Gov. Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Tuesday demonstrated how easy getting a coronavirus test is by getting swabbed during a news conference broadcast live over the internet.
“Much better than advertised,” Husted said after the nasal swabbing.
The Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday reported 46,127 coronavirus cases, including 7,379 hospitalizations and 2,735 deaths. Those are cumulative numbers.
Here are five things we learned at the governor’s coronavirus press briefing Tuesday:
1. Testing. Ohio’s testing capacity has expanded to about 14,000 a day and a doctor’s order is no longer required. Over the past seven days, the average number of cases reported to ODH was 588 — an uptick that may reflect more people being tested as well as continued spread of the virus. The positivity rate has risen slightly in recent days but has hovered between 4% and 6% since late May, Husted said.
2. Fireworks. DeWine said safety advocates and children’s hospitals have “pretty much guaranteed us” that allowing consumers to ignite firecrackers, bottle rockets and other fireworks at any time on any day would lead to more injuries. The governor said he is not in favor of legislation that would remove current regulations on consumer use of fireworks.
3. Health director powers. The governor said he remains opposed to bills that seek to undercut the authority of the Ohio Department of Health director to issue public health orders. The Ohio Senate may vote on Senate Bill 311 this week, which would block future health director orders from being effective for more than 14 days without legislative approval.
4. Pence Visit. DeWine said he won’t meet Vice President Mike Pence this week to tour the former GM plant in Lordstown on Thursday, opting instead to continue social distancing. “Fran and I have been avoiding crowds.” But he praised Pence’s leadership on the coronavirus crisis.
5. Christopher Columbus. DeWine said he doesn’t support removing statues of Columbus but likes that Ohioans are studying history and debating ideas. DeWine’s great-great grandfather fought in the Civil War and was a prisoner of war so he said he has no problem with the removal of statues honoring Confederate figures. “Columbus is the namesake of this city. Look, I think it’s something everyone has to look at but the idea that we’re going to go around and pull down every statue down because someone was not perfect, I think is probably not a good idea.”
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