Cuyahoga County has seen the biggest increase in cases over the past week, according to Cuyahoga County Board of Health director Dr. Heidi Gullett.
“This is the biggest weekly increase we’ve had since the pandemic hit our community,” she said in a press conference Friday.
The county reported 546 new cases in the past week.
There are 3,063 total cases reported to CCBH. Cleveland reports its data separately.
Dr. Gullett says CCBH is looking into new cluster investigations from people returning to work.
“We get daily reports of employers that have positive cases, so that’s an increasing area of cluster for us because people weren’t out working, so we’re seeing now pivoting our cluster investigation response strategy to reflect more community clusters,” she said.
May has also seen a dramatic increase in available testing compared to March and April.
More than 43,000 people have been tested in Cuyahoga County since May 6.
“Our testing is more than in March and April but it’s not substantially more this week and we have substantially more cases this week, so I do think it’s a reflection of people venturing out of their homes more and being interactive more,” said Gullett.
The youngest death reported in Cuyahoga County is a 36-year-old who died this week.
CCBH follows weekly changes on the cases and deaths in the county.
It shows after an increase in cases through the beginning of April, numbers had begun to decline.
Cases jumped May 8, and after a weekly decrease have continued to rise.
“Now we have a whole other area of folks that are cluster investigations that were closed for you know 8 weeks or however long,” Dr. Gullett said of new infections related to businesses reopening.
Manufacturing and general office environments were allowed to reopen in Ohio May 4.
Retailers got the green light May 12, followed by personal services and restaurants.
Gyms were allowed to reopen this week.
The newest infections in Cuyahoga County were reported Thursday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the time of exposure to COVID-19 and symptom onset can be up to 14 days.
That means new coronavirus cases were infected up to two weeks ago, around the time that retailers began reopening.
Several states have reported a coronavirus spike this week, two weeks after reopening, including Alabama, Texas and Wisconsin.
Gov. Mike DeWine’s Stay Safe Ohio Order expires at 11:59 p.m. Friday.
“This is a significant issue for our community. It’s going to be for many months,” Dr. Gullett said.
“We cannot let up. We have to continue to protect each other.”