Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine: "I Feel Fine" After Positive Coronavirus Test

Zoom screen shot of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine updated Ohioans on his positive coronavirus test on a Zoom press conference Thursday. [The Ohio Channel]

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday he is feeling fine other than a headache after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day.

“So that was a big surprise,” he said. “A big surprise to me and a surprise to my family.”

DeWine was tested en route to the airport as part of the standard protocol for a planned meet-and-greet with President Donald Trump at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland Thursday afternoon. Trump is visiting a Northeast Ohio manufacturing plant and holding an evening fundraiser Thursday.

"We want to wish him the best," the president said on the tarmac in Cleveland. "He'll be fine. I guess he's going for a secondary test. I just said, 'I look forward to seeing the governor.' They said, 'Sir, he just tested positive.'"

It was the first test DeWine had taken since he demonstrated the test live during a statewide briefing in June, the governor said.

Another test has since been administered in Columbus, said DeWine, acknowledging the possibility that the first test could be a false positive. That second test was not a “rapid” test and the results are not yet available.

“I had no symptoms, no reason to think I had COVID-19, so I haven’t done any other testing,” he said in a Zoom address Thursday afternoon.

The governor said he’d been cautious since the pandemic began about keeping his distance – a even from members of his own family, including his two pregnant daughters – and wore a mask.

“I don’t know where I got it,” he said, adding that everyone who has been in direct contact, including family members, staff members and Ohio State Highway Patrol in his “bubble,” also was tested Thursday.

DeWine returned to Cedarville around 4 p.m., where the governor said he has been spending most of his time since the pandemic began and where he and his wife, Fran, will self-quarantine for at least the next 14 days.

“But anyone who knows me knows I’m going to continue to do what I do,” he said. “I spend most days right here anyway.”

“I’ve got a great team around me, I’ve got a great lieutenant governor,” he said.

Lt. Gov. John Husted also was tested for the coronavirus Thursday; the results were negative.

DeWine, 73, was an early champion of public health measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. His order shutting down all but essential businesses early on drew complaints from those who saw it as an overreaction.

The governor said he was disappointed in social media talk that his illness is proof that masks don’t work in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. And he said he’d received texts with the same message.

“I’ve already gotten a few not-so-nice texts,” he said. “That’s not the lesson that should come from this. The lesson that should come from is that we’re all human, this virus is everywhere, this virus is very tough and yes, you can contract it even when you’re very, very careful and even when you wear a mask. But your odds are just dramatically better [with a mask.]”

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