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Morning Headlines: Akron Enacts New Limits on Gatherings, Masks; Cleveland Unable to Report Influx of COVID-19 Cases

A woman is seen wearing a plaid cloth protective face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A woman is seen wearing a plaid cloth protective face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. Akron City Council on Monday night passed legislation that will temporarily limit the size of private gatherings in the city to six and mandate face coverings at those gatherings at all times.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, November 17:

  • Akron enacts new limits on gatherings, masks
  • Cleveland unable to report influx of COVID-19 cases
  • DeWine signals new orders could come Tuesday
  • Three area hospital leaders concerned about rising COVID-19 cases
  • 15 homicides in one week breaks another record in Cleveland
  • DeWine tweaked by Trump, praised by Biden
  • FBI searches home of Ohio public utility commission chairman
  • Browns place Janovich on COVID list after he played in game

Akron enacts new limits on gatherings, masks
Akron City Council on Monday night passed legislation that will temporarily limit the size of private gatherings in the city to six and mandate face coverings at those gatherings at all times. The order was proposed earlier in the day by Mayor Dan Horrigan. Violators could face a $250 fine. People can report violations to Akron police’s non-emergency line at 330-375-2181. The new rules will be reevaluated after 30 days.

Cleveland unable to report influx of COVID-19 cases
The city of Cleveland says it can’t keep up with the “unprecedented” number of COVID-19 cases flooding in. In a press release Monday night, the city said it was unable to report how many new cases had been recorded within the city on Sunday or on Monday, and that the health department would share the data as soon as it can be compiled. Cleveland reported a total of 139 new cases on Saturday. Statewide, Ohio reported nearly 7,270 cases on Monday to surpass 300,000 total since March.

DeWine signals new orders could come Tuesday
Gov. Mike DeWine signaled new COVID-19 health orders could be coming Tuesday. DeWine held several press conferences in West Virginia and in southern and eastern Ohio on Monday. Reports have said he may be considering a 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. curfew on most businesses, including bars and restaurants. The number of new cases peaked Friday at more 8,100 and have averaged around 7,600 since Saturday. DeWine’s next press briefing Tuesday at 2 p.m. Hear it live on 89.7 WKSU or at WKSU.org.

Three area hospital leaders concerned about rising COVID-19 cases
As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase throughout the state and in Cuyahoga County, area hospital leaders are concerned about the growing number of health care workers out sick with the virus. Officials say more than 800 employees are out at Cleveland Clinic, 200 at University Hospitals and 60 at MetroHealth, which will make it more difficult to care for the rising number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros says contact tracing shows the employees are not contracting the virus at work, but out in the community. Boutros says while there is sufficient capacity to treat patients across the healthcare systems for now, the three hospitals will work together on a surge plan, such preparing buildings for overflow patients, if needed in the coming weeks.

15 homicides in one week breaks another record in Cleveland
The city of Cleveland had 15 homicides in the last week, pushing the total to 168 for the year. Cleveland.com reports that’s the highest yearly total since there were 175 in 1991. Seven people were killed this past weekend. Last year, Cleveland had 118 homicides through Nov. 16. This year’s total is a 42% increase.

DeWine tweaked by Trump, praised by Biden
Gov. Mike DeWine has found himself on the receiving end of criticism by President Donald Trump and praise by President-Elect Joe Biden. Trump on Monday appeared to suggest in a tweet that DeWine needed a primary challenger. The president's tweet came a day after DeWine said the president should begin a transition to Biden. Later Monday, Biden gave a shout-out to DeWine as a leader among conservative Republicans for his proactive efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. DeWine, a co-chair of Trump's re-election campaign in Ohio, said in a statement he looked forward to running a winning campaign in 2020.

FBI searches home of Ohio public utility commission chairman
FBI agents have conducted a search of a home owned by the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The FBI on Monday confirmed that it conducted activity at an address owned by PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo, who was appointed to the position in April 2019. As PUCO chair, Randazzo also is chairman of the Ohio Power Siting Board. He is considered one of the top experts on public utility law in the state. A PUCO spokesperson said Monday he had no comment or information about the search of Randazzo's home and that Randazzo wasn't available for an interview.

Browns place Janovich on COVID list after he played in game
Browns fullback Andy Janovich was placed on the COVID-19 list, a day after he played 26 snaps in a 10-7 win over the Houston Texans. The team was notified of Janovich’s positive coronavirus test in the morning and immediately closed its facility in Berea, Ohio, to conduct contact tracing. Players held their meetings virtually and coach Kevin Stefanski conducted his Zoom call with the media from home. Janovich signed with the Browns as a free agent in March. He was on the field for 15 offensive plays and 11 on special teams in Sunday’s game. He joins offensive lineman Chris Hubbard on the team's COVID-19 list.