Sep 8, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Press Conference Transcript September 8
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on September 8 to give coronavirus updates. Read the transcript of his news briefing here.
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Mike DeWine: (05:52)
Afternoon everybody. The mask I was wearing is from one of my favorite places, the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo. If you have not been there it is a fun place, fun for kids, fun for adults. Great, great place. I’m wearing today a tie of Eastern Gateway Community College. They’re in Steubenville and also in Youngstown.
Mike DeWine: (06:28)
condolences to the officers of the Cleveland Police Department as well as friends and family of Detective James Skernivitz who was killed in the line of duty last week. The detective was working undercover, sitting in an unmarked police car with a confidential informant when someone fired on the vehicle. Tragically both the detective and the informant were killed. Today two teenagers were charged in connection with these senseless murders. Reports say that robbery may have been the motive but we don’t know. The detective spent more than … Excuse me, more than two decades in law enforcement, protecting the citizens of Ohio. He was sworn in the day before his death to work as part of a federal initiative to fight violence in Cleveland. Long, long distinguished career of service protecting his fellow Ohioans. Leaves behind his wife Kristen, children Matthew, Bayleigh, and Peyton and to them and to all of the officer’s family and friends, we send our deepest, deepest sympathy. Well now that Labor Day has marked the official end of summer, schools are starting back in. Many of them have been in for several weeks. Ohio State is back and has been back. It’s really my pleasure today to introduce you to the president of Ohio State, Dr. Kristina Johnson, who I have been talking to quite often. I think she officially became the president of Ohio State on September 1 but I know that she has been very involved for the few weeks leading up to that. Dr. Johnson, thank you very much for joining us.
Kristina Johnson: (08:41)
Thank you very much Governor and thank you for everything you and your team are doing to keep us safe and healthy.
Mike DeWine: (08:48)
Well we just wanted to get a report about what’s going on at Ohio State. I know Dr. Johnson, Ohio State’s been very engaged in testing students and maybe if you can kind of give us an overview of when school started back up and how many students are on campus, how many are living in the Columbus community and kind of what you’ve been doing in regard to testing.
Kristina Johnson: (09:13)
Thank you very much Governor. So as you said we started up our first full week of classes, started the week of August 24. We have about 12,000 students living on campus, we have about 20,000 students that are coming back to get some kind of face to face or in classroom instruction. So that’s about 8,000 off-campus that come to campus and about 12,000 that are on campus. So prior to me coming to the Ohio State University, certainly an outstanding team under the leadership of Dr. Gail Marsh, set up a strategy for returning to campus and once I came in, started working with the team and we decided to enhance our testing so we really are focusing on three groups right now. We’re focusing on those 11,500 to 12,000 students that live on campus, mostly first year students and some second year students, a few international students, and then 8,000 students that are off campus that come to campus, that’s sort of our Group Two, and Group Three would be the 2,500 faculty, staff and graduate teaching instructors that we have so we’re starting to test them fully.
Kristina Johnson: (10:25)
So today just by the numbers, I am an engineer so I like to geek out on the numbers a little bit. We’ve tested about 40,000, we’ve done about 40,000 tests I should say so we’re doing this on a weekly basis. We’re ramping up to do about 20,000 tests a week, this is our third week. So of the 40,000, we have about 1,500 students that have tested positive and 25 employees. So 1,500 out of about 40,000 is a positivity rate of around 3.7%. Now this isn’t just a flat rate, it’s gone up. The on campus positivity rate peaked in and around August 28, 29. We have a dashboard that’s up at about 5.87%, so the fact that it has dropped, and it kind of bounced around just like we’ve seen with the state of Ohio, but is a reason for cautious optimism, that our non-pharmaceutical interventions really are working so wearing masks, staying socially distant, washing hands, and our students I couldn’t be prouder of them. They’ve been very vigilant.
Kristina Johnson: (11:35)
Off-campus, we had a pretty high number when we started testing them at scale last week. I think that it was at or over 11% and now that’s dropped. In the recent dashboard it is at about 5.45% for the last 24 hours. So we’re seeing that again, when I walk around campus and I walk around Columbus, I see our students more on campus, we need our off-campus students, faculty and staff and individuals in Columbus to be ever so vigilant wearing masks but wearing the masks, staying socially distanced, it really works. So that’s sort of the status with regard to testing, sir.
Mike DeWine: (12:17)
So Doctor, as I recall, I think you may have told me that when students came back, you started of course the testing and that kind of snapshot, the first couple days back, the numbers were I think pretty low.
Kristina Johnson: (12:34)
Mike DeWine: (12:36)
Somewhere around a half of one percent, I think you told me, something like that and then … Is that right or am I wrong about –
Kristina Johnson: (12:43)
No I think you’re close. I don’t remember exactly but I think it was certainly less than 2%, maybe it was 1.5%, I think that was the number but low as you said.
Mike DeWine: (12:54)
Then it goes up.
Kristina Johnson: (12:55)
Mike DeWine: (12:57)
Now it’s coming down and I think that what is going on in Ohio State is instructive because you are doing a very, very significant amount of testing. So you really have a very good feel for what is going on and I think that might be helpful to other places, particularly colleges, universities who might not have the capability to do the extensive testing that you are doing. So it sounds like they weren’t bringing it in at a very high rate. Students get together, do what students do, do what we all do and this gets up, but obviously your messaging sounds like it is having some impact now and the kind of maybe peer pressure but I wonder if you could maybe talk a little bit about that. Why do you think it’s starting to come down or is coming down?
Kristina Johnson: (13:51)
Right. Well I think there’s a couple things and thank you Governor. I think one of the things we recognize is we really had to amp up our contact tracing. So as soon as we get back a result that a student, faculty or staff is positive, we’d start contact tracing immediately. So then we are able to isolate and quarantine those individuals that needed to be isolated, quarantined or treated. So I think that was one thing. The second thing is that our student life organization led by Dr. Melissa Shivers has just been outstanding and she’s really engaged the whole community on Together As Buckeyes. So it’s taking the pledge, recognizing that yes we can do alternative programming and still enjoy but at a distance the college experience and I think that it was as you said students coming together for the first time and not recognizing that it’s pretty easy to transmit this virus but it’s also pretty easy if you do just a couple things. Wear a mask and stay socially distant to stop it transmitting and so I think that was another thing.
Kristina Johnson: (14:54)
I think a third thing is that we have a college of public health led by Dr. Amy Fairchild and they started modeling and started modeling certain behaviors and then modeling how those behaviors translate into positive cases and then what capacity we would need to be in order to trace and then isolate and quarantine and so I think coming together, the Wexner Medical Center has been superb, they do about 500 tests a day for us, for symptomatic. So the way we’ve parsed it is we have the Student Health System Services and the Wexner Medical Center be available for symptomatic individuals and then we do the asymptomatic tracing through a third party provider because the last thing we want to do is take up any of the capacity from the state of Ohio for Ohioans that need access to the testing. So that’s been our strategy and I think that Together As Buckeyes, we’ve engaged great athletic director Gene Smith. He’s gotten [inaudible 00:15:51] social media campaigns about what’s your why. Why are you going to wear a mask and why are you going to socially distance?
