Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 30:
- Ohio investigates possible COVID-19 death;
- Ohio Medicaid expands services;
- GOJO employee suspected of having COVID-19;
- Voting rights groups demand new voter registration deadline;
- 300 Ohio soldiers will help transport, distribute food;
- DeWine expected to ask daycares to close;
- $4M awarded to local courts;
- Cleveland Mayor wants to provide financial relief to businesses;
- Weather closes COVID-19 drive-thru testing Friday;
- Greater Cleveland Food Bank distributes food to more than 1,000 families;
- Giant Eagle to open stores early for elderly, people with special needs;
- Kent suspends water shutoffs;
Ohio investigates possible COVID-19 death
Health officials are investigating the state's first possible death from COVID-19. Cleveland.com reports the 75-year-old man lives in Maumee in Lucas County. His family posted on Facebook that they believe it was because of the disease. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said deaths could occur as the virus spreads. There are now 119 confirmed cases in the state, up from 88 on Wednesday.
Ohio Medicaid expands services
Ohio Medicaid will expand telehealth services to get in contact with health professionals amid the outbreak. It'll include phone calls, FaceTime and smart phones. Director Maureen Corcoran said patients do not need to have existing relationships with providers to access these services. There are now 119 confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio in more than 20 counties.
GOJO employee suspected of having COVID-19
The maker of hand sanitizer Purell, Akron-based GOJO Industries, said one of its employees may have COVID-19. Cleveland.com reports GOJO said the employee at its Cuyahoga Falls plant showed symptoms, but won't confirm whether that person has been tested. GOJO said it's working to notify employees who were on the same assembly line.
Voting rights groups demand new voter registration deadline
Voting rights groups are demanding that Secretary of State Frank LaRose continue to allow Ohioans to register to vote ahead of the proposed new June 2 primary. Voter registration is allowed up until 30 days before an election. The date was Feb. 18 for the March 17 primary, which was postponed. Groups including The League of Women Voters of Ohio and the ACLU of Ohio want LaRose to make the new registration deadline May 3.
300 soldiers will help transport, distribute food
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has activated 300 Ohio National Guard members to package, transport and distribute food to communities in need. They’ll work with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks at 12 locations throughout the state, including the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank next week.
DeWine expected to ask daycares to close
Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to call for closing all daycare facilities in the state Friday. DeWine cautioned parents last week to begin to find alternative accommodations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Doctors have been advising parents against small gatherings of children.
$4M awarded to local courts
Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor will be awarding $4 million to local courts, particularly in rural parts of the state. The money will help acquire video conferencing technology to reduce the need for in-person trials and transactions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. O'Connor is also asking local courts to assess jail populations. Inmates who are low-risk for release but high-risk for infection may be released.
Cleveland Mayor wants to provide financial relief to businesses
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says he’ll propose legislation to offer relief to small businesses amid the outbreak. Cleveland.com reports it would to defer payment for six months on most loans issued by the city. It would also aid businesses looking for deferment on loans issued by other lenders. The announcement was made the same day the U.S. Small Business Administration approved Ohio’s request to allow small businesses and nonprofits to apply for low-interest loans for up to $2 million.
Weather closes COVID-19 drive-thru testing Friday
University Hospitals' coronavirus test drive-thru at Landerbrook Health Center will be closed Friday. Hospital officials were worried about the forecasted rain and possible thunderstorm. It'll open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Testing is limited to high-risk patients and people with worsening symptoms. Meanwhile, WEWS reports Summit County Public Health is working with Akron area hospitals and other agencies to establish a drive-thru site to test for the coronavirus.
Greater Cleveland Food Bank distributes food to more than 1,000 families
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s first drive-thru food giveaway Thursday provided food to more than 1,000 families. Anyone with a self-declaration of need was able to receive food. Many people started lining up six hours before the Food Bank opened. Some had to wait two hours once the giveaway started. The Food Bank ran out of food within four hours.
Giant Eagle to open stores early for elderly, people with special needs
Giant Eagle will open its stores an hour early at 6 a.m. Monday through Wednesday starting next week. It's so customers 60 and older and those with special needs can shop before crowds start arriving. The extra hour applies to all Giant Eagles and Market District stores.
Kent suspends water shutoffs
The city of Kent is suspending all water shut offs amid the COVID-19 pandemic until further notice. Residents who had their water previously shut off due to nonpayment should contact the city. Customers are also being ask to pay their bills online instead of in person. If residents are having problems, such as a leak, they're encourage to try and fix the issue themselves before calling for help. It's to limit face-to-face interactions.
For all the latest coverage about COVID-19 in Ohio, click here.