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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: Plain Dealer to Layoff 22 Employees; Latest Updates on Ohio COVID-19 Cases

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The Plain Dealer office.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, March 10:

  • Plain Dealer to layoff 22 employees;
  • Latest updates on COVID-19 Ohio cases;
  • DeWine declares state of emergency;
  • Some Ohio schools cancel in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreak;
  • Summit County judge to remain in self-quarantine for another week;
  • Ohio prepares for primary;
  • Cleveland won't host third blockchain conference;
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame voices stance in NFL labor agreement;
  • Docuseries on Akron's I Promise School to be released next month;

Plain Dealer to layoff 22 employees
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has announced another round of layoffs.  The newspaper said 22 newsroom employees will be let go on March 23. Eighteen of them are represented by the local News Guild. The Plain Dealer eliminated 12 newsroom positions last year. The latest cuts mark a staff reduction of 80% in the last seven years for the newsroom.

Latest updates on COVID-19 Ohio cases
Ohio has announced the state's first confirmed cases of the new coronavirus that has sickened people around the globe. The Ohio Department of Health made the announcement Monday that three people in their mid-50s have tested positive for COVID-19. All three are from Cuyahoga County. They are a husband and wife who were on a Nile cruise, and a man who attended a conference in Washington, D.C., who is also a staffer at Cleveland's Jewish Education Center. The Jewish Education Center Offices will be closed for two weeks as a precaution. Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency. That allows Ohio to purchase health-related items without a bid. An investigation is underway to identify and reach out to everyone who has come in contact with the three people. In Ohio, five others are undergoing testing, and 11 have tested negative. 

DeWine declares state of emergency
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced he is taking steps to mitigate any potential outbreak in Ohio after three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state Monday. DeWine has issued a state of emergency to allow for coordination between state and local health providers. DeWine is calling for the cancellation of nonessential travel and has canceled the annual meeting of the Bureau of Workers comp. DeWine is asking boards of elections to move 75 polling stations for Ohio’s upcoming primary from nursing homes to other locations. DeWine is also asking people to take precautions: stop shaking hands and avoid large crowds. Health officials have set up an information line — 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. Ohio began testing patients on Sunday. More cases are likely to emerge. Health departments will prioritize testing the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions and compromised immune systems, as well as health care workers. Other tests are to be done only with a health provider's order.

OSU, Western Reserve Academy cancel in-person classes
Ohio State University is suspending in-person classes until the end of the month in response to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. Students will complete assignments online starting Tuesday. Although none of the cases are near the campus, the school said it's taking precautions. It also suspended university-sponsored travel and events until April 30. Western Reserve Academy is telling students to stay home and take classes online instead of returning to campus after spring break. The Hudson boarding school has about 400 students from 25 countries and 26 states.

Summit County judge to remain in self-quarantine for another week
A Summit County judge who is in self-quarantine after returning from a trip to Italy said she's staying home another week. Judge Alison McCarty and her husband voluntarily quarantined themselves after visiting their daughter, who started to show symptoms of COVID-19. McCarty contacted health officials when she returned to the U.S. and followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for a 14-day self-quarantine. Around the same time, officials implemented a travel restriction to Italy because of the COVID-19 outbreak. She had no contact with other courthouse employees. She's set to return to work next week. 

Ohio prepares for primary amid outbreak
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is encouraging Ohioans to vote early by mail in wake of the three confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County. In-person voting hours at county election boards expanded this week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Click here to view weekend and Monday hours. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday. LaRose has ordered polling places at nursing homes to be relocated for Election Day next Tuesday.

Cleveland events still on despite COVID-19 cases
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is not calling for the cancellation of any events due to the coronavirus outbreak yet. Jackson said he will be making decisions on a day-to-day basis on how to best respond to the news that three Cuyahoga County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are continuing with their planned Cleveland rallies Tuesday night. And the Mid-American Conference said its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will go on as scheduled with games beginning Wednesday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland won't host third blockchain conference
There will not be a third Blockland Solutions conference in Cleveland, a conference celebrating the promise of blockchain technology. Cleveland.com reports that organizers could not attract enough sponsors to mount a Blockland 2020. The conference was the brain-child of former luxury car dealer Bernie Moreno who had hoped to make Cleveland a center for the secure technology that is the basis of cryptocurrencies like BitCoin. Moreno is developing a startup that uses blockchain to secure digital car titles.

Pro Football Hall of Fame sides with players in NFL labor agreement
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is putting its stamp on the labor agreement the players' union is currently voting on. In an unusual move, Hall of Fame President David Baker sent a letter to all inductees and their families supporting the deal’s pension benefits for inductees and other former players. The union's executive board had previously voted 6-5 against the deal; the player representatives were slightly in favor of the new contract. Some 2,500 football union members can vote, with a simple majority approving or rejecting the agreement that would run through the 2030 season. Team owners approved the deal last month, and the players will have their final vote Thursday.

Docuseries on Akron's I Promise School to be released next month
A docuseries on Akron's I Promise School is set to be released next month. The series "I Promise" gives the audience an inside look at the students' first year in the school, which was opened in 2018 by Akron Public Schools and the LeBron James Family Foundation. The school was built primarily for Akron’s most at-risk third- and fourth-graders. It's produced by James’ SpringHill Entertainment. It'll be available to stream on the Quibi app which is set to launch in early April.