Kristina Johnson: (15:59)
For me, I came back to the academy because I love the students. I want to see the students out there on the [inaudible 00:16:05], I want to see the faculty, the staff. I want to attend all the performances and the lectures and the richness that just drives the university and that’s my why and each of us has a why and if we just dig down and pull up that why, I think it’s pretty straightforward why we want to do the things that keep us safe.
Mike DeWine: (16:25)
Doctor, you expressed that very, very well. We each have a reason. We each have a goal, and I assume with many students it’s simply to be on campus, to be part of Ohio State or be part of whatever college that they’re going to. You’ve mentioned kind of a difference in numbers between off-campus and on campus and I’m going to make a statement, you don’t have to agree with it, but I just assume that it’s easier for a college to control what’s going on directly on campus, classrooms for example, you can do the social distancing, you can do those things. When people are off-campus, they might be … You have thousands of students who are in non-Ohio State housing. So I assume that that maybe gets a little more difficult. You want to comment on that?
Kristina Johnson: (17:19)
Yes, no, thank you, Governor. I think that as you know and you were great to be on the call earlier today with our inter-university presidents’ council of all the 14 public institutions in the country and I think we’re seeing all the same thing is that on campus, the classroom is one of the safest places to be. We disinfect the classrooms a couple times a day, we reconfigure 450 classrooms so that we can be synchronous and asynchronous in our instruction. We reduced the size of our classes from 100 down to 50 because the models would say that in that situation, you can actually have a pretty high probability of avoiding someone who is infectious that would be in the classroom. So we find the classrooms are safe, our dorms, we have great residential advisors and they’re being very creative about how do we engage students in programming when we have to stay six feet apart.
Kristina Johnson: (18:10)
If I can just say one thing about that, I was talking to on my first day, I tried to go out and meet as many students as possible and it’s tough when you have to stay six feet apart but I was on a Zoom call with some of the student leaders and one student said [inaudible 00:18:23] “You know as first year students we want to be part of that 2024 picture where all the students get out on the field and they do the famous Ohio from the band,’ and we missed that this year and within two days, we set up to allow any student who wanted to come down the ramp onto the field, see their picture on the big screen and get a photo of being on the field in the horseshoe that opportunity and we had hundreds if not thousands of students sign up in pairs, socially distance and it’s that kind of innovation I’m so proud of from our students and it really is inspiring. So I think that’s right. I think we have more of an ability to control things on campus and off-campus, I spoke with the Panhellenic leadership this weekend. Melissa Shivers and Gene Smith, our ADs spoke with the inter-fraternity council and just to talk about in high density aggregate housing, whether it’s fraternities or not. This is really … It’s very serious stuff and it’s very easy to spread so getting out that message and communicating …
Kristina Johnson: (19:28)
We’re all young once fortunately, and I think when I was that age, I thought I was invincible and I learned pretty quickly I wasn’t so I think that that’s something that we want to help our students move through and appreciate how important it is to wear a mask and stay apart. Even when you’re [inaudible 00:19:47].
Mike DeWine: (19:48)
Dr. Johnson, thank you very much.
Kristina Johnson: (19:49)
Mike DeWine: (19:49)
Good luck to you and the students and faculty and everybody at the Ohio State University and I think you’re off to a good start and keep going.
Kristina Johnson: (19:59)
Thank you sir. I appreciate it.
Mike DeWine: (20:00)
Mike DeWine: (20:03)
I want to talk for a moment about gun violence. I want to go from Tuesday, September 1 through Labor Day. Looking at that week period, we found reports from across the state of 40 people who were shot. More than half of the victims, 21, tragically died. I want to keep saying it, we have to in Ohio get tougher on repeat violent offenders. We have to get tougher on those who are convicted felons who have absolutely no business having a gun. We need to do this. We have pending in the state legislature a bill that would do that, and I would urge my friends in the General Assembly to take that bill up.
Mike DeWine: (20:46)
Here are a few headlines from just the past week. We did this last week, we did it the week before, this is just the past week, but certainly are more than just headlines. Behind each headline is a tragedy and are individuals. From the Columbus Dispatch, “Double Homicide At Apartment Complex Caps Deadly Day.” This double homicide happened last Tuesday night. Two others were killed earlier that day, leaving four people dead due to gun violence in Franklin County in less than 24 hours. Let’s go to a second headline, this is ABC-13 in Toledo. “15-Year-Old Shot Wednesday Night Dies From Injuries.” The teenager died after being shot multiple days. A 10-year-old as also shot and injured, a 10-year-old. A news report indicates the juveniles may have been involved in this crime. Kids obviously can’t legally carry a gun and somebody has to have given them a gun. Our bill in front of the General Assembly also cracks down on those who knowingly give someone a gun when they know that person is not legally entitled to having that gun. Let’s go to –
Mike DeWine: (22:03)
… not legally entitled to having that gun. Let’s go to our third headline. WLWT in Cincinnati. Man dies one day after being found shot inside his car. This happened in Cincinnati second district on Friday around 7:00 p.m. Just very, very, very tragic and very, very sad. I mean, let me move on. Let’s look at some of the data. Again, we know that the data is skewed a little bit sometimes a lot from the weekend. Now, particularly if you have a three day weekend. So our numbers are down, the cases down. Tragically 22 deaths that have been reported and let me just say, we get sometimes questions about these deaths and questioning the numbers. These are the number of deaths that are actually we have found out about, that we know about, that have been reported in a 24 hour period of time. And the other one, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. Eric, let’s go to the next one.
Mike DeWine: (23:12)
So we continue to rank all 88 counties. These are the 88 counties, one through 88. Again, this is a snapshot looking at two weeks and two weeks only, the past two weeks, looking at how many cases per 100,000 population, trying to even all this out. And we ranked them by the highest number per 100,000 population new cases and the highest number of, an all the way down to 88. So let’s go to the top 10. You’ll see some movement here. Montgomery and Franklin, both of those are certainly being driven to some extent by what’s going on at Ohio State and the University of Dayton. But by and large, the counties generally are staying pretty much the more rural counties starting at a very, very high level for the last two weeks, and Butler, Meigs, Mercer, Montgomery, Shelby, Auglaize, Darke, Franklin, and Henry County.
