Hospital surge plan creates 10K new beds, officials taking steps to protect Cleveland homeless as COVID-19 spreads

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Mayor Frank Jackson held a news conference Friday morning to update the public on the coronavirus and the city’s response to the outbreak.

He says the city will continue to keep essential operations running, such as police, fire, EMS and utility and sanitation services.

Essential employees are practicing social distancing and are being monitored for symptoms. If an essential worker tests positive for COVID-19, the health department works with the city to track down anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

The city has also closed all recreational centers and playgrounds in effort to prevent further spread of disease.

County officials are working with city leaders to set up hand washing and sanitation stations in areas of known homeless camps. Social distancing is being practiced at homeless shelters and a fund has been established to bed some of the homeless population in hotels. Procedures have also been put in place to test members of the homeless population for coronavirus.

The Mayor also announced that, in partnership with health offiials, the city has more than doubled its hospital bed capacity. The surge plan has created 10,000 new beds within Cleveland across Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth Medical Center locations.

On Thursday night the city confirmed that 148 Cleveland residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Two residents have died.

The Mayor reminds all Clevelanders to follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order and maintain healthy hand hygiene. He will also be holding a virtual forum at 12:30 p.m. to offer more updates to the community. You can watch the forum right here on

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  • City is keeping all essential operations – police, fire, EMS, utility workers, sanitation
  • Closed all rec centers, working with vendors who provide hot meals at rec centers to feed kids
  • Taking temperatures, testing for symptoms all essential employees when they come to work
  • Playgrounds are closed
  • Working with lenders for deferred payments on loans for small businesses
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 the city works with the health department and then reaches out to those who were potentially exposed. They are to self-monitor and then wear surgical masks once they return to work. Because these employees are essential they do still need to report to work.
  • All organizations have procedures in place in case someone tests positive.
  • Police have taken single-officer car protocol. Practicing social distancing in establishments.
  • Surge plan is creating 10,000 new beds within the city of Cleveland. It’s doubling the hospitals’ current bed capacities.
  • Cuyahoga County is working to set up hand sanitizing stations near homeless camps. A fund has been set up to utilize hotels for the homeless. Social distancing is being practiced at shelters. There is also a procedure for testing the homeless population for infection.
  • City will not be issuing permits for anything that could be a potential mass gathering.
  • Anyone who gets placed in a police car wears a mask. If someone is suspected of having COVID-19 police involve EMS.

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