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Morning Headlines: Cuyahoga Could Rise to Level 4 Risk Alert; Trump, Biden Surrogates to Campaign in Northeast Ohio

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OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Cuyahoga County school districts are preparing to go all online if the county moves to purple alert in the state’s color-coded coronavirus risk system today. Cuyahoga is one of three counties with the highest rates of transmission, hospital admissions, ER visits and other indicators on the state’s seven-factor rating system.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, October 29:

  • Cuyahoga could rise to level 4 risk alert Thursday
  • Trump, Biden surrogates to campaign in Northeast Ohio
  • Ohio announces record $5 billion returned to employers
  • Ohio reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases
  • Bloomberg spending $4M in ads supporting Biden in Ohio
  • New autonomous truck travels the turnpike
  • Cleveland schools gets federal grant to develop safety app
  • Tri-C scraps spring sports

Cuyahoga could rise to level 4 risk alert Thursday
Cuyahoga County school districts are preparing to go all online if the county moves to purple alert in the state’s color-coded coronavirus risk system today. Cuyahoga is one of three counties with the highest rates of transmission, hospital admissions, ER visits and other indicators on the state’s seven-factor rating system. A county that meets six of those criteria is deemed level 4. No county has yet reached the purple level. Cleveland.com reports that Cuyahoga county schools and libraries may need to shutter due to the unchecked spread of the virus. Gov. Mike DeWine is meeting with county leaders and community groups across the state to determine local responses to the surge in cases

Trump, Biden surrogates to campaign in Northeast Ohio
President Donald Trump’s surrogates are focusing on the Mahoning Valley during the final week of campaigning. Trump’s daughter and close advisor, Ivanka Trump, will campaign in Niles on Saturday. No exact time or location has been released. Niles is the hometown of Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, who has represented the region since 2003. Ryan faces a challenge from former Republican state representative Christina Hagan. Ivanka Trump’s visit follows Donald Trump Jr.'s campaign stop in Youngstown on Monday. Meanwhile, Doug Emhoff, the husband of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, will campaign in Akron and Columbus Thursday.

Ohio announces record $5 billion returned to employers
Gov. Mike DeWine and the head of the state's insurance fund for injured workers have announced a record $5 billion in workers' comp payments will be returned to employers. DeWine says the pay-out of fund dividends is meant to help businesses struggling because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. DeWine says the average restaurant could see a check of around $13,000 and the average farmer a check of about $9,500. The city of Columbus will receive the most, at $64 million. The announcement Wednesday follows returns of nearly $3 billion in dividends announced earlier this year.

Ohio reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases
Wednesday saw the second-highest number of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began eight months ago. Just over 2,600 cases were reported. Saturday saw the record with more than 2,800 new cases in a surge that appears to be spreading out of control in Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine has called on people to cancel holiday parties and events. The state’s color-coded risk map will be updated today. Three counties, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, and Clark could be moved to the high-lest level of 4, or purple.

Bloomberg spending $4M in ads supporting Biden in Ohio
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for president this year, is pumping ad dollars into Ohio to support Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the final week leading up to Election Day. Cleveland.com reports Bloomberg is spending nearly $4 million on ads in Ohio's major markets through his Super PAC, Independence USA. Bloomberg is outspending the $3.6 million President Trump’s campaign has scheduled this week in Ohio.

New autonomous truck travels the turnpike
Ohio is joining Michigan and Pennsylvania in testing autonomous trucks that will make deliveries from Pittsburgh through Ohio to Detroit. Last week, Locomation, a trucking company that uses automated self-driving technology, transported groceries from Pittsburgh to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Foodbank, passing through Sandusky and Ottawa counties. During the demonstration, two semi-trailers were operated with drivers manually on surface streets. However, on interstates and the turnpike, the lead truck was driven manually while the driver of the second truck used its automated technology.

Cleveland schools gets federal grant to develop safety app
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is getting a three-year, $750,000 federal grant to improve safety. The U.S. Justice Department grant from its STOP School Violence program will help Cleveland develop an anonymous reporting app that students could use to report safety threats as they travel to and from school. The app will be developed by the Cleveland non-profit Digital C.

Tri-C scraps spring sports
Cuyahoga Community College earlier this year cancelled fall and winter sports, and now has also suspended spring sports due to the pandemic. Tri-C says that it’s impossible to implement needed safety precautions, and with the county nearing the purple alert level, difficult to predict what protocols will be needed. Men’s baseball, women’s softball, and women’s track will be affected. Tri-C isn’t alone. Most schools in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference have also suspended sports for some or all of the current academic year. Meanwhile, the Mid-American Conference is resuming football next week.