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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: DeWine Responds to Trump; Health Centers Get $3M; Hospitals at 60% Capacity

COVID-19 cases by county.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 25:

  • DeWine responds to Trump's comments about the economy;
  • Ohio health centers get $3M;
  • Hospital capacity at 60%, more ICU space needed;
  • Some Ohio law enforcement officials don't expect to issue citations;
  • Two assisted-living residents test positive for COVID-19;
  • Three more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Cleveland;
  • Cleveland officers to handle minor offenses by phone;
  • Foodbanks ask for waiver as demand surges;
  • Health departments receive protective equipment;
  • NE Ohio schools donate medical supplies;
  • Lorain's U.S. Steel Tubular to lay off 250;

DeWine responds to Trump's comments about the economy
Gov. Mike DeWine has respondedto comments President Donald Trump made about the economy earlier this week. Trump said he wants to lift stay-at-home orders by Easter, April 12, to boost the economy. DeWine on Tuesday said he wants that too, but saving lives comes first. There are now more than 560 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths in Ohio, which health officials believe will increase significantly in days to come. Health officials said many tests at private labs are lagging behind. Ohio is currently under a stay-at-home order until April 6, which has closed all non-essential businesses.

Ohio health centers get $3M
More than 50 Ohio health centers have been awarded $3.2 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The money will be used to get more coronavirus tests, medical supplies and add telehealth services. Many of the centers that will be receiving funds are in Northeast Ohio, including Circle Health Services in Cleveland and the Community Health Center in Canton. The money came from a coronavirus spending bill Congress approved earlier this month. Nearly $100 million will be distributed nationwide.

Hospital capacity at 60%, more ICU space needed
Ohio's more than 200 hospitals are at 60% capacity, according to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. Acton says they’ll still have to expand intensive care unit capability by 50%, and will likely have to turn to hotels and college dorms for space. There are more than 560 confirmed cases in Ohio. More than 25% of those people have been hospitalized and 62 of them in intensive care. Acton is expecting cases to surge in the coming days.

Some Ohio law enforcement officials don't expect to issue citations
Some law enforcement officials said they're unlikely to issue citations during Ohio's stay-at-home order. Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday details on enforcing the order are still being worked out. He encouraged local police and sheriff departments to talk to individuals who are going against the order. But they are allowed to issue citations. Cuyahoga County’s Chief of Public Safety, along with Lake and Geauga County sheriffs told Cleveland.com they aren't going to patrol the streets issuing citations, but said they will disband large groups of people.

Two assisted-living residents test positive for COVID-19
COVID-19 is hitting some of Northeast Ohio's assisted-living facilities. Cleveland.com reports a resident at Beachwood’s Menorah Park has tested positive for the disease. The resident had contact with someone else who tested positive. In Akron, a resident at Ohio Living Rockynol also tested positive for the disease earlier this week. Health officials said the two cases are unrelated. The state ordered all nursing homes and assisted-living centers to restrict visitors earlier this month to prevent the spread.

Three more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Cleveland
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 in the city to a total of 42. The new cases are both men and women, between 40 and 60 years of age. Cuyahoga County has 167 total confirmed cases and two deaths, the most in the state. Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton warned Ohioans that cases will increase quickly over the next few days, and that these numbers are just the "tip of the iceberg."

Cleveland officers to handle minor offenses by phone
Cleveland police officers will now handle minor offenses by phone so they don't contract COVID-19. Cleveland.com reports minor offenses include property damage, lost property, credit card theft and a stolen vehicle. All the numbers to call are listed on their website. Residents will also find an online form to file complaints as well. Residents should still call 911 for any violent crimes or current threats. The department has taken other measures to stop the spread of the virus by assigning one officer to each patrol car instead of two.

Foodbanks ask for waiver as demand surges
The Ohio National Guard has arrived the region's food banks to help with distribution during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Beacon Journal reports the Akron Canton Foodbank sent out nearly 500,000 pounds of food over the last three business days. Traffic was reportedly backed up for miles at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank yesterday, as it held its second drive-through food giveaway within two weeks. Cleveland.com reports the foodbank served around 4,000 people. Meanwhile, The Ohio Association of Foodbanks is asking the state to waive required income eligibility forms to help people more quickly and without person-to-person contact.

Local health departments receive protective equipment
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said the state has received a small shipment of personal protective equipment. It's been distributed to local health departments, especially in hard-hit areas like Cuyahoga County. Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesdaythat doctors use on average 36 gloves to treat an Intensive Care Unit patient within a 24-hour period. Acton said the state needs more equipment and is encouraging businesses and schools to donate any equipment they may not be using to local health departments and hospitals.

NE Ohio schools donate medical supplies
Schools are stepping in to help the state with supplies to fight the coronavirus. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has donated its school nurses’ medical supplies, including five boxes of masks, 60,000 vinyl gloves and bottles of Purell sanitizer. Cuyahoga Community College on Tuesday donated hundreds of boxes of respiratory masks, gloves and other protective equipment. And Stark State College has loaned Summa Health two mechanical ventilators and three noninvasive ventilation units from their laboratory. 

Lorain's U.S. Steel Tubular to lay off 250
A Lorain steel manufacturer is laying off 250 people. U.S. Steel Tubular Products said it is idling production indefinitely. The layoffs will begin in May and will continue weekly through July. U.S. Steel Tubular Products is based in Spring, Texas.

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