one of the many numbers that we look at, it’s a significant number. What we’re seeing is… the good news is that our seven day moving average of test is over 32,000 tests per day. Not where we want to be, but it’s continues to go upward. We are seeing very good news, a decline in positivity.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (13:52)
We are today at a seven day average of 2.9, 2.9%. And a lot of what we’re going to talk about today is how we get ready for winter. Beautiful day outside in Ohio and it’s hard to think about winter, but it will be coming. And the concern of course, is as people move inside more we’re in more confined spaces. We’d see the spread of the virus. So we want to get our positivity number, obviously, down as low as we can. We’re certainly headed in the right direction. We hope to see it get even lower. We’re unveiling a new dashboard today. We’ve continued, throughout this six month period, to try to give you as much information as we can. So people can look at this and policymakers, whether in the Department of Health or local health departments or the legislature, governor’s office can make decisions. Let me talk about this one. Is a COVID-19 data dashboard called case demographics. And you’re seeing one page displayed up there now. By selecting this specific tool under demographics menu, you can access COVID-19 case data by race and break it down by age and by county and compare it to the overall Ohio population. Improving data collection and reporting as well as creating a publicly available dashboard where recommendations from our COVID-19 minority health strike force. So we’re glad to comply with their request and it’s a good thing to have. This dashboard helps better track health inequities, and disparities, and this data can help with critical decisions in the context for policymakers. Again, this data will be available today on the COVID-19 data dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov. With the election coming up, I want to brief you on a voter registration issue which arose recently and has since been remedied but I want to talk a little bit about it. Our Ohio Benefits system provides online services for Ohioans who receive benefits through programs within Ohio Medicaid and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (16:19)
Ohio Benefits offers users an opportunity to receive a voter registration form at their request. There’s a place where they can… my understanding of place, where they can actually click that if they want that. The Department of Administrative Services recently became aware that due to a system error, some Ohioans who asked to receive a voter registration form at that particular time did not get sent a form. Approximately 59,000 Ohioans were affected by the error. A review of affected individuals determined that of this group, approximately 18,900 were already registered to vote and an additional 7,500 received voter registration forms from Ohio Benefits through other separate transactions. That left 32,400, who had not received a form at the time of this review. A week on Monday, DAS sent voter registration forms to all 59,000 individuals. So I want to thank DAS for identifying this issue and getting it fixed.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (17:34)
So that went out seven or eight days ago to those 59,000 individuals who had clicked something on a benefits that they indicated that they wanted an application. We’ve been bringing in superintendents, they’re doing a phenomenal job. And I again want to thank all our superintendents, our teachers, our school staff, educational service centers for working so very, very hard to keep our kids safe and to continue to teach our children. This certainly is no ordinary time. And I just want to thank each and every one of you for going that extra mile and doing those things to educate our children. As we have been doing since the start of the year, we’re inviting superintendents in. Joining us today is Jeffrey Ramnytz, superintendent with Barberton City Schools. Mr. Superintendent, thank you for joining us.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (18:39)
Thank you very much for having me, governor. I really appreciate it.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (18:42)
Well, is it a pretty day in Barberton today?
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (18:46)
Oh, the sun’s always shining in Barberton especially with The Magics take the field. So we’re excited about that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (18:51)
Well, that’s good. I missed the parade this year. The parade’s always fun.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (18:55)
I know. We do miss that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (18:58)
And the pancake breakfast as well. So it’s always a-
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (19:01)
Yes. Well next year, hopefully, we won’t have masks on when we see you there.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (19:05)
We hope to be there. We hope to be there. Well, tell me a little bit about your school district. And for people who don’t know Barberton, tell me about the district and then kind of tell us how you’re breaking this out. You’ve got some kids online. You’ve got other kids who are in the classroom. You prepared for it this summer. Just kind of bringing us up to date what’s going on in Barberton.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (19:27)
Barberton City School district, we serve about 3,800 students. We are a hardworking blue collar town. Our parents work hard. The city people work hard. Our teachers work extremely hard. We do have challenges. We’re on now about 72% free and reduced. We have about 20% students who are on special needs, but we love it. We love taking care of our students. And our motto is we meet each child where they’re at and we work with them to grow them year to year until we get them on one of the three Es, which is enrolled, enlisted, or employed. So we’re very, very proud of the things in the programming that we have here in Barberton. Our plan was very important to us for many reasons. I know in the spring, everybody had a pretty tough time. Parents, they developed a greater appreciation for what teachers do.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (20:27)
So we listened to our listened to our parents. We met with parent groups. We did surveys. And really, I would say three fourths of our parents wanted our students to come back into school. And we heard from parents that felt that they didn’t feel comfortable letting their students go back into school. So we looked at our resources. Luckily we had passed a few renewal levies just recently. And we looked at our resources. We looked at our staffing and initially we were talking about maybe bringing in the younger students. But as we looked at that, we felt we need our students in front of us. It’s been about 22 weeks that they had been gone from spring. Even though we were working in the spring, it’s still not being in front of our teachers and face-to-face instruction. So we felt that with our resources, with our teachers and our buildings and the space in our buildings that we could bring our students in.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (21:25)
So we did put out and we gave our parents a choice, which they wanted. And I was very proud that we were able to give them a choice. About 1200 students chose remote and we have about 2,600 students that chose in-school instruction, which actually made it a little bit nicer. We have about 15 or less in each classroom. Our students are doing a great job. I have to say what a great job and how proud I am of not only our students, our staff, our parents, and our community. Our students are doing an amazing job. One of the big things was they were worried, a lot of the parents were worried that they couldn’t wear masks all day long. I will tell you, we started Barberton preschool here about two or three years ago, and our three, four, and five-year-olds are wearing those masks every day. And they know the six foot distance as well. But our preschool all the way up to seniors are doing a great job wearing those masks.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (22:23)
They’re doing what is necessary for us to stay open. And we’re very proud about that. The process was amazing. We did a lot of planning and preparation in the summer because we didn’t realize or know which pathway we would take and have to deliver instruction. So there was a lot of professional development on the remote part, but luckily we have those people trained and our remote is going very well, too. It’s a lot more structured. It’s the same as a school day. They have periods, they check in with their teachers. And we actually had meetings with our teachers and our parents that went remote because we felt it was important to get that personal connection before they started, because it’s very important. Barberton, and I would say most school systems, that personal connection is extremely important. But we understand that we have to move our students forward no matter if they’re remote or if they’re in school. And our staff is doing an amazing job with that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (23:21)
That is great. One of the things you and I talked about the other day in regard to what students do when they’re not in school. One of the things that we have seen and one of the challenges for college students and for adults and all of us is when we’re not into that routine, then what do we do? How’s that working out for you and your messaging to the student?