Mike DeWine: (24:25)
Let me turn to some good news for families who may be struggling thanks to a federal program. Thousands of Ohio children who qualify for free or reduced priced meals but are currently learning remotely will soon receive additional money to purchase nutritious foods through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer or PEBT made possible by the United States Congress. This was a federal program through the Trump Administration and through Congress. Earlier this spring, Ohio was able to issue more than 250 million in PEBT benefits to more than 850,000 students through the program. Jobs For Family Services will issue a second round of benefits later this month to eligible children. Parents do not need to apply to receive these benefits. If you already have an Ohio Direction Card, the benefits will be automatically loaded onto your card. If you do not have an Ohio Direction Card, a preloaded card will be mailed directly to you.
Mike DeWine: (25:27)
To issue these benefits we’re asking Ohio school districts to submit information for eligible students to their local Information Technology Center as soon as possible. School districts received an email with information on eligibility and how to submit data from the Ohio Department of Education. They got that from the Ohio Department Education this Friday so we’d ask them to fill that out. Our goal is to ensure that every single eligible child gets to benefit from this program. Speaking of children, we know that many of you are making decisions about activities for your children this school year, and really making decisions about what your family is going to do or not do. The Cleveland Clinic in conjunction with Clorox put together a fantastic resource called Safer At Home. It’s available at clevelandclinic.org/COVID19home. What I think is particularly valuable is a matrix that they have come up with to help families weigh the risk of contracting COVID-19. So joining us today is the Associate Chief Safety and Quality Officer of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Aaron Hamilton to explain that. Dr. Hamilton, thank you very much for joining us.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (26:51)
Thank you, Governor, and good afternoon. I wanted to express some gratitude just to start for you and your team’s leadership for all Ohioans to the pandemic. So I’m really thrilled to be able to come here and talk a little bit about a framework for people to think, families to think, about as they make decisions as you mentioned about what they’re going to be doing returning to different activities. And as we return to a community that’s looking more and more normal the natural question is, what is safe? What is not safe? How do I make sure that I’m safe? My family’s safe, my community’s safe. And I think one of the things that I see is that with all the questions that come up, things can get complex very quickly. And what people lack is just a simple framework to make assessments about what’s the level of risk, and then people are then empowered to make decisions on their own.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (27:45)
And I think about that framework, very, very simply in terms of time, space, and people. And the time part is really about time. How much time are you going to spend it activity? Is it a little amount of time? Is it a long activity? In that same time dimension. I think about how frequently you’re going to be doing an activity. So it’s both the duration of time and then the frequency. So time then space. Is this an indoor activity? Is it an outdoor activity? Is there the ability to socially distance? How can you spread out or not needs to be taken into consideration. And then lastly, people, and we don’t think about this a lot, but I urge families and folks to consider how well do you know the people that you’re going to be interacting with and how well do you know that they’re adhering to the safe guidelines that we’ve put out there?
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (28:44)
I think actually President Johnson did an amazing job of outlining what some of those simple things that have been really effective for us in Ohio and across the country, across the globe, and it begins and ends really with hand hygiene and washing our hands. It’s about face coverings or masks, and it’s about providing appropriate physical distancing and thinking about that six feet, all the markings we see on the floors when we go out into the community, in our schools, and otherwise. So that’s really the framework that we’re asking people to use. And you can think about what is the safest thing is me or one of us or a family member seeking healthcare, whether it’s WellCare or emergency care. Our healthcare institutions in the state of Ohio are open and they are safe. So that is on the spectrum, extremely safe.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (29:36)
On the other end of the spectrum, you can think about a wedding that’s indoor and has a lot of folks all gathered together, difficult social distancing, maybe borderline compliance with masks, and shared food. That’s a high risk environment. And that’s thinking about that time, space, and people matrix. So we’re really urging people to think about that to inform decisions that make it appropriate for them personally as they move forward.
Mike DeWine: (30:08)
So doctor, that’s time, space, and people. You want to give us a couple more examples and tell us what the analysis would be?
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (30:20)
Mike DeWine: (30:21)
I’ll let you pick them.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (30:24)
Okay. Sure. Well, I think one of the things that comes to mind, it’s certainly top of mind for those with children, whether it’s going to kindergarten or third grade or sixth grade or 12th grade, college, is our back to school this year is not a back to normal. And so we have to think that it will look and feel different and there will be a focus to ensure safety. So this is a space from a time perspective, you’re going to be going, spending multiple hours if it’s in, so that element you’re going to be spending time there and you’re going to be going frequently. Space, often an indoor activity, but schools are working to create space, limiting class sizes, and creating the opportunity to get appropriate physical distancing. And then people, we know our teachers are doing everything that they can to remain safe and following all the core guidelines to stay safe, and then our friends and our colleagues, our co-students, hopefully are doing the same.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (31:26)
So in the end, going back to school, I’m hopeful that we can with our collective efforts get our children and our students back to school in a meaningful way, hopefully in person over time. So that’s just one example. We’re thinking about that. Another example people often think about is going to a restaurant. Many people through the pandemic haven’t been going out to eat or have thought twice about that, and I think what I ask people to do there is to understand those decisions around time, space, and people is call ahead. Find out what the restaurant’s doing. Think about carry out, think about if there’s outdoor dining, and think about if employees in that restaurant are required to wear masks or not, and that helps you make a decision for you personally.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (32:18)
I think the last thing is thinking about how we get together with our friends and family. And these can be difficult conversations. And I think it’s important. I’ll focus here on the people part. Sometimes it’s important to understand what our families and what our friends are doing. If they’re wearing masks, if they’re appropriately socially distancing, and we have to use that and incorporate that and decide maybe it’s better to do a Zoom visit or a FaceTime call with family this week as opposed to getting together in person. So we have to think about that and all the decisions we make to get together.
Mike DeWine: (32:55)
Let’s say I decide, I get up some morning or later in the afternoon and I said, “I want to go walk on a bike path.”
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (33:03)
Mike DeWine: (33:04)
What are the variables there? How safe is that?
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (33:07)
That’s great. So me and my family, we love to use the metro parks. We go hiking almost every weekend. There, time, usually not a huge time commitment. Space, it’s outside, it’s generally spaced apart. We might see a couple of people and we don’t typically know who those people are so what we do is when we’re around folks on the path, we’ll wear a mask, and we work to create social distance there. But otherwise, if we’re walking or we’re biking or we are running, we don’t need to wear a mask and we feel like that’s a very safe activity, particularly in our own neighborhood. But generally we always bring it with us. We never leave home without our mask.
Mike DeWine: (33:50)
Now you mentioned, let’s say, a wedding and let’s look at the time factor. I’m not saying one of these is more or less safe, but let’s take a wedding that’s an outdoor wedding and people are spread out. And let’s say it’s a 20 minute wedding. Compare that with, maybe, let’s say a similar wedding, but now we tack onto it an indoor reception. You want to kind of walk us through some of that?
