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Majority of Summit County EMS Workers Opt Out of COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Kristen Anzuini

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — Adam Resanovich has been a firefighter and paramedic for the last 15 years, but he said he has never had a year quite like 2020.

“It’s really changed a lot. You really have to slow down and take an extra minute to make sure you and your crew are safe,” he said.

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A Deadline Looms for the IRS to Issue Stimulus Checks. What If I Don't See My Money by February?

BY Curtis McCloud

ORLANDO, Fla. — A deadline looms for the Internal Revenue Service to send out checks from the most recent federal stimulus package, and eligible Americans who don't get one in the next couple of weeks may need to go through an extra step to get their money.

According to the rules of the stimulus, the U.S. Treasury Department has a midnight deadline to get the checks out, though it could take beyond that to get them all issued.

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The Latest Coronavirus Numbers in Ohio

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 2:45 PM ET Jan. 15, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Every day, the Ohio Department of Health updates Ohioans on the latest coronavirus numbers. The graphics below are updated with information provided by the state of Ohio.



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Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 2 Million Worldwide

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 2:15 PM ET Jan. 15, 2021

When President-elect Joe Biden takes the Oath of Office to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, Jan. 20, it will come on the one-year anniversary of a grim milestone: the United States’ first confirmed case of COVID-19.

Just days before Biden’s inauguration, the world hit another grim milestone: Over 2 million coronavirus deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, a little over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

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COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant US Strain by March, CDC Says

BY Erin Billups - National Health Reporter and Ryan Chatelain

The highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in England could become the predominant strain in the United States by March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday.

As of Wednesday, 76 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant had been found in 10 states, the CDC said. But the agency said its modeling data show the variant spreading rapidly, which would place an even greater strain on hospitals, many already overwhelmed as case numbers continue to soar.

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Biden Unveils $1.9 Trillion Rescue Plan: "The Very Health of our Nation is at Stake"

BY Spectrum News Staff and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 8:15 PM ET Jan. 14, 2021

"The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there's no time to waste,” President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday night, laying out in detail his plans to help Americans survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restart the lagging economy.

Thursday’s address marks the first of Biden’s two-part plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the country, saying he will roll out the “Rescue” portion on his first day in office. The second part — which Biden referred to as the “Recovery” effort — will be implemented in February.

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Hamilton County Enters Purple As DeWine Says the Pandemic is Worsening Again

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hamilton County entered the state’s purple alert level on Thursday as Gov. Mike DeWine warned the pandemic appears to be worsening once again in Ohio.

Two counties, Clermont and Lorain, entered the state’s watchlist which means they are at risk of next week entering the purple alert level on the state’s map indicating where spread of the virus is accelerating most quickly.

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Vaccines and Masks: Biden Plan Aims to Break Pandemic Cycle

BY Associated Press

A coronavirus action plan being unveiled by President-elect Joe Biden centers on a mass vaccination campaign and closer coordination among all levels of government.

The Biden plan comes as a divided nation remains caught in the grip of the pandemic’s most dangerous wave yet. So far, more than 380,000 Americans have died.

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Woman Opens Bakery in Cleveland During Pandemic

BY Rodneya Ross

CLEVELAND — Chanelle Harris has been baking for seven years.

"My favorite part of baking is my creativity. Honestly, I love to be able to take things or see a picture or somebody's idea and be able to make it come to life," Harris said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine, Pregnancy and Infertility: Here's What We Know

BY Alexa Maslowski

CLEVELAND — There are certain vaccines that doctors say pregnant women shouldn't take like HPV or live vaccine like the one used to prevent measles, mumps and rubella.

The trials that lead to the FDA approval of the coronavirus vaccines did not include pregnant women, but some women became pregnant during the trial.

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Universities Increase COVID-19 Safety Measures for Spring Semester

BY Camri Nelson

CINCINNATI — This spring, the University of Cincinnati (UC) students, staff and visitors will use the new COVID Check app.

It’s a new system at UC that monitors the symptoms of all students and determines whether students are safe enough to enter a building.

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Under New Vaccine Protocols, Ohio Could Soon Access 353,925 "Banked" Doses

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — COVID-19 vaccine providers in Ohio could soon get access to 353,925 doses that have been "held back" for the state under federal protocols, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday afternoon, just after he was briefed by Vice President Mike Pence with other governors.

DeWine celebrated the federal government's announcement that it will pivot to releasing vaccine doses that had previously been withheld to ensure recipients would receive a timely second shot.

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New Variant, Likely “More Infectious,” Discovered in Ohio Patient

BY Pete Grieve & Lydia Taylor

OHIO — A new, likely "more infectious" variant of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been discovered in the state, according to researchers from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The researchers report the variant is similar to a mutation of the virus that's spreading in the U.K., but they believe it's from a strain that's already in the U.S.

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Trump Administration Asking States to Give COVID-19 Vaccine to People 65 and Over

BY Austin Landis and Associated Press
UPDATED 1:30 PM ET Jan. 12, 2021

The Trump administration is asking states to speed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older and to others at high risk by no longer holding back the second dose of the two-dose shots, officials said Tuesday.