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (23:51)
Oh, it’s so far so good. I mean, we’ve had a few bumps in the roads. But I have to say, Summit County Health Department and Tonia Burford who I have on speed dial, she’s been amazing. She’s been-
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (24:03)
… on speed dial. She’s been amazing. She’s been amazing. And anytime that there is any type of issues, we call her up, she helps us through the process. She’s been great. And probably most superintendents in Summit County would say that. But we’ve really encouraged our parents. They’ve asked us for the choice. They’ve asked us to start sports up. This is a big sports town. We were extremely happy that our Magics are out there competing. So we’re asking them to stay focused and stick with the plan and listen to what the governor’s saying. And don’t go in large groups. And be smart because we really, truly, we need to stay open. Our students need to be in front of our teachers again, whether it’s in school or remote.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (24:48)
And how about your remote students? Are you doing this with your own teachers? Is that how you’re doing that?
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (24:56)
Absolutely. Again, our teachers, we didn’t know which pathway we would be taking come fall, so all of our teachers were training in the summer. But really and truly what was nice is we were actually able to use our teachers that had concerns about coming back as well as our instructors. And yes, it is Barberton teachers, Barberton curriculum. And they’re doing a great job. We had a little bump in the road at the beginning, but it’s getting better every day. The communication’s amazing. And we appreciate the social, emotional support that the state has given us. We’re trying to incorporate those things as well, remotely and in-person. Because those wraparound services was one of the big things that we were worried about with our students being gone for so long, for about the 22 weeks.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (25:49)
Well, that’s great. One last question. For your remote students who are in, let’s say, lower elementary school, how does that work? Are these kids able to do it? Does it work online?
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (26:03)
Oh, absolutely. Yes, they’re doing an amazing job. Our teacher, but we’re a one-to-one district, we have Chromebooks. And we had this beforehand, again because of the great support of our community. So those students have taken those Chromebooks home, even our in-school students take those Chromebooks home. But yes, our young ones are doing a great job. We’re checking in frequently. Sometimes if we have to go knock on a door and see what’s going on there or making sure that they’re logging in, we’re doing those things as well. But we are actually trying to start remote tutoring because sometimes there may not be a parent or a guardian there while they’re working. But in the evening, when that parent or guardian comes home, we’ll have that remote tutor available for those students who need that as well.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (26:49)
Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah, that’s exciting.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (26:52)
Yes, it is.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (26:53)
That’s great. Well, good luck to you and your students and your faculty and everybody at Barberton. And we wish you a great year.
Jeffrey Ramnytz: (27:01)
Thank you very much, Governor.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (27:03)
We appreciate it. Thank you very much. Since we, again, reopening of Ohio after the initial stay-at-home order, we’ve listened to experts who’ve told us that being outside is better when you can be outside. That combined with mask wearing, social distancing, proper hygiene certainly helps us slow down COVID-19. We’ve seen Ohioans following the expert advice, but we also know that colder months are coming. And so we thought we’d bring an expert in. Joining us today is Ohio State University environmental engineer, Dr. Mark Weir. He’s the co-director of the ecology, epidemiology, and population health program at OSU Infectious Disease Institute. Doctor, thank you very, very much for joining us.
Dr. Mark Weir: (27:58)
Thanks for having me.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (28:01)
We appreciate it very much. We’ve heard a lot over the last few days about aerosolized particles and droplets and how COVID-19 spreads, on the news this morning about that. And I wonder if you could maybe just give us a one-on-one class about how that works.
Dr. Mark Weir: (28:27)
Of course. So aerosols in general at first sound kind of scary, especially when somebody is talking about airborne. If somebody says the word airborne, people start to react to that. So one thing that I did, I put together a couple slides that might be able to help.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (28:42)
Okay, we’ll look at those. Sure.
Dr. Mark Weir: (28:44)
Yeah. And so, if you go to the first one after the title, every time that you cough, if you’re coughing, or if you’re sneezing, you’re obviously expiring out or expelling out droplets and other particles. And those finer, smaller particles that don’t drop out within the three to six feet range that we’ve heard about so much are the aerosols. And so the top image of those three bars is the very small particles, and they’re going farther afield. And it all depends on the shape of your mouth when you’re talking, how forcefully you’re talking, how quietly you’re talking, how much you’re coughing, type of coughing that you’re doing, things like that. There’s a lot that goes into it, but this happens all the time. And so it’s something that we deal with on a consistent basis.
Dr. Mark Weir: (29:29)
So if you look at the next slide, we have models that we’ve been putting together that have been trying to look at well, what are the overall building and room risks associated with people speaking, singing, talking, coughing, sneezing when they have SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 or something else? So we’ve built these kind of models for influenza, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-1, so the first SARS that came around, to be able to try and understand these. Every virus is a little different in how it forms itself or how many viruses are in those aerosols. Because just because it’s an aerosol doesn’t mean it’s a virus. And just because it has aerosolized particle that came out from your mouth doesn’t mean that there’s viruses in those aerosols.
Dr. Mark Weir: (30:15)
And so what you’re looking at is a simulation that we put together with a great colleague down in South Carolina. And Dr. Hope put these together as a way of being able to say, “Well, as we are increasing our controls such as air exchange rates, filtration in the room, mixture of air from the outside, makeup air is what we call that, what is it actually going to be doing by way of removing the particles?” And it depends on what you can run and how you can operate it, but you can have a fairly good margin of safety being able to control the aerosol.
Dr. Mark Weir: (30:46)
So you go to last slide, this is really similar to what we’ve been talking about this entire time with regards to the different barriers and the different levels of control. And so it’s basically between the virus and you are a series of walls that you can put in place or a series of barriers that you can put in place. We already know about face masks, hand washing, and social distancing. Now we’re talking about, when we’re talking about aerosols, there’s engineering options for us at this point to be able to work through. So while aerosols are a new thing for us to be talking about with regards to SARS-CoV-2, it is a known quantity with regards to ideas of how to control it, knowledge and technology that we have to be able to try and control it. Now it’s at this stage here optimizing or finessing those controls so that they can be as effective as possible for this particular pathogen.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (31:46)
And doctor, so we can understand, Eric, if you can go back to the last, actually back two slides. You’ve got before cough, then three minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Just make sure I understand this and our viewers can understand it, you’ve got something on here that is red, you’ve got some that’s blue. What’s the difference, and how big a room is it?
Dr. Mark Weir: (32:05)
So that is an average size shared office space, the way we built that one out. So we didn’t put in the cubicle walls just yet. We were just putting in the air flows, the stops and flows and everything. The red is somebody who has SARS-CoV-2 infection. So what you’ll end up seeing is that how that kind of mixes in the environment, but it doesn’t end up contaminating the entire room. How the air flows through the room dictates where it’s going to be able to deposit on surfaces, who’s going to be able to inhale it later on, and where it’s going to go into the ventilation system itself.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (32:39)
Okay. We know outside is generally better than inside. And you want to just tell us why that is? Maybe it’s obvious, but just tell us anyway.
Dr. Mark Weir: (32:52)
I mean, there’s a couple pieces to it. One is that you’ll get much more dynamic air flows when you’re outside. So deposition and fallout from the aerosols, so that how the aerosols fall out of the air, typically can occur quicker. It’ll disperse out into a wider area. There’s just more space for it to be able to go somewhere. There’s an old wrong saying when you’re talking about pollution which is the solution to pollution is dilution. While that’s not correct for how you handle environmental pollution, in this case, the solution is dilution where dilution means you take the same amount of something, but put into a bigger volume. And now you have less ability for you to be able to inhale it.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (33:40)
So that is one of the solutions then.
Dr. Mark Weir: (33:41)
It is. And outdoors is where you’re going to be able to get the absolute largest volume. Plus, you have all the other dynamics of things like UV exposure, you just being able to move around in a larger, basically more random kind of pattern as well. And what we tried to do when we’re talking about on the indoor side of things, we’ve tried to mimic that where we can’t, bringing in as much fresh air from the outdoors, removing as much air from indoors as possible, and so on.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (34:12)
Just so I’m following here, you want to tell me about droplets as opposed to the aerosolized particles? What’s the difference, if there is a difference?
Dr. Mark Weir: (34:24)
Yep. So the difference is size. So anything that is within droplet size range, so about four microns and up. So very, very small particles. We’re still talking about very small particles, but they’re heavy enough and large enough that within about three feet to six feet range is where they really start to slope down. You can actually see the trajectory going out and sloping down. And they just end up hitting people’s pants or the floor or somewhere else.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (34:54)
Okay. So I’m speaking right now. What would I expect to happen?
Dr. Mark Weir: (35:00)
Predominantly, you would end up seeing mostly droplets coming out and then they would fall down. So if you had a special type of camera that could actually track the particles coming out, you’d see a bulk of them being droplets. And then you would have a mist of aerosols that would be able to come out. And if you are up and projecting your voice, they’ll come up at a little bit more of an angle and have a specific cone of expansion from there.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (35:25)
Okay. Now, we’ve read or we’ve heard this kind of controversy. CDC put something up on, then they take it down. Let’s put that aside for a moment. But what is it that we actually do know? Let’s start with what we know at this point. I mean, we know we’ve continued to learn, scientists have continued to learn throughout this. Let’s start with what we do know, and then what we may think, however you want to explain it.
Dr. Mark Weir: (35:55)
So what we do know is that the virus has to be able to get to essentially the back of your throat into what we call the nasal pharyngeal region. So that’s where it has to start to deposit. It has to be able to deposit in the upper respiratory track, up in that upper portion of your respiratory system. So not your mouth, but back where the wind is starting to go in and it goes down into your lungs. That’s where it needs to deposit. So it needs to land on that surface, and then it needs to be able to infect cells that make up that portion of your respiratory system. So we know that.
Dr. Mark Weir: (36:26)
Now, how that gets delivered is where the question ends up residing. Where when we’re talking about surfaces, so at first, surfaces were a massively dominant component of transmission. So when we say transmission, we mean that the virus has to go from somewhere in the environment and then somewhere into you. And the surfaces where you would touch the surface and then you would touch your nose or you would touch your eye, and then it would be able to get into the mucus system and make its way to where it needs to be. That ended up being downgraded in a level of importance the more we learned about the droplet spread. The droplet spread is where that three to six foot range comes in, predominantly three feet. And that’s where you’re more likely to be able to get those larger particles actually hit your face, you can respire those particles. Or there’ll be a much more contaminated area in front of you to drive surface risks.
Dr. Mark Weir: (37:20)
Now, aerosols are you’re beyond six feet, you’re beyond into about 10 feet or so out, and you can still inhale those particles. Now, what we’re talking about is if the majority of them that come out are droplets, that means that a smaller amount are going to be aerosols. And it still takes a fairly good amount of virus for you to be able to inhale and actually become sick. So we’re now we’re in that range of how much is enough to make you sick when we’re talking about aerosols? So that’s where a lot of the back and forth and the discussion and research has been on is how important are aerosols in exposure? We’ve known for a little while that aerosols are a component, but how important those aerosols are is the question. And that’s where CDC had put something up and then took it back down for you’d have to ask CDC reasons. But having worked at EPA, you want to make sure everything is right down to the exact dots on I’s and everything else. So that could be what it is as well.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (38:26)
So as we look at this and as we head towards the winter and we look at public buildings, we look at schools, we look at businesses, we look at houses, what should we be thinking about? And what are some of the things that we can do to deal with it? I mean, you talked about the droplets. That would seem, from what you said, to be basically a function of distance. Would that be right?
Dr. Mark Weir: (38:59)
Gov. Mike DeWine: (39:00)
The aerosolized particles, that’s different. It would seem to be, would that be a matter of circulation? Based on what would be the variables there?
Dr. Mark Weir: (39:14)
Exactly. Circulation is one of the key ones. And the first and foremost is to find out what kind of control you have over a ventilation system in your home, business, or elsewhere. One key very important thing is that air conditioning and heating are not the same as ventilation. Ventilation is just focused on moving the air around. What energy you put in to either heat it or removed in order to cool it is the air conditioning or the heating component. So you may have an AC system, it doesn’t mean that you have a ventilation system. So that’s one key thing to think about first.
Dr. Mark Weir: (39:49)
Circulation is a great way to think of it. You’re moving the air. And it’s a component of three big pieces. There’s the air exchange rates, how often can you take all the air in the room and remove it and replace it with fresh? The makeup air, or we call that makeup air in engineering and industrial hygiene, is how much of the outdoor air can I bring in that’s absolutely fresh, that doesn’t have SARS-CoV-2 in it? And then the other one is filtration. And they all work together. And so it is not really so much a component of getting as much air out as possible as often as possible. That will have a beneficial effect. But you really need to look at all three of those pieces working together for you to be able to find-
Gov. Mike DeWine: (40:33)
Okay. Okay. I wrote down two, I missed one. So you’ve got filtration, you’ve got air exchange ratio. What’s the third one?
Dr. Mark Weir: (40:43)
Makeup air. So that amount of outdoor air to bring in.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (40:46)
Okay. You want to go through those quickly for me?
Dr. Mark Weir: (40:51)
Sure. So the makeup air is where you’re talking about where you don’t have the virus, it’s outdoor air. So even if there is a small amount of virus that’s in the outdoor air, it’s much, much smaller than what would be in the indoor air. And it’s typically zero, or at least lower than we can detect it. So that air being brought in is fresh, it’s clean. You can filter it so it becomes cleaner. So you remove allergens and any other kinds of chemicals that are in it before it comes into the building. And then you circulate that through the building.
Dr. Mark Weir: (41:23)
Then you typically have to recirculate some of the air for energy efficiency reasons, as well as humidity controls and things like that. And that’s where air exchange rates come in, as well as filtration. They kind of work hand in hand in that you can remove a lot of the air and replace it back into the room, but if you’re not filtering it, you’re just circulating air from within the room to another room or within the same room. And so the air exchange rates is where … Think of it where you have the volume of room that you are in, so height times area is your volume. Take all of that volume, remove it within an hour. How many times can you do that is your air changes per hour or your air exchange rates.
Dr. Mark Weir: (42:07)
And then the filtration is just filtration. So if you’ve ever seen an HVAC filter, what you’re basically doing is just pushing air through very, very small holes. And it’s going to remove the bioaerosols. Some of them are small enough to be able to remove viruses, but the majority of places can remove the bioaerosols predominantly that are harboring the virus.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (42:32)
So for our viewers out there, let’s say they own a house, let’s say it’s a 20 year old house. From a practical point of view, let’s say that people are in and out, or let’s even say it’s a business. Let’s assume it’s a business and it’s a retail business. So they have people coming in and out every single day. What should they do? How do they get on top of this if they want to try to do something to improve the situation?
Dr. Mark Weir: (43:06)
So if they’re a business, they have a great opportunity to be able to control the air in their building. If they have the technology to be able to do that and can have a very impactful benefit on limiting spread by improving the air inside their buildings. What they want to do is they want to talk to whomever it is that they work with as their licensed HVAC technician or engineer. So whoever they have that comes out that’s licensed that is able to do the maintenance and operation updates and preventative maintenance on their system, have them come out and survey it, make sure they know what they can actually operate. And then what they can do is work with them and then say, “Well, how high of an air change rate can I have through what size filter? And how much outdoor air can I bring in and still be able to operate within a profitable scheme?” Because you don’t want to go out of business operating something that’s just too costly.
Dr. Mark Weir: (44:05)
So sit down with them and make sure that you have a good plan of how you’re going to be able to go forward with that. The CDC has a great table for clinical settings, but it still works for other indoor spaces on different air change rates to be able to use. So you can always refer to that if you want. And I’d have them sit down with them. Make sure that they are appropriately licensed and able to be able to help you with that. And if they recommend to talk to a ventilation engineer, see if that works within your budget and then talk with them.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (44:38)
Doctor, we’re going to, with your help we hope, put something up on our webpage in a short while maybe to give people some better information. But until we get that up, again, what’s the best place for them to look? Let’s say they’ve got a shop or they’ve got a house and they want to go look up what they really need to do so that they can intelligently talk to their heating expert and their air conditioning expert.
Dr. Mark Weir: (45:06)
So great way to start by taking a dive into indoor air is to go to the EPA’s website and look for indoor air quality. And that’s going to give you a bit of a crash course into indoor air quality. It’s going to be focused around carbon dioxide buildup by respiring. How are you contaminating the room? As well as anything that’s volatilizing or chemicals that are coming off of the desk surfaces and things like that. That’s what that page is mostly focused on. It is a great crash course into what indoor air quality is, precise definitions of air exchange rates. So if I’m not being clear, then you can go there and they have a great resource there. From there, what you can do is you can refer to CDC websites. Now, some of those are clinically oriented, and I think that’s one of the things that we’ll be working with you on making sure that we have a translation to make sure we understand how things are moving forward. But let’s start with the EPA. And then from the EPA website, contact your HVAC licensed technician.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (46:12)
Doctor, thank you very much. We’ll be back in touch with you, but we appreciate you coming on today and giving us a introductory course. Thank you. Thank you. Let’s move now to learn a little bit more about contact tracing. We have a contact tracer who we’re going to bring in here in a moment. Let’s actually go to Mitch. Mitch, you on there?
Mitch Dandurand: (46:46)
Yes. Hi, Governor. Happy to be here.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (46:49)
Mitch Dandurand is the epidemiologist at Lorain County Health Department, has been working there for four years, I believe. And you’re getting a workout in the last six months or so. It’s a little different world. But can you just, for somebody who’s watching this today who has no idea what you do, can you kind of take them through the process from the beginning? And then just kind of information comes in, from the time it maybe comes into the health department, you take it and you go from there.
Mitch Dandurand: (47:24)
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, certainly did not expect a pandemic within my first couple of years of working in a local health department. But Penn State got my mindset right and I’m ready for anything coming out of there. So I can attribute that to them. As for contact tracing, it’s a pretty straightforward process. We get a notification of a confirmed lab. And our first course of action is to identify how we can reach that person. A lot of times, that’s reported by the lab. And that’s a simple phone call. And first and foremost, when they do answer the phone, you want to make sure that they’re medically fit to-
Mitch Dandurand: (48:03)
Who answered the phone, you want to make sure that they’re medically fit to complete an interview, you don’t want to exacerbate somebody that’s already extremely sick. So some cases have mild symptoms, others have very severe symptoms. So we use our best judgment to see if that person is medically fit to give up the information that we need. And then from there, once they say, “I’m good. We can do this.” We are very straightforward with what we intend to do with this interview, what we intend to do with the information that they give us. That way they have it in their head throughout the interview of, “This is why I need to answer these questions in a forthcoming manner.”
Mitch Dandurand: (48:41)
So once that’s all established, we go right into establishing a timeframe for this individual in which they were infectious. So how we do that is we ask when they first started to feel ill and what those symptoms were. And once we get that date of symptom onset, we can establish their infectious period, and once we have that timeframe, we reiterate to them, “So we’re going since September 2nd, keep that date in your mind. And as we move forward with this interview, we’re going to try to identify anyone you exposed.” And then we go over the definition of exposure, that’s very important for them to know what we’re looking for.
Mitch Dandurand: (49:23)
So once that timeframe is established, once that definition is clear in their head, we move right into it on trying to figure out who they may have exposed. We start with the household contacts, that’s pretty straightforward. Workplace contexts, “When was your last day at work? What did that last day work look like? Is your employer aware? Do you have any other cases at work?” And then we move on to the community exposures, those that they may have exposed in a more casual setting, whether it be through a lunch, a family gathering, churches, anything like that. So we’ve got those three levels of which they could that exposed anybody.
Mitch Dandurand: (50:02)
Then we follow up that interview with a two-week history. This is the more complicated part, but this helps us establish links with any outbreaks that may be going on, establish a link with a known case that we have on file. Really helps the Health Department learn how this is being transmitted throughout the community. But basically what we tell them, you say, “When you’re going to give us some information, here’s exactly what we’re going to do with that information.” So those people that come up as exposures are actually forwarded down to a different team of ours. We have the interview team that gets that information, and then we have another team that reaches out to those that were exposed, and informs of their exposure, remaining confidentiality, very important for the case, but also it gives these people a timeframe of what they should be looking at.
