pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic began, public health experts had high hopes for the United States. After all, the U.S. literally invented the tactics that have been used for decades to quash outbreaks around the world: Quickly identify everyone who gets infected. Track down everyone exposed to the virus. Test everyone. Isolate the sick and quarantine the exposed to stop the virus from spreading.

A photo of the Portage County Randolph Fair.
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

Medina County Fair

The Medina County Agricultural Society Board of Directors met Sunday evening, and with the help of the Medina County Health Commissioner, voted to put on a limited fair Aug. 3 to  9, with only Junior Fair activities that will not be open to the public. 

 

Fairgoers will be limited to the Junior Fair participants and up to 10 selected guests. 

The board also voted to remove rides and grandstand events and limit concessions, free entertainment and merchants. 

A photo of the Portage County Randolph Fair.
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

As coronavirus cases rise again in Ohio, with 1,104 new cases reported July 27, counties across the state are faced with difficult decisions regarding their county fairs. 

 

On May 21, the Ohio State Fair was canceled due to concerns about public safety and the financial feasibility of hosting an event so large while maintaining social distancing protocols. The fair was originally scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 9. Last year, fair attendance was 934,925, with people visiting from all 50 states during its 12-day run.

 

Summit County Fair Set to Get Underway This Week

Jul 27, 2020
A photo of the Portage County Randolph Fair
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

County fairs in Ohio were canceled by the state amid the changing landscape of COVID-19 in Ohio. The state health department changed its mind about county fairs June 16, now allowing them to proceed while following health and safety guidelines. 

 

As the Summit County Fair prepares to open Wednesday, officials implemented the following precautions: 

 

-reduced programming and fewer shows to limit crowds; 

-elimination of the senior class exhibits, such as draft horses and canned goods;

A photo of Patricia Shipe.
AKRON SCHOOLS / YOUTUBE

One of the region’s largest school districts is considering making a big change about fall instruction. Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said Monday the district may need to look at starting the school year entirely remote, citing concern about the rise in coronavirus cases.

photo of Summa Health coronavirus testing
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The Ohio Department of Health plans to open two COVID-19 popup testing sites Tuesday in Northeast Ohio. A site in Alliance will offer tests today only. Another site at NEOMED in Rootstown will be open through Saturday, July 25.

Tests are being offered for free to anyone. No appointments or referrals are needed, but quantities may be limited.

photo of Akron Public Schools headquarters
AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

It’s been eight years since Akron Public Schools passed a levy, making a new one a necessity even without the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a special meeting on Monday, the board of education took the first step toward putting a levy on the November ballot. The board unanimously approved three resolutions that will allow Chief Financial Officer Ryan Pendleton to develop projections for how much the levy will cost citizens based on three different millages—6.9, 7.9 and 8.9.

a map of mask complaints
CUYAHOGA COUNTY

Cuyahoga County has been under a mask mandate since last week when the Ohio Department of Health issued one for all counties at a Level 3 public emergency. 

A photo of the Centering Pregnancy Group
KELLY WOODWARD / WKSU

Summit County is channeling another two-and-a-half million dollars toward the centering groups that advocates say are one key to saving babies’ lives. The issue disproportionately impacts Blacks, who have an infant mortality rate more than twice as high as those of non-Hispanic whites. We visit one of the circles of expectant parents receiving extra support.

 

"I want you to use your thighs to stand up, and we still got our Kegels tight. Come on. Stand up.”

 

a photo of the exterior of Akronym Brewing
GOOGLE EARTH

Craft beer has been a growing part of Ohio’s economy, but the pandemic struck bars and restaurants hard.

Some of Akron’s largest craft brewers have weathered the situation well, and how they’ve done it may be a model for others. 

Akronym Brewery in Akron found a way to expand its services during the pandemic. General Manager Joey Greising said Akronym started offering food on its menu and added three more employees because of increased business.

a photo of a test kit
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

The state health department reported 1,525 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. And in Cuyahoga County, the board of health noticed a change in the age of people contracting the cornavirus that causes the disease.

One in five people who tested positive in Cuyahoga County were between the ages of 20 and 29, and the median age of COVID-19 patients dropped to 44 years old. Health Commissioner Terry Allan is concerned by this trend.

