One year ago, Gov. DeWine held first COVID briefing to announce postponement of Arnold Sports Festival

March 3 marks one year of COVID-19 Updates
COVID Presser
Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 03, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Exactly a year ago, March 3 marked the start of COVID-19 making an impact in Ohio.

On that day, Governor Mike DeWine announced spectators would not be allowed at the Annual Arnold Sports Festival, the bodybuilding competition and showcase in Columbus.

“We have all decided to move forward with the athlete competition but to not allow spectators or the trade show to continue,” he said.

Arnold Schwarzenegger even called in to reassure fans about the postponed tradeshow.

“We will postpone it and have it later on this year,” Schwarzenegger said on speaker phone.

That did not happen.

For those wondering, organizers already pushed back the 2021 Arnold Sports Festival to later in the year.

Looking back on the announcement through today’s lens shows just how far life changed.

“COVID-19 is an evolving situation,” DeWine said that day. “Right now, Ohio has no confirmed cases.”

For instance, DeWine stood at the podium in front of seven prominent leaders, in an era before medical experts suggested masks and social distancing.

The Health Director wouldn’t issue a statewide mask mandate until July 23.

As the news conference wrapped up, the governor can be seen shaking hands and patting several people on the back, while Dr. Amy Acton can be seen attempting to trade elbows with a few individuals.

It’s also the first time many were introduced to Dr. Amy Acton, who quickly rose to prominence as Director for the Ohio Department of Health.

“This situation is going to continue to spread,” she explained. “We will see cases in Ohio eventually.”

That “eventually” adds up to more than 968,000 confirmed cases so far.

The first confirmed cases were in Ohio on March 9, 2020, but experts suggest the coronavirus may have made its way to Ohio months earlier in January.

By the end of March last year, schools, bars, restaurants and salons were among the places ordered closed.

At the time of the first COVID-19 update, Dr. Acton announced that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, known as the CDC, was still the only agency conducting COVID-19 testing.

“That’s taking a test and waiting 3-5 days,” she explained. “Our lab is standing ready to receive a test and possibly multiple tests sometime this week.”

Since then, the Ohio Department of Health has created a map and list of all the places in your community that you can get a COVID-19 test.

While a lot has changed since that news conference, at least one constant remains.

“We will continue to inform you what we know when we know it, and we will do that as we move forward,” Governor DeWine said as he wrapped up on March 3, 2020.

Over the course of the last year, Governor Mike DeWine has conducted around 146 COVID-19 update news conferences.

During his March 1, 2021 COVID Update, DeWine addressed the unusual anniversary.

“That was really, at least for me, the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.