Mitch Dandurand: (50:54)
The people making these calls to those that are exposed have been our tried and true professionals, they have been on the front lines of COVID since March. So they’re experienced with this pandemic as anybody else in Ohio at this point. So we have a really great professional reaching out to you and letting you know of all these steps that you should be taking, for how long, and this is what you should do to protect your family, your community, and your workplace. If they want to sign up for a system where they report symptoms to us, that’s easily done through a text messaging system developed by the State Health Department, if that really helps with data collection, it helps us determine on when it’s safe for them to return to work, whether or not they should be tested. So it helps get some information on that individual, and we can just consult and guide from there. So that’s how the process works.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (51:54)
So when you’re talking, let’s go back to you, when you’re talking to the person that has tested positive, and you’re now trying to determine who might they have infected, what are some of the variables, the criteria, length and time, they’re with somebody. Maybe give us a couple of examples of, maybe an example of where you assume it’s not an infection and then maybe where you would assume it was and passed that name then on to the next person on your team?
Mitch Dandurand: (52:32)
Our interviewers are very experienced. We try to say you got to get the details, the details, the details on all of these exposure settings. So that’s exactly right, the length of time, whether or not there is a mask worn, any direct context. So when we tell them, “This is what we’re looking for, we’re looking for relative to your symptom onset date. So we’ve got your symptom onset date, let’s go three days prior to that, that’s what we call the presymptomatic phase, and people are spreading it pre-symptomatically, they don’t know they have it. So we’re going to go three days from your symptom onset. We’re going to define close contact. Is there anyone within six feet of you for 15 minutes or longer, and then we’re going to give some context behind that interaction where you’re out there all day. Did you make direct contact? Did you have a mask?”
Mitch Dandurand: (53:18)
That way if we get in those situations where we’re not sure the degree of exposure, the team can talk about it, the team can reach out to the individual, get their side of the story. But, yeah, basically the definition of close contact is that six feet within that timeframe, with or without a mask. So it’s just a lot of details behind the exposure that we collect. And we look at.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (53:42)
So every case has facts specific, I guess?
Mitch Dandurand: (53:46)
Exactly. And that’s why it’s tough to come up with some written protocols, some very black and white directions. We’ve tried that since the start, and as soon as we do it, a case comes and blows the thing to pieces. So that’s just the nature of it. You got to be quick on your feet, and have a team that’s willing to consult with you, and really go over the information together.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (54:14)
Explained to me as a professional who’s done this now and an awful lot of times, explain to me the factor of time, how long you might be exposed to somebody. How does that factor in, and what are some of the other factors?
Mitch Dandurand: (54:31)
So we use that contact definition that was from the State so that that factor [inaudible 00:54:37]. Now, if someone’s with someone all day intermittently, it’s really tough to say, cumulatively, were you exposed for 15 minutes? Were you there for 15 minutes, within six feet? So again, it’s all about those details. And what we find is those that spent the day together and try to kept their distance and everything, we might not see really a high-risk situation there, but spending time in someone’s household, that’s a different type of exposure, especially if the case lived there. So those are all the factors that contribute to that timeframe we look at.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (55:14)
Well, Mitch, thank you very, very much. Good luck to you and everyone who else is out there that’s engaged in this. We appreciate your work, we know it’s not easy, and thanks for doing it. Good luck.
Mitch Dandurand: (55:30)
Thank you, Governor.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (55:30)
Thank you. Appreciated. Lieutenant Governor on? Lieutenant Governor is on.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (55:36)
I am, Governor. I got a mask today from Wright State University, they sent some along. We’ll always appreciate what our colleges and universities are doing to help us with workforce, and also trying to do it safely. So welcome those relationships. Let me talk a little bit today about some of our employers in the State, and the economic recovery and how some of these employers are really helping us protect lives and livelihoods, and live with the Coronavirus in our lives, and move forward economically.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (56:10)
I’m going to start with one of our larger employers, the Ford Motor Company. We all know Ford, they employ 6,000 people in the State of Ohio, but we’re announcing a donation that they made of 2 million medical grade face masks to Ohio, this is part of their ongoing commitment to provide a hundred million medical grade masks through to 2021. They are currently manufacturing 2.5 million medical grade masks a week for its employees and at-risk communities. And it is growing, they’re growing and the number of masks that they’re producing every week so that they can reach that goal. And we very much appreciate their donation to Ohio, and all the people that they employ here, and how they’re helping us get through the virus, grow jobs and keep people safe.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (57:10)
Next, I want to move on to National Small Business Week. National Small Business Week is this week, the 22nd to the 24th is the days that we’re focused on, there are 965,000 small businesses in our State, they employ 2.2 million people, that’s 45% of the total employees in the State. In 2019, they created 44,000 jobs, and firms with fewer than 20 employees had the largest gains of 29,132. And I’m sure a lot of people might be interested to know the segments of the small business community that are growing the fastest are women owned and minority owned businesses. But our development services agency provides support for small business development centers, and the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes individuals and business owners for their contributions to our economy, and they’d like to recognize those small business development centers that really have done an amazing job.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (58:22)
And we’re proud to announce this week that the Ohio SBDC in Springfield was recognized by the SBA as the Great Lakes Region, Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation award winner this year. And there are only 10 small business development centers of nearly a thousand across the nation to earn this distinction, and for Ohio this is the fourth year in a row that Ohio SBDC has been named best in the Midwest by the SBA. So they’re doing a great job, and you can see that by some of the results of the businesses that they help. I want to focus on one today, that’s an SBDC client, Kirila Fire, which was named by the SBA as the Great Lakes Region Small Business exporter of the year.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (59:14)
And what Kirila Fire training facilities, which are located and Fowler, Ohio, does is they cover a variety of activities from design, manufacturer, construction modification, repair and maintenance and inspection of firefighter training facilities. The big deal about this is that yes, they were doing it in Ohio, yes, they’re creating jobs in Ohio. They were providing these services across the United States, but working with the SBDC, they are now exporting to 15 countries. So this is how you can have a small business working in partnership with people that can knock down those barriers and help them export to the rest of the world and grow business. And I’ve mentioned Small Business Week because I was on the phone today earlier with Roger Geiger from the National Federation For Independent Business, and we were talking, during COVID the people who are taking it on the chin toughest sometimes are those small businesses because they don’t have much of an online presence, people need to go out. And we just want to use this week as a reminder, go out when you need to buy something, whether that’s… You name, it. Try to focus on a local small business owner, because they are people that live in your community. Typically a hundred percent of that money gets circulated inside of your community employing people, supporting families, helping support that community.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:00:51)
So we just encourage folks to use your locally owned small businesses, whether their mom and pops family owned stores, they need your help, and we’re doing all we can to support them. And I guess I’ll conclude by, Governor, saying this, the businesses in this State have really stepped up from the big ones to the small ones to help us drive forward during this difficult time, and we thank them, they’ve been outstanding and we need to support them because they’re supporting us. So back to you.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:01:26)
We do indeed. Thank you very much. Time for questions.
Speaker 1: (01:01:30)
Governor, first question today is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.
