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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: Weekend COVID-19 Cases Remain High; Libraries Rethink Opening Dates

Ohio coronavirus dashboard for July 12, 2020.
Ohio recorded nearly 1,400 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, July 13:

  • Weekend COVID-19 cases remain high, jump not seen yet at hospitals
  • U of A faculty union rallies for education over sports
  • Libraries rethink opening and services amid COVID-19 spike
  • Akron considers city mask order and penalties
  • Many nursing homes unprepared for July 20 outdoor visits
  • Coroner: Death after Ohio protest was due to natural causes

Weekend COVID-19 cases remain high, jump not seen yet at hospitals
Ohio recorded nearly 1,400 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the state’s third-largest one-day jump of the pandemic. There are more than 65,000 confirmed cases and 3,058 deaths. Meanwhile, the spike in Ohioans testing positive for the coronavirus is not being matched in hospitalizations across the state. The Columbus Dispatch reports hospitals are reporting they’re still doing elective surgeries and have plenty of capacity. Bed usage has remained at about 45% of the roughly 43,000 maximum beds available in 250 facilities across the state, according to data from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Cuyahoga County has the most hospitalizations during the pandemic.

U of A faculty union rallies for education over sports
The University of Akron faculty union rallied over the weekend to ask for support of what they feel should be the school’s core mission: education. The school is trying to plug a $65 million budget shortfall. U of A’s board of trustees is set to vote this week on budget cuts which would reportedly include layoffs of hundreds of faculty. In May, the university cut more than $4 million from the athletic budget, but the faculty union has questioned the costs of remaining a Division I school. President Gary Miller says there is a $4 million fee to leave the Mid-American Conference and possibly another $12 million to liquidate contracts related to the football program. The faculty union is set to meet with school officials this morning to continue discussing a path forward.

Libraries rethink opening and services amid COVID-19 spike
As some Ohio libraries re-open, others are scaling back or reversing their plans in the face of an increasing number of coronavirus cases. The Akron-Summit County Public Library was originally planning to reopen a week from today.  Now, they’ve pushed that back a week after Summit County moved to Level 3 on the COVID-19 risk scale. The Cuyahoga County Public Library system re-opened its buildings last week. Spokeswoman Hallie Rich says they’ll be monitoring Cuyahoga County’s coronavirus case numbers, which threaten to move the county to Level 4 alert, the highest on the state’s risk map. The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County is opening four of its branches today for limited in-person services, including computer and Internet access and printing services. Everyone who comes in must wear a mask. Current plans call for reopening additional branches with more services in early August.

Akron considers city mask order and penalties
Akron City Council will consider an ordinance today to make wearing masks mandatory in the city and setting fines for offenders. Masks became mandatory in Summit County Friday after the state moved it into red alert status. Mayor Dan Horrigan says the city’s ordinance has been in the works since March. It requires they be worn in all buildings open to the public and on public transportation. Summit County Public Health will enforce the new rule. Officials will first educate offenders before issuing fines for second offenses of $50 per individual or $250 per business.

Many nursing homes unpreapred for July 20 outdoor visits
It’s looking likely that many Ohio nursing homes won’t be ready for outdoor visits to begin July 20. That’s the date Gov. Mike DeWine set last month for the state’s more than 900 nursing homes. However, advocates tell the Columbus Dispatch that many are still working on their visitation requirements and policies, and the Ohio National Guard has not yet finished its effort to test staff members at each facility, which is a requirement for visitations. The director of Ohio Health Care Association, which represents the state’s for-profit nursing homes tells the Dispatch that many nursing homes aren’t sure what the rules are, and that more than 100 nursing homes have opted out of the Guard effort and are getting their own testing done, and results could take up to a week.

Coroner: Death after Ohio protest was due to natural causes
Authorities say an autopsy has concluded that a recent Ohio State University graduate who died in late May after attending a protest in Columbus died of natural causes. Twenty-two-year-old Sarah Grossman died May 30, two days after having participated in a protest over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Her family released a statement in early June confirming that she had been exposed to pepper spray but saying there was “no evidence” that such exposure was a factor in her death. According to the autopsy report provided by the Montgomery County coroner’s office, Grossman died of a coronary artery dissection due to a previously undiagnosed genetic condition.

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J. Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.