Ohio governor tests positive for coronavirus just before Donald Trump meeting

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has tested positive for coronavirus, just ahead of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump.

The Republican governor’s office said that he took the test as part of standard protocol before meeting President Trump at an airport in Cleveland.

He had planned to join the president on a visit to the Whirlpool factory in north-west Ohio.

His office said the 73-year-old had no symptoms, but was returning to Columbus. His office said he and his wife, Fran DeWine, will both be tested there. Mr DeWine then plans to quarantine at his home in Cedarville for 14 days.

Lt Gov Jon Husted tested negative. Mr DeWine, in his first term as governor, is one of Ohio’s most familiar politicians, previously serving as a US congressman, two-term US senator, Ohio attorney general and lieutenant governor.

Mr DeWine becomes the second US governor to test positive for coronavirus after Oklahoma Gov Kevin Stitt announced he contracted the virus last month.

In recent weeks, Mr DeWine has pleaded with Ohioans to take personal responsibility over the virus’ spread across the state. He avoided a statewide mask mandate until July 23 when the number of daily cases in the state began to push over 1,000.

Mr DeWine’s first try at a statewide requirement for wearing masks inside businesses — back in April — drew backlash that led him to rescind that directive the following day, a stutter among the aggressive moves that had won him early praise in his efforts to curb the virus.

Mask-wearing also has been a point of contention at the Statehouse, where many Democratic lawmakers have donned masks while many Republican lawmakers have not.

Mr DeWine has often found himself at odds with members of his own party on the policy.

Mr DeWine’s key health adviser during the pandemic, Dr Amy Action, left government this week. In the early months, she joined Mr DeWine at daily briefings and was a popular figure.

However, backlash against state restrictions helped lead to a protest at her home and her decision to step away from the public spotlight.

Mr DeWine gave a public update on Tuesday on the virus in Ohio, but had postponed a regular one on Thursday because of the president’s visit.

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