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Cuyahoga County Board of Health reports 463 more suburban cases of coronavirus in the past week

Cuyahoga County Board of Health reports 463 more suburban cases of coronavirus in the past week

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cuyahoga Cuyahoga County Board of Health on Friday reported 463 new coronavirus cases in the suburbs during the last week, up from 295 new cases the week prior.

The increase mirrors the upsurge in COVID-19 cases across the state and comes one day after the county’s alert status was increase from orange to red, the third highest level. The state now has 29 counties on red alert for the coronavirus. The only higher alert status is purple.

“With COVID fatigue clearly setting in, we’re seeing people expanding their social circles and gathering in groups indoors,” Health Commissioner Terry Allan said during the board’s somewhat weekly briefing on the pandemic

“We need to stick with out prevention playbook and do our part to keep our community safe,” Allan said. “Our continued vigilance is our way out of this pandemic as we wait to learn more about the timing and availability of a COVID vaccine here in the United States.”

The county numbers do not include new cases from the city of Cleveland, which tracks its own coronavirus cases through the city’s Department of Public Health.

Allan said Board of Health officials spoke with school leaders Friday and said the county will continue to work with them and provide support. He referenced the board’s guidelines that suggest schools use virtual learning, except in the case of special education, when the county is at the current state-designated red risk level .

Asked during a Q&A if he had more direct guidance for schools, which include some districts that have in-person learning, Allan said each school district is different, with its own set of resources for keeping students safe, and that the board will respect their decisions.

Allan asked that school districts consider the board’s guidance, “but we equally recognize that they’ve got to make choices based on what the will is of their districts and boards.”

Board of Health officials said the county has been averaging 50 new cases per day in schools in September, but as of last week it was up to 70 cases per day. On Thursday alone, the number exceeded 90 cases.

Ramona Brazille, co-director of prevention & wellness at the Board of Health, said the recent increases have not been due to large outbreaks, but instead the problem continues to be small gatherings of family and friends.

The positivity rate has gone up to 4 percent so far in October for hospital testing, up from 2.5 percent for September, said Janet Rush, the board’s director of epidemiology, surveillance and informatics.

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