Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Tests Positive For COVID-19

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UPDATE [10:33 p.m.]

Gov. DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19 after receiving a second test upon returning to Columbus.

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[1:06 p.m.]

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOSU) —Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he has come back positive for COVID-19 after taking a test Thursday.

Gov. Mike DeWine
[Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]
DeWine was tested in order to greet President Donald Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland. The governor is returning to quarantine at his home in Cedarville.

The governor has no symptoms at this time, his office reports. His wife Fran DeWine will also be tested.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also took a COVID-19 test and tested negative.

DeWine has scheduled a press conference for 4:30 p.m. You can watch below, courtesy of The Ohio Channel.

Trump had planned to visit a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Sandusky County on Thursday before going to a fundraiser in Bratenahl. The visit intended to focus on the Trump administration’s trade policies.

At his most recent coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, DeWine was asked if he had concerns about Trump holding a fundraiser during the pandemic.

“I’m always concerned any time anybody gets together,” DeWine said. “If that is an inside event – I don’t even know if it’s an inside event or an outside event. I think it’s the Shoreby Club. I just don’t know. We always would worry, but I’m, you know, going to assume they’re taking very, very, very good precautions.”

DeWine had postponed his usual Thursday press briefing to Friday in order to meet Trump. It’s not clear yet if that briefing will still happen.

DeWine is the second U.S. governor to test positive for the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced his illness in July.

The governor has been tested regularly for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, even once taking a test live on TV during one of his briefings. He’s also been an early advocate for face masks and social distancing measures, and said he is careful to not get close to his grandchildren during visits.

Last month, DeWine ordered a statewide mandate for face masks in public, and this week issued a public health order requiring students at K-12 schools wear masks if in-person classes resume this fall.

In a statement, Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper said he is “saddened” to hear of DeWine’s positive test.

“We know how hard he’s been working to keep Ohioans safe, and this is just one more reminder that this virus can impact everyone,” Pepper wrote. “As fellow Ohioans, we stand with and support our governor and his family at this time.”

As of Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health reports 97,471 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state. A total of 3,618 people have died, while just under 980 people are currently hospitalized.

This article will be updated with more information as the story develops.