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Morning Headlines: Ohio Surpasses 400K Total COVID-19 Cases; Summa Suspends Elective Procedures

A photo of Summa health
Akron-based Summa Health is suspending most elective procedures including beginning Tuesday. This comes as both Akron City Hospital and Summa's Barberton Campus are seeing a surge of coronavirus patients.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, November 30:

  • Ohio surpasses 400K total COVID-19 cases
  • Summa suspends elective procedures
  • Watchdog group aims to turn lights back on with open records
  • Akron councilman reveals cancer battle
  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers prepare for strike
  • Deer-gun season begins Monday
  • Goodyear’s Toys for Tots begins Tuesday
  • Browns hold on to beat Jaguars
  • Outbreak puts Ohio State's championship hopes in jeopardy

Ohio surpasses 400K total COVID-19 cases
Ohio surpassed 400,000 total coronavirus cases over the weekend. There were more than 7,700 cases and 21 deaths reported Sunday, still with thousands of reports pending review. The state has been trying to work through a backlog of thousands of rapid antigen tests for more than a week. Hospitalizations also continue to climb. There are nearly 5,000 COVID patients accounting for more than 18% of hospital beds in the state. There’s also a record of nearly 1,150 people currently in the ICU and a record of nearly 650 people currently on ventilators.

Summa suspends elective procedures
Akron-based Summa Health is suspending most elective procedures in the areas of surgical services, cardiology, endoscopy and interventional radiology beginning Tuesday. The decision does not affect emergency services. Akron City Hospital and Summa's Barberton Campus are currently treating about 140 coronavirus patients, nearly three times the number during the pandemic’s first peak in the spring.

Watchdog group aims to turn lights back on with open records
A government watchdog group hopes to turn the lights back on at the Ohio Statehouse by opening long-closed records to see who is influencing the legislative process after a $1.3 billion nuclear plant bailout that is now under federal investigation. The records surround discussions and decisions at the Legislative Service Commission. That's a nonpartisan agency that assists lawmakers with the drafting and researching of legislation. The records are also called bill files and include memos from a bill’s sponsor. They also contain material provided by lobbyists who asked the House or Senate sponsor to propose it.

Akron councilman reveals cancer battle
An Akron city councilman says he’s battling cancer. Ward 1 councilman Richard Swirsky announced on Facebook that he will begin undergoing chemotherapy to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He says Councilman at-large Jeff Fusco will be taking his calls and emails and that he will attend council meetings when he feels able.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers prepare for strike
The union representing teachers in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District is set to go on strike Wednesday after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract. Union President Karen Rego says the district’s offer eliminates a 1% reduction in the district’s contribution to teacher retirement funds and significantly increases health care costs. She also criticizes the district’s move to suspend healthcare benefits for those who go on strike. The district says in a written statement that state law compels it to cancel wages and benefits of striking workers and says it still holds out hope that a strike can be averted for the sake of students. Voters this month narrowly approved a levy increase for the district, and the results of a recount are expected this week.

Deer-gun season begins Monday
Deer-gun season begins Monday and runs through Sunday, with a bonus weekend Dec. 19-20. All hunters must have licenses, tags, written permission and wear hunter orange. Deer must be tagged immediately and can now be checked in online or with the HuntFish OH app. Ohio hunters harvested more than 82,000 deer during last year’s gun season.

Goodyear’s Toys for Tots begins Tuesday
Goodyear's annual Toys for Tots drive gets underway on Tuesday with some changes amid the pandemic. The 10th annual drive runs through Dec. 11 at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake blimp base and at select Goodyear Auto Service Centers. People driving into the hangar will need to wear a face mask, maintain social-distancing guidelines and have unwrapped toys placed in the trunk of their vehicles. They'll be collected by a U.S. Marine representative. Toys can also be shipped to the hangar through Dec. 8 for contactless donations. The drive, in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve supports the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

Browns hold on to beat Jaguars
The Browns beat Jacksonville 27-25 on Sunday, improving to 8-3 for the first time since 1994. It’s their most wins in 13 years and they remain squarely in the playoff picture. Meanwhile, chief of staff Callie Brownson handled game-day duties with Cleveland’s tight ends, a first for a female in team history. She was filling in for the tight ends coach who was away for the birth of his child. Brownson is one of a handful of female coaches currently working in the NFL. Her normal duties stretch across Cleveland’s entire coaching staff.

Outbreak puts Ohio State's championship hopes in jeopardy
Ohio State officials say they don't yet know when the third-ranked Buckeyes can get back on the field as they deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. There were enough positive tests among players and staff to cancel Saturday's game at Illinois. One of the positive tests was coach Ryan Day, who because of forced isolation presumably won't be in the sideline if the Buckeyes (4-0) are able to play at Michigan State this weekend. The team is now in danger of not playing the minimum number of games required to be eligible for the Big Ten championship game.

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.
Jon joined the station in September 2012 as a producer. He loves all the things he gets to do at the station; from assisting the news department with stories to meeting the interesting guests on Elevations, every day is a new adventure.