States that vaccinate more people may also be rewarded with additional doses under the new plan.

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Ohio Documents Record-High Opioid Overdose Spike in 2020, Yost Urges Vigilance During Pandemic

BY Lydia Taylor

OHIO — The state recorded a new high for opioid overdose deaths last year. In the second quarter of 2020, which is three months, the overdose death rate was the highest its been in 10 years.

The statewide death rate was 11.01 per 100,000 people, according to Scientific Committee on Opioid Prevention and Education (SCOPE). The previous high was in the first quarter of 2017, which recorded a rate of 10.87 opioid overdoses per 100,000 people.

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Third Lawmaker Tests Positive for COVID-19 Following Capitol Lockdown

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press
UPDATED 11:15 AM ET Jan. 12, 2021

Two Democratic members of the House of Representatives who were forced to go into lockdown during last week’s siege at the U.S. Capitol announced they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) released a statement on Tuesday morning that he tested positive for COVID-19, adding that he has "not yet experienced symptoms and am in the care of capable physicians."

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CDC: Thousands of COVID-19 Vaccines Unused in Ohio

BY Lindsay Oliver

COLUMBUS — Only 40% of the COVID-19 vaccine distributed to Ohio has been administered to people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser with OSU’s Wexner Medical Center is one of the 303,522 who has received the first dose.

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Northeast Ohio Sports Bar Gets $20,000 From Small Business Fund

BY Rodneya Ross

KENT — The Water Street Tavern is a college town sports bar in Kent that has been suffering since the pandemic began.

"Everything that my business is based on which makes it fun and successful all of the restrictions put upon us makes the business pretty much obsolete," said Water Street Tavern owner Mike Beder.

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Coping With Needle Fears for COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Jenna Jordan

CLEVELAND — The COVID-19 vaccine is now being distributed across the country, and at this point, it’s only being administered via shot. For people afraid of those sharp objects, University Hospitals physicians are making a point to help alleviate those fears.



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Dippin' Dots Freezers Vetted by HHS, FEMA to Store COVID-19 Vaccines

BY Khyati Patel
UPDATED 1:52 PM ET Jan. 10, 2021

PADUCAH, Ky. — A Kentucky-based ice cream company is gaining a lot of attention as an unlikely hero in the fight against COVID-19.

Dippin’ Dots has been contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and FEMA for information about their chest freezers. With storage temperatures ranging from -40 to -122 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezers could soon be used to store COVID-19 vaccines.

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Ohio Shuts Down Proposal to Extend Curfew for Two Big Games

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state’s rejection of a proposed two-day exemption to its 10 p.m. curfew to let fans cheer on Ohio teams in bars for two huge playoff games was met with frustration from hard-hit business owners, but even among the bar industry, some were concerned lifting the curfew for football would be a radical step.

The exemption would have allowed fans to spectate in bars and restaurants for the Ohio State Buckeye’s shot at the national championship and would let establishments in Cleveland keep their doors open for the team’s first playoff game in 18 years.

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Halloran Park Skating Rink Reopens with $30,000 in Upgrades

BY Micaela Marshall

CLEVELAND — For the first time this season, the Halloran Park Skating Rink is open in Cleveland.

“Glad to be back on the ice,” said hockey player Mike Miceli. “I started playing when I was 53 years old. So, I’ve been playing for three years and I just enjoy it.”

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FDA Warns New COVID Variant May Cause False Negative Results

BY Rachel Tillman

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that newly emerging variants of the coronavirus may impact the outcome of some molecular COVID-19 tests.

In a statement released on Friday, the FDA said it alerted clinical laboratory staff and healthcare workers that more contagious variants of the coronavirus may not be detectable in some tests, resulting in false negative results.

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Ohio to Begin Immunizing Seniors 80 and Older on Jan. 19

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio will begin the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination program on Jan. 19. At that time, seniors older than 80 will become eligible for immunizations followed by younger seniors, residents with certain medical conditions, and the staff members of schools using in-person learning models.

For seniors, each subsequent week, the eligible age group will expand by five years. In the week of Jan. 25, when seniors older than 75 begin receiving shots, a group of approximately 75,000 people with medical conditions will also become eligible for immunizations.

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Money Available for Akron Residents Struggling to Pay Utility Bills

BY Jennifer Conn

AKRON, Ohio — Money is still available to help Akron residents facing hardships brought on by the pandemic.

The Akron City Council this week rejected a proposed moratorium until March 1 on water shutoffs, pointing to the availability of money the city said is languishing in the Akron Cares fund.

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US Coronavirus Deaths Hit Record High for 2nd Straight Day

BY Ryan Chatelain

Wednesday was another record deadly day in the pandemic, as 3,865 Americans died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The previous record — of 3,775 — was set just one day earlier. It’s the fourth time in nine days the U.S. has reached a new high in coronavirus deaths. Wednesday also marked the 11th time since Dec. 11 that the country surpassed 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in a day.

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Flu Numbers See Sharp Decline in Ohio

BY Ryan Schmelz

CLEVELAND — While COVID-19 continues to spread in Ohio, experts say the number of people becoming sick with the flu remains low.

Since 2010, Richard Stacklin has studied flu numbers as a data analyst for Cuyahoga County. But this year, he noticed something was off.

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Partially Vaccinated Staff Infected in Wexner East Hospital COVID-19 Cluster

BY Pete Grieve
UPDATED 1:15 PM ET Jan. 06, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An alarming outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s East Hospital is under investigation after 27 staff — including some who had received a vaccine dose — and six patients tested positive in one of the first known instances of COVID-19 spreading in an Ohio hospital despite the use of medical-grade protective equipment.

For months, Ohio officials have noted that there has not been a spread of COVID-19 in hospital settings in the state. During the fall COVID-19 surge, hospital staffing became strained due to infections and quarantines among staff, but officials said the transmission was occurring outside the hospitals.

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Ohio Nursing Home Wasted Vaccine Doses Despite "Scramble" to Give Shots

BY Pete Grieve
UPDATED 12:30 PM ET Jan. 06, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On New Year's Eve, an Ohio nursing home discarded doses of the COVID-19 vaccine after unused amounts had expired, Gov. Mike DeWine shared Tuesday, expressing his frustration precious quantities were tossed out.

The governor said the nursing home received more shots than it had residents and staff willing to be vaccinated. When the problem was discovered, the facility and the pharmacy team did what they could to get the vaccine out, but they were unable to use it all.

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US Coronavirus Deaths Set New Record, Cases Surpass 21 Million

BY Ryan Chatelain

For the third time in eight days, the United States has set a new record for coronavirus deaths in a day.

The country saw 3,775 people succumb to COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins University. On Dec. 29 and 30, the U.S. also registered more than 3,700 deaths.

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Live Updates: COVID-19 Across the United States

BY Austin Landis , Rachel Tillman , Spectrum News Staff and Ryan Chatelain
UPDATED 7:45 AM ET Jan. 06, 2021

In the months since COVID-19 first came to the United States, over 21 million Americans have contracted the deadly virus, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

As of Jan. 6, over 357,000 Americans have died after contracting the novel coronavirus.

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Coffee Shop Reopens After Closing During Pandemic

BY Camri Nelson

DAYTON, Ohio — Third Perk Coffeehouse and Wine Bar in downtown Dayton was hit so hard by the pandemic last year the owner decided to close it.

“It was very devastating,” Juanita Darden said. “As a small business operator if you’re not open, you’re not making this, you’re not making biz, you’re not making money.”

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Tri-C Offering Free Weekly COVID-19 Testing to Community

BY Micaela Marshall

WESTLAKE, Ohio — The Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) is offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing this week.

Tri-C students, faculty, staff and community members have the opportunity to be tested for COVID-19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7.

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FDA Issues Strong Warning Against Changing COVID-19 Vaccine Schedules, Dosages

BY Ryan Chatelain
UPDATED 3:00 PM ET Jan. 05, 2021

The Food and Drug Administration is warning health care workers not to deviate from the authorized coronavirus vaccine schedules and dosages.

In recent days, calls have grown for alternative ways to vaccinate more Americans sooner, fueled in part by practices being seen in the United Kingdom.

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UK PM Boris Johnson Imposes New National Lockdown: "The Weeks Ahead Will Be the Hardest Yet"

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 4:04 PM ET Jan. 04, 2021

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown for England on Monday until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new version of the coronavirus.

"That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home," Johnson said, urging people to hunker down in order to "protect the NHS and save lives"

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First American Baby Born With COVID-19 Has Made a Full Recovery

BY Lupe Zapata

DALLAS — The first American baby known to have been born with COVID-19 is thriving in good health, months after doctors feared she wouldn’t survive the virus.

In May of 2020, 37-year-old Wendy Figueroa was 34 weeks pregnant and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. After she checked herself into the Dallas Parkland hospital, she tested positive.

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United Way of Greater Cleveland Reacts to New Stimulus Deal

BY Ryan Schmelz

CLEVELAND — Congress has passed a new COVID-19 relief bill, which includes much-needed help for struggling families across Ohio.

“The fact of the matter is that they were playing politics with the lives of so many people. It’s irresponsible and deeply disappointing,” said Augie Napoli, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cleveland.

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Ohio Man Shares Pandemic Journey From Wuhan to Columbus

BY Lindsay Oliver

COLUMBUS, Ohio — John McGory has been on an international run from COVID-19 for more than 11 months now, beginning in Wuhan, China where he was an English teacher for six years.

He was one of the few hundred Americans who managed to get a seat on an evacuation plane back to the states in February.

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DeWine Extends Curfew, 'Not Satisfied' With Vaccine Rollout, Pledges to Speed it Up

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine extended Ohio’s curfew Wednesday and called for an added sense of urgency in the vaccine administration effort, announcing hospitals will be expected to administer doses within 24 hours of receiving them.

Ohio's curfew, which prohibits non-essential activities after 10 p.m., will be extended to Jan. 23, DeWine announced at a briefing Wednesday afternoon, his first appearance during the holiday week. Under curfew, most gatherings and social activities are barred, and indoor service at restaurants winds down an hour earlier than the 11 p.m. COVID-19 last call rule Ohio was under during the summer months.

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Tax Credit Software Company Adjusts to New Normal

BY Dennis Biviano

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus-based startup helps companies maximize their research and development tax credit.

Jeff Haskett co-founded Clarus R + D in 2016 after a critical piece of legislation allowed early stage businesses easier access to tax credits.

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COVID Cluckers: Pandemic Feeds Demand for Backyard Chickens

BY Associated Press

ROSS, Calif. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic is coming home to roost in America’s backyards.

Forced to hunker down at home, more people are setting up coops and raising their own chickens, which provide an earthy hobby, animal companionship and a steady supply of fresh eggs.

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UK Approves Use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Britain on Wednesday became the first country to authorize an easy-to-handle COVID-19 vaccine whose developers hope it will become the “vaccine for the world.” The approval and a shift in policy that will speed up rollout of the vaccine in the U.K. comes as a surge in infections threatens to swamp British hospitals.

The Department of Health said it had accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to authorize emergency use of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca.

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2020 Lessons Learned: Nurses Get Back to Basics

BY Jenna Jordan

CLEVELAND — The twists and turns of 2020 are leading one profession to come full circle.

Jennifer Carpenter said she was born to be a nurse. “I was just always a person that liked to fix things and liked to care for other people,” she said. And she’s been doing just that since she first put on the uniform nearly three decades ago, but this year, things have been a little different. “2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least,” Carpenter said. It’s actually the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, as named by the World Health Assembly in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. “So, it’s a little bit ironic and a little bit apropos that we turned into really the year of the nurse and the midwife,” Carpenter said. When the global COVID-19 pandemic called upon nurses to care for their communities in a new way, the caregivers stepped up to the front lines. “Faced the unknown in ways that most of us haven’t had to do in our career,” said Carpenter. As interim Chief Nurse Executive for University Hospitals, Carpenter said she’s seen her colleagues in the nursing community rise to the challenges. “There’s a thing called the ‘nursing process,’ which is, you assess the situation, you create a plan, you act,” she said. “You reassess and you change the plan. And you do that over and over again.” Standard procedures that Carpenter said have led to creative solutions during unprecedented times, and proved the power of working together with others inside the hospital and around the world. “We have implemented some things that probably in the normal world would have taken months or a year because the red tape was cut out,” she said. “There’s been very few other things we’ve focused on this year.” The focus on the Coronavirus has brought nursing back to basics, Carpenter said. “Nursing began as people caring for a community, dealing with public health crises, caring for people in their homes,” she said. But, caregivers need care, too. “People have seen things and lived through things that take a toll,” Carpenter said. And, with the continuing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, there is hope for a happier and healthier new year.

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Ohio Firefighters and EMS Personnel Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 as Police Wait Their Turn

BY Micaela Marshall

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The Cuyahoga County Board of Health received 4,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Its top priority is vaccinating first responders like firefighters and EMS workers who are on the frontlines.

Hundreds of firefighters, like Isaiah Hernandez of the North Royalton Fire Department, came out to the drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine distribution Tuesday.

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US Will Likely Miss Goal of Vaccinating 20 Million by End of Year

BY Austin Landis
UPDATED 4:19 PM ET Dec. 29, 2020

The United States will likely not have 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of the year, despite repeated estimates from top health officials that the country would reach that number before 2021 and then increase the number of vaccinations in the months to follow.

In fact, states have vaccinated less than a quarter of the predicted number, or 2.1 million people. Officials say that number could be an undercount, since states can report administered doses up to three days later, but it’s still clear that the U.S. won’t reach 20 million vaccinations by Friday.

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Why Some African Americans May be Wary of the COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Micaela Marshall
UPDATED 12:00 PM ET Dec. 28, 2020

CLEVELAND — The history of racism and abuse in medicine has led to a distrust between parts of the black community and doctors.

“Medical apartheid as it pertains to blacks and African Americans started from slavery all the way to modern day health system,” Dr. Tosin Goje said.

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US Coronavirus Cases Surpass 19 Million as Pandemic Continues to Rage

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff

The U.S. has now topped 19 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows.

America exceeded that mark on Sunday, just six days after it reached 18 million. The nation’s case numbers have more than doubled in less than two months.

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Kobe, RBG, Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek: Remembering Those We Lost in 2020

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 8:20 AM ET Dec. 27, 2020

In a year defined by a devastating pandemic, the world lost iconic defenders of civil rights, great athletes and entertainers who helped define their genres.

Many of their names hold a prominent place in the collective consciousness — RBG, Kobe, Maradona, Eddie Van Halen, Little Richard, Sean Connery, Alex Trebek, Christo — but pandemic restrictions often limited the public’s ability to mourn their loss in a year that saw more than a million people die from the coronavirus.

