I-TEAM: Where are COVID-19 outbreaks happening most often?

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found the kinds of places where you’re most likely to get sick from a COVID-19 outbreak.

For the first time, we have a breakdown of what disease detectives are finding when they tie multiple COVID cases together. They trace cases and look for connections by tracking the people who’ve been in contact with patients.

In Summit County, health investigators have found 96 outbreaks, two or more cases in one place.

The most common locations for outbreaks in Summit County are nursing homes. Second most common are workplaces. And third, bars and restaurants.

No surprise to Tammy Smith of Twinsburg. She said wo months ago she and her husband and about a dozen others all got sick from COVID-19 while playing pool in a league.

“All it took was one person coming in not knowing they were sick. And to see how quickly it spread to so many people literally in one evening,” Smith said.

“People who were just super comfortable, and again, didn’t think it would happen to them,” she added.

“It’s in worksites, it’s in gyms it’s in, you name it,” said Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.

Skoda said at first so many outbreaks showed up in nursing homes. Now, the health department is seeing outbreaks tied to people everywhere.

“So, it’s almost like some of the spread that we’re seeing now coming in to some of these outbreak situations aren’t because they knew each other, but more because they just happened to work at the same place,” she said.

What about schools? In Summit County, five outbreaks have been tied to schools. Classes, school sports or other activities.

But, also consider the total number of COVID cases with kids, teachers and school staff members. 28 students sick and 38 teachers and staff members.

Every week, state agents give citations to more bars for not following health orders.

Tammy Smith says she felt sick for about six weeks. She hopes more people take steps to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

She thought back to her experience and said, “So many of us in one particular moment that got hit, it really brings awareness now.”

Yet disease detectives can’t stop tracing cases watching for the latest outbreak.

While Summit County has compiled a list of the kinds of outbreaks there, other health departments we checked with have not done that yet.

Here’s the full Summit County breakdown:

Summit County Outbreaks, as of 9/22/2020
Correctional facility1
Day care5
Faith-based organizations2
First responder3
Group home7
Health care settings3
Long term care facility30
Restaurant or bar8
School sports (summer practice)3
School, no sports involved2
Sports or other activity, outside of school2
College or university1
Workplace29
Total96

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