CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — Cuyahoga County is back in the red, along with 28 other counties.
“We’ve now met five of the seven indicators for the advisory system,” said Health Commissioner Terry Allan.
The Level 3 status, indicating very high exposure and spread, comes as experts say the fall surge of COVID-19 across the country is here.
“The weather’s getting colder, so we’re coming inside more, we’re gathering more and we’re closer,” said Lavone Lee, co-chair of the Board of Health’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee.
The county says as of last week they are now averaging 70 cases per day, up from 50 in September. On Thursday — the number exceeded 90 cases.
“We also know that to date among hospitalized cases that African Americans are over 3 and a half times more likely to be hospitalized than their white counterparts so the inequities that we’ve seen since the beginning of this pandemic continue,” said Allan.
The board of health says recent increases are not due to large outbreaks, but rather small gatherings.
“We continue to see transmission among families and friends through social interactions like parties and wedding and funerals, it’s the same story, it just keeps continuing and we’re seeing more of it,” said Ramona Brazille, co-director of prevention and wellness.
County health officials are concerned as they see “COVID fatigue” set in. “The increase in social mixing without masks as people begin to move inside as the weather changes can have a dramatic impact on the trajectory moving forward,” said Allan.
On Saturday, free masks and educational resources were given to the public at Beachwood Place to try and address an uptick in positive COVID cases among young adults between 19 to 30.
“Just remind people of our behavior: Maintain 6-feet, wear our face covering, wash our hands, keep our hand out of our face our eyes our nose,” said Lee.
The shopping center says the booth gives an opportunity for health officials to connect and reach out more effectively.
Board of Health officials say they’ve increased staffing for contact tracing efforts and that more people can identify where they contracted the virus than at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We are all susceptible or at risk for this infection. All of us. It’s very important that all of us understand how valuable testing is as we go into these winter months,” said Medical Director, Dr. Heidi Gullett.
They say now is the time to reinvest in and stick with the prevention playbook.
“Our continued vigilance is our way out of this pandemic,” said Allan.
Lee added, “We’re gonna keep on pushing, keeping on working and keep on fighting to give the best information, best advice and support each other.”
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