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Morning Headlines: COVID Cases, RSV Increasing Among Children; Several Area Schools Dismiss Early, Close Due to Heat

A picture of a doctor in their lab coat.
DARKO STOJANOVIC
/
PIXABAY
COVID cases among children are increasing in Ohio. Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus says they’ve seen about 250 children test positive for the virus at outpatient centers out of about 3,500 tests administered. It comes as these hospitals are seeing an increase in respiratory viruses known as RSV, which is unusual for the summer months.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, August 24:

  • COVID cases, RSV increasing among children
  • Several schools dismiss early, close due to heat
  • Ohio House Republicans debate anti-vaccination bill again
  • Witnesses malign Ohio's gerrymandered maps at hearing
  • Cedar Point coaster dropped metal plate, injuring woman
  • LaRose to face 2022 primary challenger
  • Foster care advocates appeal Ohio federal lawsuit claim
  • Summit County offers $100 gift cards as vaccine incentive

COVID cases, RSV increasing among children
(WKSU) -- COVID cases among children are increasing in Ohio. Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus says they’ve seen about 250 children test positive for the virus at outpatient centers out of about 3,500 tests administered. That amounts to a positivity rate of just over 7%. Nationwide also has 12 kids hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, up from just three or four a few weeks ago. It comes as these hospitals are seeing an increase in respiratory viruses known as RSV, which is unusual for the summer months. State health officials say kids have less immunity from those illnesses because of mask-wearing and staying indoors last winter. Officials are repeating calls for students to wear masks in school and for those 12 and older to get vaccinated.

Several schools dismiss early, close due to heat
(WKSU) -- Several Northeast Ohio school districts are closing or sending kids home early today due to extreme heat. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will dismiss classes two hours early at about a dozen non-air-conditioned buildings today and will provide bottled water to students. Parma, Willoughby-Eastlake, and South Euclid-Lyndhurst are closed. The forecast calls for temperatures above 90 degrees and a heat index approaching 100 degrees.

Ohio House Republicans debate anti-vaccination bill again
(AP) — House Republicans resume debate today on a bill that would prohibit public and private employers from requiring vaccinations or punishing workers who don't receive them. The legislation has found support among some who do not want to take a coronavirus vaccine, but it also covers all other vaccines. The legislation would strengthen notices that schools must provide parents with exemptions they can seek against having their children vaccinated. Backers say vaccinations should be a personal choice. Opponents include major Ohio business groups and hospitals, state associations of doctors and nurses, and other health care groups.

Witnesses malign Ohio's gerrymandered maps at hearing
(AP) — More than 120 activists, scholars, pastors, students, and average citizens attended the first hearing Monday of a new panel charged with redrawing Ohio’s state legislative districts for the next 10 years. Most advocated new maps that are more fair and representative. Witnesses at the first of nine public hearings of the Ohio Redistricting Commission at Cleveland State University maligned the current gerrymandered maps. The executive director of Free Ohio Now expressed a different point of view. Tom Hach complained that the commission’s hearing schedule doesn't accommodate diverse perspectives, including those of Republicans. The panel is supposed to draft new legislative districts by Sept. 1.

Cedar Point coaster dropped metal plate, injuring woman
(AP, Channel 19 News) — Investigators say a metal bracket that flew off Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster and hit a woman in line came from the back of the coaster’s train. The head of the state’s amusement safety office said Monday that the metal piece hit a woman in the back of the head and was about the size of a fist. The family of 44-year-old Rachel Hawes of Michigan released a statement to Channel 19 News that she's in intensive care with a brain injury. Officials say the ride will remain closed this year.

LaRose to face 2022 primary challenger
(Cleveland.com) -- Ohio’s Republican elections chief will face a primary challenger. Cleveland.com reports that former Shelby County State Rep. John Adams is seeking to oust incumbent Secretary of State Frank LaRose in next spring’s primary. LaRose came under fire from members of his party when he postponed the spring 2020 primary at the onset of the pandemic, and for fighting back against false claims of widespread voting irregularities. Adams is backing tighter voting laws, including a tougher voter ID requirement in Ohio. LaRose has defended Ohio’s current voting laws.

Foster care advocates appeal Ohio federal lawsuit claim
(AP) — Advocates for Ohio children cared for by adult relatives are asking a federal appeals court to hear their case. At issue are people who take custody of children they’re related to but who aren't licensed foster parents. A long-time gap exists in Ohio between payments to nonlicensed relatives and to licensed foster care parents, who typically receive much higher amounts. Ohio has been under pressure from child advocates to follow a 2017 court ruling ordering equality in such payments. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last month, and advocates appealed last week to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Summit County offers $100 gift cards as vaccine incentive
(WKSU) -- Summit County Public Health will begin offering a new incentive for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week. Residents who receive the first dose at a health department clinic will get a $100 Visa or MasterCard gift card starting Friday. Commissioner Donna Skoda says they previously had great results offering smaller incentives, such as bus passes and $20 gift cards. Skoda says they have 1,000 gift cards to give out, but if it’s successful, they may ask the state to fund more. The announcement came on the same day that the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, which is expected to boost vaccination rates.