Morning Headlines: Ohio Supreme Court rejects Statehouse maps; Biden to send medical teams to Cleveland Clinic
Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, January 13:
- Ohio Supreme Court rejects Statehouse maps
- Biden will send medical teams to Cleveland Clinic, other hospitals
- Cleveland Clinic further postpones non-urgent surgeries
- Columbus teachers demand 2-week switch to remote learning
- UH gets $15 million in federal COVID reimbursements
- Former Columbus Zoo executive repays $132,000
Ohio Supreme Court rejects Statehouse maps
(AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected newly drawn district maps that retained Republican supermajorities in both state legislative chambers. A divided court ruled Wednesday the Ohio Redistricting Commission must redraw the boundaries within 10 days. The court said the commission did not meet the proportionality standard set in the state constitution. That provision requires that districts are apportioned to reflect Ohio’s voter mix, which is around 54% Republican and 46% Democratic. The Ohio House map created 62 Republican-favored seats to 37 Democratic-favored seats. The Ohio Senate would have split 23 Republican seats to 10 Democratic seats. The ruling was a victory for voting rights and Democratic groups in three lawsuits challenging the lines as unconstitutionally gerrymandered.
Biden will send medical teams to Cleveland Clinic, other hospitals
(NPR, WKSU) -- The Cleveland Clinic is among hospital systems set to get federal help to deal with the influx of COVID-19 patients. President Biden plans to send medical teams to six different hospitals nationwide. Others on the list are in New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, New Mexico, and New Jersey. New York Times data show ICUs at Cleveland Clinic’s hospitals in Akron and Cleveland are at least 90% full. The Clinic said Tuesday 75% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Overall statewide, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been trending down slightly this week, though still among the highest of the pandemic with more than 6,300 patients.
Cleveland Clinic further postpones non-urgent surgeries
(Ideastream Public Media) -- The Cleveland Clinic is again extending its pause of nonessential surgeries for an additional two weeks due to the continued rise of COVID-19 infections, a high number of hospital patients, and staffing challenges. The postponement will last through Jan. 30. Urgent and emergency surgeries and those for people with cancer or who need a transplant will continue to be scheduled. The pause does not include ambulatory surgery centers or ambulatory endoscopy centers. Last month, University Hospitals and MetroHealth also postponed non-urgent surgeries.
Columbus teachers demand 2-week switch to remote learning
(Columbus Dispatch) -- Nearly 3,000 Columbus teachers have signed a letter demanding that the district shift to remote learning for two weeks amid the omicron surge. The Columbus Dispatch reports the letter was signed by more than two-thirds of the union’s members. The district was forced to close two dozen school buildings in one day last week due to staff shortages and went completely remote at the end of the week due to absences and bus driver shortages. The Cincinnati school board voted Monday to move to virtual learning for two weeks. The Beacon Journal reports that Akron Public Schools says decisions on whether to switch to remote learning are made on a school-by-school basis. So far this month around 13% of staff have been out sick.
UH gets $15 million in federal COVID reimbursements
(Cleveland.com) -- University Hospitals is getting more than $15 million in federal funding to cover the costs of fighting the pandemic. Cleveland.com reports the money is coming from the federal and Ohio emergency management agencies. The funding will reimburse UH for things like employee overtime, disinfecting facilities, PPE, and COVID-19 testing.
Former Columbus Zoo executive repays $132,000
(Columbus Dispatch) -- A former Columbus Zoo executive has agreed to repay $132,000 of misused funds. Former zoo CFO Greg Bell, along with the then-CEO, resigned last year after a Columbus Dispatch investigation found they allowed relatives to live in houses owned or controlled by the zoo and sought tickets for family members to zoo events. The zoo has not reached an agreement with former CEO Tom Stalf, who was responsible for more than $420,000 in improper spending.