This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND (WJW) – With COVID cases rising at an alarming rate, the Erie County Board of Health issued an urgent reminder to the community Thursday.

“Now we are starting to see flu and influenza creep into the picture. We have several people in our COVID wards fighting this virus,” said health commissioner Pete Schade.

In fact, the county is approaching 300 deaths related to COVID-19.

“It’s a horrible statistic knowing this is a vaccine preventable virus,” said Schade.

Summit County is also experiencing a similar surge, according to Donna Skoda with Summit County Public Health.

“We’ve also seen a lot of children affected. We’ve seen kids less than five, elementary and middle school kids,” said Skoda.

Both commissioners warn the numbers will get worse as the holidays approach if people don’t get vaccinated and take precautions.

“We are coming indoors, coming into the holiday season. We have a lot of indoor events, some are crowded, some have people yelling and cheering,” said Schade.

The warning comes the same day that the Ohio House passed a bill that would ban vaccine mandates at private companies and public entities in the state.

The bill goes next to the Senate.

Meanwhile, Summit County Public Health said they will offer two drive-thru testing events on November 23 and 30 to help mitigate any spread.