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Cuyahoga County Sees Highest Increase In COVID-19 Cases Since March

Cuyahoga County saw its highest weekly increase in new COVID-19 cases since late March.

The county board of health reported 484 new cases this week, up by 159 from last week's count of 325 new cases. Their reporting does not include cases in the city of Cleveland.

“This is the biggest weekly increase we’ve had since the pandemic hit our community,” said Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett.

The previous highest jump in cases occurred the week of March 20. Gullett said the number of new cases reflects the increase in testing, but that the virus is still spreading rapidly.

“Transmission continues robustly in our community,” she said. “We’ve all got to continue to do our part, because the virus continues to transmit.”

Currently, the county has reported 2,493 total confirmed cases and 507 probable cases, excluding data from the city of Cleveland. Eighteen new deaths occurred this week, including a 36-year-old, the youngest person to have died of COVID-19 in the county thus far.

“I know a lot people, maybe if they haven’t been affected by it personally, maybe don’t realize how serious a risk it is, but we had a 36-year-old person in our community die this week,” Gullett said. “This is very serious.”

Gullett did not say whether the 36-year-old had a pre-existing condition.

The county also reported 1,070 cases of patients recovering from COVID-19.

Health Commissioner Terry Allan addressed Governor Mike DeWine’s recent announcement that people will be permitted to visit residents outdoors starting June 8 at long-term care facilities, such as assisted living facilities and homes for the developmentally disabled. Allan said he encourages people to still wear masks and stay socially distant while visiting at these facilities.

“The concern is … people hugging, kissing, potentially transmitting the illness, unknowingly and unintentionally, to the people they love,” Allan said. “We’re asking people to make some sacrifices and follow the guidelines.”    

Officials also addressed health disparities related to the virus.

“While we are not able to speak in generalizations yet in COVID-19 data, we are seeing higher rates of hospitalizations and ICU admissions in African Americans,” said Director of Health and Wellness Romona Brazile.

Allan said officials are trying to ramp up testing in minority and other vulnerable populations to address these disparities.

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