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Morning Headlines: Ohio Resumes Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, Sticks with Pfizer at Wolstein Center; COVID Case Decline Continues

A chart showing the trends of COVID cases in Ohio.
Ohio Department of Health
The state health department reported under a thousand new COVID-19 cases on Sunday for the first time in the last three weeks.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, April 26:

  • Ohio resuming use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but sticks with Pfizer for this week at Wolstein Center
  • Summit County ready to resume J&J distribution
  • COVID-19 case decline continues
  • Venue aid application portal opens today
  • New charge in Columbus police shooting
  • Death investigation reveals policy violations
  • Summit County Fair plans full fair this year

Ohio resuming use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but sticks with Pfizer for this week at Wolstein Center
Ohio is following federal guidance and resuming use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. But for this week, the DeWine administration says first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered at the mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland. That indicates the center will remain open for at least another three weeks, so second doses can be given. Originally it was expected that Johnson & Johnson one-dose shots would begin to be offered this week at the site. A spokeswoman for the DeWine administration says no announcements have been made about which vaccine the site will distribute next week. The C.D.C.’s advisory committee on immunization recommended late Friday that use of the J & J vaccine resume with additional cautionary information provided to recipients about the extremely rare blood clots that have developed in some who’ve received it.

Summit County ready to resume J&J distribution
A spokeswoman for Summit County Public Health tells the Akron Beacon Journal they have at least a couple thousand doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ready to go. Marlene Martin says people have been asking for the one-dose shot. She says the department has enough for another mass vaccination clinic but will discuss today, the timing of it. On Friday, the health department vaccinated 670 people at a mass clinic at the Summit County fairgrounds. Plans for another clinic at the fairgrounds tomorrow were canceled due to decreased demand. Martin says the health department is reaching out to individuals through smaller clinics at schools and faith-based organizations.

COVID-19 case decline continues
New cases of COVID-19 have been on a downward trend over the past few days and on Sunday the state health department reported under a thousand new cases for the first time in the last three weeks. The total reported was 873. Most of northeast Ohio remains under red alert for high incidence; 39% of Ohioans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Venue aid application portal opens today
Starting today, music venues, movie theaters, and playhouses can apply for federal financial support. The Small Business Administration is ready to re-open its online application portal after the system failed more than two weeks ago. Jill Bacon Madden, the owner ofJilly's Music Room in Akron, says the process is like prepping for a final exam, only worse. “What happens once you hit submit with your application? How long is it going to take them to go through these things, and how long will it take them to distribute money to anyone?” Bacon Madden wonders. She says she’s not as confident in the process as she was when it first started. The application portal will open at noon today for venues to apply for their share of $16 billion.

New charge in Columbus police shooting
A Columbus grand jury has added a new charge against Adam Coy, the former Columbus police officer who in December fatally shot a Black man holding a cellphone. Coy was indicted in February on murder, felonious assault, and dereliction of duty charges for the death of 47-year-old Andre Hill. On Friday, a reckless homicide charge was added. A prosecutor with the Ohio Attorney General's Office says the new charge is part of an ongoing investigation. Coy's attorney Mark Collins says prosecutors apparently don't have “much faith” in the murder charge. Coy was fired days after Hill was killed.

Death investigation reveals policy violations
Ohio's youth correctional agency says as it investigated the death of a teen at its juvenile detention center in Circleville it found staff members violated a number of policies. 17-year old Robert Wright was found dead at the facility last August. Department of Youth Services director Ryan Gies said on Friday that staff members didn't properly conduct rounds to check on sleeping youth that morning. He also said two staff members were seen sleeping on their shift. He also says there was a delay in providing CPR to the teen after he was discovered unresponsive in his cell. Wright’s family protested outside the facility earlier this month, seeking answers.

Summit County Fair plans full fair this year
Summit County Fair Manager Cathy Cunningham says the event this year will be a full county fair. The fair will sell tickets in advance to avoid lines and plans signage and sanitization stations throughout the fairgrounds to adhere to state health guidelines. She says they’re now accepting paper registrations and online registration opens May first. The fair runs from July 27 through August 1st.

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.
J. Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.