Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he worries about Ohioans participating in large protests across the state, as “COVID-19 is not over with.”
DeWine addressed the issue during Tuesday’s COVID-19 press briefing at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. At the briefing, I asked DeWine a question sent in by WCPO viewer Kelly King Schlegel.
Schlegel wanted to know about the state’s goal of reaching 22,000 COVID-19 tests per day. Recent reports show Ohio is still far from hitting that number. I added a second part to the question as well, asking if recent protests in Ohio will result in an increased need for testing.
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DeWine only replied in terms of COVID-19 affecting protesters, and due to time restrictions I was unable to ask a follow-up question to clarify his stance on testing goalposts.
DeWine spoke heavily on the issue of mass gatherings in the form of protests, however -- saying he was asked by a mayor of one of Ohio’s major cities to address the spread of COVID-19 during protests on Tuesday.
“Well, I am concerned about the health risk in regard to the protests,” said DeWine. “I mean, I’ve seen the same pictures everybody else sees. I was talking to the mayors this morning and one of the mayors of our major cities -- one of the mayors said, ‘It’s your press conference today, Governor DeWine. Say something about the fact that COVID-19 is not over with. That it’s still out there.’ We’re going through the protests, that’s fine, but it’s not going away … I think all the mayors I talked to today agreed with that. And so it is disturbing, frankly, when you see protesters who are out there who don’t wear a mask and who are not social distancing. We worry about that. And everybody in the medical community who looks at that, that bothers people. It certainly bothers me … So again, we encourage people -- when you’re going to protest, try to keep the social distance and wear a mask. It just is the right thing to do.”
DeWine is next scheduled to address the public about COVID-19 on Thursday, June 11.