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ODH: Northeast Ohio has reached peak of omicron surge, wave of infection shifting southward

A stack of newspapers on a table.
A stack of newspapers on a table.

Here are some of the topics up for discussion on today's Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable.

The omicron surge has reached peak in Northeast Ohio, according to state health officials.  The state’s top doctor says hospitalization numbers are improving.  Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says the steepest decline is in Northeast Ohio where numbers are down 24%.  But the situation varies statewide.   In the southwest and western parts of the state, ICU admissions due to COVID are still increasing.  Vanderhoff adds that hospitalizations and cases are still above the previous winter surge—when the vaccine was just becoming available.  Ohio is still counting case numbers above 20,000 nearly every day. 

The Ohio Redistricting Commission is facing a Saturday deadline to complete new district maps for the Ohio House and Senate.  The Ohio Supreme Court threw out the original maps that were approved by the commission—saying they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered and did not adhere to voter approved reforms.

You would think a region called the “snow belt” would be prepared to handle whatever winter throws at it.  But that was not the case.  A winter storm dumped much of Northeast and Eastern Ohio with heavy snowfall Sunday into Monday.  The National Weather Service says greater Cleveland received a foot of snow and parts of Summit and Geauga counties received more than 12-inches.  The snow virtually shut down the City of Cleveland with crews laboring to clear roads and the Greater Cleveland RTA shut down both its bus and train service—stranding workers who rely on public transit. Mayor Justin Bibb says the city’s “broken” snow removal plan needs overhauled.  He’s pledging to improve performance for snow removal.

The Cleveland Clinic this week launched the largest ever study aimed to better understand neurological disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s stroke or epilepsy. The clinical study will collect data from 200,000 neurologically health people over the course of 20 years.  The goal is to identify biomarkers and spur new treatment approaches to stop brain diseases before they cause damage.

Sources say Intel will build a multi-billion dollar computer chip manufacturing facility in Central Ohio.  An invitation-only event is planned for later today in Newark where it is anticipated that details on the massive economic development will be announced.  Both the governor and lieutenant governor are expected to attend. The facility will be built on more than 3,000 acres of land in Licking County annexed into New Albany.

Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer for Health, Ideastream Public Media
Andrew Meyer, News Director, WKSU
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."