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Morning Headlines: Delta on Track to Become Dominant Strain; Gov. Signs Bill Banning Schools, Colleges From Mandating Vaccines Under Emergency Use

Pictured is Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff of the Ohio Department of Health.
JO INGLES
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
State health officials say the delta variant of the coronavirus is on track to become the dominant strain in Ohio. Ohio Department of Health medical director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff is encouraging the more than 40% of unvaccinated Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccine because the variant is highly contagious and is a real threat to the unvaccinated, especially for those under 50.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, July 15:

  • Delta variant on track to be dominant strain in Ohio
  • DeWine signs bill banning schools, colleges from mandating vaccines under emergency use
  • Cleveland Clinic halts use of new Alzheimer’s drug
  • $429M earmarked for new planes that could come to Youngstown’s Air Force Base
  • Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund eclipses $16 million in grantmaking
  • State disciplines 6 following probe of detained teen's death
  • Ohio University suspends frat after anti-hazing law enacted

Delta variant on track to be dominant strain in Ohio
(WKSU) -- State health officials say the delta variant of the coronavirus is rapidly increasing and is on track to become the dominant strain in Ohio. Ohio Department of Health medical director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says the variant’s presence jumped from 1.9% of samples at the end of May to 15% in mid-June, then doubled in the two weeks after. He’s encouraging the more than 40% of unvaccinated Ohioans to get those shots because the variant is highly contagious and is a real threat to the unvaccinated, especially for those under 50. He says 90% of people who’ve been hospitalized with COVID since April were not vaccinated.

DeWine signs bill banning schools, colleges from mandating vaccines under emergency use
(AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill into law that forbids public schools and colleges from requiring individuals to receive vaccines not granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The legislation aimed at the coronavirus vaccine also prohibits individuals who don't receive the vaccine from being denied the chance to participate in school activities. DeWine signed the bill without comment Wednesday. On Tuesday, the governor said it's important for the FDA to switch coronavirus vaccines from emergency use authorization to full approval as soon as possible. DeWine says the vaccine's emergency use status is contributing to vaccine hesitancy in Ohio.

Cleveland Clinic halts use of new Alzheimer’s drug
(New York Times) -- The Cleveland Clinic will not be administering a new Alzheimer’s drug for now. In a statement to The New York Times, the Clinic said it decided against carrying the drug Aduhelm “based on the current data regarding its safety and efficacy.” The Clinic said that individual physicians there could prescribe Aduhelm, but patients would have to go elsewhere to receive the drug, which is administered as a monthly intravenous infusion. There have been lingering questions about the drug that the FDA approved in June, including a new label clarifying prescription procedures that were added last week. Congress has also launched multiple investigations. The Times reports Mount Sinai Health System in New York City has also paused carrying Aduhelm.

$429M earmarked for new planes that could come to Youngstown’s Air Force Base
(WKSU) -- The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has approved $429 million for four new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan on Wednesday said he’s optimistic that the Youngstown Air Reserve Station will get those four and four others approved last year. The Youngstown base, home to the 910th Airlift Wing, is one of two finalists to receive the planes. The appropriations bill still needs full House and Senate approval.

Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund eclipses $16 million in grantmaking
(WKSU) -- A fund created by the Cleveland Foundation and others to help nonprofit organizations better serve residents during the pandemic has eclipsed $16 million since last March. The latest round of funding from The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund awarded nearly $450,000 to 12 organizations serving Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. Around $330,000 is going toward organizations to create neighborhood COVID-19 vaccination hubs, and around $40,000 is going to Medworks, which implemented 14 vaccine clinics at churches this spring. A subgroup of the Rapid Response Fund working to address homelessness has also distributed the last of its $4 million in federal CARES Act dollars to local groups.

State disciplines 6 following probe of detained teen's death
(AP) — The head of Ohio's youth correctional agency says six employees have been disciplined following an investigation into the death of a teenager found dead last year in a juvenile detention center. Ryan Gies is director of the state Department of Youth Services. He said Wednesday that three guards were disciplined including two who received five-day suspensions without pay. The agency also disciplined two operations managers and a nursing supervisor. Seventeen-year-old Robert Wright was found dead in August 2020 at Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility. Gies says while policies were violated, there's no evidence, either way, tying the employees' actions to the teen's death.

Ohio University suspends frat after anti-hazing law enacted
(AP) — A week after the state enacted an anti-hazing law in honor of an Ohio University student who died in 2018, the university suspended another fraternity for allegedly violating hazing rules. The Athens-based school sent the Beta Chapter of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity a notice Tuesday that it will be suspended for four years. An investigation by the university revealed a pattern of student code of conduct violations. It’s not clear what prompted the investigation. The suspension follows Gov. Mike DeWine signing a bill into law that places tougher penalties for hazing at Ohio universities and colleges starting this fall.