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Morning Headlines: More Than 7,800 New COVID-19 Cases in Ohio; Initial Ohio Unemployment Claims Continue to Increase

A health care worker administers a throat swab test at a drive-in COVID-19 testing center.
A health care worker administers a throat swab test at a drive-in COVID-19 testing center. Ohio reported more than 7,800 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, November 16:

  • More than 7,800 new COVID-19 cases in Ohio
  • Initial Ohio unemployment claims continue to increase
  • DeWine calls for smooth presidential transition
  • Opponents of death penalty call for ban in lame duck session
  • Cleveland State to go remote-only after Thanksgiving
  • FirstEnergy sets goal to become carbon free by 2050
  • Blustery conditions knock out power for thousands

More than 7,800 new COVID-19 cases in Ohio
Ohio reported more than 7,800 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, with a daily average ticking up to more than 4,700. The pace of new cases has been spiking since mid-September. Ohio set a record of of just over 8,000 cases recorded Friday. Since the pandemic began more than 57,000 Ohioans have died due to COVID-19.

Initial Ohio unemployment claims continue to increase
Initial claims for unemployment compensation in Ohio are continuing to rise. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services oversees unemployment claims. The agency said Friday that nearly 22,000 Ohioans filed claims for unemployment for the week ending Nov. 7. That's a 3% increase from the previous week, but nearly 20% higher than October figures. The state also says Ohioans filed more than 260-thousand continuing unemployment claims last week, a figure considered a more reliable indicator of economic strength and one that has slowly decreased over the past few weeks.

DeWine calls for smooth presidential transition
Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday urged President Donald Trump to allow a smooth transition for President-elect Joe Biden's administration. Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" DeWine said Trump could go on his "legal track" but that we "also need to begin the process" of transitioning into a new administration. Over the weekend, Trump for the first time acknowledged that Biden had won the election, but has continued false claims that the race was "rigged" by democrats.

Opponents of death penalty call for ban in lame duck session
Ohio death penalty opponents are calling on lawmakers to enact a ban on capital punishment during the lame duck legislative session. Sen. Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from Lakewood and a sponsor of legislation banning the death penalty, has the support of some Senate Republicans. She said Friday that a death penalty ban is the compassionate, pragmatic and economically prudent thing to do. A spokesperson for Senate President Larry Obhof said he supports a more limited ban on executing the severely mentally ill. Supporters of the legislation abolishing capital punishment say not to underestimate what can happen during a lame duck session.

Cleveland State to go remote-only after Thanksgiving
Cleveland State University says it will go completely remote after Thanksgiving break due to the surge in COVID-19 cases across Ohio. Cleveland.com reports the plan is to continue classes through Thanksgiving break and go remote after Nov. 30, with few exceptions. All facilities on campus will remain open. Officials say the school plans to remain remote through finals week ending Dec. 12. The school had previously announced students will have an extended winter break and no spring break to try and mitigate travel in the middle of next semester.

FirstEnergy sets goal to become carbon free by 2050
Ohio's largest electric utility has established a goal to become carbon free by 2050. FirstEnergy said it will eventually close two coal-fired power plants in West Virginia, replace its truck fleet with electric and hybrid vehicles and build a large solar farm in West Virginia. The announcement comes amid numerous state and local investigations into what authorities say was a $60 million bribery scheme to win a billion dollar legislative bailout for two aging nuclear plants. FirstEnergy called the carbon-free initiative a “big step.”

Blustery conditions knock out power for thousands
Severe winds left tens of thousands across the region without power Sunday. FirstEnergy reported 46,000 outages in Cuyahoga County, 27,000 in Summit County, nearly 16,000 in Lake County and more than 11,000 outages in Portage. FirstEnergy is still working to restore power for thousands.