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Morning Headlines: COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to climb; Akron struggles with school bus driver shortage

A picture of a woman in a mask surrounded by renderings of the coronavirus.
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Ohio's three-week case average for COVID-19 is at around 6,000, the highest it's been since October. As of Sunday, there are 4,076 COVID patients in Ohio’s hospitals, which is up more than 500 from last Sunday.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, December 6:

  • COVID cases, hospitalizations continue to climb
  • Akron struggles with school bus driver shortage
  • Ohio’s Vax-2-School concludes with $100k winners
  • Officials warn of fake prescription drugs in Ohio
  • Akron hires Oregon offensive coordinator Moorhead as coach
  • Kent State, Wyoming to meet in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

COVID cases, hospitalizations continue to climb
(WKSU) – COVID-19 is continuing to rage in Ohio, The state’s three-week case average is at around 6,000, the highest it's been since October. As of Sunday, there are 4,076 COVID patients in Ohio’s hospitals, which is up more than 500 from last Sunday. More than 1,000 are in the ICU. Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth have announced plans to begin adjusting the scheduling of non-urgent surgeries due to the influx of COVID patients. Cleveland Clinic said it had just 5 to 6% of ICU beds open as of Friday. Currently, just over 61% of Ohioans 5 years and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Akron struggles with school bus driver shortage
(WKSU, Beacon Journal) -- Akron is the latest school district to announce bussing delays due to a driver shortage. A spokesman says routes to five school buildings are affected Monday, and that the district will have to use multiple buses to cover certain routes. The district also said if there are any more call-offs by drivers, routes will be canceled. In October, the Beacon Journal reported that Akron’s bus service was on the verge of collapse, down 19 drivers this year, a drop of about 20% in the workforce.

Ohio’s Vax-2-School concludes with $100k winners
(WKSU) -- Ohio wrapped up its latest COVID-19 vaccine lottery, awarding five $100,000 college scholarships. Among the winners were Audrey Bird of Brecksville and Rinoa Chech of Canton. The incentive program awarded a total of $2 million in prizes to vaccinated Ohioans ages 5 to 25. State health department data show about 14% of kids ages 5 to 11 have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while just under 45% of kids ages 12-17 have gotten the shot.

Officials warn of fake prescription drugs in Ohio
(WKSU) -- State officials are issuing a warning about fake prescription drugs containing deadly substances, such as fentanyl, that are being sold in Ohio. The Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center says the fake pills look like Xanax and Oxycontin. Officials say it can be nearly impossible to tell the difference between real and counterfeit pills with the naked eye and that Ohioans should only take prescription medication provided by a licensed health care provider. The latest CDC data show that overdose deaths in Ohio this year are up more than 26% from last year, to more than 5,600.

Akron hires Oregon offensive coordinator Moorhead as coach
(AP) — The University of Akron has hired Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as head football coach. Moorhead has been directing the Ducks' offense the last two seasons and before that was head coach at Mississippi State and Fordham. He was an assistant at Akron from 2004 to 2008. Akron is 3-29 over the last three seasons and fired coach Tom Arth last month.

Kent State, Wyoming to meet in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
(AP) -- Wyoming and Kent State will meet for the first time ever in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 21 in Boise. The Flashes won the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division championship before losing to Northern Illinois in the title game. Kent State will be looking for its second bowl victory in school history after beating Utah State in the 2019 Frisco Bowl.