Cuyahoga County officials warn residents about high COVID case rates as New Year’s celebrations kick off


CLEVELAND (WJW) — As many Northeast Ohioans are making plans to ring in the New Year alongside family and friends, Cuyahoga County officials are urging residents to be cautious about the surge in COVID cases.

The county released some statistics in an effort to convince would-be party goers to maybe rethink their plans or, at the least, take some extra precautions.

  • The state of Ohio is approaching 2,000,000 cases, 100,000 hospitalizations, and 30,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Here at home, Cuyahoga County leads the entire state in all categories with nearly 220,000 cases, 11,000 hospitalizations, and 2,800 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Nationally, over the last seven days, Ohio ranks seventh in daily average number of cases, second in daily average of hospitalizations, and fourth in daily average number of deaths.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said this about the rise in COVID cases:

“The unprecedented number of COVID cases we have seen over the last couple of weeks has put an extraordinary strain on our already overwhelmed hospital systems. Just yesterday, the Governor announced that 5,356 people are currently hospitalized with COVID and 20,320 new cases in the last 24 hours – both of which are tragically new state records.

With the holiday weekend approaching, many people have planned to get together with friends and family to throw large parties, go to bars, or attend other large events to ring in the new year. I certainly understand the desire to get out to celebrate after we’ve been restricted for so long. But I want to STRONGLY urge people to avoid big crowds, and if you do go out, wear a mask!

With the Omicron variant continuing to spread, and a statewide vaccination rate of only 55%, we owe it to our nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers to limit our exposure so we are not piling on their already heavy burden.

Remember – giving up large gatherings for fun now is a much better option than gathering for a funeral later.”

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan said that over the last 7 days, the county’s case rate has been over 17 times the CDC threshold for high transmission.

Allan said in part:

“We’re sounding the alarm, urging our community to take every precaution to prevent further transmission that could pile on to our hospitals systems, which are already bursting at the seams.

The Omicron variant, which is highly contagious, is spreading widely and quickly, in addition to Delta. It is anticipated that Omicron will become the dominant strain in Ohio and elsewhere, even as Influenza cases are increasing. Our community is staring this “triple threat” right in the face.

We are urging you to avoid these large gatherings, get vaccinated, get boosted and mask up to protect the ones you love. Our choices over the next 48 hours will mean the difference between life and death for some of our residents. Help us work toward a brighter 2022, for everyone.”

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