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (34:27)
Yeah, absolutely. So that wedding that you described on the front end of your remarks sounds like a very friendly wedding in this environment to go to and a very safe wedding. Outside, short, you generally know the folks, you’re able to space out and create distance, great. The reception indoors then is a decision that I actually ask people to make for themselves. So you say, “What kind of space is there? Are people wearing masks indoors or not?” And you have to make a judgment call about what’s comfortable for you. But clearly that’s getting a little bit higher risk then the ceremony part that you described. So in the rubric that I was describing, I think it’s slightly riskier, but I think one of the things I think about, and we all should think about, is approaching the pandemic with compassion and empathy and understanding that we have to continue to live and make choices that we feel good about and are mindful of our fellow citizens.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (35:32)
And I think these are individual decisions and what we want to provide is that framework that makes people be able to measure what the amount of risks that people are going to take on it is, and I think that’s the best way to take on this pandemic and to continue to keep our numbers down.
Mike DeWine: (35:48)
Dr. Hamilton, thank you very much for joining us. If anyone wants to read more about this work, where can they read more about what you’re doing and maybe what you’ve been writing about?
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (35:59)
Yes, absolutely. So on the clevelandclinic.org website you described, we have a Safer At Home Guide. It is open access and free to anybody. We also have return to work documents. And so those are very extensive too. If you have more detailed questions, you can see where we can talk about the best way to stay safe at home and to stay safe at work.
Mike DeWine: (36:21)
Okay. Dr. Hamilton, thank you. We appreciate it very much.
Dr. Aaron Hamilton: (36:25)
Thank you. Absolutely.
Mike DeWine: (36:26)
And now to honor our great Ohio history. The Ohio history Connection is once again hosting what they call the Ohio Open Doors Event, this time virtually, to recognize our state’s historic places. Now, this event which begins Friday invites Ohioans to virtually visit historic landmarks and properties. Ohioans can go to ohiohistory.org/open doors to learn more this event. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about Ohio’s heritage. I certainly encourage everyone to go check that out. Again, this is something that happens every year in person. This year, it can’t be in person, but you can, from the comfort of your home, go check out a lot of Ohio history.
Mike DeWine: (37:12)
Now, before I turn it over to Lieutenant Governor, I want to talk about a rumor. I don’t spend much time talking about rumors that are on the internet because we wouldn’t get much done if we did that all the time. But this one I’ve gotten so many calls over the weekend that I thought we would just have to deal with it today. This comes in the category of crazy, ridiculous internet rumors, but obviously some people are reading it and so I want to clarify it. I want to clear up any confusion about the latest non-congregate sheltering order that is getting all of this attention. To understand it, we have to go back to March 13th when President Trump declared a national emergency for coronavirus. Following that on March 20th, the state of Ohio and FEMA, Trump administration FEMA, entered into an agreement authorizing Ohio to apply for emergency protecting measures, including non-congregate sheltering. In other words, federal government would help us pay for that if that was needed.
Mike DeWine: (38:21)
On March 31st, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Ohio. On that day, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order to comply with the federal government, what they ask us to do, that approved non-congregate sheltering for people who were unable to safely self quarantine in their place of residence. The order provided that sheltering in non-congregate shelters, in other words, shelters where there weren’t a bunch of people, but single places should be determined by the local health officials and based on individuals’ needs. This applies to people who may not be able to isolate at their homes or those who are living in shelters, for example. Now, make it very clear, this order does not create FEMA camps to force anyone to quarantine against their will, as has been reported on the internet.
Mike DeWine: (39:16)
The order was first issued March 31st. It was renewed on April 29th, same order, and again on August 31st. This order creates a funding mechanism to allow for federal reimbursement for those looking to create places for people to safely isolate or quarantine. It has been used in a few cases in Ohio. It actually has not been used very often. But in each one of these cases, we were taking this authorization from the federal government, the agreement with the federal government, and being able to provide space for individuals to use when they needed it. For example, first responders. Let’s say there’s a health professional and they are working and they do not want to go home. Let’s assume maybe at their home if someone who has a health compromised, they’re working in a COVID area of a hospital, helping COVID patients, and they say, “Look, I don’t want to go do that.”
Mike DeWine: (40:22)
This provides them a place, a hotel maybe to go, a hotel room, so that they can go and the federal government will pay for that. So that is the type situation that this was created for. Again, our order really creates just a funding mechanism to allow this to happen. I am aware there are rumors on the internet that incorrectly claim these orders allow children to be separated from their parents without permission. Let me just say, this is absolutely ridiculous. It is not true. There’s no intention anyone has to separate children. But somehow this has been reported on the internet. No truth to the rumors at all. Families will not be separated. Children will not be taken away from their loved ones. And so having quarantine housing options gives people the choice, when they need it, of a safe, comfortable place to recover from the virus, or as in the case of our health folks, it gives them a place to shelter, gives them a place to be, so that they don’t have to go home and possibly take that to their family.
