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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: State to Slowly Reopen May 1; COVID-19 Cases Jump; 855,000 File for Unemployment

COVID-19 trends in Ohio.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
COVID-19 trends in Ohio.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, April 17:

  • State to slowly reopen May 1;
  • COVID-19 cases jump by nearly 600 in 24-hour period;
  • 855,000 Ohioans file for unemployment;
  • Goodyear anticipates major first quarter losses;
  • Norwalk racetrack owner says he'll reopen no matter what;
  • Ohio, other Midwest states partner on reopening plan;
  • Summit County breaks down COVID-19 cases by zip code;
  • Medina County judge ordered to halt nonessential trials;
  • UH to study mouth spray effectiveness against COVID-19;
  • White House taps 6 Ohio lawmakers for task force;
  • Columbus bridal shop owner sues Amy Acton;

State to slowly reopen May 1
Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio will reopen for business starting May 1, but it'll be a slow process. DeWine said Ohioans will have to live with the virus far after the stay-at-home order is lifted until a vaccine is developed. But he wants to boost Ohio's economy to prevent other issues, like homelessness and potential drug abuse. The state has created a task force to reopen Ohio safely, first starting with larger businesses and corporations. All of the businesses that reopen must follow a set of guidelines, such as mandatory masks and maintain a 6-foot distance.

COVID-19 cases jump by nearly 600 in 24-hour period
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio jumped Thursday, totaling more than 8,400 infections. That's nearly 600 more than Wednesday. More than 380 people have died. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said the increase is due to more testing becoming available. The state conducted mass testing inside three Ohio prisons this week: Marion, Pickaway and Franklin Medical Center. Nearly 500 inmates have tested positive so far and more than 32,000 are in quarantine. The state didn't update numbers Thursday for nursing homes. At least 700 cases have been reported. According to models, a surge is expected sometime next week.

855,000 Ohioans file for unemployment
More than 855,000 Ohioans have filed for unemployment benefits in the last month because of the pandemic. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services reports Ohio’s unemployment fund has paid more than $227 million to nearly 271,000 people. Across the U.S., 22 million people have filed in the last four weeks. The federal government has started to roll out relief stimulus checks. To check the status of your check, click here

Goodyear anticipates major first quarter losses
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is anticipating big first quarter losses because of the pandemic. The Akron-based tire maker said it expects to lose at least $185 million this quarter and will suspend paying a dividend. Goodyear will cut spending costs this year, and plans to furlough or temporarily reduce salaries for more than 9,000 employees. The company says it aims to begin to ramp up production at its idled factories during the first week of May. Its formal earnings report is expected at the end of the month. 

UH to study mouth spray effectiveness against COVID-19
University Hospitals is taking part in a clinical trial for a drug that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The hospital previously found that the mouth spray ARMS-I helped prevent upper respiratory infections and cut down how long people were sick. It's been shown to be effective against other infections, like the flu. The initial study lasts six weeks. About 2,000 health care workers will be in two groups -- one will receive a placebo and another the spray.  If they come down with a respiratory infection, they’ll be tested for COVID-19. They'll all be tested for coronavirus antibodies beforehand to see if they have immunity.

Norwalk racetrack owner says he'll reopen no matter what
A northeast Ohio racetrack plans to open up for the summer regardless of state regulations. On Facebook Thursday, Bill Bader Jr., owner of Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, said he won’t wait for permission to open once Ohio’s stay-at-home order is lifted. His video follows Gov. Mike DeWine's announcement that Ohio will slowly reopen starting May 1. DeWine said he wants to start with businesses and corporations that will still be able to follow social distancing measures. DeWine expects more details to come next week.

Ohio, other Midwest states partner on reopening plan
Ohio is partnering with seven Midwest states to form a comprehensive plan to ease restrictions during the pandemic. Decisions will be based on the number of cases and deaths, hospital capacity and testing availability. Gov. Mike DeWine said reopening the state will be a slow process, most likely starting with specific businesses and corporations. DeWine hasn't made a decision about K-12 schools yet. They remained closed until May 1, the same day the state's stay-at-home order expires. Other states involved include Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky.

Summit County breaks down COVID-19 cases by zip code
The Summit County Department of Health released a map of confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code Thursday. The highest number of cases resonate in West Akron, Hudson and Twinsburg. No cases were identified in downtown Akron or near Peninsula and Boston Heights. Officials say numbers can be based on testing, population sizes or whether certain areas have nursing homes. Summit County has seven nursing homes with confirmed infections. The map is updated each Thursday.

Medina County judge ordered to halt in-person trials
The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered a Medina County judge to stop holding in-person, non-emergency hearings during the pandemic. Two attorneys said Domestic Relations Court Judge Mary Kovack left trial dates in place despite their requests for continuances, and that if a telephone hearing did not result in a settlement, the parties must be prepared for an in-person hearing. Kovack told Cleveland.com she wanted to personally review every case where a lawyer has requested a continuance before deciding whether to postpone the hearing. She said the court has been in the process of installing video conferencing software for nonessential cases. 

White House taps 6 Ohio lawmakers for task force
The White House has tapped six Ohio lawmakers to serve on a bipartisan task force that will help come up with a plan for reopening the country. Among them are Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, and Northeast Ohio representatives Marcia Fudge and Anthony Gonzalez. The group will find additional funding for small businesses and medical billing, clarify differences between essential and nonessential businesses and find resources for mental health issues. They'll be meeting with medical experts and determine the best way to open up businesses without spreading COVID-19.

Columbus bridal shop owner sues Amy Acton
A Columbus bridal shop owner is suing Ohio's top health official, saying the state doesn't have a way for employees to challenge forced closures under the stay-at-home order. Tanya Rutner Hartman, owner of Gilded Social: The Fancy Occasion Shop, said the order forces business to pick between financial ruin and prosecution. Hartman's attorney claims he received no answers from the state about what makes a business essential. Hartman is asking the state to provide hearings for closed businesses. A case hearing is scheduled for Monday.