Morning Headlines: State Outlines COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan; More Ohio Schools Moving to Online Classes
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, October 21:
- State outlines COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan
- More Ohio schools are moving to online classes
- More than 1.1 million Ohioans have already voted
- Chicago adds Ohio, 4 other states to travel quarantine amid virus spike
- Biden reportedly considering Kasich for cabinet post
- Ohio’s long-term care visitation dashboard goes live
- Biden leads Trump in ad spending in Ohio
- Lawmakers want answers about earlier ballot-counting deadline
- Doctor asks court to dismiss murder indictment in 25 deaths
State outlines COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan
Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday outlined how the state will distribute a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. The first Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccine will be high-risk health care workers and first responders, then older adults living in congregate facilities such as nursing homes, along with older people with underlying medical conditions. The Ohio Department of Health will also be launching a new registration tool for health care providers who would like to eventually administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The plan will be available on the state’s coronavirus website Wednesday.
More Ohio schools are moving to online classes
More Ohio school districts are moving to remote learning as coronavirus cases surge across the state. In the last two weeks at least 16 districts have scaled back to hybrid or fully online models because of the spread. Gov. DeWine says that more than 50 districts are fully online, with nearly 300,000 Ohio students unable to attend in-person classes due to the coronavirus. The state's largest school district, Columbus with 52,000 students, says it will continue remote learning through January 15, after planning to return next week.
More than 1.1 million Ohioans have already voted
Ohioans continue to cast ballots at a record pace two weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential election. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says more than 1.1 million Ohioans have voted early, including around 675,000 absentee ballots. Nearly 450,000 people have voted in person. The numbers are close to eclipsing the total early votes cast in 2016, which was 1.8 million.
Chicago adds Ohio, 4 other states to travel quarantine amid virus spike
Chicago has added Ohio and four other states to its quarantine order amid concerns about the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Illinois. On Tuesday, the city announced that beginning Friday travelers from Ohio, Delaware, Colorado, West Virginia and Texas will be subject to a two-week quarantine requirement.
Biden reportedly considering Kasich for cabinet post
A report from Politico says Democrat Joe Biden is vetting a handful of Republicans for potential cabinet positions, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Past presidents often had bipartisan cabinets, a tradition that died with President Donald Trump. Among the names being floated are Kasich, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, and former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Biden’s willingness to reach across party lines is irking the left wing of his party. Members of the Democratic left signed a letter last week opposing corporate executives or conservatives in a Biden administration. Other public policy experts say appointing Republicans won’t win Biden any goodwill among rank-and-file GOP lawmakers.
Ohio’s long-term care visitation dashboard goes live
Ohio's new long-term care facility dashboard is now online. It outlines visitation information at nursing facilities across the state. Those with loved ones in a nursing facility can search for information by county or facility to find information on the types of visits that are offered and when they are permitted. Nursing facilities were permitted to allow indoor visitations beginning October 12.
Biden leads Trump in ad spending in Ohio
The campaign ad war between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden and groups that support them has been fairly even in Ohio. And now with the polls showing the candidates in a virtual tie, the final stretch shows the candidates are changing their spending plans for this state. The Trump campaign has canceled all but around $3 million of the $18 million it planned to spend on Ohio TV ads from Labor Day to Election Day. The Biden campaign is outspending Trump by buying just over $5 million in ads in Ohio. Trump’s ads will air in Ohio’s three biggest markets in the final week, while Biden’s ads will air in those cities and Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown from now until Election Day.
Lawmakers want answers about earlier ballot-counting deadline
Some Democratic state lawmakers want to know why Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is shortening the amount of time counties can have to finish the official count from November’s election. LaRose told elections officials they have until Nov. 18 to complete their official ballot count. That’s six days sooner than the deadline set by state law. In a letter to LaRose, State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney says Ohio is projecting a huge voter turnout, with many early voters and first-time voters. Plus, she says there have been ballot printing delays and changes in mail service that make it less reliable. So she says boards of elections need the maximum time they can get to count ballots. And she fears voters could be disenfranchised. A spokesman for LaRose says the expedited deadline will ensure there would be enough time for a recount if necessary.
Doctor asks court to dismiss murder indictment in 25 deaths
An Ohio hospital doctor who pleaded not guilty to murder charges in 25 patient deaths has asked a court to dismiss the indictment and alleged misconduct by the prosecutor. William Husel is accused of ordering excessive painkillers for patients in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System. He is charged only in cases involving at least 500 micrograms of fentanyl, because prosecutors say dosages that big indicated an intent to prematurely end lives. In a filing Tuesday, Husel’s lawyers argue the prosecutor wrongly influenced the grand jury by excluding information about a patient who received even larger dosages and survived days afterward. The prosecutor's office says it will respond in court.