Ohio sees highest COVID infections in nearly 2 months, with highest vaccination rates in cities and suburbs: The Wake Up for Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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Temperatures will take a significant dip today, with highs in the mid-70s. There are chances of showers and thunderstorms before 9 a.m., but it eventually will become mostly sunny. Skies will remain clear overnight and lows will be in the upper 50s. Read more.

Local scores: Houston Astros 9, Indians 3

COVID cases: Ohio reported its highest total of new coronavirus infections in nearly two months on Tuesday, Evan MacDonald reports. Trends are emerging to support the notion that disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates could essentially be creating “two Ohios,” one where the vaccinated are largely protected and another where the more-transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus poses a significant risk to the unvaccinated. The highest vaccination rates are seen in cities and surrounding suburbs.

Hospital boom: University Hospitals is breaking ground on Ahuja Phase 2, a $236.1 million project that will expand bed capacity, create hundreds of jobs, make patient access easier and place a focus on wellness, emergency services and expanded operating room access. Julie Washington reports it’s one of several hospital construction projects that are either recently completed or in the works in Northeast Ohio, adding up to an eye-popping $1.4 billion.

Stimulus at school: Ohio’s share of the $36 billion higher education fund of the American Rescue Plan is $1.1 billion, and about a quarter of that is coming to institutions in Greater Cleveland. Robin Goist reports more than half of all the money is going directly to students – sometimes to meet tuition needs, but often, in the form of a check.

Infrastructure bill: The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure framework that Sen. Rob Portman has spent months negotiating with Democrats has hit a legislative pothole or two, but the Ohio Republican told reporters Tuesday he’s confident they’ll eventually reach a deal because the need to improve the nation’s economy and crumbling infrastructure is so great. Sabrina Eaton reports negotiators are trying to figure out how to pay for the spending in the bill.

Climate corps: Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate pledged to fund a new Civilian Climate Corps backed by President Joe Biden that would provide more than a million jobs across the nation focused on improving the environment. Sabrina Eaton reports Biden signed an executive order in January that calls for establishing a Civilian Climate Corps that would put Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, planting trees, increasing carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protecting biodiversity, improving access to recreation, and addressing the changing climate.

A rendering released July 20 of the proposed Sherwin-Williams tower slated for downtown Cleveland.

Sherwin-Williams: A city commission tasked with reviewing Sherwin-Williams’ plans to build a skyscraper for its new downtown Cleveland headquarters gave its first approvals Tuesday, though not without a few caveats. Eric Heisig reports the paint giant obtained a unanimous thumbs up for its “concept proposal” from a group of City Planning Commission and Landmarks Commission members for the 36-story tower and two-story pavilion the company wants to build west of Public Square.

County utility: A Cuyahoga County Council committee on Tuesday approved plans to create a public utility at the county level, but only after making changes to the legislation in response to legal concerns raised by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The full Council must still sign off on County Executive Armond Budish’s goal of creating a Division of Public Utilities. Courtney Astolfi reports the vote could come as soon as the first week of August and would lay the groundwork for county-led power projects, like creating micro-grids as backup energy sources.

Sent to prison: A judge sentenced a Cleveland man on Tuesday to spend at least 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to hitting a jogger with his car and robbing her at gunpoint in December 2019. Marvin Fisher, 29, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and felonious assault in the attack in the Flats West Bank and was sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison, Cory Shaffer reports.

Auction scam: Two Romanian nationals were charged Tuesday in an online auction scam that netted about $9 million from victims in Northeast Ohio and across the country. John Caniglia reports that a 12-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Akron accuses them of aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and three charges of conspiracy.

Fertility case: The state’s top judicial officer has denied Cleveland attorney Subodh Chandra’s attempt to remove a judge from his contempt-of-court case involving the University Hospitals fertility case. John Caniglia reports Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote that Geauga County Common Pleas Judge Carolyn Paschke did not mislead Chandra or misrepresent the truth in an April order at the center of the contempt issue.

Kids vaccine: An emergency-use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine in children under the age of 12 could come by early- to mid-winter, reports Evan MacDonald. Both Pfizer and Moderna already have begun testing their vaccines in children between 6 months and 11 years old, and federal health officials are asking for four to six months of safety data.

RTA baby

A baby was found at a RTA bus stop on Saturday, July 17, 2021, in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood.Cuyahoga County

Baby found: Police and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority are looking for the public’s help identifying a baby girl left at a bus stop Saturday night. Olivia Mitchell reports a citizen discovered the baby at East 105th Street and Superior Avenue and contacted the RTA police at 8:56 p.m.

WonderStruck: Postponed and later canceled in 2020, WonderStruck music festival is one of the first major music events in Northeast Ohio after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in May. So, face masks won’t be required for festival attire — and social distancing won’t prevent crowds from gathering in front of the stages at Lakeland Community College, reports Anne Nickoloff.

Community college: For the first time in its 60-year history, Glamour’s 2021 College Women of the Year are exclusively students enrolled at community colleges across America. Glamour’s Editor in Chief Samantha Barry interviews first lady Jill Biden in this video from cleveland.com’s sister site, Glamour.

CPT: Cleveland Public Theatre is returning to the stage inside the Gordon Square Theatre this fall. Joey Morona reports the lineup for its 2021-22 season.

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