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Morning Headlines: New Ohio COVID-19 Cases Top 7,000; Ohio Supreme Court: A Municipality Does Not Qualify as a ‘Victim’

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OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
More than 7,100 new coronavirus cases were reported Thursday in Ohio. That shattered the previous record set on Tuesday, and nearly tripled the rate seen just three weeks ago.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, November 13:

  • New Ohio COVID-19 cases top 7,000
  • Ohio Supreme Court: a municipality does not qualify as a ‘victim’
  • State unveils new COVID-19 zip code tracker and flu dashboard
  • Ex-Ohio State professor pleads guilty to sharing work with China
  • No Salvation Army bell ringers at Acme Stores this season
  • Key bridge linking OH and KY damaged

New Ohio COVID-19 cases top 7,000
The number of new coronavirus cases in Ohio has hit yet another record high. More than 7,100 new cases were reported Thursday. That shattered the previous record set on Tuesday, and nearly tripled the rate seen just three weeks ago. 68 Ohio counties are now at the red alert level, in the state’s color coded warning system. Franklin and Tuscarawas are now at purple, the highest risk level. DeWine has threatened to close bars, restaurants, and fitness centers next week if the high rate of spread continues. He is also restricting activities at private parties by requiring attendees to wear masks and remain seated during events.

Ohio Supreme Court: a municipality does not qualify as a ‘victim’
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a municipality is not considered a victim under a new victims' rights law. Thursday’s ruling rejects an argument by the Centerville Police Department that it should be eligible for compensation as if it were an individual. The issue involved the interpretation of a constitutional amendment approved in 2017 that expanded the definition of victim to someone “directly or proximately” harmed by a crime. Centerville sought compensation for investigating a false report of an active shooter.

State unveils new COVID-19 zip code tracker and flu dashboard
The Ohio Department of Health has launched two new online features for people to track COVID-19 cases by ZIP code and get more data about flu cases and hospitalizations throughout the state. Gov. Mike DeWine announced both features during his coronavirus briefing on Thursday. The ZIP code feature of the website is located under "key metrics" in the drop-down menu. It gives people a variety of information from the state's nearly 1,200 ZIP codes. The new flu dashboard breaks down flu statistics by region, age, race and sex. The dashboard will be updated every Friday at 9 a.m.

Ex-Ohio State professor pleads guilty to sharing work with China
An Ohio-based medical researcher and former professor has pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from what prosecutors called a sophisticated scheme to transfer U.S.-backed research to China. The government says Song Guo Zheng of Hilliard in suburban Columbus and his research groups secured more than $4.3 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health for projects. Investigators said Zheng was receiving overlapping funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China at the same time. Zheng pleaded guilty Thursday to a count of making false statements to authorities. A message was left with his attorneys seeking comment.

No Salvation Army bell ringers at Acme Stores this season
Acme Fresh Markets says it will not allow bell ringers for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign this year at its storefronts because of COVID-19 concerns. The Beacon Journal reports the Akron-based grocer says it will instead place unmanned collection stations near its entrances starting this Saturday. The Salvation Army says bell ringer collection will continue at area Hobby Lobby, Giant Eagle, Walmart and Sam's Club stores. Officials say it will be limited to a single bell ringer at a time at each location, set up outside, with masks, periodic sanitization of the kettles and social distancing. Bell Ringers will also check their temperatures. The Salvation Army encourages people to use a cashless option posted at each site.

Key bridge linking OH and KY damaged
Repairs to a vital bridge linking Ohio and Kentucky damaged yesterday by a fiery truck crash will take weeks according to transportation officials. The Brent Spence Bridge is a crucial highway artery over the Ohio River connecting downtown Cincinnati with northern Kentucky. Workers on Thursday cleared debris as the bridge cooled down from the extreme heat from the crash. Officials don’t yet know the extent of damage, but says repairs will take weeks.