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Morning Headlines: Health Officials Say COVID Peak May Be Cresting; Cleveland Clinic Ranked Worst for Community Investment

Ohio COVID-19 case dashboard.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Newly reported cases averaged nearly 5,700 a day for last week, down 22% from the prior week. Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, says they are seeing early indicators that cases appear to be peaking and starting to decline.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, October 5:

  • Health officials cautiously optimistic that COVID peak is cresting
  • Cleveland Clinic ranked worst for community investment
  • Trial against pharmacy chains' opioid sales begins
  • Commissioner sought to oversee 3 Ohio redistricting suits
  • Cleveland council to draw up its own COVID relief spending plan
  • Human trafficking sting nets 161 arrests
  • Early voting for November election begins today
  • Trial set for cop charged in fatal shooting of Andre Hill
  • Online driver’s license reprints available

Health officials cautiously optimistic that COVID peak is cresting
(WKSU) -- The Ohio Hospital Association reports one in six Ohioans hospitalized right now is suffering from COVID-19. But Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, says they are seeing early indicators that cases appear to be peaking and starting to decline, and he expects hospitalizations will follow. Newly reported cases averaged nearly 5,700 a day for last week, down 22% from the prior week. Vanderhoff urges Ohioans, especially unvaccinated pregnant women, to get the shot soon, as doctors are seeing an increased risk of preterm delivery in patients who have COVID-19.

Cleveland Clinic ranked worst for community investment
(Cleveland.com) -- A new report ranks the Cleveland Clinic worst in the nation when it comes to investing in the community. The Lown Hospitals Index Community Benefit ranking estimates that nonprofit U.S. hospitals collectively failed to invest nearly $17 billion in their communities. Cleveland.com reports The Cleveland Clinic has the largest fair share deficit at $261 million. Community benefit is defined as investments through education, research, and financial assistance, among other things. Lown, a Massachusetts-based think tank, examined about 3,600 hospitals. Cleveland.com points to a 2019 Clinic report that showed its total community benefit increased 12% to more than $1.1 billion.

Trial against pharmacy chains' opioid sales begins
(AP) — Jurors have heard opening statements in a federal court trial to determine whether retail pharmacy chains created a public nuisance in how they dispensed addictive painkillers in Lake and Trumbull counties. They say the cost of abating the ongoing crisis is $1 billion for both counties. Mark Lanier, an attorney for the two counties, outlined a case he said would show how pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Giant Eagle failed to prevent the illegal diversion of pain pills that have contributed to an ongoing opioid crisis. An attorney for Walgreens said the company's pharmacists are well-trained and fill prescriptions written by physicians for patients with legitimate needs.

Commissioner sought to oversee 3 Ohio redistricting suits
(AP) — Attorneys in two of three lawsuits brought against Ohio’s newly drawn legislative maps are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to appoint a special master to oversee the disputes. National Democratic Redistricting Committee and Ohio Organizing Collaborative lawyers say disagreements with attorneys for Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission center on who can be deposed and what third-party evidence can be admitted. The lawsuits allege Republicans unconstitutionally gerrymandered the four-year maps approved Sept. 16. Republicans defend the maps as fair and constitutional.

Cleveland council to draw up its own COVID relief spending plan
(Ideastream Public Media) -- Cleveland City Council is seeking more input into how the city spends $500 million in federal coronavirus relief funding. Ideastream Public Media reports council will hold several meetings this month to come up with its own plan for spending those federal dollars. They’ve set a November 1 deadline. Councilman Kerry McCormack says the council didn’t get enough say in Mayor Frank Jackson’s plan. So far, the council has passed legislation committing $5 million to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and $20 million for broadband. Jackson’s administration hasn’t shared a specific dollar amount it would like to spend on priorities like lead abatement and demolition.

Human trafficking sting nets 161 arrests
(WKSU) -- Ohio officials say 161 people have been arrested in what they are calling the largest human trafficking sting in the state’s history. Arrests in 17 communities across Ohio include Elyria City Councilman Mark Jessie, along with a pilot, a teacher, and a firefighter. Three men arrested were trying to buy sex from someone they thought was a minor, and 50 men and women were arrested for offering to sell sex. Ten missing children were also found by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Early voting for November election underway
(WKSU) -- Early voting begins Tuesday for the November election. A voter can cast a ballot, in person, at their county board of election’s early vote center weekdays during regular business hours, except next Monday, Columbus Day. Local boards will also be open the weekend before Election Day November 2, but will close early the day before. To vote by mail, a voter has to request an absentee ballot application and then send it back, or get an absentee ballot application at a local library. Allow plenty of time for mail service.

Trial set for cop charged in fatal shooting of Andre Hill
(AP) -- A March trial date has been set for Adam Coy, the former Columbus police officer charged with murdering an unarmed Black man last year. Coy was indicted in February for murder and other charges after fatally shooting Andre Hill on December 22. Hill was shot as he emerged from a garage holding up a cellphone. Coy’s legal counsel has argued that Coy thought Hill was holding a silver gun in his other hand, but Hill was holding a set of keys. The incident received national attention and took place only weeks after Franklin County Sheriff's SWAT deputy Jason Meade fatally shot Casey Goodson Jr.

Online driver’s license reprints available
(WKSU) -- Ohioans will be able to get copies of their driver’s licenses online. On Monday, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced that exact reprints are available once per renewal period. The change is expected to save 500,000 in-person visits to BMV offices each year.