“I don’t think anyone in Ohio who has watched what I’ve done in the past four months doubts that, you know, I will do what we need to do to protect Ohioans,” DeWine told Chuck NBC’s Todd, adding that he “certainly wouldn’t rule out going statewide. We are certainly looking into that. ”
Earlier this month, Ohio reported that more than 1,000 people are infected with the virus every day, although this appears to have been on a downward trend in recent days, with only 524 reports of an onset of Covid -19 Friday. However, the Ohio Department of Health confirmed on Friday that the total number of cases in the state increased by 1,679, which includes people who fell ill on different days. The day before, the total number of confirmed cases in the state rose by 1,290.
More than 9,500 people have been hospitalized in Ohio since the pandemic hit the state and at least 3,174 residents have died from the virus.
“We are very, very concerned,” said DeWine, adding that protecting the public was not just about issuing mask warrants. “It’s not just a question of orders. Orders are important. But it’s also about getting people to understand: “Hey, it’s very, very serious,” “he said.
“We are at a crucial stage. We are at the point where we could become Florida, ”DeWine said. Florida reported more than 15,000 cases of Covid-19 last Sunday, the highest daily total recorded in any U.S. state since the start of the pandemic.
Florida has more than 350,000 cases in total, according to the state health department. These levels are higher than in several large countries with much larger populations such as Italy and Spain. Overall, the United States has more than 3.7 million confirmed cases and at least 140,294 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Rather than issuing a statewide mask warrant, DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health issued an order earlier this month that required that all counties be designated as a health emergency public level 3 or 4 regarding the level and spread of Covid-19 cases. to require facial covers. About 60% of the state is currently subject to a mask ordinance as the state’s total number of cases surpassed 74,900 on Sunday.
Ohio, which had a 2019 gross domestic product of $ 698 billion and ranks in the top 10 in CNBC’s most recent annual Top States for Business survey, has instituted a shelter-in-place order statewide that shut down non-essential businesses for almost six weeks. The state then launched a phased reopening plan on May 1, allowing health care facilities to resume providing medical services that did not require overnight stays.
Manufacturing, retailing, foodservice, and personal services such as salons opened gradually throughout May, with capacity limits and guidelines for safety and social distancing. Although most businesses in Ohio have reopened, the state has yet to authorize the takeover of K-12 schools and has also closed entertainment venues, stadiums and sports areas for now. and some recreational sports.
“When we reopened, we were one of the first states to have a very sophisticated policy in place on how you reopen,” DeWine said. But Ohio’s response to the pandemic has not been without controversy. Protesters have gathered at the Statehouse in Columbus on several occasions to oppose the Ohio shelter-in-place orders. On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered to protest the current Ohio County-level mask warrants, saying the demands were excessive by the government.
To help spread the word about the importance of wearing a mask, the DeWine administration issued an announcement Tuesday recommending that Ohio residents wear masks whenever possible. The message, says DeWine, is that you wear the mask for other people. Getting people to buy in and understand why wearing a mask is important is essential, the governor added.
“Make a 20-year-old understand that he can feel invulnerable, that nothing will happen to him – but they may understand, they may not know they have it. They can go home and see their grandmother. She can get it, she can end up dying, ”DeWine says. “That’s the message we’re trying to get across the state of Ohio. ”
DeWine also said states need more money to help with the public health crisis, especially money for testing. The Ohio governor’s comments come as the White House tries to block funding for testing and contact tracing in negotiations on the latest relief bill in Congress. Senate Republicans, in a rare break with the administration, are pushing back the White House and trying to keep test funding in the bill.
“We will continue to need money for the tests,” said DeWine, adding that even though Ohio has doubled the tests in the past five weeks, the state must frankly “double” that rate.
“We can only do this with money from the federal government,” he said. “And it has to be over a long period of time – we’re not going to come out in a month, or two months, or three months.” ”
Although the White House is trying to block more money for testing, DeWine has said he has faith in the Trump administration, highlighting the appeal that governors have with Vice President Mike Pence every week.
“Every time I’ve asked -” Listen, we need something. We have to try to get more reagents. We have to move the FDA “- every time I asked the president or the vice president, they are gone. ”
“What this administration has been able to provide to us and what Congress has provided to us, and we thank them both, is the money,” said DeWine.