Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney clarified the governor’s remarks made on September 8 regarding internet rumors about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) camps and kids being pulled from home to stay overnight at school being “garbage.”
Tierney said in an interview with The Ohio Star that messages the governor received over the weekend preceding the Tuesday press briefing came from concerned Ohioans who were commenting on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) infographic that showed up on social media over the weekend.
The press secretary made it clear that the concerns and comments made by the governor were associated with other news outlets – not The Star.
On September 3, The Star asked DeWine about the August 31 Second-Amended Order for Non-Congregate Sheltering to be utilized throughout Ohio.
The order states “[n]on-congregate sheltering be utilized throughout the state for those who are unable to safely self-quarantine in their places of residence and to isolate those diagnosed with or showing symptoms of COVID-19”
The questions asked of the governor on September 3 were:
- Who decides whether a resident is safe for self-quarantine?
- What are the determinants? Does this apply to the entire population?
- And what authority do you have to remove people from their homes?
The governor’s response was “[p]rimarily, that’s going to be determined by individuals who think they are not safe at home.”
The answer wasn’t that the determination would be made exclusively by the individual, nor was it emphatic – as the governor then said “I’ll get more information on that and I’ll report back.”
The questions regarding who decides whether the residence is safe and the determinants were spurred by the belief readers of The Star held and expressed in their questions to the news outlet – that a person recommended for isolation would be required to have his/her own room and bathroom.
What was not made clear by the governor’s answer was whether the guideline was non-negotiable and whether the government had the authority to demand someone into the FEMA/EMA procured shelters.
Since the question was first posed The Star has learned that the guideline regarding safe isolation does include the need for an isolated person to have his/her own bathroom and room.
After DeWine’s emphatic statements on September 8, there are more questions now being asked:
- Why not just rescind the order?
- Why not spell-out in the order that people retain the power to decide and cannot be forced to leave their residences for non-congregate sheltering?
- Since the Director of the Ohio Department of Health at the time the order was drafted is an attorney – why is there such latitude for the possibility that people can be forced to non-congregate sheltering?
After the Tuesday press conference The Cleveland Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com reached out to The Star seeking comment about its article on FEMA camps. The same day the Cleveland outlet ran a story that miscategorized comments by The Star and a request for correction has already been made.
The article claimed The Star was the first outlet to report on the August 31 order, referring to the FEMA camps – however, [your]NEWS published an article a day earlier spelling out the FEMA agreement with Ohio. The correction also noted that when The Star was asked about the word “camp”, the writer said that it is a synonym for “shelter” and that in the article the word “camp,” “shelter,” and “non-congregate sheltering” are all used interchangeably.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/Cincinnati.com also associated the rumors and governor’s garbage comments with The Star in a September 8 article and a correction request was also submitted to the southwestern Ohio news agency.
“It’s unfortunate that the CDC information about kids being held overnight was out of context and we recognize that didn’t come from you” said Dan Tierney to The Star.
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Jack Windsor is Managing Editor and an Investigative Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an Investigative Reporter at WMFD-TV. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine. Background Photo “Ohio Statehouse” by Mj. CC BY-SA 4.0.