Mike DeWine: (41:40)
Again, that’s their own individual choice. So the bottom line, neither President Trump’s FEMA nor the Ohio Department of Health are going to set up FEMA camps for anyone to quarantine against their will. What we are doing is making available a safe place for people stay when they have loved ones that they’re trying to protect and they have no other place to go. Last Thursday, I was asked for an update on Ohio’s prisons, and I’ll try to do this very quickly. The director is not available with today but I’ll give a quick summary and then we’ll bring the director in a subsequent news conference. We’re now at around 44,600. This is the lowest prison population we’ve had since 2005. Right now, there are 247 inmates who were positive for COVID-19 in 11 of Ohio’s 28 prison facilities. 17 prison facilities are COVID free among the inmate population at this time, though most facilities do have some tests pending. So let me turn it over now to Lieutenant Governor. Jon.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (42:53)
Thanks, Governor. Just a quick couple of quick things today. First of all, an award that we received that I want to use the occasion to create some awareness. Many of you know, and the Governor and I last year announced the Get In Line Online Project for BMV facilities, deputy registered facilities, across the state. This was done as one of the Innovative Ohio BMV collaborations, and it’s basically an effort to use technology to improve the way we provide customer service in the state. Simply go like this, you go to the BMV website, you get online, you select your location, you reserve your spot. They’ll send you a text with that confirmation. You enter that information in when you get to the BMV location into their kiosk, and then you claim your spot in line. Something that we want to do anyway to make it convenient for people, but during COVID, something that’s really important because we don’t want lines and we don’t want people congregating. So the technology arrived at the right time.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (44:03)
So the technology arrived at the right time. We are happy to announce today that the Ohio BMV was awarded a customers convenience award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators for the Get In Line online queuing system. So it received a national award for improving the way that we’re serving our customers and the system is great anytime, but during COVID even more important because not just with this, but with anything, we don’t want you to have to stand in line or have to congregate, waste any time that’s unnecessary, and hopefully you know that almost all BMV services can be obtained online. This is just another tool to help with that and go to bmv.ohio.gov to find out more information if you’re on your way anytime soon to your local BMV.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (45:02)
I also want to offer some thanks today. I read a story about some States that are trying to build partnerships with the private sector to solve some of their problems. Fortunately, we have had several companies that stepped up to help with this and the company I want to thank today is Root Insurance today. I want to recognize them for their help with our Ohio Pandemic Unemployment System. And they really helped us in a time of need. If you recall, the federal government offered this benefit to 1099 workers who had previously not been eligible for unemployment. There was no system for this. The federal government passed the plan, they provided the funding, but we had no delivery mechanism. And within a couple of weeks, we worked with Ohioans to get them pre-registered, to help them enter in their username, password, read some frequently asked questions to get them in the queue so that they could be ready to receive this assistance.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (46:14)
Well, Root helped us build all of this. They volunteered to create the system. They had a team of about 10 people from Root that worked to build this in five days and they pre-registered over 200,000 Ohioans to get them registered because our 20 year old unemployment system just couldn’t handle it. The folks from Root built an entry into that in five days, and they were fantastic. They helped us at a time of need. The Department of Job and Family Services is grateful. Many citizens out there who are using these services are grateful to Root. And I just want to highlight that they and many other people are stepping up during this difficult time to pitch in and make things better for all of us. And so a thank you, big thank you goes out to Root Insurance for that help.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (47:07)
Also, while we’re on businesses, businesses are helping us. Remember out there, help your local business. There are a lot of small businesses, restaurants and others, who are struggling during this time. Please make sure if you’re interested in buying a service or you have something that you may be in need of, check your local businesses and see if they can provide that before you maybe look online and go somewhere else. So local businesses are supporting us and we encourage you to support them. And then finally, Governor, on a solemn note, I want to just take a moment to honor the life and share, I know which is yours and my condolences for Patrick Sweeney. The great Ohio legislator served in both the Ohio House and Senate from the Cleveland, area was a fixture on Capitol Square at getting things done, not only for all Ohioans, but for Northeast Ohio.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (48:05)
And we want to honor his life in service. So thank you.
Mike DeWine: (48:11)
Jon, thank you for mentioning Pat Sweeney. If my grandfather was alive or my dad today, they would say that they looked at Pat Sweeney, they’d say this man has the map of Ireland on his face, written all over his face. Pat Sweeney was a remarkable individual. I think he was everyone’s friend. Everyone considered him a close friend, I considered him a close friend, but I know there are probably hundreds or thousands who thought they were a close friend of Pat and considered him a dear, dear friend.
Mike DeWine: (48:43)
Pat Sweeney had the ability to look at big problems in the state, come up with big solutions, but he never forgot the individuals. He never forgot the people who were most in need of whatever that particular program was or whatever that particular policy was. So he had the ability to combine it really on the ground level with individuals, but to see the big, big picture. And so we were just very saddened to see Pat leave us. Pat Sweeney was a true statesman and our condolence goes out to his dear family. Ready for questions.
Speaker 1: (49:28)
Governor, your first question today is from Jill Ingles at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Jill Ingles: (49:35)
Hello, Governor, how are you today?
Mike DeWine: (49:37)
I’m well, Jill, thank you.
Jill Ingles: (49:39)
I want to ask you, we’ve got these students who are in college right now, and as President Johnson was talking about, they are testing positive, that rate she said is going down and it may go down. But if it continues to be at a significant level, is it safe to keep those students in college for the entire semester, then send them home around Thanksgiving, where they are likely to be exposed to even more vulnerable populations like grandparents and such who might be around for the holidays?
Mike DeWine: (50:20)
Well, Jill, that’s an excellent question. We could go today. We had discussion with the Vice President, Trump administration, doctors. And one of the things they said is what you don’t want to do is send students away to college, a couple of weeks there and there’s breakouts of the virus and then they leave and go back home. So that is not something that we’re looking to have happen. I’ve had discussions, I talked to all 14 college presidents this morning with our State University Four Year system and they all certainly understand that.
Mike DeWine: (50:55)
Now you raise the next question though, or question that we’re going to have to face in the future in that is what about Thanksgiving? And I think that’s going to take some real thought.
Mike DeWine: (51:08)
There are some schools that basically made a decision, we’re going to close at Thanksgiving and not come back until January. Again though it raises the question of whenever they leave college, and if the rate is high there, what ar the precautions before they go back home? And for colleges that have the ability to test, and we may have a lot more ability by mid to late November than we do today. But making sure that we know whether they’re positive or not before they leave would certainly be the ideal situation. So that we could protect the vulnerable people who live in their homes back wherever home is. So a very, very perceptive question. It’s a work in progress, but I think your sentiment is absolutely correct.
Speaker 1: (52:01)
Next question is from Scott Hallis at the Xenia Daily Gazette.
Scott Hallis: (52:04)
Hey Governor, thank you. How you doing?
Mike DeWine: (52:06)
Scott Hallis: (52:07)
Good, good. Hey, so we’re two weeks into the high school football season and a few weeks into that and other sports. What have you heard back from the folks who were doing the compliance checking as far as the requirements for football? I’ve seen things on social media, but you can’t trust everything on social media obviously, but what kind of assessment have you heard back so far?
Mike DeWine: (52:31)
Well, Scott, I don’t have any statistics. I was on a conference call 7:15 this morning, we do this every Monday morning, with all the health directors around the state. To my knowledge, there was nothing mentioned about football or any other sport. We talked about a lot of different things, a lot of different problems. I’m not saying there has not been some problems. There may be some quarantine because one person on that team, or more than one, tested positive or had symptoms, but at least as expressed to me by health directors, the much, much bigger concern is what young people do not on the playing field of their practice field, nor in the classroom, but rather what they’re doing other times. And we still see both with students, and with college students and with those not in college, that the huge spreader is just informal parties, informal get togethers where people are letting their guard down, where they’re not wearing a mask, where they’re not keeping the distance. So this is occurring at all ages.
Mike DeWine: (53:52)
We’re seeing a lot it, of course, at the college level, but those are what at least appear from what I’m seeing to be a much bigger problem then the athletes practicing or playing themselves. But as you said, it’s only two weeks, we’re going to have obviously continue to watch this. I think the schools and the athletic directors and the coaches are working very closely with their local health department. And again, if anyone’s not out there, I would just encourage you to do it because this is really the key for us to move forward, not just with sports, but it’s the key to us moving forward and keeping kids in school.