Geoff Redick: (01:01:36)
Afternoon to you Governor. A question for both you and the Lieutenant Governor today, I understand that you’d face some pressure to join the President in Ohio. Yesterday’s event, however, in Vandalia, where you were, was unlike anything that we’d seen for months, of course you both attended. And that events seemed to break all the guidance that you’ve given Ohioans for months. Lieutenant Governor Husted, he was encouraging a mostly maskless crowd to cheer, to boo, breath in a lot of those aerosols and droplets, that we just heard about, into a partially indoor setting. So given all the prior guidance to this, is there a defense or a reason for it?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:02:17)
Well, I’ll start. Look, we’ve made it very clear that if you’re exercising your First Amendment Rights, we’re not going to have a health order that prohibits you from exercising your First Amendment Rights. We said the same thing to demonstrators, demonstrators on anything, demonstrators who demonstrated against the Health Director, Dr. Acton, demonstrators who demonstrate against me, demonstrators who came out to our house and went by and honk their horns, and do their things. Look, but we’ve also said, and very, very clear, whether it’s demonstrators, whether it’s people in a Trump rally or people in any other political rally, please wear a mask. That is how you stay safe, that is how you slow the spread down.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:03:07)
We have been consistent about this mask guidance that we have given. And so they did not follow that. Some did, many did not. And I think that’s too bad that they did not do that. But we’re going to be consistent in regard to the first amendment, we did the same thing with churches, we said people need to wear a mask in church, but we’ve we never, the height of this, ever shut our churches down. Made churches pulled back and said we’re going to be remote, we’re going to do that. But we never, unlike other States, we’ve never issued an order that closed the churches. We’ve not in any way really prohibited the first amendment exercise, but we have asked people, please, please be careful. Sometimes they listen to us, sometimes they don’t.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:04:01)
During the whole process, much to my own peril, I tried to encourage people to wear masks. I held up masks, encouraged people to do it when they went out, and I wore a mask at the event, other than when I was speaking, which was outside. And I was very, very much distanced from anybody in the crowd. But we’ve been very consistent about it, and like I said folks want to wear the Trump masks, they want to wear their Biden masks. They can wear whatever mask they want, but they should do it because it works. And we’re seeing the results.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:04:41)
The people of the State have been pretty good all around during this, and now we’re seeing, during a difficult time, when schools went back, when colleges have gone back, when sports are going on, that if you follow the rules outside of those settings with masks and distancing, that it can work. And we see the positivity rate down to below 3% now, which is great news. The people of this State are making this work. It’s not perfect, yesterday, certainly wasn’t, but by and large people of Ohio are getting it right. And I tried to set a good example in what I did.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:05:21)
I do a health call, a call in the morning, once a week with our health directors around the State, and it’s fascinating because they give me a report, and we went through a number of them. I think we had 120 on this morning, something like that, from different counties, different departments. And the report, as far as masks wearing was good, there were a couple outliers or a couple of ones who said, “No, we’re only at 50.” But the majority of the people who talk today on the call said, “Hey, we’re doing better, it continues to edge up.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:05:59)
So look, Ohioans, I think by and large are doing very, very well, and that’s made a difference, and this positivity would not be what it is today. We would not have slowed this, this increase, and going down really to a plateau, and maybe a little bit down a number of cases without people wear a mask, it has made a fundamental difference. And so while we look at sometimes when there’s examples of people not doing it, we should also look at all the other examples that people are doing it. What Fran and I wore today at church, funeral service. A lot of people there, everybody had a mask on, everyone was trying to distance. People were being very, very careful, and that matters.
Speaker 1: (01:06:45)
Next question is from Emily Hamilton at WEWS in Cleveland.
Emily Hamilton: (01:06:52)
Hi, Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Emily Hamilton with News 5 here. For nearly two weeks, my colleagues and I have reported on the alleged mishandling of the pandemic, and ongoing issues within a Willoughby nursing home, more than a dozen family members, current employees, and even residents living there now have contacted me with similar allegations of staff being overwhelmed, and the rapid spread of the virus there. They, overall, don’t believe that enough was done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. At Heartland of Willoughby, that’s the name of the nursing home they feel like the numbers aren’t being reflected accurately on a State website and through the State Department of Health.
Emily Hamilton: (01:07:39)
Mike Lewis, whose wife says he was an old friend of Governor DeWine, died at that nursing home on September 8th after contracting COVID-19. So Governor, you told my colleague Ron Regan, that you will ask your legal team to reconsider releasing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in each nursing home across the State. But we’d also like to know what more is being done aside from State inspections to hold individual nursing home facilities accountable for the spread of COVID-19. And I guess, what would you say to family members who were calling for some government intervention, some intervention from the State who say not enough is being done to protect their relatives?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:08:25)
Well, thank you for the question. I will have an answer on Thursday. Let me get a full report instead of just shooting from the hip here. Let me get the full report, we’ll be back on Thursday specifically to answer your question about that nursing home, and what happened, and maybe what didn’t happen.
Emily Hamilton: (01:08:44)
Great. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (01:08:45)
Next question is from Andy Chow at Ohio Public radio and television.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:08:49)
Andy Chow: (01:08:51)
Hi Governor. I wanted to talk to you about the passing of a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, your thoughts on her death, and how the U.S. Senate plans to move forward with a potential vote, even though they did not hold a vote in 2016 when president Barack Obama put up a nominee.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:09:11)
Well think first on her passing and her life, putting aside decisions, put aside politics, ideology, her life story is an inspiration. And she continued to inspire people as she fought different health challenges. And wherever you sit on the political spectrum, you had to be inspired by her focus on equality, equality for women, and all she did to encourage women, all she did in her own personal life to break down barriers was truly an inspiration. She had been honored for all of those things this week. As far as what the U.S. Senate is going to do, I spent 12 years in the U.S. Senate, I spent 12 years on the Senate Judiciary Committee, went through confirmation of two justices of the Supreme Court. What I always said at the time was that as far as making a judgment, I would not make a judgment until we had had the opportunity to take a look at that individual. I said the same thing with District Court judges and Circuit Court judges.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:10:34)
So I’m going to leave it to my friends in the Senate who will be voting there. Senator Brown, Senator Portman, they’re the ones who were there representing Ohio, not Mike DeWine. I’m focused today on what I need to be focused, which is this, where the State is going, how we’re fighting the COVID, how we’re bringing jobs back to Ohio, and I’m going to stay focused on that. As far as whether I think there should be a vote, if I was in the Senate I would, when that nomination came up and when it had been into the Judiciary Committee, if I was still on the Judiciary Committee, I would have done the due diligence that we did, and I would have voted.
Speaker 1: (01:11:23)
Next question is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.
