Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced on Thursday that he tested positive for coronavirus. The 73-year-old governor was tested for COVID-19 as a safeguard before meeting with President Donald Trump in Ohio. However, a second, more sensitive test later determined that the diagnosis was a false alarm.
“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,” he wrote on Twitter.
DeWine is not exhibiting any symptoms at the present time. He is returning to Columbus with First Lady Fran DeWine, where they will both be tested. DeWine will then quarantine at his home in Cedarville for the next two weeks.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was also tested for coronavirus ahead of Trump’s visit and tested negative, according to DeWine’s office.
President Trump was expecting to meet DeWine at the Burke Lakefront Airport tarmac in Cleveland.
“I want to just say that a very good friend of mine just tested positive, do you know that? Our great governor, Governor of Ohio, DeWine, just tested positive, just here,” President Trump said at the airport on Thursday afternoon. “And we want to wish him the best. 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.’ But he’s a great guy. He’s done a fantastic job, and your Lt. Gov. Jon Husted is here someplace.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper reacted to DeWine’s positive test in a statement, “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. As fellow Ohioans, we stand with and support our governor and his family at this time.”
Later, however, a second, more sensitive test apparently determined that Gov. Dewine did not, in fact, have the virus.
DeWine has taken more aggressive action during the coronavirus pandemic than other Republican governors. DeWine declared a state of emergency on March 9, despite there only being three confirmed coronavirus cases at the time and no deaths from the virus yet. Ohio implemented a stay-at-home order on March 23. All restaurant dining rooms and bars were closed on March 15. On July 8, DeWine announced a mandatory face mask order in any county that is under alert level 3 or higher. Earlier this week, DeWine issued an order requiring all K-12 students to wear face coverings.
Ohio has nearly 78,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 3,600 COVID-19 deaths.
DeWine becomes the second U.S. governor to test positive for coronavirus, following Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), who announced contracting coronavirus last month.