Ohio’s COVID Press Briefings

◻︎FEBRUARY 2020 – MAY 2021


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ended all statewide health orders on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Vaccinations are still encouraged, common sense precautions remain prudent, and individual businesses may still require masks and distancing, but all statewide mandates are terminated. WKYC-TV ran this story that Wednesday morning:

As an Ohio resident for most of my life, I commend Governor DeWine for the way he has managed the COVID crisis from Day 1. He took swift action leading most of the country in issuing orders that saved countless lives. Although DeWine is a Republican, he implemented the kind of measures that then-President Donald Trump condemned when enforced by Democratic governors. Throughout this crisis, DeWine was focused on health and facts over partisan politics and anti-scientific nonsense. I don’t recall the last time I’ve praised a Republican for anything, let alone with this depth of feeling.

Governor’s Press Briefings

Starting at the end of February 2020 DeWine held daily COVID press conferences. Eventually he cut these back to three per week and later twice a week. He was joined initially by Dr. Amy Acton who was the Director of Ohio’s Department of Health (ODH). The pair won many accolades and their 2 PM press briefings were coined “Wine with DeWine.” But there were also protests and threats, including at Dr. Acton’s home, that contributed to her decision to resign in June 2020. ABC News reported in May 2021 that Dr. Acton will be honored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation for her service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since he started in February 2020, I have posted at this blog every press briefing held by Governor DeWine along with occasional other supplementary videos and documents. With the pandemic easing off and the state orders now lifted, I will no longer continue posting new press briefings. I’m keeping everything I’ve posted, however, from February 2020 through May 2021 which you can find at the links below. It’s interesting, frankly, to go back and sample these briefings at various stages through the pandemic crisis. We’ve truly been through a lot!

Vax-A-Million Drawings

In May 2021, DeWine made news with a unique strategy to encourage Ohioans to get vaccinated. He announced that the state would hold 5 weekly prize drawings for fully-vaccinated residents. Those over 18 could win award $1 million! Those under 18 could win a 4-year scholarship with room & board at any Ohio state college or university. The drawings inspired a definite boost in vaccinations.

This is DeWine’s press briefing held on Wednesday, June 2nd — the last to be posted to this blog. In it he announces the latest winners in the weekly drawings and, as usual, he talks about where the state stands in its battle against COVID.

Index to COVID Press Briefings:
February 2020 – May 2021

Various Documents & Resources

Following below are various documents and resources I’ve posted here during the course of the pandemic from February 2020 through May 2021. Many items are no longer current or relevant, but interesting historically.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

In July 2020, Governor DeWine announced a new Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) now posts a color-coded map online that residents and businesses can check it to keep track of the pandemic risk level in their county.

The first map shown below reported the status of Ohio counties as of July 2, 2020. DeWine says it will be updated at least once a week based on the latest available information compiled from various data sources. The current map can always be found at the ODH website.

When first launched, the Ohio Public Health Advisory System
showed this status for July 2, 2020.
For the current status go to the ODH website.

Every county is designated a status from Level 1 (best) to Level 4 (worst), with guidance for Best Practices at each level.

On July 8, the ODH Interim Director, Lance Himes, issued an Order mandating face coverings in public spaces when counties are at Level 3 or Level 4. Counties will be subject to the Order, or released from it, depending on their status level.

Ohio Vaccination Overview

For more information, visit Ohio COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Information & Official Documents
Ohio’s Stay at Home Orders / Stay Safe Ohio Orders
Rescissions & Modifications: May 20, 2020
News Coverage, Interviews, Accolades & Protests

Ohio Senate Bill 22

In March 2021 the Ohio Legislature enacted Senate Bill 22 over a veto by Governor DeWine. The new law severely limits the ability of the governor, the Ohio Department of Public Health (ODH) and local health officials to issue orders when needed in public health emergencies. See the March 2021 page for details and an interview with Governor DeWine.

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