Kevin Landers: (01:11:29)
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:11:30)
Kevin Landers: (01:11:31)
You mentioned the winter is coming, flu and COVID are going to smash into each other when flu season begins, people are going to have symptoms, and they won’t know whether they have COVID or whether they have the flu. How concerned are you about whether or not the State has enough tests to treat everybody who will then be wanting to know if they have COVID-19 or if they have the flu?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:11:56)
Well, our team is working on that, hospitals are working on it, health professionals are working on it. So I have confidence that we will be able to do.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:12:03)
Health professionals are working on it, so I have confidence that we will be able to do that. Again, to back up, this wasn’t exactly your question, but I would urge people to get their flu shot. You can get it now. Get a flu shot. What the health experts say is you don’t want COVID and the flu at the same time. We don’t know what that would be, but we certainly don’t want to roll the dice on that. So, get the flu shot. A flu shot cuts down your chances of getting flu, but also your chance, if you do get it, of the severity of it. So it clearly is in everyone’s interest to get a flu shot. We urge people to really focus on children as well, get your own flu shot, get your children’s flu shot.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:12:45)
If you look at the danger areas, the real danger areas, it’s early in a person’s life, later in the person’s life. Your mortality rate is up in regard to flu, and we do lose flu, as many of our critics have pointed out, we lose a lot of people in flu every year. Yes we do, but we don’t want to lose them. And so we hope that the wearing a mask, which we know many of the same mitigating things to fight back the COVID are things that you can use to fight back the flu. They’re not inconsistent. In fact, they’re entirely consistent. And so we would just urge people get a flu shot, continue to wear the mask, and that’s our best chance of fighting this back.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:13:28)
What will happen? We don’t know. We’ve seen some countries in the Southern hemisphere who’ve had winter and they’ve done pretty well with the virus and they attribute that to the wearing of the mask. So again, let’s hope, we get the flu shot, people wear masks, we can get the number of flu incidents down, and the severity down as well.
Speaker 1: (01:13:49)
Next question is from Danny Eldridge at Hanon News Service.
Mitch Dandurand: (01:13:54)
Hello governor. So can you talk a little bit more about the voter registration issue you mentioned in your remarks. How did DAS become aware of that problem and what is your administration doing to make sure that doesn’t happen with other voter registration systems or other voting systems?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:14:10)
Yeah. Let me make sure I explain it because it was not part of the voter registration system really. It does not even come under the Secretary of State. I’m sure Frank would like me to say that. The buck stops here with us. There was a glitch, there was a computer glitch. This is a program that is designed to try to help more people get registered. And so as people are applying for benefits, or dealing with the state government in regard to benefits that they’re getting, it gives them an opportunity to basically, “Hey, do you want to be registered to vote?” And so people then can click on that and what should happen is that they get mailed an application to vote. So we discovered, I don’t know how many days ago, a couple of weeks ago, I guess, our team did, that there’s a problem. There’s some people who had clicked who didn’t get it.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:15:09)
So they went back and examined it, the data or the statistics I just gave a few minutes ago, what they found out. As soon as we found out, I said, “Okay, get those applications in the mail.” And they did that. Those all went out about a week ago, and people should have received them by now. And so we would urge people, now that you’re focused on the election, to go ahead and to fill those out if you’re not registered. If you’re not registered, go ahead and get registered. And for anyone, you still have some time, until beginning of October, I can’t remember the exact date. Somebody can help me here, John, October 4th, 5th, something like that. But that’s your last date to register. So if you’re not registered, plenty of opportunity to get registered, contact your local Board of Elections and get registered.
Speaker 1: (01:16:07)
Next question is from Max Philby at the Columbus Dispatch.
Max Philby: (01:16:13)
Hey, governor. So data from the CDC shows that this year alone, more Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are dying, which is often cited as a result of COVID-19 unfortunately, but several have also cited the facts that many of these people who are in memory care facilities have not been able to see loved ones and friends and family. And given what you were talking about today with the ventilation systems and what not, and moving toward winter, how do you preserve those kinds of visitation and whatnot as we move toward winter?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:16:48)
Well, these are the tough gut-wrenching decisions that we all have to make, I have to make as governor, but families have to make, and people running nursing homes have to make. Initially, we closed the nursing homes to visitors. That was the recommendation of every health expert that we talked to. After a few months, it became evident that there were people in nursing homes, certainly among those Alzheimer patients, who were not doing well. And maybe one of the reasons they were not doing well was because they’ve been cut off from their loved ones. So we looked at that and said, “Okay, well, how can we deal with this? The virus is still here. What’s the balance?” And so what we came up with is visitation outside. And that’s been going on since, I believe, July. We are a little concerned that sometimes we hear that nursing homes are not carrying out outside visitation.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:17:49)
And we kind of questioned that. And if someone contacts us, or our aging omnibus person, they will find out from the nursing home what is going on. But that’s been going on, this outside visitation. Now we’ve got to balance how do we have indoor visitation, but do everything that we can to protect the people in the nursing home, the residents who live in the nursing home, and we will have that announcement sometime within the next week or so, how we’re going to roll out that visitation. But again, in light of the discussion we had today, one of the things that we ask nursing homes to do is to take a look at their whole filtration system, the ventilation system, and take another look at that. That’s important. We also will be getting, as we move forward, we’re going to have more quicker tests and more cheaper tests.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:18:53)
And I think it’s certainly another layer of protection, certainly could be. We’re not there yet, but it could be in the future. Someone, if you want to come in and visit that, you take a test, 15 minutes later, if you clear it, then you go in. Now, we’re not there yet, but these are on the market. We just don’t have the availability yet.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:19:16)
So, to answer your question. We go about it very carefully. We try to be careful. We are careful. But we also understand that by not letting someone in, that also could have a very detrimental effect on the resident of the nursing home as well. So these are tough, as I said, this is some of the most gut wrenching decisions that are made because there’s no good and there’s no easy answer.
Speaker 1: (01:19:44)
Next question is from Jessie Beaumert at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jessie Beaumert: (01:19:49)
Hello, Governor. Yesterday, President Trump said that COVID-19 affects virtually nobody under the age of 18. So I guess my questions are, is that accurate based on just your looking at the data in Ohio and how does that jive with your warnings to young people?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:20:11)
Well, I didn’t hear the President say that, I’ll take your word for it, but I’ll just comment on it from a medical point of view. And look, what we do every day is we talk to the best medical people that we can find. That includes the White House people, I was on call yesterday with the Vice President and a number of the White House medical advisors and other individuals. So we know that someone under 18 can get COVID. I’ll try to do a quick summary. We know they can get it. We know they can pass it, they can spread it. We also know that at that age, many times they don’t show the symptoms. Many times if they do show symptoms, they’re not very serious symptoms, but we also know that that people, teenagers for example, can get pretty sick.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:21:02)
And we also worry about what is the long-term damage that we don’t, the medical experts really don’t know. I’ve cited the figures at Ohio State, and this was a small, small number of people, early on in their testing of athletes. What they found was that, I think it was 13% of those athletes who tested positive had this, I can’t remember the exact name, but it’s a micro cardial. It is some problem in regard to inflammation in the heart. In those cases, in each one of those cases at Ohio State, there was not a serious problem, but the point was, that person would need to be cleared if they’re going to play competitive athletics, or if they’re even going to go out and run. So we’ve tried to, in these two o’clock sessions, bring you the best medical advice we can. We don’t claim we have any corner on the best medical advice, but we try to bring this in and talk about this. So that’s the summary of what I know.
