After weeks of staying at the “orange” level 2 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, Cuyahoga County again finds itself at the “red” level 3 indicating very high exposure and spread of the coronavirus.
Cuyahoga County joins 28 other counties deemed at the “red” level, the highest number of “red” level counties since the start of the pandemic.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said about 65 percent of Ohioans are now living in a “red” county.
“If you are in a red county, if you are in a county with high incident, the virus is spreading throughout your county quickly and everyone is at risk of catching it,” DeWine said.
DeWine noted a significant increase in daily outpatient visits for the virus in Cuyahoga County. In the past 10 days, the average outpatient visit was 187 cases per day. Now the average is at 445 cases per day.
The elevated level comes as Ohio breaks the record for the most daily reported coronavirus cases for the second straight day with 2,178 new cases.
DeWine said 52 of the 88 Ohio counties now meet or exceed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention high incidence rate.
“What you’re seeing in today’s numbers should get our attention,” DeWine said. “There’s a red tide flowing all over the state of Ohio. Virtually everyone is now living in a high incident, high rate of spread area.”
He added that Ohioans can slow down the spread by social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and washing hands often.
Ohio health commissioners are seeing the spread come from social gatherings and less mask compliance when people are out or not wearing a mask when with friends and family, DeWine said.
“These are not times to be complacent or comfortable,” he said. “It is the time to be vigilant to protect yourself, your family, your friends and your neighbors.”
As cases increase, hospital admissions due to the virus are expected to follow, which could restrict the amount of beds for other diseases, said Dr. Nick Dreher, medical director of the Population Innovation Institute at MetroHealth.
Dreher said herd immunity will be greatly defined by the release of a vaccine, not by an increase of exposure.
“You don’t want to do herd immunity by exposing people alone, that just increases the deaths,” he said. “We are strongly supportive of vaccine driven herd immunity and we don’t know that will be yet.”
Ohio has had 175,843 total cases of COVID-19 and 5,038 total deaths, the Ohio Department of Health reported Oct. 15.
The number of reported cases increased by 2,178 from Oct. 14.
The total number of individuals who have been tested in Ohio is 3,750,763. The new daily percent positive cases 5.4%, with a seven-day moving average of positive cases of 4.2%, according to data from Oct. 13.
The individuals who have tested positive range in age from less than 1 year old to 109 years old, with a median age of 40.
The ODH reported five new deaths Oct. 15. The median age of those who have died is 80.
The ODH reports 16,824 individuals have been hospitalized, and 3,507 have been admitted to the ICU due to the coronavirus. The median age of those hospitalized is 65.
The ODH reports 147,063 individuals are presumed recovered – defined as cases with a symptom onset over 21 days prior who are not deceased.
Cuyahoga County accounts for 18,834 of the cases, 2,662 hospitalizations and 671 deaths.
If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call 833-4ASKODH (833-427-5634) or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.