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Morning Headlines: Ohio’s COVID-19 Case Ratio Drops Sharply; $300 Weekly Unemployment Payment to End in June

A white face mask on a blue background.
ANNA SHVETS
/
PEXELS
Data released Thursday shows Ohio is averaging about 120 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, down from 140 last week. The number has been dropping steadily over the last month.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, May 14:

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case ratio drops sharply
  • $300 weekly unemployment payment to end in June
  • Auditor: Officials delayed disclosure of unemployment fraud
  • Mayor outlines how Cleveland will spend new federal aid
  • Report: Massage therapist sought Ohio State players for sex
  • Akron Zoo successfully breeds endangered red wolf pups

Ohio’s COVID-19 case ratio drops sharply
Ohio’s COVID-19 case rate continues to drop. Data released Thursday show Ohio is averaging about 120 cases per 100,000 people, down from 140 last week. The number has been dropping steadily over the last month. Gov. DeWine had set 50 cases per 100,000 people as the benchmark to lift all health orders, but this week said most restrictions will end June 2. A number of Northeast Ohio counties remain on red alert Level 3 on the state’s color-coded advisory map, including Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Stark. Medina, Wayne, Tuscarawas, and Geauga are at Level 2 orange, and Carroll is Level 1 yellow.

$300 weekly unemployment payment to end in June
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced the state will end its participation in the federal program providing $300 of weekly pandemic unemployment funds as of June 26. Multiple states have announced the end of the benefit, which came on top of state unemployment payments. Business groups said the weekly payment was making it difficult to recruit employees. Critics of ending the payments say workers have multiple reasons why they might not be returning to the workforce. The state says it’s distributed more than $10.8 billion in federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Auditor: Officials delayed disclosure of unemployment fraud
Ohio’s auditor says the department responsible for unemployment benefits delayed disclosing the number of fraudulent claims it was receiving for months during the coronavirus pandemic. State Auditor Keith Faber told Cleveland.com on Wednesday that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services did not report any unusual number of fraud claims or payments from June to December of 2020. But in February, then-department head Kimberly Henderson said the state had paid $332 million in fraudulent claims last year. Henderson stepped down in March. The current interim director says he is committed to cooperating with the state auditor.

Mayor outlines how Cleveland will spend new federal aid
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Thursday outlined his administration’s approach for spending hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal coronavirus aid. Ideas include stabilizing the city budget, helping businesses, supporting neighborhood development, and expanding internet access. Jackson did not attach dollar figures to those ideas, saying the city was looking for private investment in pandemic recovery, too. The city is slated to receive more than $511 million from the American Rescue Plan, to be spent by the end of 2024.

Report: Massage therapist sought Ohio State players for sex
An investigation released by Ohio State says a licensed massage therapist who offered dozens of Ohio State football players massages engaged in consensual sex with five of them. The massage therapist, identified by Cleveland.com as Robyn Bassani of Northeast Ohio, agreed to give up her license in order to avoid an investigation by the state medical board. According to the report, the woman contacted the players through social media beginning in 2018 through this year. A law firm hired by the university says it found that no criminal or NCAA violations occurred.

Akron Zoo successfully breeds endangered red wolf pups
The Akron Zoo says for the first time it’s successfully bred eight red wolf pups, which are considered critically endangered. Four of the pups have already been released into the wild under a federal natural habitat foster program. It’s estimated that fewer than 20 red wolves remain in their native habit today. The remaining pups will be on display at the zoo by the end of the month.