Donna Skoda

a photo of protesters in Akron
JOSH TROCHE / USED WITH PERMISSION

Officials with the Summit County Public Health Department say – when it comes to protests – they’re concerned about it leading to community spread of coronavirus.

Northeast Ohio communities have seen a number of protests following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says protesting is their right, but she asks that it be done safely.

photo of Summit County mass texting program
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says the health department expects guidance this week from state officials on how and when they can implement expanded coronavirus testing.

During her weekly update Thursday, she also unveiled a mass texting system to provide instant public health notices for residents. Sign up information is here. Skoda says re-opening Ohio will be a gradual process.

Summit County is emphasizing a need for more tests and education to help protect its African American population from the coronavirus.

African Americans make up 15 percent of the county’s residents but account for 32 percent of its COVID-19 cases. The county is using social media to send out tips on staying safe, said Health Commissioner Donna Skoda, but reaching specific populations is hard under the stay-at-home order.

photo of Summit County COVID-19 cases
SUMMIT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH

Officials with Summit County Public Health say they’re crunching the data on the county’s 222 cases of COVID-19. As of Thursday, 56 percent of the cases are women. There have been 13 deaths, and 51 people are hospitalized.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said epidemiologists plan to release a breakdown of cases by race by the end of this week.

a coronavirus special coverage graphic
WCPN

Ohio hospitals are still ramping up for a coming onslaught of COVID-19 cases as the governor and state health director continue the push to slow the spread of the coronavirus so hospitals are not overwhelmed.

photo of CDC recommendations for parks
CLEVELAND METROPARKS

The effects of the coronavirus are being felt everywhere from our region's parks to small businesses. This week we're answering listener questions on a range of topics being impacted by the virus.

Even before Gov. Mike DeWine ordered nonessential businesses to close, we started getting emails from people who felt they were being forced to work when they should have been staying home, or working from home.

photo of on air sign
ELE ELLIS / WKSU

Many schools in Ohio from kindergarten to college have switched to online learning. Offices are shutting down and, where possible, companies are shifting to telecommuting. Sporting events and concerts have been cancelled, movie theaters and gyms are closed for now. And the Ohio Primary was postponed until June 2nd. 

Driving it all is concern over the spread of the coronavirus and the disease the current strain is causing COVID-19. 

This is the new normal.

a photo of briefing room at Summit co public health department
DAVID WILLIAMS / WKSU

Summit County has its first case of COVID-19. A woman in her 50s is currently hospitalized.

Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said this is the first case of community spread detected in Summit County. But she warns that people feeling symptomatic should consult their doctor first.

photo of Donna Skoda
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Update: Information on the suspected role of fentanyl has been added to this story.

There is increasing concern in Akron over a possible new twist in the rising tide of opioid abuse after the city dealt with 17 overdose cases in 24 hours -- including one fatality. 

Officials say a mother, a daughter and perhaps another family member were doing drugs together when they became part of the Akron overdose outbreak. And reports of other drug overdoses involving families have surfaced this year throughout the region.