​​COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is feeling well and has tested negative after learning Wednesday that he was exposed to two staff members who tested positive for COVID-19, the governor said Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • The governor, who is vaccinated, says he feels well and has tested negative

  • DeWine had ridden in a car with the staff members who contracted COVID-19

  • He said Ohio's case numbers are moving in the right direction, but remain too high

Holding a virtual news conference from quarantine at his home in Cedarville, the governor said that he had ridden in a car with both individuals for a good period of time, part of the reason why he and first lady Fran DeWine are taking precautions despite being vaccinated and having received booster shots. 

“I was actually on my way to Akron and got the call, and talked to the doctors and turned right around. Fran also had a full schedule ahead for the next few days, and so we both decided the best thing to do is just to pull back and not risk exposing someone,” DeWine said. 

Both staff members who tested positive are also vaccinated, DeWine said. At least one of the people is experiencing some symptoms, but the governor said they are doing well. 

The governor and first lady will continue to get tested daily and quarantine until Sunday. They both tested negative Wednesday afternoon. DeWine said he is not receiving any preventative medical treatments, upon consultation with doctors.

DeWine said he has reached out directly to several people that had been in close contact with him during recent travels, alerting them of the exposure. 

During the news conference, DeWine provided updates on the pandemic in Ohio and the recent approval of vaccines for children ages 5 to 11. 

October was the sixth deadliest month of the pandemic in Ohio, with the virus claiming the lives of about 41 residents each day, he said. 

“That is a lower number than we've had at certain times during the pandemic, but it still is 41 families who are devastated, 41 families who have to deal with that grief and 41 families who have lost a loved one,” he said. 

The governor said it’s a dangerous myth that COVID-19 only affects older people, warning that unvaccinated Ohioans, even those who are younger, still face risk from the virus. Of the 1,264 deaths in October, 173 were among people in their 50s, 78 were among people in their 40s and 28 were among people in their 30s. The numbers for the month continue to rise due to reporting lags.

He said several of his younger grandchildren have appointments to get vaccinated this week, a relief for the families.

With cases still high in Ohio, DeWine said younger school-aged children should continue to be masked for another next month or so.

“Things are getting better every day. We're seeing more Ohioans get vaccinated… We've now reached a new stage in this pandemic where we're seeing children, younger children, now being able to get vaccinated,” DeWine said. “There's light at the end of the tunnel and we think we can see the end, but if you're not vaccinated, the danger is still very, very high.”

Downward case trends locally and nationally are reasons for hope, and DeWine said if the numbers keep moving in the right direction, the state could be at “a much safer level” next month. 

“We are all certainly ready to be done with the pandemic, but tragically the pandemic is not yet done with us,” he said.