COVID-19 has had a major and obvious impact on human beings, but now there are some cases of the virus being found in animals, both domesticated pets and wild zoo animals. The virus hit home recently, as a pride of lions at the Akron Zoo contracted it from a staff member, according to Dr. Brittany Rizzo, an associate veterinarian at the facility. Dr. Rizzo says the lions experienced some minor symptoms such as sneezing and a decreased appetite, but they are stable at the moment. Out of an abundance of caution, Akron Zoo staff have increased the PPE when around the susceptible animals. While it is rare for animals to contract COVID-19, it is also not uncommon, according to Dr. Rizzo. She also says there is no known data that animals have transmitted the virus back to humans in zoo settings, so she encourages folks to continue to visit their local zoos.

Thursday, 30 September 2021 10:51

Akron Zoo's Lions Test Positive for COVID-19

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The African Lions at the Akron Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19, per an update from the zoo this morning.
There are five lions at the local zoo, all of whom are positive.
In a release this morning, the Akron Zoo says out of an abundance of caution they tested all of their Big Cats, and the results for the Sumatran Tigers, snow leopards, and jaguar have all come back negative.
It is likely the lions caught the virus from a human handler. There is very little concern of the lions transmitting the virus back to humans, and the Akron Zoo says there is no risk for visitors to the zoo.
See the full press release from the Akron Zoo below: 
(Akron Zoo) – The African lions at the Akron Zoo have received presumptive positive test results for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The Akron Zoo is home to five lions – males Tamarr and Donovan and females Mandisa, Kataba and Msinga.
The lion care team recently noticed some mild coughing, sneezing and decreased appetite in a few of the lions. After the onset of symptoms, fecal samples were collected and sent to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where the lions tested presumptive positive. The positive samples will now be sent to a National Veterinary Services Lab for further testing.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Akron Zoo also sent fecal samples for testing of all their big cats, including the Sumatran tigers, snow leopards and jaguar. These samples tested negative, however staff will continue to closely monitor them for any clinical signs of COVID-19.
The lions will remain in their habitat in the zoo’s Pride of Africa area, where they will be treated for any symptoms as indicated for each animal.
The lions do not pose a transmission threat to zoo visitors. There is currently no data showing that zoo animals have transmitted the virus to humans, unlike the documented transmission of humans to animals. Additionally, the zoo’s habitat design and use of glass throughout the park protects the animals and guests from exposure to each other while in their habitats.
The use of PPE and safety protocols were already required in all animal care areas. Exposure is believed to be from a staff member who later tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the zoo will be further enhancing PPE in animal care areas.
The Akron Zoo has been authorized to use the Zoetis COVID-19 investigational vaccine developed uniquely for animals. Other zoos throughout North America have begun administering the vaccine to its vulnerable animals. The vaccine very recently arrived at the Akron Zoo, and plans are underway to vaccinate susceptible animals. The lions will be included in vaccinations, upon their recovery. Use of the COVID-19 vaccine from Zoetis has been authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Ohio state veterinarian.
Thursday, 30 September 2021 10:14

Bases & Balls with Jim Rosenhaus - 10/1/2021

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Time now for Bases & Balls, a weekly segment with WAKR's Ray Horner and Tribe broadcaster Jim Rosenhaus!

Today, Rosey and Ray looked back at the season that was in 2021, they look ahead to 2022, and if Terry Francona will be with the club next season.

Bases & Balls is powered by Jennings Heating & Cooling.

Thursday, 30 September 2021 10:08

Akron Mayor Looks At Gun Violence, Neighborhood Safety

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Each week at 7:10 AM, Akron mayor Dan Horrigan joins the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss the most pressing issues in the city. In the last year, most topics have revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic, but other offshoots from the virus have taken the headlines, as well, whether it is economic or socioeconomic-related.

One of those socioeconomic topics includes gun violence and homicides in Akron, which have seen a large spike since the beginning of 2020. Horrigan talked about what the city is doing to quell the violence spike, and how they plan to keep the concerned neighborhoods safe. The mayor also touched on some of the road projects and how local businesses have managed during the pandemic.

For our Student Athlete of the Week program, we head southwest of our studios and meet two Norton Panthers.

Julia Davenport is a senior and a member of the Panthers' golf team. She was named to the first team all-MAC, and she finished second in Player of the Year standings. In the classroom, she has a 4.09 GPA.

Reid Beddow is also a senior, and he has been a key member of the Norton football team. Against Streetsboro last week, Reid recorded three sacks and ran for over 70 yards in a decisive victory. Reid has a 3.87 GPA.

The Student Athlete of the Week segment is powered by NECA-IBEW and Akron Children’s Hospital.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 08:02

Akron Area Businesses Still Facing Staffing Shortages

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A surplus of jobs are available, with upwards of 10 million positions have been left unfilled. But due to various factors revolving around the pandemic, many folks have either decided on a new career path, perhaps virtual work, early retirement, or a collection of other factors.

Steve Millard is the president of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, and he joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about how the local businesses have managed the last year and a half, from the virus itself to needing to fill open positons. Millard does not believe these unfilled jobs are due to laziness, but that many either do not want to risk a potential viral outbreak, or the jobs are not as high-skilled enough, or the salary is still not up to snuff. However, Millard applauds the creativity of many of these small businesses in order to keep the doors unlocked and the lights on.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 07:24

Hey Bobby! - 9/29/2021

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Time now for Hey Bobby!, a weekly Cleveland Indians segment with VP Bob DiBiasio and WAKR's Ray Horner.

Today, Bobby and Ray looked back at the 2021 season, who the MVP and unsung heroes were, and they look ahead to 2022.

Hey Bobby! is powered by NECA-IBEW.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 11:08

Robbery Suspects: Akron Police Asking for Tips

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Akron police are looking for a couple of suspects who got away with an undisclosed amount of cash after holding up a Subway restaurant in the 1000 block of Kenmore Avenue last Thursday, September 23.

No one was hurt during the incident, which happened just before 9:00 PM.

The suspect pictured holding the gun is approxmately 18-23 years old, and the other one, who police say was acting as a lookout;  is perhaps 16-20.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip.

You can also call The Summit County Crimestoppers: 330-434-COPS, or Text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637. Callers can remain anonymous


Tuesday, 28 September 2021 08:25

Summa Health to Reduce Hospital Beds By 20%

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The fallout from COVID-19 continues, and this time the actual virus has both a direct and indirect effect locally. On Monday, Summa Health announced they will reduce their hospital beds by 20% due to staffing shortages.

Dr. David Custodio is the chief medical officer at Summa Health, and he joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss this news. Dr. Custodio is proud of how the staff has weathered the COVID-19 storm these last 19 months, but it just is not sustainable to maintain at this point in time. Summa is also reducing some of their elective surgeries temporarily.

As the Alpha version of COVID-19 looked to be waning, either from natural immunity or the efficacy from the vaccines. However, as summer cranked up, so did the Delta variant, and that has overtaken the vast majority of the world's cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

As September comes to a close, what is the future shaping up to be and how effective will the vaccines and subsequent booster shots be in fighting the new variants? Dr. Richard Londraville is a biologist and the University of Akron, and he joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the history of variants from an original virus, and what folks should watch out for as time goes on. He does say the vaccines continue to be very good against the current and probable future variants.

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