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Ohio Judge Pulled From Cases Over Coronavirus Concerns

BY Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge who failed to adopt written rules for mask wearing and other coronavirus prevention measures has been removed from two cases by the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Although Muskingum County Court Judge Mark Fleegle announced some preventative steps after a complaint, his lack of written procedures makes it difficult for jurors and others to know what’s expected of them, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said in an order earlier this month.

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Ohio's Top Stories in 2020: Pandemic, Protests and Politics

BY Associated Press

OHIO (AP) — A crippling pandemic, a racial injustice reckoning, a statehouse scandal and a divisive election. In any other year in Ohio, just one of those would have been the biggest story of the year.

But 2020 was no ordinary year. How unexpected was it? Even the Cleveland Browns were making a run at ending their NFL playoff drought.

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What’s at Stake in Congress Next Week: Defense Bill, Federal Funding, Stimulus Checks

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 4:40 PM ET Dec. 24, 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, the final week of the year may be a decisive one for the American people, as Congress will take up a series of measures intended to fund the government, the military, and provide COVID aid to working families.

The penultimate week of the year was no less chaotic. Lawmakers on Monday night finally agreed to an omnibus coronavirus relief and stimulus package, which came after months of fighting between parties.

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Ohio to Offer School Staff Shots in January If Schools Commit to Opening

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine announced a bold plan Wednesday to offer schools that commit to offering in-person learning the chance to vaccinate every adult employee at the school in the next tier of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The governor said he hopes schools can begin immunizations in mid-January, and he hopes every school that wants to open in-person can do that by March 1.

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Trump Asks Congress For Increased Direct Payments in COVID Bill, Pelosi Urges Him To Sign

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 1:10 PM ET Dec. 23, 2020

President Donald Trump on Tuesday slammed the COVID-19 relief and stimulus package passed by Congress Monday, urging lawmakers to amend specific portions of the bill before sending it to his desk for signature.

In a video shared to social media, Trump took particular issue with the low amount of money allocated as direct payments to Americans.

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New Fifth Third Program Helps Small Businesses During Pandemic

BY Camri Nelson

CINCINNATI — Since opening in 1986, DNK Architects President and CEO David Kirk has worked on numerous projects across Cincinnati.

His company is currently working on a new project to expand Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church. “I’m a member of this church so to do a project for the congregation in which I am part of is exciting,” Kirk said. In addition to the church, Kirk has several other projects that he’s working on. But this year the workload hasn’t been the same due to COVID-19. They’ve experienced a 35% decrease in projects from the healthcare industry alone.

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Why One Hospital System Isn't Using Its Extra Pfizer Doses

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Last week, when the first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine began arriving at U.S. distribution sites, officials quickly realized nurses were able to draw six or seven shots from vials that were labeled to contain five doses. But not every hospital is using those extra doses.

The Food and Drug Administration greenlit the use of a sixth or seventh dose, which changed the calculus for how many people can be vaccinated the coming weeks.

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Rite Aid Expands No-Charge COVID-19 Testing in Ohio

BY Lydia Taylor

CLEVELAND — Starting Tuesday, Rite Aid is expanding its no-charge, self-swab COVID-19 testing to 99 locations across the country, including in Northeast Ohio.

That means more than 400 Rite Aid locations will now offer the testing free of charge across 16 states.. The program, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will now allow individuals of 13 years or older who may be asymptomatic to be testing at old and new testing sites. Before, it was only available to those 19 or older.

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"A Race Against Time:" DeWine Says State Will Administer Vaccines Quickly

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday seniors need to get the vaccine as soon as possible calling vaccine distribution a "race against time" while expressing support for a new plan that would give seniors older than 75 greater vaccine priority than some essential workers.

"There's a lot of balance, and the overall goal of saving lives is a paramount goal," DeWine said. "Age is a good indicator of your susceptibility -- above the age of 70, the numbers go up rather dramatically."

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Christmas With A Cop Still Delivers During Pandemic

BY Kamady Lewis

AKRON — Pamela Helmick is a University of Akron K9 handler who trains her dog Halo.

“She's patrol trained, explosive detective canine," Officer Helmick said. "So, she does the bite work, the tracking, the building search the area search and looks for explosives.” She was busy talking about her baby, while shopping for someone else's. Actually, a lot of officers from a lot of different departments are shopping for kids for their tradition known as Christmas with a Cop. “It gives us the opportunity to get out into our communities and have a relationship with the kids,” Helmick said.

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First Doses of Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Ohio

BY Pete Grieve

The first shipments of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are arriving in Ohio Monday.

Distribution is now underway for a 201,000 dose allocation of the company's mRNA vaccine which will help Ohio immunize emergency medical personnel and health care workers. Some of the state’s 113 local health departments will receive their first Moderna shipments Monday and Tuesday.

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Pandemic Could Overwhelm Agencies with Human Trafficking Victims by Spring

BY Jennifer Conn

CLEVELAND — Negative repercussions of the pandemic will be felt for years to come, but human trafficking agencies will likely begin to feel the impact by spring, said Beau Hill, director of the Salvation Army of Cleveland’s Harbor Light Complex. With donations and funding already low, the outlook is grim, Hill said. “I'm scared what the social service system as a whole will look like,” he said.

