Morning Headlines: Ohio’s Next Vaccine Shipment Delayed but More than Expected; Lawmakers Take No Action on HB6
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, December 23:
- Ohio’s next vaccine shipment delayed but more than expected
- Lawmakers take no action on HB6
- COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations rise above three-week average
- Cleveland to administer 4,000 vaccine doses to paramedics, EMTs
- Mayor: Body cam not activated in police killing of Black man
- State report card grades remain on hold
- Cuyahoga further delays resuming jury trials
- Hudson lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19
- New law protects colleges, universities in free speech cases
- Ohio has spent $24M on COVID-19 awareness
- OSU woman's basketball, two other sports issue postseason ban
Ohio’s next vaccine shipment delayed but more than expected
Ohio's next vaccine shipments are behind schedule. State health department officials say the next allocation of 89,000 Pfizer doses will arrive Thursday. That's 19,500 more than was previously expected. The announcement also says an additional 69,700 Moderna doses will arrive later this week. Cleveland.com reports Ohio appears to not have received thousands of doses that Gov. Mike DeWine announced would arrive last week, when the state was to get nearly 100,000 doses from Pfizer. Meanwhile, Southwest General and Summa Health report that they received shipments of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday and will begin giving it to employees Wednesday. Summa received nearly 4,000 doses.
Lawmakers take no action on HB6
The fate of tainted legislation looming over the Ohio Statehouse since July will carry over to next year. Lawmakers took no action to repeal or replace House Bill 6 on the last day of the lame session Tuesday. HB6 is the $1 billion nuclear bailout law at the center of a $60 million bribery probe. The inaction by the House and Senate forced the hand of Franklin County Judge Chris Brown, who granted a preliminary injunction Monday that blocked the subsidies from the law that were set to be added to every electric bill in the state starting Jan. 1.
COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations rise above three-week average
The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Ohio continue to climb. The state reported 130 deaths on Tuesday, that's above the 21-day average of 81. Ohio's daily COVID-19 case numbers increased Tuesday by 7,678, which is below the 21-day rolling average. An additional 546 people were hospitalized.
Cleveland to administer 4,000 vaccine doses to paramedics, EMTs
The city of Cleveland will begin giving paramedics and EMTs the Moderna coronavirus vaccine on Christmas Eve. Cleveland Department of Public Health Interim Director Brian Kimball said Tuesday the city will receive 4,000 doses of for its first phase of vaccinating first responders. In a Facebook Live news conference, Mayor Frank Jackson also extended his proclamation of civil emergency to the end of January. The city has had more than 17,000 confirmed cases and 180 deaths.
Mayor: Body cam not activated in police killing of Black man
The mayor of Columbus says an officer who shot and killed a Black man holding a cell phone early Tuesday morning did not activate his body camera beforehand. Andrew Ginther said the result is that an automatic “look back” feature captured video of the shooting but not the audio. Ginther called that unacceptable. He said the officer has been removed from duty and his gun and badge turned over. The shooting happened shortly before 2 a.m., after city officers responded to reports of a man sitting for a long period of time in a car.
State report card grades remain on hold
State report card grades for districts will continue to be on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. The Ohio House passed the amended legislation Tuesday that if signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, would continue to pause the consequences that come from those report card grades. The bill also would exempt schools from the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee this school year. The legislation also allows districts to hire substitute teachers who are not accredited, to be able to maintain staffing levels during the pandemic.
Cuyahoga further delays resuming jury trials
Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court has further put off resuming jury trials due to the pandemic. Judges originally agreed to delay trials until Jan. 19 but now say they will meet again early next month to study county COVID-19 data and to determine when it's safe to return. Trials had resumed briefly in September, using space in the Global Center for Health Innovation.
Hudson lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19
A state lawmaker who has been quarantining after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms last week says he tested positive. Democratic State Rep. Casey Weinstein of Hudson says he currently has mild symptoms but says the virus is "tearing through my family." At least five House members have tested positive for the virus in the past month as the current legislative session draws to a close.
New law protects colleges, universities in free speech cases
Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law a bill that prohibits colleges or universities from taking any action or enforcing any policy that limits or restricts political speech on campus. The Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act also prohibits “free speech zones” at public colleges and universities. GOP backers say it was inspired by a 2017 move by the University of California, Berkeley, to prevent an ultra-right wing activist from speaking on that campus. They say the FORUM Act protects peaceful protests, speeches, petitions and guest speakers.
Ohio has spent $24M on COVID-19 awareness
The state of Ohio has spent more than $24 million in its coronavirus public awareness campaign. Efforts include using $8.3 million in federal CARES Act funding to air TV commercials. The state aging and health departments in recent days began a $13.5 million program to mail masks and COVID-19 precaution information to more than 2 million Ohioans age 65 and older. The state spent nearly $6.3 million in federal CARES Act funds on the initiative, while JobsOhio, the state's privatized economic development agency, spent $7.2 million of its funds to provide 10 million masks at an average cost of 72 cents each.
OSU woman's basketball, two other sports issue postseason ban
Ohio State's women's basketball team and two other sports are issuing self-imposed postseason bans. The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio State began an investigation into former women's assistant basketball coach Patrick Klein, who resigned last year. He wrote in a letter that his communications with some student athletes "may have been too informal or in some cases even inappropriate, violating university policy." That includes paying $100 for "bottle service at a local club" for a recruit on an official visit and providing financial assistance to current players. In separate cases, women’s golf and fencing are also facing one-year postseason bans for NCAA violations. Their seasons have not started due to the pandemic.