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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: Summa Health Opens Call Center for Coronavirus Concerns; Acme Partners with GOJO


Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, March 5: 

  • Summa Health opens call center for coronavirus concerns;
  • Acme partners with Purell-maker GOJO;
  • UH, Cleveland Clinic to develop coronavirus prevention plan;
  • Kent plans $20M East Main Street construction project;
  • DeWine to discuss coronavirus preparedness;
  • Mike Pence to headline GOP dinner in Akron;
  • Bill to ban telemedicine for abortions moves forward;
  • Hospital fined $400K over doc's doses for patients who died;
  • Bill would ban abortion if high court overturns Roe;

Summa Health opens call center for coronavirus concerns
Akron-based Summa Health now has a 24-hour call center to address questions and concerns about COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus. Trained nurses can provide up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and address travel risks. The number is 234-867-6314. It's open seven days a week. As of Thursday, 14 states have reported more than 80 cases of the virus. An eighth person in Ohio is being tested for COVID-19. The rest of the tests came back negative. No cases have been confirmed in the state. For symptoms, prevention and other information, click here. To ask any questions related to the coronavirus you'd like WKSU to answer, click here

Acme partners with Purell-maker GOJO
Hand sanitizer is disappearing from store shelves in Northeast Ohio amid coronavirus concerns. The Beacon Journal reports Purell maker GOJO Industries in Akron is partnering with Acme to provide limited amounts of hand sanitizer to those with Acme customer loyal cards starting this weekend. Each customer will be limited to buying three, eight-ounce Purell bottles once a week until stock runs out.

UH, Cleveland Clinic to develop coronavirus prevention plan
Physicians from University Hospitals (UH) and Cleveland Clinic will help advise state officials about coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. UH chief medical officer William Brien and the Clinic’s chief of medical operations Robert Wyllie are among 14 members of a health advisory panel announced Wednesday by Gov. Mike DeWine. DeWine said they will help develop strategies to deal with the disease as well as share best medical practices.

Kent plans $20M East Main Street construction project
Kent State University will pay more than $2 million over the next seven years to reconstruct East Main Street. The school, the city of Kent and the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority plan expand the road to four through lanes of traffic between Willow Street and Horning Road. Between 2016 and 2018, 12% of crashes happened between that stretch of road. The East Main project will cost around $20 million.

DeWine heads to discuss coronavirus preparedness
Gov. Mike DeWine will convene a summit in Columbus Thursday for local health officials on COVID-19 preparedness. Officials who’ve dealt with the seven suspected Ohio cases—that all tested negative—will speak. State health department officials will also discuss steps to take when a case is confirmed and how to reach vulnerable populations. The event will be held at the state transportation department.

Mike Pence to headline GOP dinner in Akron
Vice President Mike Pence will headline a fundraiser for Summit County Republicans this month. The Lincoln Day Dinner is March 24 at Todaro's Party Center in Akron — a week after Ohio's Democratic primary. Tickets are around $100 per person and $250 for VIP seating.

Bill that would ban telemedicine for abortions moves forward
The Ohio Senate is advancing a bill that would ban the use of telemedicine when prescribing drugs for a medical abortion. Ohio Right to Life supports the legislation saying it would protect women from potential complications that can occur when taking the two pills used in a medical abortion. But Planned Parenthood said telemedicine removes a barrier for women who live a far distance from clinics and may not be able to appear in person for the two appointments medical abortions require. 

Hospital fined $400K over doc's doses for patients who died
Ohio's pharmacy board said the hospital system where a doctor was accused of ordering fatal painkiller doses for patients will be fined $400,000 for violating state pharmacy law. In the settlement announced Wednesday, the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System also agreed to pay over $77,000 for the state Board of Pharmacy's investigation involving a now-closed hospital and fired doctor William Husel. He has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in 25 deaths. He contends he was caring for dying patients, not trying to kill them. Two pharmacists who were cited for verifying large doses of fentanyl reached separate settlements with the board that include fines and additional training.

Bill would ban abortion if high court overturns Roe
A state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would ban abortion in Ohio if the Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Republican state Rep. John Becker said he wants the state to be prepared if the nation's high court overturns the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. His bill would ban all abortions in Ohio except those to save a woman's life or prevent substantial and irreversible harm. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports eight states have similar laws that would take effect after a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Several other states have pre-existing bans that also would go into effect.