Ohio's Republican Governor Mike Dewine Thursday said he will self-quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, hours before he was set to meet with President Donald Trump in Cleveland.
DeWine, 73, is the second U.S. governor known to have contracted the virus. DeWine and his former health director, Dr. Amy Acton, were praised for their early response to the Covid-19 pandemic, though Acton resigned in June amid criticism from state GOP lawmakers.
As part of the standard protocol to greet President Trump on the tarmac in Cleveland, I took a COVID test. I tested positive. I have no symptoms at this time. I’m following protocol and will quarantine at home for the next 14 days.— Mike DeWine (@MikeDeWine) August 6, 2020
Parents and teachers are concerned about DeWine's school re-opening plan, which requires all K-12 students to wear masks during in-person schooling, though the governor said he's leaving the decision of how to conduct classes up to schools and parents.
“I think our districts are doing their best to keep us safe, but you just can’t negotiate with a virus, and that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s scary.”— AlissaWidman (@AlissaWidman) August 3, 2020
This morning, teachers protested reopening schools in central Ohio with a car caravan: https://t.co/KbvaeCWKbs pic.twitter.com/0QHepenWsQ
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Ohio has seen an upward trend in Covid-19 cases since DeWine launched the state's reopening protocols in May, and state health officials are reportedly not relying on virus modeling to mitigate the spread. As of Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health reported more than 91,000 confirmed cases of the virus and nearly 4,000 deaths. Outbreaks in the state have been linked to at least 50 bars and restaurants as well as 11 child care facilities, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
"While modeling continues across the country, Ohio isn’t relying on it right now," the Dispatch reported Wednesday. "Initial models weren't based on widespread testing or far-reaching contact tracing of those who had been infected—because the state didn't have either at the time."
Trump planned to meet with DeWine as the president tries to shore up support in battleground states ahead of the November election. With U.S. continuing to lead the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths, Trump's poll numbers are declining, though it was reported this week that he outpaced Democratic opponent Joe Biden in July fundrasing.
While in Ohio, the president plans to announce an executive order requiring government agencies to purchase certain "essential" drugs from U.S. companies, part of his latest public relations push ahead of the election.