Sarah Taylor

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.

Tara Smith, Ph.D.  is a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University where she studies emerging infectious diseases.

Hospitals across Ohio are grouped geographically into zones to respond to public health emergencies. Summit County is part of the 13-county Northeast Central Ohio Region, referred to as the NECO region.

Those involved with leading the region’s planning for the expected surge of COVID-19 cases include Grace Wakulchik, President and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital and the hospital's associate medical director Dr. John Crow, who's heading up a NECO subgroup that's working to prepare for the surge. 

They talked about where things stand and what sites might be used in the Akron area to care for more patients. 

The Ohio Department of Health has teamed up with Ohio State University to try to increase the capacity for COVID-19 testing across the state. They're producing their own kits with the items needed to conduct the tests--swabs, tubes, and the liquid in the tubes. "We need more testing and we need results quicker," Governor Mike DeWine said in his briefing Friday. 

Unemployment numbers out Thursday show a huge spike both in Ohio and nationwide. In Ohio, more than 468,000 people have applied for benefits. That’s 100,000 more than all of last year.

Ohioans are anxiously awaiting financial help, including federal assistance of $1,200 promised to those making less than $75,000 annually. Senator Sherrod Brown tells WKSU he’s working to ensure those payments go out soon.  

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is ordering Ohio hospitals that are not able to process COVID-19 tests to send them to hospitals that are able to turn them around more quickly. That includes Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth in Cleveland.

Schools have had to make quick adjustments to try to teach students remotely. But that's not the only challenge they face, especially for large districts with high poverty rates like the Cleveland Metropolitan schools.

District CEO Eric Gordon talks about how the district is trying to keep the learning going, especially when it has limited contact with a quarter of its students.

Eric Gordon: We know that about 25% of our families do not have contact. That gives us some idea of the limits in our homes, right out of the gate.  

Emphatically tapping the podium, Governor Mike DeWine said sometimes "you just have to rattle it." He was referring to the bureaucracy that appears to have been holding up FDA approval of a new process developed by Columbus-based Battelle Labs. The process uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide in a pressured environment to clean N95 masks for healthcare personnel. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held up a cardboard chart during his briefing Saturday. The low-tech visual, he said, was due to an illness among the behind-the-scenes crew that allows the daily briefing to be televised. DeWine said they were relieved to learn that the individual, hospitalized with pneumonia, tested negative for COVID-19. 

For people battling addiction or mental health issues, the coronavirus situation could put up more roadblocks to treatment and recovery. But service providers are doing all they can to prevent that.

In Stark County, CommQuest Services is keeping open its outpatient centers. CommQuest CEO Keith Hochadel explains that some people need to be seen in person. 

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton shared new information Wednesday on the spread of the coronavirus in Ohio. The data included a graph showing the ages of people who've been infected by the virus. There are a number of cases among those age 40 to 50 and Dr. Acton indicated there is a fatality rate in that age group of 1 in 250. 

Kent State has canceled plans on its campus to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Guard shootings that took the lives of four students on May 4, 1970. The University said it has made the decision "in the interest of the health and safety of the community," and also to comply with an order by state officials to stay home. The order takes effect Monday, March 23 at 11:59 p.m.

Healthcare facilities have been overwhelmed by the demand for COVID-19 testing. An Akron woman who had a doctor’s order to be tested says it took three days before she and her husband finally were able to have samples taken.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio has exceeded 100. There are now 119 cases in 24 Ohio counties, that's up from 88 cases Wednesday. Cases among men exceed those among women, 76 to 43. There are 33 people in the hospital. 

“We are definitely on the upslope now," said the state health director, Dr. Amy Acton. She likened the spread to a fast-moving train and urged everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. She also praised the ingenuity of Ohioans who are working to adapt to the new normal. "We're inventing solutions as we go." 

The news of how the coronavirus is affecting Northeast Ohio is changing daily. One week ago, only a few dozen tests had been conducted in the state. And schools, bars, restaurants and sporting events were all operating as usual. As of this past weekend, all of that has changed. 

Concern about the spread of COVID-19 has led Akron Municipal Court to suspend a number of its operations effective Monday, March 16. Cases scheduled in the month of March are being continued. 

That includes: