YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke with our sister station, WKBN, Friday about COVID, the state of the job market in Ohio, and his future priorities.
DeWine said despite the Omicron variant popping up, he’s optimistic. He says while vaccinations in the state have slowed, thousands of people are getting shots every day.
As of now, he doesn’t have any plans for more vaccination incentives at the state level. When asked about President Biden’s remarks saying that there is no federal solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, DeWine said testing is his biggest concern and getting more kits.
“We need more testing. We’ve needed more, frankly, throughout this whole process. We were able to put out one million testing kits in December, but we don’t have enough,” he said. “Testing is one of the things we are worried about and talking about this morning with my team.”
On the state level, Dewine has 2,000 National Guard members going to hospitals to aid staffing shortages. He said they’re watching and are prepared to send more if needed.
One side effect of the pandemic has been job loss, resignations and unemployment. DeWine said there are fewer people on unemployment in the state than when the pandemic started, leading him to see that people have either left their jobs for better-paying ones or become self-employed. In the short run, he says there’s not much they can do to fix the problem of people resigning.
“The future of this state does depend on how well trained all Ohioans are. We want every Ohioan to be able to have the tools that they need, the education that they need to get a good-paying job and be able to keep that job and be able to raise a family,” DeWine said.
DeWine said education is one of his top three focuses in the new year. The other two are mental health and violent crime.