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Your Morning Matters: Virus hits too close to home

Last week we said it was going to get worse. And so it has.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Monday, March 30, 2020, and last week I said it was going to get worse. And so it has. The Mahoning Matters team has the sad task of letting you know that one of our own, Business Executive Mark Eckert, has died after contracting COVID-19.

I spent some time during a very numb Sunday to try to sort out my feelings. Mark was as much a friend as he was a colleague and to say we are devastated today fails to adequately convey our grief. And our condolences go out to his family and friends, who we know are suffering.

I've been ending my daily newsletter intros with the catchphrase from Hill Street Blues, "Let's be careful out there." And yet, despite that very real concern, I still see deniers out there on social media and read reports about folks who continue to congregate in large groups.

This is real. And real dangerous. Please heed that before it is too late and this virus takes someone from your life.

And now, more of the things you need to know about what's happening in the Mahoning Valley:

"The first week of homeschool was novel and fun. Now that we’re at the end of week two, things are getting real," Adam and Mary Beth Earnheardt write in this week's installment of "The Earnheardts."

"Being lazy now could result in future therapy sessions where March 2020 is identified as the moment when it all went off the rails. Dreams crushed by unqualified parents who couldn’t explain the difference between a cube and a rectangular prism (fact)."

Other matters

Following multiple appeals, Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday said federal officials have fully approved a technology to sterilize and reuse masks used by healthcare workers and first responders. Columbus-based Battelle has pioneered a process that can sterilize N95 masks. Mahoning Matters

While Ohio schools are closed to slow coronavirus spread, Youngstown City School District educators are hard at work, sharpening their vocabulary instruction. Mahoning Matters

Laundromats are an essential business that can remain open during the pandemic. At the Canfield Laundromat, owner Gerald Petrock says his business is taking the proper sanitation precautions. WKBN

Giant Eagle has established a website that the grocery store chain says lists stores where employees have tested positive for coronavirus. Workers at a Pittsburgh area Giant Eagle and a Brunswick, Ohio store tested positive for COVID-19. WFMJ

After laying off 24 workers, Gorant Chocolate in Boardman says it needs to sell off its Easter inventory – more than 200,000 pieces – in order to stay open due to the coronavirus lockdown. The Business Journal

A mild winter in the Mahoning Valley might provide financial benefits for local government, but it can harm businesses that rely on snowfall to make a living. The Vindicator

Movers and Makers

Prepped Wellness, a personalized health and wellness meal preparation service, is working hard to meet local food needs during the pandemic. The company recently partnered with Preferred IT Solutions in New Castle to raise more than $1,000 so far to feed the community. "Food is everything. Food is love, food is fuel. So it’s really nice to be able to come together and help people,” said owner Gino West.

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

"We have a huge hospital sitting empty. Lots of talk. No action reported."

Jack Zaku, referring to the shuttered Northside Hospital after the governor said the state might have to triple hospital capacity for its COVID-19 response

Registered readers can comment on a selection of our stories, and all readers can comment on stories on our Facebook page. Opinions published here do not reflect the views of Mahoning Matters.

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Mark Sweetwood

About the Author: Mark Sweetwood

Mark Sweetwood has spent 39 years working in the local news business. For more than a decade, he served as managing editor of The Vindicator. He also teaches journalism at YSU.
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