COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said “we’re going to do what we have to do” when asked if some Ohio counties could revert to a stay-at-home order, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.
During his Thursday COVID-19 press briefing, I asked DeWine about counties such as Athens, where COVID-19 seems to be rapidly spreading as the county nears a level 4 advisory from the Ohio Public Health Advisory System -- and if Ohioans can expect to see more restrictions in highly-infected areas.
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DeWine replied, noting that his office is where decisions are being made.
“I don’t know. We’re going to do what we have to do. Local health departments are going to do what they have to do, but the buck stops with me. I make the decisions.”
DeWine continued on to warn Ohioans about the economic impact they could face if COVID-19 continues to spread in the state.
“What really will happen, whether we issue an order or don’t issue an order, if it’s so widespread that people are scared, then the economy kind of shuts down. You know, you look at Athens, for example. Let’s take Athens County. Jon [Husted] and I were on the phone with the health director, along with other health directors, and I said, ‘Look, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen in the fall, when these kids come back to school?’”
DeWine concluded his answer by saying the issue of spreading the virus is “not just unique to Athens,” but that the possible influx of Ohio University students this fall poses a great risk as well.
DeWine is next set to address the public on Tuesday, July 21.