The Ohio Department of Health is confirming FIVE COVID-19 cases in the state as of Thursday afternoon's update. 

With that, Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the ODH, says they believe that about one percent of the state's population, or roughly 100-thousand people are infected with coronavirus.

"We know now, just the fact of community spread says that at least 1%, at the very least 1% of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today," said Dr. Acton Thursday. There are roughly 11.7 million people in the state.

One of those confirmed cases is a Canton man in his mid-50s who reportedly had no contact with anyone known to have the virus, nor did he recently travel. He is being referred to as the first "community-spread" COVID-19 patient. 

There are cuurently more than 50 patients under investigation for possible COVID-19. 

The Cleveland Clinic says they are increasing their COVID-19 testing capacity from 500 to 1,000 per day by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, Governor DeWine is banning the gathering of groups of more than 100 people and ordering all K through 12 students on mandatory three-week break from school starting Monday.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 17:14

Coronavirus:K-12 School Closings Start Monday

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, he has ordered that all kindergarten through 12th grade schools close for a period of several weeks.  

Beginning at the conclusion of the school day on Monday, March 16, all K-12 schools will close to students through Friday, April 3. This order includes all public, community, and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s childcare system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers.

During this extended period of closure, schools should work to provide education through alternative means and school district leadership may make decisions on whether to use their school buildings. Staff members should continue to report to school as directed by administrators.

"We want to thank educators and administrators for the extraordinary efforts they will take to continue offering services during this time of national crisis," said Governor DeWine. 

Over the next 72 hours, the Ohio Department of Education will develop guidance for K-12 schools to ensure the continuity of important student services, including a strategy for providing meals.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 11:29

Summit County Issues Statement on COVID-19

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Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro has issued the following statement on the COVID-19 coronavirus and the measures the county is taking to ensure the safety of its residents: 

As County Executive, my number one priority is the safety and well-being of my staff, the clients we serve, and the 541,000 residents of Summit County. The continuity of County services is paramount to that objective.

We are working closely with Summit County Public Health in monitoring the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and I want to thank Public Health for their service in keeping our community healthy and safe. Additionally, we remain in close contact with the State of Ohio and federal liaisons.

Summit County provides critical functions to our residents and at this time, our doors are open. While we look at limiting non-essential travel, appropriate staffing levels, and additional sanitizing protocols in our buildings, we are mindful that the public relies on our services, especially in times of need.

We intend to limit the chance for exposure for our staff and for the clients we serve. We are also working with the Board of Elections to ensure safe, properly staffed polling locations to support the critical County function of Election Day on March 17th.

As events are being cancelled and concerns increase, please know our Emergency Management Agency stands ready, as it always does, to assist the Public Health Department and the 31 communities within Summit County.

At this time, please continue to wash your hands, cover your cough and rely on good, factual information as you make decisions about social distancing and your commitments in the community. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your health care provider. If you do not have a primary care physician, please call the Summit County Public Health Department and they will refer you to a local doctor. As always, show compassion to those who are struggling, reassure those who are fearful and encourage each other to become educated on this evolving public health situation.

Informational Resources:

Summit County Public Health website.

Summit County Public Health hotline: 330.926.5795

Ohio Department of Health website

Ohio Department of Health hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH

Thursday, 12 March 2020 10:07

Latest COVID-19 Patient from Canton

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The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed Ohio's fourth case of COVID-19 coronavirus is in Stark County.

The patient is reportedly a man in his mid-50's from Canton and is described as the first example of "community spread" COVID-19 in Ohio. That is to say that this patient has not traveled outside of the United States and has had no known contact with anyone else confirmed to have coronavirus.

The patient is currently hospitalized as local health officials are investigating what contact this person has had with the greater community. 

At last check there are 24 patients under investigation for COVID-19 coronavirus infection in Ohio. 

Here is the latest from the Stark County Department of Health

Here is the latest from the Ohio Department of Health

Here is the latest from the Centers for Disease Control

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 11:26

Renters, Evictions, and New Court Rules

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Good news and bad news this week for renters in Akron, which has the highest rate of evictions in Ohio.

The good news is that Akron Municipal Court adopted some new rules that help protect renters from being unfairly evicted, but the bad news, is that judges did not a rule that would have allowed unfair evictions to be taken off of a renter's court record. 

WAKR Morning Show Host, Ray Horner, talked about it with the Director of Community Legal Aid in Akron, Steve McGarity.

 


WAKR Morning Show Host, Ray Horner, talks to Democratic US Congressman Tim Ryan about the Coronavirus pandemic effect on our economy, over-reliance on China to supply vital components for US goods, and what he thinks about Joe Biden's big wins so far in the Democratic Presidential primaries.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 17:12

KSU Also Cancelling Classes:Coronavirus

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Kent State University joining University of Akron, and Ohio State University, cancelling face to face classes as a result of the Coronavirus. They're shifting to online learning.

Official details here:

Kent State University has provided a new update to its students, faculty and staff in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

In addition to its COVID-19 information page, Kent State now has an email account – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.– where general questions about COVID-19 can be sent. 

Kent State President Todd Diacon sent the following communication to the university community Tuesday:
 

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,

We applaud Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s proactive approach to keeping our state safe during the ongoing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Therefore, at 4:25 p.m. TODAY, we will cease face-to-face classes through April 12. Remote instruction will begin March 16.

To slow transmission of the virus and consistent with recommendations from state health authorities to limit large gatherings and practice social distancing, Kent State is taking the following preventative and proactive actions:

  • March 16-20:                   Classes will be held via remote instruction.
  • March 23-29:                   Spring break will occur as scheduled.
  • March 30-April 10:         Classes will be held via remote instruction.
  • April 13:                            Face-to-face classes will resume.

Clinical rotations for the College of Podiatric Medicine and the College of Nursing will continue, but face-to-face classes will cease.

Kent Campus students are strongly encouraged to return to their homes during this modified spring schedule, but residence halls will remain open with reduced dining options. While completing classes remotely, students are encouraged to practice appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures.

During this modified spring schedule, overall operations of the university will continue, and the University Library will be accessible. Faculty may continue to use their offices. However, meetings are suspended. All campuses will remain open to serve students who rely on services, including health services, dining services, residence halls and intercollegiate athletic facilities.

Events scheduled for campus locations through April 12 are canceled to avoid creating large gatherings. No additional spring semester events will be scheduled. Athletic events will follow NCAA and Mid-American Conference (MAC) guidelines.

We take all of these steps to ensure the health and safety of our campus community and to be proactive in an effort to prevent illness while continuing the academic mission of the university.

We will continue to monitor the outbreak and will align our recommendations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization and other city, state and federal agencies.

There are currently no campus-associated cases of COVID-19. As of this communication, there are three confirmed cases in Cuyahoga County, and we expect that there will be more across the state.

Additional Guidance for Students

  • Kent Campus students who choose to remain on campus may stay in their residence halls for the duration of the modified spring schedule.
  • Students can continue to use dining locations and the University Library.
  • However, the Warren Student Recreation and Wellness Center will be closed until April 13.

Guidance for Faculty and Staff 

  • Staffing of each unit will continue as currently in place; however, if reasonable employee needs so dictate, on-site staffing may be reduced.
  • Faculty information for academic continuity can be found at FAQ.
  • Additional employee and supervisor information can be found at FAQ.

Travel 

  • Effective immediately, all university-sponsored travel – domestic and international – is canceled through April 13.
  • While Kent State is not able to stop travel for anyone taking personal trips over spring break, we strongly urge members of the Kent State community to consider such plans carefully at this volatile time and recommend that all heed CDC travel notices.
  • We recommend that anyone who has traveled to a highly affected area and develops a fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, seek medical advice by calling your local health department. If you cannot reach your local health department, call ahead before going to the emergency room or doctor’s office to notify them of recent travel to countries with elevated levels of COVID-19.

What You Can Do

The same steps you take to prevent the spread of the flu and the common cold will also help prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • Avoid large gatherings and follow social distancing recommendations of 3-6 feet.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue.
  • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are ill (except to visit a healthcare professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately and call ahead before visiting the healthcare provider’s office. Most people with COVID-19 develop mild to moderate illness without the need for medical care. Those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for developing serious illness. Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

Because Flashes take care of Flashes, we ask you to show care and compassion to your fellow Flashes and neighbors who may be experiencing anxiety or fears.

For more information, visit Kent State’s coronavirus information page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional information can be found here:

I appreciate your understanding and continued cooperation during these challenging times. I also extend my thanks to the hard-working teams who are focused on keeping our community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Todd Diacon
President

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 16:58

UA Cancels Classes: Coronavirus

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The University of Akron has cancelled classes for the rest of the week, while they put plans in place to continue with online instruction in response to the possible spread of COVID 19 Coronavirus.

Here is their release with more information:

Dear Members of The University of Akron Community,

In keeping with advice and recommendations regarding COVID-19 from Governor DeWine and health officials to avoid large numbers of people interacting in close proximity to one another, The University of Akron is stopping face-to-face instruction effective at 5:00 PM today. No classes will be held the rest of this week or next week to allow faculty time to develop their plans for migrating their courses to on-line instruction when the University returns from spring break on March 30.

We’re convinced we can offer a quality online experience for students but believe that it is prudent to have the time to properly prepare that coursework. Not holding classes between now and March 30th, when spring break concludes, will give the faculty and staff the needed time to be prepared and make sure students have the ability to access online offerings.

In addition, the University is canceling all large events previously scheduled on campus from now until at least April 20. Residence halls will remain open. Anyone who has traveled abroad or to areas of the United States where there has been a significant COVID-19 outbreak is asked to notify University Health Services.

This situation continues to evolve and change, and we are staying current with developments so we can plan and act appropriately to protect our community to the greatest extent possible.

We recognize that these actions will cause disruption in planned routines and activities. However, this is an extraordinary situation requiring us to adapt and operate in novel ways.

Thank you for your cooperation during this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Gary L. Miller
President

Additional information for the campus community:

Students

As mentioned above, no classes will be held the rest of this week or next week to allow faculty time to develop their plans for migrating their courses to on-line instruction when the University returns from spring break on March 30.

Students are free to return to their permanent address during this time, however, residence halls will be open during this extended spring break period. No refunds will be given for time not spent in the residence halls.

Food service will continue on campus and student services and amenities will remain open.

Students are encouraged to exercise proper hygiene and social distancing (remaining out of large group settings, avoiding public transportation and maintaining a distance of approximately 3-6 feet from others). See the University’s website for health information.

See how to continue coursework in Brightspace.

Faculty

Faculty are expected to come to campus and work with their department chairs, deans and the Office of Academic Affairs to ensure that they are prepared to conduct online instruction starting Monday, March 30.

Learn more about preparing for online instruction.

Employees

Staff and contract professionals are expected to come to campus and continue normal operations.

Events

All large-scale events previously scheduled on campus through April 20 are being canceled.

No new events will be scheduled on campus through April 20.

We will continue to evaluate events and provide direction prior to mid-April as to whether we will need to extend these restrictions.

Travel

As has been previously shared, all University-sponsored international travel is canceled through at least May 31.

We strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to reconsider any personal international travel as well as domestic travel to highly impacted areas within the United States.

Anyone who has traveled abroad or to areas of the United States where there has been a significant COVID-19 outbreak is asked to notify University Health Services.

Travelers returning from Level 3 warning countries are required to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring. During this period, you are not permitted to come to work, be on campus or participate in any other campus or community activities. Students needing to self-quarantine will be required to return to their permanent home residences or self-quarantine in their off-campus apartments. Students who reside in University housing and are unable to return to a permanent residence should contact Residence Life and Student Housing.

Call Center Activated

The University of Akron has established a call center to respond to questions. The center will begin operations today at 5 p.m., then operating 24 hours a day initially with hours adjusted according to call volume.

The phone number is 1-800-250-8993.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 11:12

Coronavirus Precautions Ahead of State Primary

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With the announcement of three Ohioans that have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 coronavirus, concerns are mounting from several fronts, including among registered voters in the state looking forward to the March 17th state primary. 

Secretary of State Frank LaRose updating the public Tuesday on the latest precautions his office and the state board of elections offices are taking ahead of next week's Ohio Primary. 

In addition to extra santization and disinfecting of polling places and ballot machines across the state, LaRose says they are moving some of their polling locations from nursing homes to other spots. This is an effort to better protect some of Ohio's most vulnerable population. 

Hear Secretary of State Frank LaRose's update from Tuesday below: 


For all of the latest election day related coronavirus updates, visit the Secretary of State's special COVID-19 page here

Friday, 06 March 2020 09:15

This Week in Tech with Jeanne Destro-3-6-20 Featured

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The State of Ohio is using Artificial Intelligence to help eliminate some regulations. But is it a good idea?

We’ll find out, with Ohio Lt. Governor, Jon Husted, CBS Technology Consultant, Larry Magid, and Artificial Intelligence expert, Professor Vanja Djuric, from the University of Akron.

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