The Cuyahoga County Board of Health holds press conference updating citizens the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan said at the top of the Wednesday, March 25 media briefing that he had a “very sobering message for you today and we have a theme – we are at a very critical time right now…a very critical time in how we are going to respond in the community as we look at the data, the numbers and as we begin to understand what we may be facing in the coming days.” Allan said now is the time to really make sure everyone is taking the governor’s stay-at-home order seriously. “We have to act now because there are lives in the balance.”
We are at a very critical time right now…a very critical time in how we are going to respond in the community as we look at the data, the numbers and as we begin to understand what we may be facing in the coming days.
He then moved on to discuss essential businesses. He said that the county health department, just on Tuesday, received 500 calls from the public about whether a business is essential. He said they received about 150 to 200 calls with medical concerns about county’s response to the pandemic. He urged business owners to talk to their employees about steps they are taking during the pandemic and if they are essential to explain to employees why they are essential to limit the extreme number of calls to the help line.
“Regardless of whether a business is essential or not if work can be done from home then have it done from home,” said Allan.
Allan addressed business owners by saying it’s important to minimize the number of workers at a site, sanitation, do employee temperature checks and frequent surface cleaning at job sites.
He then shifted to discuss patient privacy concerns for those diagnosed with COVID19. He said that the department doesn’t release the identities of patients for their protection. He said they have started to see cases where people have been discriminated against based on flawed information.
We’ve seen instances where people may be targeted – people are making false determinations about risk – that’s very dangerous in a free society,” said Allan.
“We’ve seen instances where people may be targeted – people are making false determinations about risk – that’s very dangerous in a free society,” said Allan. We want to discourage that and we believe by protecting people’s information we protect their rights.”
He went on to list donations the county has received since March 19. They included:
- 95,000 gloves
- Almost 7,000 N95 Respirators
- 1000 surgical masks
- 550 face shields
- 56 medical gowns
- 122 Containers of disinfecting wipes
- 169 containers of hand sanitizer
The donations came from veterinarians, research labs, community residents and Allan specifically lauded MedWish, Cuyahoga County Community College and Cleveland metropolitan School District for their donations.
He said there are still things people can donate and specifically asked for:
- Non-latex gloves
- N95 respirators
- Surgical masks
- Eye protection/face shields
- Isolation gowns
- Disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer
Allan said people can donate supplies to 2501 Harvard Rd. in Newburgh Heights from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Dr. Heidi Gullet, MPH, the medical director of the Board of Health then took the podium to explain the number of cases and the steps that still need to be taken in the midst of the pandemic.
“I and my team highly value transparency we are doing our very best to give you as much data as quickly as possible,” said Gullett. “In my medical opinion this is a pivotal time because we have a significant increase in the number of infections,” said Gullett. She said influenza-like cases have been increasing and since there aren’t enough tests, and influenza A is known to be decreasing in the community, the Board of Health has to assume and treat these cases as if they are coronavirus cases.
Influenza-like cases have been increasing and since there aren’t enough tests, and influenza A is known to be decreasing in the community, the Board of Health has to assume and treat these cases as if they are coronavirus cases.
She shared the following numbers of orders of isolation and quarantine.
- 167 orders of isolation – for people with lab-confirmed or presumptive cases, a presumptive case is someone who has close contact with a lab confirmed case. There aren’t enough tests to test everyone so the health department is assuming these people are sick.
- 454 orders of quarantine. Orders given to people who have close contacts of people with confirmed or presumptive cases. The Board of Health gives personal phone calls to explain what this means and offer resources and reports.
- 5 people discontinued isolation. This means they have recovered enough and have gotten clearance to return to normal life.
When someone has a positive test, the Board of Health will call them, find out about medical history, find out about their homes and ability to isolate, also get close contact information – name and contact information — and move on to contact those people as soon as possible said Gullett.
We need your help to minimize the number of new cases so please, please, please don’t go out.
“We need your help to minimize the number of new cases so please, please, please don’t go out,” said Gullett. “We’ve got to protect our front-line workers.”
She said that the Board of Health is currently doing targeted testing to limit spread in nursing home situations.
Gullett also shared that her husband is an emergency room doctor and he is isolating himself at home from her and their children so if he gets sick he won’t infect her and their family.
The Board of Health is currently doing targeted testing to limit spread in nursing home situations.
Gullett said at the Friday press conference she plans to release community-level data including occupations of those who have been infected with COVID19.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Cuyahoga County Coronavirus Help Line
State of Ohio COVID Response help Line State