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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.

a photo of David James
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Every student in Akron Public Schools has a Chromebook. And Superintendent David James says most of them have connected via remote learning, but fewer than half are actively doing school work. The district is trying to get students more involved, but it’s also facing a number of other challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.

James welcomed the decision this week from Governor Mike DeWine to keep schools closed for the remainder of the school year.   

a photo of old Ellet High School
SCOTT TAYLOR / WKSU

When Akron students eventually return to classes at the new Ellet High School, things will look different around the building. The school district continues work to tear down the old Ellet High School building west of the new structure.

Akron Public Schools superintendent David James says there are plans for the site once the old school is razed.

photo of Kent State
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

All throughout society, the coronavirus pandemic has meant upheaval, and that is certainly true in higher education. Universities and colleges have had to make drastic changes in how they operate: suspending in-person classes, sending all students home and shifting to virtual learning. How long will this last, how big of an impact will this have on schools and will they be able to survive this crisis? We spoke with Kent State University President Todd Diacon about the path forward for the university.

a screen capture of Mike DeWine
THE OHIO CHANNEL

On April 17, 1964, Columbus native Jerrie Mock became the first female aviator to circle the globe in her plane, the "Spirit of Columbus."  To kick off his Friday coronavirus update, Gov. Mike DeWine presented Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton with the 2020 Spirit of Columbus Award.

a screen capture of Tim Ryan
CONGRESSMAN TIM RYAN

Pressure is mounting for Congress to act on another relief package. Legislators from northeast Ohio are speaking out about what they’d like to see in it.

Members of Congress are hearing from local government leaders, businesses, nonprofits and social service agencies. Government leaders are concerned about how to sustain operations as revenues tumble. 

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

Summit County has released data on how many coronavirus cases are in each of its zip codes.  There are 373 confirmed cases as of Thursday.  The most cases are in West Akron, Hudson, and Twinsburg, with between 21 and 30 cases each.

7 Residents From One Akron Senior Facility Have Died From COVID-19

Apr 15, 2020

Nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in Summit County come from one retirement community.

Ohio Living Rockynol in Akron has seen seven residents die from the infection, said Melissa Dardinger, spokesperson for Ohio Living.

“I do believe those deaths occurred in the hospital, not onsite at Ohio Living Rockynol,” Dardinger said.

The state has filed a lawsuit against a Cleveland-area man for hoarding personal protective equipment that is sorely needed by health care workers fighting coronavirus. 

Akron General emergency department
CLEVELAND CLINIC AKRON GENERAL

The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetime. As a society, our reactions are mostly based on our emotions – worry about family and friends, fear for our jobs and anxiety over the long-term impact on our community.

But for healthcare workers who are used to dealing in facts, coronavirus is a battle against the unknown.

city of toronto
JAMES D. SCHWARTZ / FLICKR CC

Protestors outside the statehouse have called for Gov. Mike DeWine to fire Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and to reopen all businesses.

A legislative task force is working out its own timeframe to restart Ohio’s economy.

All of this puts Governor Mike DeWine under increasing pressure to ease social distancing restrictions.

But the world’s first coronavirus outbreak provides a cautionary tale about the risks of lifting this lockdown too soon.

COVID-19 trends in Ohio
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Ohio health officials Monday confirmed an inmate died from COVID-19 at Pickaway Correctional Institution — the first reported inmate death in the state. 

More than a dozen of Pickaway's staff members are out sick. Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday he plans to send up to 30 members of the National Guard to the facility to help with COVID-19 patients. 

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

Summit County Public Health is still assessing whether to release data that shows how many COVID-19 cases there are in each of the county’s zip codes.

As of Sunday, the county had more than 250 confirmed cases throughout all but a handful of zip codes.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says they had been watching other counties to see what they might do and waiting until numbers got higher so that cases would not be as identifiable.

a photo of the MRF in Akron
CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

Trash and recycling haulers in Northeast Ohio are seeing an increase in residential garbage as a result of the stay-at-home order from the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the haulers are trying to keep employees safe, and that is leading to some cuts in service, depending on where you live.

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.

tents  in the the woods
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Summit County agencies are working round the clock to create a quarantine facility for the area’s homeless who must be quarantined.

The homeless quarantine center is being set up in the gymnasium at the Chapel in Akron. Officials hope to open it next week.

Leading the effort is the Continuum of Care, a nonprofit of more than 30 agencies that provides services for the homeless.

photo of Jon Husted
OHIO CHANNEL

The surge in COVID-19 cases may be yet to come in Ohio but when it comes to unemployment claims, Lt. Governor Jon Husted says that happened happened immediately. During Saturday’s coronavirus briefing, Husted said that the Department of Jobs and Family Services has added 20 times its normal capacity. However he acknowledges that hasn’t been enough, and they’re still adding staff.

 

 

photo of Mike DeWine
SCREENSHOT/OHIO CHANNEL

It’s not a requirement yet, but Ohio officials are urging all Ohioans to start wearing protective masks when they have to go out in public. During the daily Ohio coronavirus briefing Saturday, the head of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton stressed the importance of wearing masks that anyone can make in their own home.

 

fitness center building
Google Maps

In the lead-up to the projected peak of coronavirus cases in Ohio, Akron’s safety forces are preparing. The city established a temporary self-quarantine facility for all its safety workers at the city-owned Balch Street Fitness Center.

City workers, from firefighters and cops to dispatchers and call center workers, can use the gym if they test positive for COVID-19. The facility has sleeping quarters, showers and a kitchen.

Ohio lawmakers created the new vote-by-mail timeline after in-person voting on Election Day was canceled over coronavirus concerns but voter rights advocates fear the deadline of April 28 still does not give people enough time to cast a ballot.

Holmes County is home to 23,000 Amish citizens — nearly half of its total population. The county’s health department is getting the word out to this community about social distancing and COVID-19.

Health Commissioner of the Holmes County General Health District Michael Derr said Amish citizens in the area tend to be more progressive, and they are following media reports about the virus and protective measures.

He said his department sends out mailings with updated COVID-19 information every week to leaders in the community.

SUE ZAKE / DATA PROVIDED BY THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 1:

empty street
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Americans are adjusting to life without social interactions.

It’s been more than two weeks since bars, restaurants, and schools closed in Ohio.

We still don’t know how long it will be before non-essential businesses can reopen and residents travel freely.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE TWITTER / OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will sign an order Monday suspending in-person classes for K-12 schools until May 1. 

A few weeks ago, DeWine suspended those classes for three weeks, but because of the surge of COVID-19 cases, they decided to extend the order.

There are now 1,933 cases in Ohio and 39 deaths have been confirmed across 19 counties. "We still see that our peak is going to be, we're thinking, in a couple of weeks," Acton said. 

dr brian harte
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

New models show a wave of coronavirus cases could be headed our way in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Clinic’s latest estimates show the outbreak will peak in early May and could cause up to 10,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.

It’s a sobering picture, but our local hospitals are gearing up for the surge.

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