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Morning Headlines: Ohio surpasses 5,000 current COVID hospitalizations; Thousands of test kits gone within hours

A photo rendering of the coronavirus.
BLENDERTIMER
/
PIXABAY
Ohio has more than 5,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, December 28:

  • Ohio surpasses 5,000 current COVID hospitalizations
  • Thousands of test kits gone within hours
  • Challenges to Ohio's new congressional map reach high court
  • Cleveland mayor-elect names new hires
  • Gas prices down slightly in Northeast Ohio

Ohio surpasses 5,000 current COVID hospitalizations
(Columbus Dispatch) — There are currently more than 5,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ohio for the first time since last December. The Columbus Dispatch reports more counties from Ohio were in the top 20 for the number of hospitalizations per capita than from any other state as of Monday. All were from northeast Ohio, with Stark County at 84 per 100,000 people, followed by Summit, Portage, Geauga and Ashtabula County. Ohio has a lower than average vaccination rate, with about 55% of the population fully vaccinated, tied at 16th for the least vaccinated state in the U.S.

Thousands of test kits gone within hours
(WKSU) – Summit County Public Health says more than 7,000 COVID-19 test kits that arrived Monday were all given away in about two hours. They were limited to one kit per person. The Cleveland Public Library announced Monday afternoon that it gave out all of its new shipment of several thousand test kits within hours. Meanwhile, all appointments are filled for the week at Summit County’s new COVID-19 mass testing site, which opens Monday at Summa’s headquarters in Akron. Online registration for appointments next week will open soon.

Challenges to Ohio's new congressional map reach high court
(AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the state's new congressional map is unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The map draws U.S. House districts following the 2020 census. Two lawsuits are being brought by national voting rights and Democratic groups. They contend it's indisputable that the map unduly favors the GOP, whose members controlled the process. The groups estimate as many as 13 of the 15 districts favor Republicans, despite the party's statewide candidates receiving just around 54% of votes in statewide races over the past decade. Tuesday's arguments are being held by video due to surging COVID-19 cases.

Cleveland mayor-elect names new hires
(Ideastream Public Media) -- Cleveland Mayor-elect Justin Bibb isn't hiring just one chief of staff. Instead, he's creating two new roles. Bibb’s transition manager, Bradford Davy, will serve as the mayor’s chief strategy officer. Davy was closely involved in the campaign and will help Bibb carry out his agenda at City Hall. He’s joining the administration from a job directing regional engagement at the Fund for Our Economic Future. Elisa Hara Auvil will become Bibb’s chief administrative officer, tasked with managing cabinet meetings and supervising the mayor’s staff. She most recently served as human resources manager for the city of Westlake. She also directed HR for former Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald. Bibb and his team take office next week on Jan 3.

Gas prices down slightly in Northeast Ohio
(WKSU) -- Gas prices in Northeast Ohio are down about four cents this week to $3 a gallon, 28 cents lower than the national average. AAA says gas prices fluctuated over the past few days as fears of an omicron-driven economic slowdown were countered by news of a severe fire at a major oil refinery in Texas last week. It’s unclear whether any units will be shut for an extended length of time and how production may be affected.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.
Jon Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.