The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has been holding virtual press conferences to update citizens on the coronavirus pandemic on most Fridays.
“Our positive cases are still way up in the past month,” said County Executive Armond Budish as he opened the July 17 Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) coronavirus pandemic briefing. As the county continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, Budish reiterated the importance of wearing a mask and shared the county’s hotline number to report complaints about people or businesses not complying with the mask guidelines (216) 698-5050. He said people can also comment online at CuyahogaCounty.us/maskexperience, to report people or places not in compliance of the mask mandate. The county has already received 1,400 calls regarding people not wearing masks from all over the county— particularly in areas like shopping malls, big retailers, grocery stores and gas stations. Although there can be punitive damages for those who are non-compliant, he stressed that the intent isn’t to punish people but “to bring greater awareness to people wearing masks.”
Twenty-five percent of families in the county lack internet services or computers.
Next, Budish discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on children, specifically the uncertainties they may be feeling regarding the upcoming school year. Twenty-five percent of families in the county lack internet services or computers. Recognizing that there may be a combination of in-person and online instruction for the upcoming school year, Budish announced the creation of the Greater Cleveland Digital Equity Fund, a partnership between the county, the Cleveland Foundation and T-Mobile. The partnership aims to address both immediate and long-term needs around broadband access. The fund’s first project is to provide unlimited data hotspots to families in need through T-Mobile.
But to access the internet, residents will need computers and laptops. Although the county will supply up to 10,000 computers donated from local organizations and residents to help families, they can always use more. If you have a computer, laptop, or accessories, you can donate them to PCs for People or RET3 Job Corp.
There have been more than 900 reported cases in the last week.
Following Budish, CCBH Health Commissioner Terry Allen opened his remarks by congratulating CCBH Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett on being named the 2020 Family Physician of the Year from the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians. He then discussed the county’s latest COVID-19 infection cases, saying there have been more than 900 reported cases in the last week, a number that has been steadily rising since the beginning of July. With the county’s support, CCBH will continue its partnership with the MetroHealth System and Greater Cleveland Congregations to provide free testing to hard-to-reach areas.
Continuing the update, CCBH’s director of prevention and wellness, Romona Brazile cleared up the misconception regarding testing. She said while many people may be able to take multiple tests, the county only counts one test in the data tracker. She also shared her concerns about the uptick in positive cases, noting that CCBH is seeing an increase in young people in their 20s and 30s testing positive for the virus and also an increase in those returning from traveling out-of-state. She wrapped up her remarks by asking residents to be more diligent, do what they can to help reduce the spread and be mindful of the fact that risk for contracting COVID-19 is everywhere they go.
CCBH is seeing an increase in young people in their 20s and 30s testing positive for the virus.
“It’s really important that we consider ALL pieces of information when considering the impact of COVID on our community,” Dr. Heidi Gullett then shared during the briefing. As of July 17, she said the county had 919 new cases and 95 newly recovered cases over the previous week. Regarding death by COVID-19 data, she said there were 14 newly reported deaths, and noted because of changes in the way fatalities are tracked, there is a lag in death reporting.
Currently, the county has recorded 6,674 total cases of coronavirus infections and 336 total deaths. The age range of infections is one-week-old to 103-years- old and the age range of those who have died is age 36 to age 103. This data does not include the City of Cleveland. Eighty percent of the county’s adult medical and surgical beds are currently in use, and adult intensive care unit beds have also seen an increase. Eighty percent of adult ICU beds are now in use in the county. Cuyahoga County did see a drop in the number of pediatric beds in use in the past week.
The number of tests performed in the county is up, with more than 21,000 tests performed between the three hospital systems—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and the MetroHealth System.
The number of tests performed in the county is up, with more than 21,000 tests performed between the three hospital systems—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and the MetroHealth System. Preliminary data from the community testing program shows that 39 percent of those tested in community settings—churches, neighborhood organizations—are Black.
The next briefing is scheduled for July 24, at 2:30 p.m.