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Morning Headlines: Ohio again surpasses 15,000 daily COVID cases; Cleveland Clinic further delays non-urgent surgeries

The dashboard of key indicators of COVID-19 in Ohio.
THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The state reported around 15,400 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the second-highest of the pandemic. Another 200 people were hospitalized, bringing the total to more than 5,200 COVID patients statewide.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, December 29:

  • Ohio again surpasses 15,000 daily COVID cases
  • Cleveland Clinic further delays non-urgent surgeries
  • Challenges to Ohio's new congressional map reach high court
  • Flights cut in Cleveland, Akron
  • Defense bill includes funding for Trumbull, Portage counties

Ohio again surpasses 15,000 daily COVID cases
(WKSU, Beacon Journal) -- Tuesday saw a huge spike in COVID-19 cases in Ohio, reporting around 15,400, the second-highest of the pandemic. Another 200 people were hospitalized, bringing the total to more than 5,200 COVID patients statewide. The Beacon Journal reports 316 patients are hospitalized in Summit County, just two less than were hospitalized last December, before vaccines were widely available. The state also reported another 60 COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday, a number that’s updated twice weekly.

Cleveland Clinic further delays non-urgent surgeries
(WKSU) -- The Cleveland Clinic is extending its postponement of non-essential surgeries as hospitals continue to be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Any non-urgent surgery that requires a hospital bed will be postponed until Jan. 14. The decision does not include the Clinic’s ambulatory surgery centers or its ambulatory endoscopy centers. New York Times data show Cleveland Clinic at 89% ICU capacity, with its Akron General hospital at 95%.

Challenges to Ohio's new congressional map reach high court
(AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has pushed back at lawyers arguing whether the state's new congressional map is unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The map draws U.S. House districts following the 2020 census. Lawyers in two lawsuits brought by national voting rights and Democratic groups argued Tuesday it's indisputable that the map unduly favors the GOP, whose members controlled the process. Republicans' lawyer said new boundaries give Democrats two districts and make seven more competitive. Outside groups have found the map likely to deliver 80% of seats to Republicans, while estimates put Ohio's political breakdown at 54% Republican to 46% Democratic.

Flights cut in Cleveland, Akron
(WKSU) -- Northeast Ohio airports are getting some bad news as the airline industry continues to struggle amid the pandemic. Delta Airlines will cut its Cleveland-to-Salt Lake City route beginning Jan. 4. And at Akron-Canton, United Airlines is eliminating flights to Washington Dulles International Airport in March.

Defense bill includes funding for Trumbull, Portage counties
(WKSU) -- The $770 billion defense spending bill signed by President Joe Biden on Tuesday includes nearly $9 million for military construction projects in Trumbull and Portage counties. The funding will be used to widen the assault runway at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station for training required to meet mission requirements. It also includes infrastructure improvements to the 21,000-acre Camp James A. Garfield, formerly Camp Ravenna.

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