Human trafficking was on the rise before the pandemic hit, but has escalated, especially online, agencies report.

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People Over 75, Essential Workers Next in Line for Vaccine

BY Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — An expert committee put people 75 and older and essential workers like firefighters, teachers and grocery store workers next in line for COVID-19 shots as a second vaccine began rolling out Sunday to hospitals, a desperately needed boost as the nation works to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.

The developments occurred as the nation seeks to ramp up a vaccination program that only began in the last week and so far has given initial shots to about 556,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Farm Animal Sanctuary Hopes to Expand Despite COVID-19’s Toll

BY Jessica Noll

AMELIA, Ohio — Biscuit and Breken are best friends and have been since the day they met a year ago.

That’s when Breken first stepped hoof on the grounds of Foreverland Farm Sanctuary. The white donkey, a veteran of the farm, arrived at the sanctuary with severely overgrown hooves and the blue-eyed, multi-colored goat, who was born with a crooked spine, instantly gravitated towards each other. Breken, who was also born with terminal heart defects, was small and skittish around the other animals but Biscuit provided shelter, underneath his sturdy belly for feeding time at the trough, keeping others at bay while the tiny goat had his meal.

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Couple Opens Automobile Franchise During Pandemic

BY Olivia Wile

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Matt and Debra Boily have done something many would be weary to do while people are working from home: They’ve opened an automobile franchise.

“There was always the unknowns and risks of opening a new business but then when the pandemic showed up it was like wait a minute how are we going to do this,” Matt Boily said.

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BBB: Consumers Lost $1B in COVID-19 Scams So Far

BY Dennis Biviano

COLUMBUS, Ohio — President and CEO of the Central Ohio Better Business Bureau (BBB) Kip Morse said he's seen scams like fake listings for masks, fake government grants and fake COVID-19 tests.

But there are three different COVID scams the BBB is focused on. The first are clinical trial scams.

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Surgeon General: “We’re On Track to Put This Pandemic Away”

BY Pete Grieve

OHIO — During a virtual visit with Gov. Mike DeWine Saturday, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said vaccine distribution is not delayed and predicted estimates may even improve after Moderna’s vaccine received emergency use authorization Friday.

“Here’s the good news: 20 million doses by the end of December is what we still expect, especially with the Moderna EUA yesterday, 50 million by the end of January total, 100 million doses by the end of February, that is half of the adult US population,” Adams said. “So we’re on track to put this pandemic away.”

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Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Road Expects to Take $5.5M Hit from Polar Express Cancellation

BY Kamady Lewis

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — The Polar Express ride is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's (CVSR) biggest fund raiser. People often forget the railroad is a nonprofit organization and therefore rely on rides like the Polar Express to fund their work.

But now that the Polar Express is canceled, the CVSR expects to take a $5.5 million hit.

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Ohio Spent $55M Early This Year in Medical Gowns — Mostly From China

BY Associated Press

OHIO (AP) — More than half the $98 million Ohio spent on personal protective equipment in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic went to buy hospital gowns, including 3 million from China. Ohio spent $55 million on gowns, its most expensive category of such equipment, an Associated Press tally found.

That included the purchase of 3 million gowns from an Ohio-based marketing and printing company, Three Leaf Productions, that got them from Chinese manufacturer Xiantao Chenguang Protection.

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Organizations Raise Questions Over Vaccinations in Prisons

BY Ryan Schmelz

CLEVELAND — Prisons have become a hotbed of coronavirus spread in many parts of Ohio, causing the governor to offer the National Guard to help with security. But when will those in jails get vaccinated and how will that work?



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DeWine Checks In on Nursing Home Facilities Receiving Vaccine

BY Micaela Marshall

CLEVELAND — “I feel great. No issues. No concerns," said Emily Mahnen, the Director of Nursing at Pleasantview Care Center in Parma.

Mahen was the first at the facility to be vaccinated. Gov. Mike DeWine was there to see it for himself. “You want to show them that it’s something you’re willing to do because you think it’s going to benefit them, and I want to protect my staff as much as possible,” she said. Dr. Thomas Mandat took his first dose Friday. He says there’s nothing to it. “It feels good. It’s a confidence builder. I think when you’re dealing with patients all day long, it’s really nice to know that you’ve got a safety net. You know, especially since I deal with a lot of COVID patients. So, I think it’s good for the public. You know, we can kind of get back into some normalcy,” said Mandat.

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COVID-19 Disproportionately Affecting Black People

BY Tino Bovenzi

CINCINNATI — Across the country, African Americans are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19 compared to white people. And in Ohio that is also true, especially in large metropolitan areas.

