The Cuyahoga County Board of Health holds press conference updating citizens the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish, Health Commissioner Terry Allan and medical director Dr. Heidi Gullett, MPH all presented to the media from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Health commissioner Allan strongly reiterated the importance of the stay-at-home order, and stated it was influenced by science.
“That stillness is the sound of prevention it is the sound of reduced number of interactions that will help to reduce spread to our seniors to our at-risk individuals” said Allan.
He again stressed social distancing, and hand washing as some of the most important things folks can do right now to try to curb the spread of the disease.
“We have years and years of service and experience in this community that’s incredibly valuable to all of us. And we want to recognize that this is about saving lives. This is about saving lives to people that matter to all of us, the people that matter to all of us. So, abide, by this order, abide by this order only critical infrastructure people should be moving out into the community,” said Allan
The health department’s medical director, Gullett, then took the podium to explain how the county is doing in terms of coronavirus cases and deaths. She began by expressing condolences to the families who have lost loved ones from this virus, including one family in Cuyahoga County that has lost someone due to coronavirus.
We’ve known it serious, but when loss of life begins to happen, it moves to a new level.
“We’ve known it’s serious, but when loss of life begins to happen, it moves to a new level. So we want you to know we’re fighting to minimize any future loss of life, but we recognize that this is a formidable opponent and we’re, we’re really doing our best, but we need your help and we will have more loss of life if you don’t heed our warnings and you don’t listen to what Dr. [Amy] Acton is saying and what we’re saying, please, please do what we’re asking,” said Gullett.
As of March 23, there are 99 lab-confirmed cases, excluding the City of Cleveland, the age range is ages 14 to 91 with a median age range of 49 years old.
She said as of March 23, there are 99 lab-confirmed cases, excluding the City of Cleveland, the age range is ages 14 to 91 with a median age range of 49 years old. As far as hospitalizations due to the coronavirus, Gullett said she didn’t feel comfortable sharing numbers as “they’re probably inadequate.” She also said that they don’t have the negative test information available yet to share, and mentioned that in the drive-through testing facilities patients were first tested for flu and another common virus, Respiratory syncytial virus, and only if those came back negative was a person tested for COVID19.
She did say that there have been seven intensive care unit admissions for the area but said that number is likely behind because “we’re having to enter things very quickly as the number of cases rapidly increases.”
Gullett also addressed testing concerns, saying that tests need “to be reserved at this time for those who are most ill or hospitalized patients. Those sickest in our emergency departments. Testing is not available at this time for the general public nor does it available for those with mild infection.” She said those with a mild infection should try to isolate at home, and try to isolate from family members.
Those with a mild infection should try to isolate at home, and try to isolate from family members.
Gullett said the health department is continuing to do “contact tracing” which is basically identifying people who have the virus, finding out who they have contacted and where, in order to identify who is most at risk of getting an infection.
Gullett said the county also has language services available and asks if anyone need to use a language that hasn’t been identified to please contact the county.
“We want every person in our community and whatever language is their first language to be able to understand this information,” said Gullett.
She also emphasized the need for partnerships leading up to this point and the continued need for partnerships moving into the future to combat the pandemic.
Gullett also touched on the need for self-care and gratitude in the midst of this ‘war,’ she said that the health department had been looking to Mr. Rogers and his talk of helpers in a crisis.
“This room here, this building, even though most of our staff are working remotely, we are all helpers, every single one of us. And because we have helpers arrive into the occasion who will never be known publicly, who will never, we will never know the deeds that they’ve done, the donations that they’ve made, the simple ways that they’ve extended kindness to others, but they’re all helpers. And because of that, we have a lot of hope in this situation,” said Gullett.
Allan returned the podium after Gullett, saying, “we are at a crossroads. We’re at a crossroads. And I want to specifically to talk now to young folks like my kids who are home from college, a couple of them and other young folks that feel they are invincible…We are not invincible.” He went on to plead that young people, “please take the moment now to be part of the solution.”
Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish also participated in the Cuyahoga County Board of Health press conference and discussed the governor’s stay-at-home order, unemployment and small businesses.
He referred to Governor Mike DeWine as a national leader in coronavirus precautions and lauded health commissioner Allan and medical director Gullett stating “They’re smart they’re compassionate and we’re in good hands with them and their leadership.”
He recapped the governor’s stay at home order, stating that it calls for three things, for Ohioans to stay at home except for essential services, to close non-essential businesses and to stop certain activities that add to our risk. He reiterated a message the governor and Ohio Department of Public health Director Amy Acton have both stressed that, “We’re fighting for the health and well- being of each every one of us. Every action that we take will have an impact on another person.”
“We’re fighting for the health and well- being of each every one of us. Every action that we take will have an impact on another person.”
Budish highlighted resources that are available for those who have lost their jobs and small businesses that have been affected. Some of these resources include OhioMeansjobs.com – for job openings and trainings, Unemployment.ohio.gov – for unemployment benefits and benefits.ohio.gov, for things like Medicaid, SNAP and TANF assistance.
Budish said those who have worked at least 20 weeks with an average salary of $269 per week or more should be eligible. Budish said he is asking the administration to “loosen” some of those requirements.
The county will increase funding to United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 211 system.
Budish also said that the county will increase funding to United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 211 system to be a resource especially for those folks who need help applying for Medicaid, SNAP and TANF.
Budish addressed small businesses, saying that small businesses can apply for loans through the Small Business Association SBA loans. He said the county is working to create a small business task force to figure out other ways to help small businesses, including possibly creating a business stabilization fund. Budish said the county is currently working with banks to do that.