Scott Hallis: (54:34)
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (54:34)
Governor, I would add on the high school, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has been sending out observers to look at what’s happening and to help the schools make sure that they’re in compliance. I don’t have a report on what happened in week two of football season, but in the first week they found almost complete compliance or a couple of minor challenges here and there. But they literally coached them up. They helped the local schools understand what they needed to do, but there was widespread compliance and things look pretty good in the initial reports and we’ll have continuing information. Because we know usually it goes that way. When we start out, we do a pretty good job with it. And then maybe we let it slide a little bit and we just need to make sure that that doesn’t happen because so far so good.
Mike DeWine: (55:25)
Yeah. I think people are working very hard at the event itself. It’s the other things in life sometimes get in the way, not just with athletes, but with everyone. But I think by and large, the schools are doing a very good job. I think the athletic side of the schools are doing a good job as well.
Speaker 1: (55:47)
Next question is from Max Philby at the Columbus Dispatch.
Max Philby: (55:52)
Hey, hope you had a good holiday weekend.
Mike DeWine: (55:55)
Thanks max. Thank you. Did.
Max Philby: (55:59)
So going off of some stuff this weekend, and also the rumor that you were talking about briefly, as a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, would you get one? And secondly, with the rumor you were talking about how important is it to dispel some of these conspiracy theories and things floating out there like that?
Mike DeWine: (56:20)
Well, yes, I would get a vaccine and I think, let me just make a comment about the vaccine. I watched some of the news over the weekend, national news and watched some of the news this morning. The more we can do to take down the politics in regard to the vaccine, I think we should look to our scientists and our doctors, let them do what they do, let them work to develop this and work to develop it in a safe way. So I think that is very, very important. And look, the people of this country are going to follow the news. They’re going to see when this comes out and this starts to be available. And we don’t know when that will be. We’ve been notified to be ready by November one, but that doesn’t mean this is going to start November one.
Mike DeWine: (57:16)
We just don’t know. We just don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I think people will make their own judgment on that. And they’re going to decide whether they think it is safe or not. But I think the officials who are looking at this are going to make good decisions. And I think certainly the scientists who are working on it, we’re all on their side. We want them to get this. We want to do a good job and we want them to get it right. But we want to get it as soon as possible too.
Max Philby: (57:52)
And anything on the rumor that you mentioned?
Mike DeWine: (57:57)
Oh, rumors in general? I mean, there’s a new internet rumor all the time. I can sort of tell by the emails that I get. We’ll try to knock down some of these rumors when we hear them, but I can’t spend an hour, an hour and a half, every time just talking about every rumor that is up on the internet. What we have tried to do since March when this started was to give people the best information that we could. And we started with not as much information as we have to do today, I assume in another month we’ll have more information. And we try to share that with everyone and try to let people look at this from all kinds of different angles. The one to 88 that we put up there, that’s not to shame any County.
Mike DeWine: (58:51)
It’s not to embarrass anybody. It’s just to say, look for the last two weeks at least, this is the number of cases that your County had. And it just sort of tells you something about the spread that is going on in the County. So our goal is to arm people with as much information as we can so they can make the rational decisions that they would want to be able to make.
Speaker 1: (59:17)
Next question is from Ben Schwartz at WCPO in Cincinnati.
Mike DeWine: (59:22)
Ben Schwartz: (59:23)
Hi Governor. I want to ask today a question sent in by a WCPO viewer. This viewer is concerned about his parents in their nineties. He’d like to take his parents to get flu shots, but it doesn’t feel it would be safe for them to go into a drug store or a doctor’s office. I’m wondering if Ohio has any kind of plan to help administer things such as flu shots to people who are unable or unwilling to travel to places where they feel they might catch COVID-19?
Mike DeWine: (59:55)
Yeah. Ben, let me check and see what kind of programs we have and I’ll report back next time. I think that my experience and I understand the hesitancy of the people have to go out if they’re in their nineties. But as I’ve talked to physicians and talked to people in the medical community, they’ve emphasized how important it is to get this flu shot. And I asked the doctor the other day, I said, “Well, when should you get that?” The answer was now, you should go ahead and get it now. So I think that for anyone getting that flu shot is is in fact very, very important.
Mike DeWine: (01:00:37)
And I know that doctor’s offices have really done, and clinics, hospitals have been very, very careful when they have someone come in. You’ll see them with mask. I went into a medical facility the other day and everyone who was there who was working there had a mask on and a shield on. They had both of those. So they’re very, very careful. And so I would urge people if you have the ability to get out or have somebody that can take you out, go ahead and not delay, go ahead and actually get those shots. Get that shot.
Speaker 1: (01:01:19)
Next question is from Jackie Borchard at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jackie Borchard: (01:01:25)
Good afternoon, Governor, the Health Department released the order on school reporting late last week. And some of the schools we’ve talked to were surprised that the only public reporting requirement for them is to report to local school districts, that it’s optional that they post numbers and information on their website or a publicly facing Facebook page. Why make it optional for schools to report their numbers to the public?
Mike DeWine: (01:01:57)
Jackie, I’ll go back and look at that. Our intent was that the schools first of all, their first obligation is to the students and the parents of the students and that they should inform them. What we said is they have an obligation to, which most of them do anyway, inform anybody who’s in that classroom if there was a child in that classroom who comes back in as positive. Then take it the next step also is any parent of a child in the building where there is COVID certainly should know that as well. We also set up a mechanism where this data will in fact get reported. Now we did have some schools that did express a concern about reporting numbers and particularly in a small actually by building or small settings. So their pushback was in regard to that type of information might be so specific that it would disclose the fact that someone was COVID, which obviously you cannot do under the law, but I’ll look at the procedure. I’ll get back to you on Thursday.
Speaker 1: (01:03:15)
Next question is from Alex Ebert at Bloomberg.
Alex Ebert: (01:03:20)
Good afternoon, Governor. Thanks for having us. Have we seen the COVID spikes in colleges across the state translate into higher rates of hospitalization at community hospitals in those areas or are the positive cases currently being mostly contained to campus? Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:03:36)
Yeah, I don’t think we’ve seen that transfer into higher number of people going into the hospital. And in fact, I think that’s not been true. One of the concerns is a kind of a ping pong ball effect. Let’s say someone who gets infected who is 18, as I expressed a few minutes ago, the concern is they go back home and they infect someone else. I know there’s also a concern with some of the health departments that some of our universities, some of our schools, when they’re showing a number of young people coming down, students coming down with this, they’re concerned about that possible spread out into the community. But to my knowledge, we’ve not seen much of that yet, nor have we seen hospitalization. And what we do know is while a 20 old can get pretty sick, they usually do not end up in the hospital.
