Cuyahoga County is partnering with United Way of Greater Cleveland to provide a free phone service to give information about COVID-19 vaccinations to county residents.
The program will allow residents to call United Way's 211 HelpLink service to find out if they’re included in the eligible population that can get the vaccine, where to get inoculated and other information regarding the vaccine, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said.
“We know that people are eager to get vaccinated and that the rollout of the vaccine has been confusing for many,” Budish said during a Jan. 22 press conference. “We are supporting this centralized and familiar phone number so people can get answers to their questions, such as ‘Am I eligible?’ ‘When can I get vaccinated?’ ‘Where do I sign up?’ and other concerns."
Residents will be able to call 2-1-1 starting Jan. 25 for and speak directly to a specialist on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The service is in addition to cuyahogacounty.us/vax.
If a person is not in one of the priority groups, they will be connected with Cleveland city or the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to be added to a waiting list. When they are eligible to receive the vaccine, they will be contacted.
The county remains at six times the level of the CDC’s definition of high transmission, said Terry Allan, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner. Cuyahoga County accounts for 84,960 of the cases, 5,269 hospitalizations and 1,082 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
As of Jan. 22, the county has vaccinated 6,000 people and utilized about 80% of the supply it received from the state, Allan said. Another 1,300 people are expected to be vaccinated by the end of day Jan. 24.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health continues to work through a list of about 7,000 eligible people that remain for group phase 1A, which includes health care workers not connected with a hospital, EMS and those who are developmentally disabled living in group homes.
Allan said because of the large group size of phase 1A, the county will continue to see overlap between those in phase 1A and 1B.
According to the County Board of Developmental Disabilities, there are 480 buildings serving the developmentally disabled across the county. Many of the individuals who live there are unable to travel to locations where vaccinations are taking place so the county is sending in mobile units to visit those individuals, Allan said.
The county is averaging 480 cases per day, which is a decrease from where it was in December at over 600 cases per day. Cuyahoga county has also seen a 4% decrease in hospitalization use due to COVID-19 in the past month.
“We must stay vigilant. Our infections rates are still relatively high they have leveled off some but we’re still seeing a high level of infection in our community,” said Jana Rush, Board of Health director of epidemiology, surveillance and informatics. “As we move toward more vaccination in the population as well as continued public health measures … we can be cautiously optimistic that our infection rate will continue to decline and improve over time.”