Roughly 10% of Cincinnati’s COVID-19 cases can be found in Westwood. Cincinnati Public Health Medical Director Grant Mussman said the virus is affecting African Americans at a higher rate, the big question is why? “Well nobody knows for sure exactly, but there are many reasons that are likely,” Mussman said. Mussman said Cincinnati Public Health is not surprised to see that COVID-19 affects African Americans at a higher rate. “That’s very consistent with what is being seen nationwide,” Mussman said. “Certainly, nationally, we’ve seen a higher risk for infection and hospitalization in folks of color. So, in that respect, it’s not super surprising to see that in the local data. In fact we were looking for it because it’s something to obviously be concerned about.” Mussman said some of the reasons why could be explained by socioeconomic disadvantages within the city as well as a lack of access to health care. “We know these disparities exist, there has been a lot of research on them, and yes, racism is part of the landscape with other health care disparities, but how that is with COVID isn’t clear,” he said. Here’s how the numbers break down. Cincinnati has 15,690 total coronavirus cases. Of those 6,065 are white, 5,151 are Black and 4,118 are unknown, as of Dec. 18 according to Cincy Insights. But in Westwood, 47.6% of the cases are Black and 29.4% are white, despite city-data showing slightly more white residents than Black. Leaving a clear indication that this is one of the most affected communities in the Queen City. At G’s Perfection Plus Barbershop, Chris Lanton has been cutting hair and trimming beards for 15 years. Lanton said he can clearly see the impact that COVID-19 is having on the community, but thinks the number of cases can be attributed to people tuning out to the messaging that’s being provided about the pandemic. “I don’t think anybody is worried about COVID as much,” Lanton said. “It’s been going on for so long and I think the people are just a little weary and just kind of giving up on it. And maybe if it happens it happens, and people are just going on about their lives now.” Lanton also believes the cases are rising in Westwood because Black people don’t have the same access to health care compared to white people. “We’ve always had that stigma in the community in not going to the doctor, or everything will be OK,” Lanton said. “You know, if you get a sniffle or a cold you just kind of make do. When people in the white community will have access to be able to go to their doctor and have it taken care of — where we might just ride it out.” Right next door at Emma’s Soul Food Managing Bartender Latosha Williams said her restaurant has seen a big dip in sales since the pandemic began, but is hopeful things can get back on track, but only if people can refocus on staying safe during the pandemic. “Friends, family, workers, just stay safe, stay safe,” Williams said. “Stay masked up. It doesn’t matter, just keep your distance from people out in public.” Mussman said the city has been focusing on making sure to provide adequate testing at pop-up locations. But the messaging moving forward will be very important toward slowing the spread across the city. “I know this is getting trite at this point, but wearing a mask is incredibly important for preventing the spread to other people,” Mussman said. “Folks who are sick, making sure they are staying home and not going out and about, spreading the virus around and social distancing. Those sorts of messages are very important, we’ve all heard them many, many times, but they are extremely important.” Mussman said despite the debut of the vaccine in some capacity, he expects virus spread to only get worse before it starts to get better.

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DeWine Lowers December Vaccine Expectations from 660k Doses to 500k

BY Pete Grieve
UPDATED 11:00 AM ET Dec. 18, 2020

OHIO — Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday Ohio is significantly lowering its expectations for vaccine distribution in December from 660,000 doses to about 500,000.

The governor delivered the disappointing news at around 10:30 a.m. Friday after stating earlier in the morning Ohio was still on track to receive 660,000 doses.

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FDA Advisers Recommend Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine; Azar Says Authorization Could Come "As Soon As Today"

BY Austin Landis
UPDATED 9:22 AM ET Dec. 18, 2020

An independent advisory committee recommended Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use Thursday, pushing it one step closer to becoming the second shot authorized by U.S. regulators.

In a 20-0 vote, with one abstention, the panel of outside experts endorsed the vaccine — developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health — which clinical trials showed is 94.5 percent effective in preventing the virus, especially severe cases.

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Mike Pence Receives COVID-19 Vaccine on Live Television

BY Ryan Chatelain
UPDATED 9:02 AM ET Dec. 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence on Friday morning sought to reassure Americans about coronavirus vaccines by getting inoculated himself on live television.

The vice president, along with second lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, received the shots, administered by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center medical staff at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House.

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Trump Stays on Sidelines as Virus Vaccine Injections Begin

BY Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s administration helped deliver vaccinations against the coronavirus earlier than even some in his administration thought possible, but the president has been largely absent from the effort to sell the American public on what aides hope will be a key part of his legacy.

Trump launched Operation Warp Speed — the government campaign to help swiftly develop and distribute vaccines — this spring with great fanfare in the White House Rose Garden.

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Parents Face Charges for Large Party with No COVID-19 Precautions

BY Lydia Taylor

MOUNT HEALTHY, Ohio — Several parents are now facing charges after hosting a party bus for a 14-year-old's birthday party over the weekend, which had around 60 kids in attendance with no COVID-19 safety precautions, according to the Mount Health Police Department.

The police department said officers stumbled upon the large unmarked bus at Hilltop Shopping Center Saturday night, which had juveniles boarding on and off. Fights are what caused officers to respond to the scene, and at one point, a juvenile attempt to strike an officer, according to authorities. The juvenile was arrested.

