The Cuyahoga County Board of Health holds press conference updating citizens the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Terry Allan, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s Commissioner said that Cuyahoga County and the state are both successfully “flattening the curve.”
“We are flattening the curve,” said Allan. “We are extending out cases that we may see over time…we’re buying time to make sure that the surge issues that executive Budish talked about are manageable.”
He stressed that people need to keep social distancing and that there will be time in the future for things like church picnics and ‘half St. Patrick’s Day parties.”
“We should never have loss of life in this community because we don’t have enough resources, we don’t have enough ventilators, we don’t have enough beds but if people don’t stay home we will quickly approach 100 percent utilization…and we will have to make very difficult decisions that you see coming out of other countries like Italy and that is absolutely what we’re trying to avoid in this community.”
“Right here right now this is about protecting our vulnerable folks,” said Allan.
Allan said the call center is overwhelmed by people calling about if businesses are essential, he said more than 1,000 calls over the last two days into the call center were about this. He urged business owners to really think about the greater good when deciding if a business is essential, again saying that decisions that are made now affect a lot of people. He urged people to be patient if they do need to call the county for assistance at 216-201-2000. He also asked that people not file complaints on the county Board of Health’s website about COVID19 but rather that they call the call center.
Allan touched upon personal protective equipment (PPE), the sacrifices that first responders are making and ways in which communities are assisting to make PPE last longer or be more useful.
“We need to take care of the people who take care of people”
“[First responders] need to treat every response, every call as a potential COVID positive case,” said Allan. “We want them to be properly protected we want to try and flatten this curve.”
Allan again urged anyone with the below equipment to donate supplies to 2501 Harvard Rd. in Newburgh Heights from 9:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Supplies needed for donation:
- Non-latex gloves
- N95 respirators
- Surgical masks
- Eye protection/face shields
- Isolation gowns
- Disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer
Woodmere firefighters are also accepting donations at 27899 Chagrin Blvd. The donations should be marked with the type of donation, the quantity and the donor’s name.
“We need to take care of the people who take care of people,” said Allan.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health medical director Heidi Gullett thanked first responders and unsung heroes of public health – sanitarians. Gullett said sanitarians are continuing restaurant inspections and also following up on COVID19 cases and their contacts, and also inspecting complaints about businesses that remain open that are not essential.
“There is an army of folks who are probably invisible to most who are working hard to protect us,” said Gullett. Gullett said Cuyahoga County, excepting the City of Cleveland, has 204 lab-confirmed cases of COVID19. She said the age range of those who are sick is 14 to 93 years old, people got sick from February 29 through March 20 and two people have died.
“The desire of my heart is that there be no more loss of life associated with this but unfortunately the numbers are not in our favor in the number of cases we continue to see roll in,” said Gullett.
Gullett then urged people to be compassionate about families who have lost loved ones to COVID19, saying not only are they grieving they may also have to quarantine themselves or may develop symptoms of the disease.
“We may have to support those families more than we would otherwise,” said Gullett.
Gullett again brought up the need for the community to not discriminate against any one group in regards to the coronavirus.
“This is not isolated to any one group of people, any race, any ethnicity any one particular group we are all at risk and we are all in this together,” said Gullett.
Gullett shared the epidemiological curve for Cuyahoga County, including statistics on those who have recovered from the disease.
Overall in the community, Gullett said that there is a 5 percent positive in the community but she stressed that there is not widespread testing and testing has been focused on those in the hospital. Of the 204 cases that have been lab confirmed, 29 percent have been admitted to the hospital (meaning longer than a visit to the emergency room) and 26 percent of those cases are health care workers.
The county-level utilization of health care services, basically the ability of the county to care for people to get sick. Gullett said 64 percent of county hospital resources are currently in use for adults who don’t need intensive care in hospitals and 37 percent for children. Currently 65 percent of critical care capacity in the county is in use and 36 percent of all of the ventilators int eh county are in use.
“The desire of my heart is that there be no more loss of life associated with this but unfortunately the numbers are not in our favor in the number of cases we continue to see roll in”
“We never want to get to 100 percent we want to stay below that,” said Gullett. She again urged people who to self-quarantine if they are sick, and to quarantine if the Board of Health has asked them to do so. “We need you to please listen to this advice it is not a suggestion we need you do it or we are going to have problems in our hospital capacity.”
Gullett shared a heat map showing the number of cases in Cuyahoga County that showed that there are cases of COVID19 across the county. “You should expect you have the potential to be exposed if you are out and about,” said Gullett.
Gullett said that without widespread testing it’s difficult to determine the actual number of infections in the community and it’s difficult to predict the number of people who are expected to go to the hospital and if the hospitals will be over their capacities.
“The message still remains…we all have to do our part individually and collectively to flatten the curve or we will be at surge capacity,” said Gullett. “We should never have loss of life in this community because we don’t have enough resources, we don’t have enough ventilators, we don’t have enough beds but if people don’t stay home we will quickly approach 100 percent utilization…and we will have to make very difficult decisions that you see coming out of other countries like Italy and that is absolutely what we’re trying to avoid in this community.”