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Morning Headlines: Ohio Sets New Record For Virus Cases, Total Hospitalizations; College of Wooster Goes Entirely Remote

Ohio dashboard of key indicators of COVID-19 for October 21, 2020.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
COVID-19 cases in Ohio hit a new record as the state grapples with a concerning uptick in virus-related hospitalizations and deaths. Daily cases reached 2,366 on Wednesday, surpassing the previous record of cases set Saturday by more than 130.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, October 22:

  • Ohio sets new record for virus cases, total hospitalizations
  • College of Wooster goes entirely remote amid COVID spike
  • Kent State says it hopes to keep campus open amid virus spread
  • Ohio COVID-19 nursing home deaths rise
  • State halts monthly inspections at Cuyahoga jail
  • Summit County’s unemployment rate drops, others vary
  • Cleveland offers rent reprieve for West Side Market vendors
  • Cleveland approves sidewalk, parking lot dining through June 2021

Ohio sets new record for virus cases, total hospitalizations
COVID-19 cases in Ohio hit a new record as the state grapples with a concerning uptick in virus-related hospitalizations and deaths. Daily cases reached 2,366 on Wednesday, surpassing the previous record of cases set Saturday by more than 130. While the number of daily hospitalizations saw a slight decrease, with 135, state data shows more than 1,250 Ohioans are currently hospitalized with the virus.

College of Wooster goes entirely remote amid COVID spike
The College of Wooster is suspending in-person classes for the rest of the fall semester as COVID-19 cases rise. The school last week recorded 61 positive cases among around 600 people tested, a nearly 10% positivity rate. President Sarah Bolton says the cases are directly connected to social events, parties, and gatherings where students did not wear masks. She says students will be allowed to remain on campus but are also free to travel home.

Kent State says it hopes to keep campus open amid virus spread
Kent State University reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, the highest weekly total since the college began tracking cases in July. The head of the university’s reopening committee, Manfred van Dulmen, says Kent will move more classes online if cases continues to rise, and he says the goal will be to try to keep residence halls open. Last week, in partnership with CVS Health, around 450 Kent State community members were invited to participate in a weekly random testing. CVS Minute Clinics are also offering free testing to the Kent State community, and the DeWeese Health Center, which had been testing those with symptoms since this summer, began testing asymptomatic individuals.

Ohio COVID-19 nursing home deaths rise
The number of Ohio nursing home residents who have died with coronavirus is at least 3,214, according to new state figures. The number accounts for more than 62% of Ohio’s total COVID-19 deaths, which is down from 70% percent in May. There were 45 new deaths reported at long-term care facilities last week.

State halts monthly inspections at Cuyahoga jail
State officials say they no longer need to conduct monthly inspections at the Cuyahoga County jail, citing significantly improved operations. Gov. Mike DeWine had ordered the inspections 2019, following several inmate deaths and concerns about abuse and mismanagement. The jail also became the subject of dozens of lawsuits that accused the county of poor leadership. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections noted this week that after 16 months of increased scrutiny, the county jail complies with all state standards except for seven. In 2018 state inspectors found the jail out of compliance with 84.

Summit County’s unemployment rate drops, others vary
The unemployment rate in Summit County continues to improve. The jobless rate in the county fell nearly 1 point in September to 8.5% compared to 9.4% in August. The rate jumped to more than 16% at the start of the pandemic. The numbers vary widely though across Northeast Ohio with Cuyahoga County’s rate at more than 11%, while Wayne County’s rate is just 5%. Holmes County has the lowest jobless rate in the state at 3.5%. The overall unemployment rate for Ohio is around 8%.

Cleveland offers rent reprieve for West Side Market vendors
The city of Cleveland is helping out West Side Market vendors. The city announced on Wednesday it would waive three months of rent from tenants to provide some relief from the coronavirus pandemic. Deferred payments for April, May and June will now be forgiven. Venders at the city-owned market were facing challenges before the pandemic, including conditions of the building. The city is planning to spend about $15 million on upgrades and bring in a consultant to evaluate operations.

Cleveland approves sidewalk, parking lot dining through June 2021
Cleveland restaurants that began offering outdoor dining on sidewalks and parking lots during the pandemic will be allowed to continue. The rules set to expire Nov. 1 will be extended to June 2021. Restaurants will be able to apply for permits to expand seating areas using heated temporary structures in the winter months to be able to maintain social distancing for customers. Thirty-one restaurants have been approved for the program so far.