Speaker 1: (01:04:42)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Mike DeWine: (01:04:47)
Jack Windsor: (01:04:49)
Hi governor. This question comes from one of our viewers who is a parent and it says, “The CDC said kids are not getting seriously sick with Coronavirus, not passing it to teachers. The White House medical advisor said the same and went on to say kids should not be wearing masks or distancing. These are experts, yet we are putting a lot on our kids to handle tough emotions, educational handicaps, and then making them feel responsible for the health of their teachers and other adults. The state site says cases and hospitalizations peaked about 10 days before the state mask mandate. As a parent, I worry about the health risks of those masks, bacterial and viral infections, but also the emotional consequences. The question Governor is why are we putting the health of adults in our kids instead of letting the parents and grandparents take ultimate responsibility and will our kids ever be without masks in schools?” Thank you.
Mike DeWine: (01:05:50)
Well, let’s talk a little bit about that. The science on masks, I think is overwhelming. We’ve had a number of experts who have talked at our press conferences, but you don’t have to look at our press conferences. You can look at any-
Mike DeWine: (01:06:02)
… look at our press conferences. You can look at any number of places where experts have said the importance of masks. Masks are very, very, very important. When we got ready to put our final order on in regard to schools, I had on the phone … I’ve told this story before, but we had on the phone people from children’s hospitals all over the state of Ohio. What was their recommendation? Their recommendation was a very firm every child K through 12 should have a mask on. That is what the experts have said. Is there some outlier out there? Well, maybe there is, but the jury’s back, there’s a verdict, and the verdict isn’t masks work and that masks should be used.
Mike DeWine: (01:06:53)
We do know that some kids can get very sick, but we know that the fatality rate among 20 and younger is certainly very, very, very low, but that’s not the fear. The fear is, A, they get sick and maybe have some longterm damage. I told you what the numbers that were given to me at Ohio State several weeks ago in regard to their athletes, that 13% of the athletes who tested positive had some heart problem. It was mild. They said in every case it was mild, but 13%, and so that’s why the recommendation was when somebody gets off, is recovering from COVID and you think they’re recovered, they need to be checked out by doctor before doing strenuous exercise. Again, we’re listening to what the medical doctors are telling us to do.
Mike DeWine: (01:07:50)
Finally, we know that children spread, and the real concern for the community is young person gets it. They take it back home. There’s a grandparent there. There’s someone in the home, a sibling, someone who has a medical problem, and then that person gets it, and then we have all the consequences of that. So we’re going to continue to look at the medical science and listen to the medical community, listen to our doctors and try to make our judgments based upon that. Next question
Speaker 1: (01:08:26)
From Laura Hancock at Cleveland.com.
Laura Cleveland: (01:08:30)
Hi, Governor DeWine.
Mike DeWine: (01:08:30)
Laura Cleveland: (01:08:34)
Hi. We’ve had a few recent tragedies in the state, including one in Shaker Heights a couple weeks ago, which appears that a father was struggling with mental health issues, and he took his life and the lives of his family. As we head into shorter and colder days this fall and people are becoming more isolated, are you concerned about whether the state has enough resources to help people with mental health issues during the pandemic, and what can we do as individual Ohioans to help those struggling to prevent these kinds of tragedies?
Mike DeWine: (01:09:07)
Yeah. I think what we can do as individuals is try to think every day about who we know, friend of ours, acquaintance of ours that might be feeling isolated because they’re in a nursing home or because they’re at home by themselves and just don’t have anybody. So I think that’s something that everybody, and I will try to do that. I try to do that every day. I don’t do it every day, but I’ll try to do that today, and if everyone watching this could do that, pick up the phone, call somebody whether you’re related to them or not, and just kind of reach out to them. That’s a small thing, but it’s something that if enough of us do that, that does in fact make a difference.
Mike DeWine: (01:09:52)
Second, I would say that I’m not the expert on isolation. I’m not the expert certainly on mental health issues, but one of the things, when I look at the mask question. Jack asked about the mask, but when I look at that, I look at that as a way to be out more, to more freedom, to be able to go more places, to feel that I’m being protected when I do that, and so I don’t have to hunker down at home all the time. Now, look, if you’re older, it’s the one question we got about the two 90-year-olds, and then they feel safer in their home. We’re not going to tell them not to feel safe, but if people are staying home, they’re concerned, but they would like to get out, if they do it carefully and wear a mask, they can do that, and we would certainly encourage them to get out and to do that.
Mike DeWine: (01:10:46)
I also know, just finally, that Director Laura Chris, who we’ve had on here before, heads up our mental health and addiction services department. She’s constantly pushing out more things to work with our local community, mental health folks to reach out and to help people who are having mental health problems, but you’re absolutely right. This is a big, big byproduct of this pandemic, the mental health problems, and we’re seeing it manifested in the story you told, in that horrible, horrible tragedy, but also in other stories we read and other things that we hear about.
Speaker 1: (01:11:31)
Next question is from Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.
Mike DeWine: (01:11:36)
Jim Otte: (01:11:36)
Governor, good afternoon. Some members of your own political party, the Republican Party in Ohio are now pushing some of these, as you say, rumors, not just as a story but as a matter of fact. That’s where a lot of people learned about the so-called FEMA concentration camps that are coming, and they don’t say this is something that might happen. They are saying this is fact. I just read one on a state representative’s Facebook page pushing this story. What would you tell that person, and how do you, especially these people that are saying that you’ve gone way overboard in handling this from the very beginning, how would you deal with these people, because their constituents trust them. They voted for them and they listen to what these people say. What would you say?
Mike DeWine: (01:12:19)
Well, look. Jim, thank you for the question. There’s 132 members of the general assembly, have various idea, and we work with them and with the vast, vast majority of them have a very good working relationship and good friendly relationship. Look, I think that there are rumors out there, and we all like the internet. We all use the internet. We all like the modern world that we live in, but we all have to, I think, admit that there are some downsides to the internet. There is no editing. People can publish anything they want to, and in this particular case, they took two set of facts that had nothing really to do with each other. They put those two together and came up with a conspiracy theory.
Mike DeWine: (01:13:12)
We’re not going to have any FEMA camps. We’re not going to compel children to do anything. We’re not going to separate children from their family members. That’s certainly the last thing that I ever would want to do, so it’s just kind of sad to me that there are people out there who take a rumor like that, put a few facts together that are unrelated to each other, come up with some conspiracy theory and then put it out there. I can tell people are listening to it because of the emails I get or the calls that I get. So I just decided today to try to at least knock this one down and just say, look, there’s just absolutely no truth in this. There’s no substance behind it. It’s just garbage.
Speaker 1: (01:13:59)
Next question is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.
Kevin Landers: (01:14:05)
Mike DeWine: (01:14:06)
Kevin Landers: (01:14:07)
Governor, you mentioned last week there were some inconsistencies with the saliva test results at nursing homes. What’s been determined to be the problem? Has it been fixed, and when do you think we can expect results? And in that same vein, also the PCR tests that you mentioned may be too sensitive, in some cases telling people they are positive but not contagious. Has that been worked out? Have you worked with the hospitals to try to tweak that so you’re getting the correct results?
