Mass vaccine clinics are coming on-line as the public health alert map in Ohio continues to move from red to orange and in a handful of counties back to yellow--which indicates the lowest level of virus spread.
Ohio is aiming to get its cases down to 50 per 100,000 to lift health orders. But, the progress is slow. We are at about 144 cases per 100,000. Yesterday the governor urged Ohioans to take the vaccine as soon as feasible. He says we are now racing against variants of the coronavirus.
Cleveland was the first to open a mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University. It opened Wednesday and is operating right now. Set up with military precision, the clinic will aim to vaccinate 6,000 people a day over the next eight weeks. Ohio's eligibily for the vaccines expanded today to those 40 and older as well as those with health issues such as heart disease or diabetes. On March 29, Ohio opens the door for everyone sixteen and older.
During this pandemic, there has been an increase in violence against Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders and those of Asian descent. This week, 8 people died in a spree shooting in Georgia at massage parlors in Atlanta. Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent. Investigators have not ruled out racial bias as a motivation in the shooting--although the suspect denies it.
The shootings have increased fears including here in Northeast Ohio's Asian American community. Asian Americans Ideastream spoke to say that former President Trump's race-fueled rhetoric surrounding the origins of the coronavirus have made them a target.
Ohio is scheduled to re-draw its Congressional districts this year, but delays in receiving Census data could complicate the process. The pandemic and social unrest created a delay for the Census last year, and no extension was given to make up for that lost time. States rely on Census data for redistricting purposes and Attorney General Dave Yost is looking to the courts for help.
Filling the 11th District Congressional Seat held by Marcia Fudge will be up to voters on August 3. That will be the primary date with the election to follow on November 2. Fudge left her seat in Congress to become President Biden's Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The district includes the eastern portion of Cuyahoga County and extends down into Akron.
Lisa Ryan, health reporter/producer, Ideastream
Andy Chow, reporter, OPR Statehouse News Bureau
Sharon Broussard, project manager, Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative