Morning Headlines: DeWine Extends Statewide COVID-19 Curfew; State to Spend $50 Million on Home Coronavirus Tests
Here are your morning headlines for Friday, January 22:
- DeWine extends statewide COVID-19 curfew
- Ohio to spend $50 million on rapid, in-home coronavirus tests
- New unemployment claims up in Ohio
- Columbus to spend $4.5 million on police body cams
- Ohio priest suspended for going to Trump rally before Capitol riot
- ‘Kinship Caregivers’ want changes to Ohio foster care funding
- Biden administration to replace Ohio federal prosecutor
DeWine extends statewide COVID-19 curfew
New coronavirus cases in Ohio shot up Thursday with more than 7,200 reported Thursday. Health officials had hoped a downward trend earlier this week would continue, but new cases are now back to the three week average. Gov. Mike DeWine has extended Ohio’s overnight curfew that was set to expire Saturday. It orders that people stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. with exceptions for work, food, or emergencies.
Ohio to spend $50 million on home coronavirus tests
Gov. Mike DeWine says the state will spend $50 million in federal pandemic aid dollars to buy 2 million coronavirus tests for at-home testing. The governor announced a partnership between the state, digital health company eMed and medical device company Abbott Laboratories. DeWine said Thursday that users can administer the BinaxNow rapid antigen tests at home under the virtual guidance of an eMed expert with results available in about 15 minutes. The governor said the test results will be recorded by the Ohio Department of Health.
New unemployment claims up in Ohio
The number of Ohioans filing initial unemployment claims jumped again last week. The latest figures show nearly 43,000 Ohioans filed new jobless claims in the week ending Jan. 16. That’s a 15% increase over the previous week. Around 265,000 Ohioans remain on unemployment as the pandemic continues to limit jobs in crucial business sectors including restaurants and hospitality.
Columbus to spend $4.5 million on police body cams
Columbus Officials plan to invest $4.5 million in body-cameras for police and require officers use the cameras correctly. The announcement comes after the recent fatal shootings by law enforcement of two Black men, Andre Hill and Casey Goodson Jr. Both killings raised questions about how bodycams are used by law enforcement. The mayor says officials will update the bodycams of city police so they will automatically start recording.
Ohio priest suspended for going to Trump rally before Capitol riot
An Orthodox priest from Ohio has been suspended for three months for taking part in the Jan. 6 rally where a Trump-inspired mob attacked the U.S. Capitol. Father Mark Hodges of Lima says he marched toward the Capitol, but left when he saw a group violently going after the police. Hodges says he was told by a church leader that he was "guilty by association." He calls his suspension unjust. The archbishop from the Diocese of the Midwest Orthodox Church in America confirmed the suspension but would not comment on the details.
‘Kinship Caregivers’ want changes to Ohio foster care funding
Advocates for Ohio children cared for by adult relatives say a state plan to address funding disparities for those children is illegal and inadequate. At issue are people who take custody of children they're related to but who aren't licensed foster parents. A long-time gap exists in Ohio between payments to non-licensed relatives and to licensed foster care parents, who typically receive much higher amounts. Ohio has been under pressure from child advocates to follow a 2017 court ruling ordering equality in foster care payments. Lawyers representing so-called kinship caregivers are challenging the state's recently announced plan.
Biden administration to replace Ohio federal prosecutor
The federal prosecutor that filed corruption charges against the former Ohio House speaker and four Republican allies has been asked to resign by the Biden administration. President Biden, as usual in party transitions, is replacing Ohio’s two Trump appointed U.S. Attorneys, including the Southern District’s David DeVillers. DeVillers headed the investigation that led to racketeering and bribery indictments against Larry Householder (R-Glenford) who’s accused of using millions in dark money to pass a tainted billion dollar nuclear bailout bill. Some former state officials had urged Biden to keep DeVillers on the job, saying replacing him could derail the case.