Mike DeWine: (01:14:33)
Well, I think the PCR tests are correct. It’s not that they’re not correct. It’s just, Kevin, as we get further into this and try to drill down on … I’m always interested in actionable information. What we’re trying to do every day, get things done, you want piece of information that will enable you to go take an action, which in fact, in this case, lessens the odds that someone who will get the coronavirus. So the PCR tests are accurate, it’s just sometimes they continue to show a positive even when that person’s not contagious. They may still have that virus there, and it’s picking it up, but they may not be in fact contagious. So as we move forward, trying to use the different tests in conjunction with each other to figure out when that person is in fact contagious, so you can isolate that person for that period of time, but not longer. That’s really what the goal is.
Mike DeWine: (01:15:29)
In regard to the first part of your question, it would appear, and I’m waiting for a final conclusion for my team, but it would appear that we may have had a lab problem there. So we’re still analyzing that, but that was what my team told me is the initial conclusion, and we have pulled back from that until we can find out where that either gets fixed or does not get fixed. So we’re still looking at that, and I’ll report more as we know more.
Speaker 1: (01:16:06)
Next question is from Tom Bosco at WSYX in Columbus.
Mike DeWine: (01:16:11)
Speaker 1: (01:16:25)
We’ll come back to Tom. Next question is from Marty Schladen at the Ohio Capital Journal.
Marty Schladen: (01:16:30)
Good afternoon, Governor.
Mike DeWine: (01:16:33)
Marty Schladen: (01:16:33)
Can you give us a quick update on the federal unemployment supplement, the $300 a week that’s supposedly coming our way? Fortune’s got a story up saying that it’s going to run out really quickly, so can you give us an update on when people can expect to see this money and how long it’ll last?
Mike DeWine: (01:16:55)
Yeah. I’ve not checked back in the last few days. Initially, we were told that we would be able to get it out in the latter part of September, so in the next few weeks, I don’t know whether if the Lieutenant governor has any update on that, or sometimes John can text someone, get an answer before we go off the air. So I don’t know if you have anything else on it, John, or not.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (01:17:21)
Yeah, Governor. We’re still set for mid to late September roll out of that to people, and I believe Ohio was approved for over $700 million, and so when that money runs out, we’ll run out. I’ll confirm that number though before the end of the news conference so we have the exact number on how much we’ve been approved for.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:48)
Speaker 1: (01:17:50)
We’ll go back to Tom Bosco at WSYX in Columbus.
Mike DeWine: (01:17:58)
Tom Bosco: (01:18:03)
Hi, Governor. Can you hear me now? I’m sorry.
Mike DeWine: (01:18:05)
Hey, I can hear you now. Yep.
Tom Bosco: (01:18:05)
Oh, good. Yep. Sorry, this is my first Zoom call with you since you’ve been doing these from Cedarville. I’m sorry Dr. Johnson’s not still with us because this is probably a better question for her, but I want to know if you’ve had any conversations with her about Big Ten football. I know how she voted when it was time for that, and now Senate leader Matt Huffman and other lawmakers in other states have come out with a new letter to the Big Ten urging them to [inaudible 01:18:31]. Are you hearing anything about the possibility of a chance of a season beginning in October, and did the Big Ten make the right call in their vote?
Mike DeWine: (01:18:42)
Well, I don’t know whether they made the right call or not, but I think there certainly is a decent chance of there being a season in football for the Big Ten for Ohio State, which is what we’re really concerned about. I talked to Gene Smith this morning about that issue. I’m not going to disclose our conversation other than I inquired about it. He told me it was still in play, still very much a possibility, but as you know, it’s not a secret that Dr. Johnson’s position, Ohio State’s position was to play. I concur in that. Look, the key is always going to be how it is done, and as I’ve told some people, I don’t know if I’ve said it publicly or not, but athletes at Ohio State, with their capability of testing very, very, very frequently, could potentially be the safest people there with a couple of things coming together. One, very, very close in time testing, and two, a real strong ethic to stay safe to be able to play football.
Mike DeWine: (01:20:04)
It’s sort of the same thing where we’re hoping for and counting on for other students, not just at Ohio State but across the state, that their desire to be there, to be in campus, to be able to participate in school will be a driving force that will hold them back from doing the party at 10:00 some night when someone invites you over, and it sounds like it’s a great idea. So we hope that that push to have a year on campus, a year at Ohio State or a year at Miami or UD or Wittenberg or wherever will be a motivating factor for all the students. And for the athletes, we hope that that plus the ability to play a sport that they love very very much. So we’ll see. I don’t know what’s going to happen in regard to the Buckeyes, but I know it’s still very much in play.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (01:21:02)
Governor, just wanted to give-
Mike DeWine: (01:21:03)
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: (01:21:03)
… a quick update on the unemployment assistance. We’ve been approved for $717 million, and that will be paid out until the money’s gone, and then at that point in time, we would need to see an action from Congress appropriating additional money to continue that program.
Mike DeWine: (01:21:26)
Speaker 1: (01:21:27)
Governor, next question is the last question today, and it belongs to Dan Pearlman of WCMH in Columbus.
Dan Pearlman: (01:21:37)
Hi, Governor. Franklin County is back in the top 10 for case occurrence. You said some of that was due to the number of cases at Ohio State. How concerned are you that those positive cases may lead to a spread within the greater Columbus or Franklin County?
Mike DeWine: (01:21:53)
Well, look, it’s a concern, and Dr. Johnson divided out the positivity among students who are on campus versus off campus. Off campus was higher. We know that in Columbus, the university is a part of the community, and so we have potential spread. So it is a concern, but the good news is Ohio State is not just sitting there doing nothing. Ohio State is extremely aggressive, and they have the capability of doing the testing, and so not only are they messaging and trying to get students to understand this is what will prevent them from having a year at Ohio State if things really go south, but also they’re doing very, very significant testing, and they’re doing significant tracing. They’re working very closely with the health department, the Columbus Health Department. So while it’s always a concern if you have a college any place and there’s students who are testing positive, sure. That’s a concern in the community, but I’ve talked to a lot of college presidents, and I think they all understand that. They understand their responsibility. They understand what they have to do, and they’re focused on it.
Mike DeWine: (01:23:23)
So let me just conclude. I want to thank everybody. We’ll look forward to seeing you all on Thursday. I want to end with Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers and a attribute to the great state of Ohio, and let’s just dedicate this to all Ohioans, who have done, I think, a phenomenal job, who have kept this virus down, who’ve continued to fight it every day, and this is just a tribute to you. Thank you and tribute to our absolutely wonderful state of Ohio. Eric?
Joe Mullins: (01:23:57)
Mike DeWine: (01:27:28)
I want to thank Joe Mullins and their Radio Ramblers and that tribute to the great state of Ohio. We’ll see you all on Thursday at 2:00. Thank you.