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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: Ohio’s COVID-19 Positive Test Rate Drops; Voter Registration Day Events Held

Key indicator chart of daily coronavirus cases in Ohio
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
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Ohio's latest weekly average positive test rate for COVID-19 has declined to 3% as of Saturday, the lowest point since March.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, September 22:

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 positive test rate drops
  • National Voter Registration Day events held in Northeast Ohio
  • Summit County awards $7.3M federal funding to schools
  • President Trump praises Ohio football players suspended for carrying ‘thin red, blue line’ flags
  • Ohio, GOP defend limit on ballot drop boxes to 1 per county
  • Rootstown school board members resign following controversy surrounding coach, racial slur
  • With cash windfall, Biden adds GOP states to campaign map
  • Ohio University among schools reopening campuses
  • Ohio State to study COVID-19 long-term effects with $10M grant
  • Akron establishes ‘Dick Goddard Day’

Ohio’s COVID-19 positive test rate drops
There is some good news in Ohio's COVID-19 numbers. The latest weekly average positive test rate has declined to 3% as of Saturday, the lowest point since March. Ohio hit its highest average positive test rate at nearly 24% in April. An additional 856 COVID-19 cases were reported on Monday, less than the three-week average. However, admissions to intensive care units rose by 19, which is more than the three-week average.

National Voter Registration Day events held in Northeast Ohio
There are a number of events happening throughout Northeast Ohio on this National Voter Registration Day. Summit County library locations will have drive-thru and walk-up events where residents can register to vote, verify or update their information or request an absentee ballot. The University of Akron is throwing a registration party in the student union ahead of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s visit to campus tomorrow. And, Cleveland's pro sports teams are setting up kiosks at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse downtown for registrations and information.

Summit County awards $7.3M federal funding to schools
Summit County school districts will be getting a cash infusion to help cover the costs of reopening during the pandemic. County council on Monday approved a resolution authorizing $7.3 million in grants for the 17 public school districts in the county. The funding is coming from the federal CARES Act. The two districts receiving the most are Akron and Stow-Munroe Falls, based on a count of students called “average daily membership.” Each district will be required to provide a preliminary and final report to the county on how the money is used.

President Trump praises Ohio football players suspended for carrying ‘thin red, blue line’ flags
President Donald Trump brought two Ohio high school football players to the stage during his campaign rally in Toledo last night. The players from western Ohio’s Little Miami High School were suspended and then reinstated for carrying “thin blue line” and “thin red line” flags onto the field before a recent game, even though school officials told them not to. Trump praised them, saying “everybody out here loves and appreciates you.”

Ohio, GOP defend limit on ballot drop boxes to 1 per county
Ohio and Republican groups including the Trump campaign are defending a GOP election chief’s directive limiting ballot drop boxes in the critical presidential battleground to one per county. They told an appellate court in filings Monday that a county judge overstepped his authority when he blocked it. The Ohio Republican Party said Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye “relied on anecdotal evidence and ‘sound public policy,’” when the case “presents a pure question of law.” The Ohio Democratic Party brought the suit against Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s Aug. 12 directive, arguing it is unconstitutional.

Rootstown school members resign following controversy surrounding coach, racial slur
Two Rootstown school board members have resigned following a controversy over the handling of a football player accused of using racial slurs. Board members Scott Krieger and Steve Vasbinder didn’t give a reason for stepping down on Monday. Former high school coach Troy Spiker banned a white player from the team for repeatedly using a racial slur against a Black teammate. Rootstown Superintendent Andrew Hawkins reversed the decision, prompting Spiker to resign. The board has approved establishing a community committee to address the issue, and district administrators have met with Portage County NAACP leaders.

With cash windfall, Biden adds GOP states to campaign map
President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are taking different approaches to reaching voters. While Trump is focusing on rallies and visits to states including Ohio, Biden is using a campaign cash advantage to add to his paid media footprint. The Biden campaign has confirmed that Democrats’ joint financial operation had $466 million cash on hand to begin September; Trump and the GOP had $325 million. In the past two weeks, Trump has shifted TV money among several states, Ohio being cut the most, losing more than $2 million worth of TV slots. At the same time, Biden increased his TV presence in Ohio. However, when it comes to social media, the president and the Republican National Committee have shelled out more than $3 million for Facebook ads for Ohio in the last three months, compared to less than $1 million for Biden.

Ohio University among schools reopening campuses
Some Ohio colleges are beginning to return to campus. Among them is Ohio University, which started the semester entirely online. Students will begin moving back to the Athens campus beginning today as part of the university's “Phase 2,” low-density approach. The university is planning for about 31% of its normal undergraduate on-campus student population to return to campus this fall.

Ohio State to study COVID-19 long-term effects with $10M grant
Ohio State is getting a $10 million grant to study the long-term impact of COVID-19. The five-year grant is from the National Cancer Institute in the National Institutes of Health and will fund the Center for Serological Testing to Improve Outcomes from Pandemic COVID-19, or STOP COVID. Serological testing measures a person’s immune response to an infection in the form of antibodies in the blood. It will study about 2,000 first responders and their household contacts over the five-year period. The center will also study if people can be re-infected with COVID-19, among other things.

Akron establishes ‘Dick Goddard Day’
The city of Akron is honoring the late legendary Cleveland TV weatherman Dick Goddard. Council on Monday passed an ordinance declaring each February 24 as 'Dick Goddard Day' in the city. Goddard grew up in Green in Summit County. He worked as a weatherman for more than four decades. He was a longtime supporter of pet adoption and safety, pushing lawmakers to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty. Legislation passed in Ohio in 2016 became known as Goddard's Law. He passed away in August at the age of 89.