What you missed in Columbus for Dec. 6

Ohio's new coronavirus cases see biggest rise since January; three more hostages released from Haiti; Jason Meade pleads not guilty; and more from the weekend.

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
A latex-gloved hand holding a card with the word omicron written on it.

On Friday, Ohio reported 9,584 new coronavirus cases, the most newly reported cases in a 24-hour period since January. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions due to COVID-19 are also on the rise, with 4,020 patients hospitalized with COVID-related illness on Saturday. The good news is that COVID-related deaths are still declining, with 368 reported in Ohio last week. 

The omicron variant of the coronavirus has now been found in 45 countries, with the number of reported cases rising in Europe and the U.S.

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This morning, the AP reported that Christian Aid Ministries, a missions group based in Berlin, Ohio, released a statement indicating that three more hostages were released from 400 Mawozo, a violent gang in Haiti. A dozen more remain captive.

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On Friday, former Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy Jason Meade, who was indicted in the shooting death of Casey Goodson, Jr., pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder and one count of reckless homicide.

More:The simple but complex life of Casey Goodson

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The Ohio State Buckeyes will have to watch from the sidelines as Michigan and Cincinnati both compete in the College Football Playoff. (The Bearcats will face Alabama and Michigan takes on Georgia. But the Rose Bowl isn't a bad consolation prize; the Buckeyes will play Pac-12 champs Utah in Pasadena on New Year's Day.

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Tom Schmid, the new Columbus Zoo and Aquarium CEO, starts his tenure today amid a tumultuous time for the local institution. Schmid previously directed the Texas State Aquarium.

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Bob Dole, a former senator, "Kansas lawmaker and decorated World War II veteran who never realized his ambitions to win the presidency but left an indelible mark on the nation’s capital and history," died in his sleep on Sunday. He was 98.