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Ohio Will Use 6th and 7th Shots if Possible From Pfizer Vials, DeWine Confirms

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio has guided vaccine distributors to use the sixth and seventh shots if possible from Pfizer vials, which were expected to contain doses for just five people.

"If they can get more out of it then they should take it. Our instructions to them was if you’re vaccinating, just keep going, do not waste any of it," Gov. Mike DeWine said.

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Ohio's Vaccine Administration Expected to Scale Through Next Week

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After 42 years of nursing, Zanesville nurse Terri Campbell says she has administered what feels like a million shots, but the one she gave Tuesday was special.

That morning, an 81-pound package carrying a shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in a UPS truck at the Genesis Health Care System hospital where Campbell works.

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Vaccine Reluctance: A History of Abuse Breeds Mistrust

BY Erin Billups - National Health Reporter

Retired nurse Rose Strickland has 42 years of experience under her belt. She says watching the nation's frontline health care workers struggle to keep pace with the exponential spread of coronavirus was nothing she could have prepared for.

“What I was seeing was just sort of tearing at me," she said. "Watching the doctors, the nurses, the activity in the ICUs, the wailing of the ambulances ... it was otherworldly.”

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Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Poised for Approval After Positive FDA Review

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 9:03 AM ET Dec. 17, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds more U.S. hospitals are set to begin vaccinating their workers Tuesday as federal regulators issued a positive review of a second COVID-19 vaccine shot needed to boost the nation’s largest vaccination campaign.

The Food and Drug Administration said in documents posted online that its initial review confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, bringing the shot to the cusp of U.S. authorization.

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US Sets New Records for COVID-19 Cases, Deaths, Hospitalizations

BY Ryan Chatelain

Wednesday was the deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with 3,656 people dying from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. also set records for new daily cases with 247,403 and for virus-related hospitalizations with 113,090.

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Epidemiologist: Cheap, Rapid, At-Home Tests Could End the Pandemic

BY Samantha-Jo Roth
UPDATED 10:28 AM ET Dec. 16, 2020

WASHINGTON — With the COVID-19 vaccine still months away from being widely available to the general public, there’s new focus on implementing an at-home rapid testing program to slow the spread of the virus.

“We still have 3,000 people dying every day today and people are high-fiving the vaccine,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Yost Warns Ohioans Not to Fall for COVID-19 Scams

BY Lydia Taylor

OHIO — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is warning Ohioans not to fall for COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.

Now that the first shipment of vaccines have arrived and are being distributed, Yost said it's possible scammers will contact consumers and impersonate health officials or providers. The scammers will ask for personal information, such as a social security number, claiming that they'll need it for vaccine qualifications.

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CDC Panel To Vote Sunday on Who Should Get COVID-19 Vaccines Next

BY Austin Landis

The independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines will vote Sunday on who to recommend for the next wave of doses.

According to the group’s proposal, the next in line for the vaccine would be other essential workers – such as those in the food industry, police, firefighters, transportation workers and prison staff – followed by Americans over 65 years old and those with underlying health conditions.

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DeWine: 420,000 Vaccine Doses Expected in Ohio by Christmas

BY Pete Grieve

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the state’s hospitals continue to administer the first batch Pfizer-BioNTech shots Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine addressed the state and said Ohioans can expect more than 420,000 vaccine doses to arrive by Christmas.

The governor confirmed Tuesday the state has received the vaccine shipments it was expecting from Pfizer for the 10 hospitals that were prepositioned to administer shots, totaling 9,750 doses.

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FDA Authorizes First At-Home Rapid COVID-19 Test

BY Austin Landis
UPDATED 2:33 PM ET Dec. 15, 2020

U.S. regulators authorized the first at-home, rapid coronavirus test Tuesday, a significant step in a testing strategy that was first plagued with testing shortages and still faces long wait times for results in some parts of the country.

The test is completely over-the-counter and does not require a prescription, which has been a barrier to other at-home tests.

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Cleveland Hospitals Poised to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine to "Critical Groups"

BY Jennifer Conn

CLEVELAND — As Northeast Ohio health care facilities prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations, the outline of a plan is emerging.

Officials are aiming for two goals: To save lives and slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Ohio Department of Health's website. In the Cleveland area, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals will both distribute the vaccine over the coming weeks, they say. However, the number of doses that will be available and time frames for the phased rollout are still being worked through, according to the Cleveland Clinic website. A limited number of doses of the vaccine is expected to begin arriving this week or next. “As supply increases, COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated,” the health department posted in bold letters on its website, in part, to help dispel the rumor that people will be forced to take the vaccine. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have vaccines that will be distributed in Ohio. The medicine will be shipped in thermal containers packed with dry ice. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored in freezers at temperatures from -80 degrees Celcius to -60 degrees Celcius (-112 degrees Fahrenheit to -76 degrees Fahrenheit), and protected from light, said Jeffrey Rosner, the Cleveland Clinic’s executive director of pharmacy sourcing and purchasing. Moderna’s vaccine requires normal freezing temperatures.

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LOCAL RESOURCES
Symptoms

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

(Source: NYS DOH)