A photo of Donna Skoda.
/ YOUTUBE

As cases of COVID-19 increase across Ohio, Summit County Public Health is warning residents to be safe this holiday weekend. As of today, there are 54,166 total cases, an increase of 1,301 from Wednesday. Total deaths attributed to COVID-19 stand at 2,903. Officials fear these numbers will rise due to July 4 festivities.

During the Summit County Public Health weekly briefing, commissioner Donna Skoda asked residents to remember how we can control the spread of the virus. 

photo of Akron Water Reclamation plant
MARK AREHART / WKSU

Help is being made available for Akron water and sewer customers struggling to pay utility bills due to economic hardship from the effects of COVID-19.

Government, Nonprofits Working to Prevent Wave of Evictions in Cleveland

Jun 30, 2020
A photo of the outside of the Justice Center, with its entrance on Ontario Street in downtown Cleveland.
CONOR MORRIS / REPORT FOR AMERICA

Cleveland’s housing court opened June 15 after a three-month moratorium on evictions. There are concerns a tidal wave of evictions could be coming. 

 

Upcoming rental assistance programs from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County - with about $17 million total in aid – will help, but, will it be enough to keep people in their homes during a pandemic that has sent Ohio’s unemployment rate skyrocketing? 

A photo of Cleveland Clinic in Strongsville.
GOOGLE EARTH

The coronavirus crisis has upended much of the economy, including the health care system.

Local hospitals saw a double financial hit from both the expense of ramping up the response along with the loss of revenue from elective surgery and other cancellations.

Thomas Campanella teaches the business of health care at Baldwin Wallace University.

A photo of Caitlyn Lenhoff, a masters student in computer science at Kent State University, demonstrating how to use the team's helmet based augmented reality system.
JIM MAXWELL / KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

A team of Kent State University students is working on an idea that could become part of NASA’s future missions to the moon and Mars.

Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health Lance Himes has issued a new order allowing for the reopening of county fairs, with exceptions to protect the health of participants. The order is effective immediately and will remain in place until 11:59 on October 21, 2020. 

a photo of St. Thomas Aquinas School
GOOGLE EARTH

Two Cleveland Catholic elementary schools are being saved from closure by a management organization that has successfully operated seven similar schools in New York City. Partnership Schools will take over operation of the two schools next month. 

Partnership Schools assistant superintendent Christian Dallavais says Archbishop Lyke and St. Thomas Aquinas, both K-8 schools, fit their mission.

A photo of the Career Services Facebook live.
STARK STATE COLLEGE/FACEBOOK

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression. In Ohio, April’s unemployment rate was close to 17%.  Stark State College wants to help those in need of work. It’s offering free career services to community members.

People can get help exploring career paths and job opportunities, improving resumes and interviewing.

In a Facebook live session, Career Services Coordinator Natalie Harrington described their assistance as more personal than getting help online.

ROB BYRON / SHUTTERSTOCK

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, June 5:

A photo of the library
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

The Akron-Summit County Public Library has announced its plans for reopening after weeks of closure due to COVID-19 concerns. The library will reopen in phases.

Most staff will return to buildings to prepare for service June 8, and patrons can start returning items June 16.

Marketing Communications Director Carla Davis says more than 300,000 items are currently checked out. The library will extend the due dates for those items until July 15 in an effort to spread out the return rush.

A photo of a factory worker.
/ CONSUMER ENERGY ALLIANCE

The manufacturing industry has suffered during the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic. A new report from the Institute for Supply Management expects the industry won’t return to pre-recession levels until 2022.

Joe Biden
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Like just about everything else these days, political campaigning has had to rely on virtual connections. This week, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) held an organizing call to rally support in Ohio for Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

A photo of banners at Youngstown State University.
ASHTON MARRA / IDEASTREAM

Your morning headlines for Thursday, May 28:

A photo of Children's Akron campus
AKRON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

Health care providers locally and around the country are seeing a steep decline in the number of children being brought in for well visits.

Akron Children’s Hospital stopped offering well visits for children over the age of 3 in late March. Over the last two weeks it’s begun returning to full capacity.

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