Speaker 1: (01:22:12)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:22:17)
Jack Windsor: (01:22:18)
Hello Governor. Hi, sir. Since a high point of 81% in April, your approval rating for handling COVID has seen the sixth biggest drop in the country. As of late August, as low as 53% approving, and it seems to continue to drop. Yesterday, the Lieutenant Governor was booed a couple of times warming up for President Trump, who later announced your name to a chorus of boos. Now, obviously this isn’t a popularity contest, but given the large number of Ohioans who oppose your direction, the number of judges who have called orders illegal, and then the most recent announcement by a Republican representative of a bill that seeks to strike down the state of emergency. As in any war, have you begun to define an exit strategy, because you continue to say that Ohio is open, but businesses are operating at less than 50% and many will not survive taking health insurance and health security away from thousands of Ohioans.
Jack Windsor: (01:23:09)
So since your oath of office compels you to protect our constitutional liberties, not make sure people don’t get sick. What is the metric, not the emotion, but the metric that will cause you to listen to the growing umber of people who are asking you to change directions?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:23:24)
Well, Jack, as we’d say in debate, just because I don’t answer every one of your questions doesn’t mean I accept the facts. Businesses, for example, yes, we controlled hours of bars. The state always controls that and they’re less, but a lot of businesses are fully open, as far as what the state has ordered. But let me talk for a moment about yesterday and the President being there and the Lieutenant Governor was there and, as you all saw, he made some comments about wearing masks and that didn’t go too well, some boos. And then the comments about me and then the President had some nice things to say about me, he and I had a chance to talk on the airplane for a little while, along with members of the congressional delegation, but he had some nice things to say, but then that did elicit some boos out there.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:24:21)
So, look, booing is a First Amendment right. Whether you’re at the ballpark, or wherever you are, at a political rally, or out protesting somewhere, it is a pure First Amendment right that we fully accept. I was kind of reminded yesterday when Fran and I left the President’s speech and we’re coming back to Cedarville, I was reminded of something I observed in the United States Senate with my friend, Jim Bunning. Jim Bunning, of course, was a major league baseball player, Hall of Famer, great guy, and he also served in the United States Senate. And he was in the United States Senate, he and I coincided some of our time together, overlapped in the United States Senate. And I remember one time, we were having a luncheon of Senate Republicans and they’re kind of freewheeling. There’s no press there, and people are saying what they think, pretty bluntly sometimes.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:25:31)
And Jim got up and he was talking about something, I don’t know what it was, but somebody else got up and they were giving him a hard time. And Jim looked at this person and kind of looked at all the Senators. And he said “Guys, you just go ahead. I’m not worried about you. I’ve been booed by 30,000 Philly fans out on the mound.” He said, “If I can be booed by you guys or booed by them, you guys can give me a hard time.” And so I’m certainly not a baseball player, not and all-star, not a member of the Hall of Fame, but I sort of feel that same way in regard to booing. People have every right to boo. I’ve been picketed in the past.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:26:18)
I’ve been booed in the past. And so, look, these are, in all seriousness, these are tough decisions. And people of goodwill could have very, very different opinions about where the state should go, how we should deal with the COVID virus, and even serious differences about how serious it is. But every decision we’ve made has been based on the best medical science we can get. I’m going to continue to make the decisions that are appropriate. I’m going to continue to work the state legislature, but getting booed, that’s the way it goes. I’m not watching the polling. As Fran’s told me many times, when something good would happen, or the polls would be up, and someone would say something and she would always say, “Don’t get too high, don’t get too low.” If you’re in politics, you just do the best you can and you move on, that’s what we’re doing.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:27:24)
Governor, can I add something to that? When we ask people to wear masks, we’re not doing it for our benefit, for the Governor’s or mine, we’re doing it for them. I want the folks out there to do it to protect each other. I wear it so that I’m protecting the people that I’m around. When they wear it, they’re protecting me. It’s just a simple sign of how we should care about each other.
LT. Gov. Jon Husted: (01:27:50)
And I know that not everybody embraces that and I respect that, but we’ve had success because we’ve been able to convince most people, and most people are following the rules, and doing that. It’s not like we want to tell people what to do. Frankly, this allows us to open things up. These are symbols of freedom in the sense that when you do it, you control the virus and more good things get to happen. I know from time to time, people will disagree with these things. But when tough times come around and people are struggling and they want to blow off a little steam at me, I’m happy to take it, but I’m going to care about them. And we’re going to try to get things right. And we’ll do our best.
Speaker 1: (01:28:40)
Governor, next question will be the last question for today. And it belongs to Ben Schwartz from WCPO in Cincinnati.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:28:47)
Ben Schwartz: (01:28:48)
Hi, Governor. I just want to kind of follow up a previous question from the dispatch about nursing home visitations. One of our WCPO viewers recently reached out voicing her own concerns about visitation limits, showing her frustration that even though nursing homes are allowed to have some visitors inside, the state’s guidance is still fairly strict, which our viewer says limits what nursing homes are willing to allow. So I just want to clarify, you mentioned that we’ll have some new information available next week. Are you able to say if that information will include changes to the current recommendations regarding visitation, and how hands-on your administration would be in helping facilities adapt to these changes?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:29:41)
Well, Ben, yes. We’re going to allow some visitation inside as we get into cold weather. Director McElroy was working this morning on this. I had a conversation this morning about it. We might have this guidance by Thursday, maybe by Tuesday. And while we have opened the nursing homes up, we have not compelled the nursing homes to do it because sometimes there are facts, things that are going on in the nursing home, that we don’t know about. And so we’ve not gone in with a heavy hand in doing that. But our request to nursing homes is they do allow the visitation. If they’ve got COVID that spread in the nursing home, obviously you’re not going to do it. If they’ve got other problems or reasons not to do it, we would ask them to allow a reasonable period of time for that visitation.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:30:38)
But again, these are just tough. These are just balancing the equities and the needs, and people in nursing homes, the residents have needs, the families have needs, but we also want to keep them safe, and we want to do what we can to reduce the chances of the COVID coming into the nursing home. So we continue down that path.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:31:04)
We’ll wrap up here. We have a video from a singing group. Let’s see if I can get the pronunciation right. Capriccio Columbus, which is a volunteer choir that performs major classical works, jazz, Broadway, and spirituals under the direction of its founder Larry Griffin. In this time of COVID, the group is socially distanced, but still singing together. They sent this video of a song they recorded called, O Love. Let’s take a listen.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:32:51)
(singing) That was lovely. We will see you all on Thursday at two o’clock. Thank you very much.