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Morning Headlines: 3 Ohioans Being Tested for COVID-19; ODH Receives Testing Kit

COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus, under a microscope in yellow.
COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus, under a microscope in yellow.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 6:

  • 3 Ohioans being tested for COVID-19; 
  • Ohio Department of Health receives testing kit;
  • Backers appeal 4-way split of voting proposal to high court;
  • County election boards take precautions against COVID-19;
  • Health director orders limited spectators at Arnold festival;
  • Youngstown doctor accused by feds of operating a 'pill mill';
  • Police chief declines discipline for officer who detained Tamir Rice's sister;
  • Akron teacher  place on leave for social media video;
  • Lake Erie water levels break another record;

3 Ohioans being tested for COVID-19

Three people in Ohio are being testedfor COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus. The Ohio Department of Health saidthe individuals showed symptoms and have either traveled to China or have been in contact with a person who had COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases in the state. The death toll nationwide has climbed to 12, and nearly 100 cases have been confirmed across the country. For symptoms, prevention and other information, click here. To ask any questions related to the coronavirus you'd like WKSU to answer, click here

Ohio Department of Health receives COVID-19 testing kit

Ohio will be ramping up testing of the coronavirus starting this weekend. The Columbus Dispatch reportsthat state health officials have received testing equipment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are calibrating the kit. The Ohio Health Department will still only have the capacity to test around 750 samples. Around 10 people in Ohio been tested so far and all have been negative. Around 300 people in Ohio are being monitored for symptoms.

Backers appeal 4-way split of voting proposal to high court

Backers of an effort aimed at updating Ohio's voting laws appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, alleging the state ballot board misinterpreted the state's single subject rule when it severed their proposal into four separate ballot issues. The group Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections said it simultaneously delivered the four sets of petition language to Attorney General Dave Yost's office. Splitting the issue increases the effort, expense and time needed to get the proposals before voters.

Election boards take precautions against COVID-19

Ohio's county boards of election are taking precautions amid the spread of COVID-19. Poll workers during the March 17 primary will be required to wash hands frequently, buy extra hand sanitizer and disinfect polling booths throughout the day. Secretary of State Frank LaRose said he doesn't believe COVID-19 concerns will disrupt Election Day. Three people in Ohio are being tested for the virus. There are no confirmed cases in the state.

Health director orders limited spectators at Arnold festival

Ohio's health director has issued an order restricting most spectators from the annualArnold Sports Festivalin Columbus over COVID-19 concerns. Thursday's order is the latest development in a back-and-forth debate with organizers of the festival founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The order limits spectators to parents or guardians of participating minors and also allows attendance at some events this weekend. Arnold organizers said they are being unfairly singled out but will abide by the order.

Youngstown doctor accused by feds of operating a 'pill mill'

A Youngstown doctor has been accused by federal authorities of running a “pill mill” that saw him prescribe painkillers and other drugs without a legitimate medical purpose and causing the drug-related deaths of two patients. Dr. Martin Escobar was indicted Thursday on 145 counts. Prosecutors said he used false diagnoses and information in prescribing opioids and other drugs to patients between 2015 and 2016.

Police chief declines to discipline officer who detained Tamir Rice's sister

Cleveland's police chief won't discipline a police supervisor who detained 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s sister the day he was fatally shot in 2014 by an officer while playing with a pellet gun. Chief Calvin Williams has dismissed the civilian complaint against Sgt. Janell Rutherford. The city's civilian police review board had recommended Rutherford receive an unpaid suspension of six to 10 days. Cleveland.com reports the NAACP has demanded an explanation from Chief Williams. The city didn't immediatley respond to a request for comment.

Akron schools places teacher on administrative leave for social media video

A teacher at Akron's Kenmore-Garfield High School has been placed on administration leave after a video circulated on social media that officials called concerning. The teacher was removed from classes Wednesday and the district is still investigating. The school declined to comment on details of the video.

Lake Erie water levels breaks another record

Lake Erie is already surpassing a March high-water record that started in 1918. The lake around 573 feet above sea level, 32 inches more than normal. Water levels rose 4 inches last month, breaking a February record. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts Lake Erie will continue to break high-water marks through May before dropping. The high levels are causing concern to shore communities. A Geneva Township park lost 45 feet of land in 10 days last month because of erosion.

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Amanda Rabinowitz
Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. Her days begin before the sun comes up as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition, which airs on WKSU each weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio’s sports scene.
Lydia Taylor is a news intern for WKSU. She is a junior multimedia journalism major at Kent State University with experience in print and visual journalism. She is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Journalism. During the school year, Taylor works for Kent State Student Media in The Kent Stater and KentWired. She is currently an assigning editor and a reporter in the Kent State University Student Media Newsroom for the spring semester.