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Morning Headlines: COVID Case Incidences Soar, Hospitalizations Up by More Than 50%; Summa Requiring Vaccines

A picture of Summa Health's St. Thomas campus.
SUMMA HEALTH
Summa Health is the first hospital in Akron to announce it is requiring that its employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees of Summa Health will need to prove that they are fully vaccinated or are two weeks past their final dose by October 31.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, August 6:

  • COVID case incidence soars to statewide average of 125 per 100K people
  • Summa requiring vaccines
  • Vaccination rates remain strong
  • Akron Children’s Hospital names new CEO
  • Redistricting process begins
  • Former FirstEnergy executives could be added to lawsuit
  • Goodyear reports strong demand for electric vehicle tires
  • Cleveland police officer accused of credit card fraud
  • Cleveland baseball deal

COVID case incidence soars to statewide average of 125 per 100K people
(WKSU) – Fueled by the delta variant, cases of COVID-19 in Ohio have soared to a statewide average of 125 per 100,000 people according to the Ohio Department of Health. That’s up from 77 cases per 100,000 people last week. On Thursday, nearly 2,000 new cases were reported. New hospital admissions are up by more than 50% this week as the delta variant surges through the unvaccinated population. Summit County’s case rate is at 87 per 100,000 people. It’s at 116 in Portage County and at 151 in Medina County, which is now shown as high spread on the CDC’s map, joining Ashland, Richland, Erie, and Carroll Counties.

Summa requiring vaccines
(WKSU) – Summa Health is the first hospital in Akron to announce it is requiring that its employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Summa President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny says they made the decision based on the flattening rate of vaccinations among employees, as well as the progression of the delta variant. Deveny says they already had a flu vaccine policy in place and setting a requirement for the COVID vaccine was not a difficult process. Currently, 70 percent of Summa workers are fully vaccinated. Employees of Summa Health will need to prove that they are fully vaccinated or are two weeks past their final dose by October 31.

Vaccination rates remain strong
(WKSU) -- The state health department continues to report strong numbers of vaccination this week. On Thursday it indicates nearly 13,000 vaccines were started in the state. Almost 50 percent of Ohioans have started the vaccination process.

Akron Children’s Hospital names new CEO
(WKSU) -- Akron Children’s Hospital has named a new CEO who will take over when Grace Wakulchik retires after three years in the job. Christopher Gessner most recently headed the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. The Pennsylvania native previously spent nearly two decades at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He joins Akron Children’s on October 18th. Wakulchik is retiring after a 30-year career at Children’s. She succeeded long-term president Bill Considine in 2018.

Redistricting process begins
(Statehouse News Bureau, AP) -- For the first time, the Ohio Redistricting Commission convenes today to start the process of drawing new state legislative and congressional districts under new rules approved by voters meant to eliminate gerrymandering—drawing districts for partisan benefit. The redistricting commission includes the governor, auditor, secretary of state, a Senator from both parties, and a Representative from both parties. They have to approve a map by mid-September. They will get the 2020 census data they need from the U.S. Census Bureau next week. It was supposed to be released at the end of March but was pushed back to August to give statisticians more time to crunch the numbers that were delayed because of the pandemic. The numbers will show where white, Asian, Black, and Hispanic communities grew over the past decade.

Former FirstEnergy executives could be added to lawsuit
(AP) -- Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is seeking to add two former FirstEnergy Corp. executives and the state's former top utility regulator to a state racketeering lawsuit for their alleged roles in helping to win passage of a tainted 2019 energy bill. The executives are former CEO Chuck Jones and former Senior Vice President Michael Dowling. FirstEnergy, in a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid federal criminal charges, says the executives worked with former Ohio utilities commission chair Sam Randazzo to help win passage of the bill that included a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants and an annual revenue guarantee for the Akron-based utility's three Ohio electric companies.

Goodyear reports strong demand for electric tire vehicles
(WKSU) – Akron-based Goodyear reports that tire deliveries for electric vehicles more than doubled in the second quarter. Company CEO Rich Kramer calls the economic recovery broad and robust, especially in the U.S. and China. Goodyear completed its acquisition of Findlay, OH-based Cooper Tire in the quarter and reports merger adjusted segment operating income of $349 million.

Cleveland police officer accused of credit card fraud
(cleveland.com) -- Federal authorities have charged a Cleveland police officer and two others with using stolen information to open fraudulent credit card accounts. Cleveland.com reports the indictment alleges 25-year old Rorell Dickerson used the cards to buy vehicles from T-Rex Motorsports in Mentor. Dickerson was hired as a Cleveland police officer in November 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges and remains on unpaid administrative leave. The two others charged in the scheme are Larry Hicks and Antonio Johnson.

Cleveland baseball deal
(AP) — Professional baseball will continue to be played at Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland for at least the next 15 years. A lease extension signed yesterday includes a city, county, and state partnership with the team to spend $435 million dollars to renovate the 27-year old ballpark. The agreement still needs legislative approval. The ballclub recently announced it will change its name to Guardians after this season.