Morning Headlines: DeWine Orders 3-Week Retail Curfew to Slow Virus; Cleveland Reports Record 509 COVID-19 Cases in Two Days
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 18:
- DeWine orders 3-week retail curfew to slow virus
- Cleveland reports record 509 COVID-19 cases in two days
- Sen. Portman joins COVID-19 vaccine study to set example
- Pope names Pennsylvania priest to become Youngstown bishop
- Sen. Portman says it’s still premature to call Biden president-elect
- Sen. Brown gets in viral exchange with GOP Senator over masks
- Summit small businesses to share $5M in pandemic relief
- DeWine deflects questions on public utility official
DeWine orders 3-week retail curfew to slow virus
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. retail curfew beginning Thursday to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Under the three-week curfew, retail businesses must close and Ohioans should avoid going outside. The curfew does not apply to those who need to go to work, go out for an emergency, or are getting food. Ohio posted 7,079 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the sixth-highest day of the pandemic. There are currently a record of nearly 3,650 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ohio.
Cleveland reports record 509 COVID-19 cases in two days
The city of Cleveland had a record of more than 500 coronavirus cases on Monday and Tuesday. The surge has overwhelmed the city health department, delaying the numbers. The city still hasn’t released data from the weekend. Meanwhile, Cleveland.com reports the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court has had 25 court system employees and two defendants tested positive for the virus in the last week. And county Sheriff David Schilling on Monday stopped accepting new inmates who are charged with misdemeanors, except in cases of domestic violence. In March, the jail reduced the population to less than 1,000 to limit the spread of the virus. Since then it’s crept back up to more than 1,500.
Sen. Portman joins COVID-19 vaccine study to set example
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine test. Portman received an injection earlier this month at a Cincinnati lab that is testing an experimental vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. He does daily monitoring of his vital signs, keeping a log and working with the lab. Portman, like other volunteers, doesn't know if he got the vaccine or a dummy shot. J&J’s candidate is one of four vaccines in late-stage testing in the U.S. Two companies, Pfizer Inc., and Moderna, have reported their preliminary results show their experimental vaccines are strongly protective. Portman says he hopes to encourage more people to volunteer for the vaccine studies.
Pope names Pennsylvania priest to become Youngstown bishop
More than 194,000 Roman Catholics in northeastern Ohio are getting a new shepherd from Pennsylvania. Pope Francis on Tuesday named the Rev. David Bonnar of the Diocese of Pittsburgh as the sixth bishop of Youngstown. He’ll succeed Bishop George Murry, who died in June. Bonnar serves as pastor of St. Aidan Parish in Wexford, Pennsylvania. His ordination will take place on Jan. 12 at Youngstown’s Cathedral of St. Columba.
Sen. Portman says it’s still premature to call Biden president-elect
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman on Tuesday stopped short of recognizing Joe Biden as the president-elect, two weeks after the Nov. 3 election. Portman told reporters that it’s still premature to call Biden by that title until President Trump has exhausted all his legal challenges. Judges in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada have thrown out those challenges as without merit, but the president has appealed some of those decisions. Portman said it’s up to judges to determine if there was voter fraud, but did not cite any examples. So far just six Republican Senators have acknowledged Biden’s win.
Sen. Brown gets in viral exchange with GOP Senator over masks
Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown made waves on the Senate floor on Monday, calling on Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan to wear a mask when he speaks. Sullivan cut off Brown, saying, “I don’t need your instruction.” The brief exchange between the senators went viral on Twitter in a clip viewed more than 3 million times. On Twitter, Brown argued the incident showed a lack of concern about spreading the virus among GOP senators. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz also weighed in on Twitter, calling Brown’s comment idiotic, and called Brown a name.
Summit small businesses to share $5M in pandemic relief
Small businesses affected by the pandemic are getting funding in Summit County. Council has authorized the final round of its COVID-19 emergency grant program funded by the federal CARES Act. Officials say $5 million will be distributed to more than 1,200 small businesses. The program has provided more than $12 million in grants to more than 3,000 businesses since the pandemic began.
DeWine deflects questions on public utility official
Gov. Mike DeWine has deflected questions regarding an FBI search of the Columbus home of the state's top utility regulator. DeWine at a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday said “we're waiting for additional information” about the search of the residence of Sam Randazzo, a longtime utility attorney and lobbyist DeWine appointed chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in February 2019. DeWine called Randazzo “a good person" and said he would not act “without the facts." DeWine has sole authority to remove PUCO members. A PUCO spokesperson on Monday declined to comment about the search.