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Health & Science

Summit County Still Assessing Whether to Release Coronavirus Case Data by Zip Code

photo of Summit County COVID-19 cases
All but a handful of zip codes in Summit County have confirmed cases of coronavirus -- but health department officials have not released how many are in each zip code.

Summit County Public Health is still assessing whether to release data that shows how many COVID-19 cases there are in each of the county’s zip codes.

As of Sunday, the county had more than 250 confirmed cases throughout all but a handful of zip codes.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says they had been watching other counties to see what they might do and waiting until numbers got higher so that cases would not be as identifiable.

“We had originally said that when Cuyahoga County got near 300, they felt more comfortable. I don’t know if we’ve done that assessment to know if we think these cases are easily identifiable or not. But we are not at that point yet.”

Skoda adds that they will follow the lead of the Ohio Department of Health in releasing patient data by zip code, something Dr. Amy Acton has expressed reservations about. Summit County did say last week they plan to release a breakdown of cases by race.

Skoda adds that they are tracking the number of cases involving health care workers or senior citizens, but do not yet have plans to release that data to the public. The state’s nursing homes have seen at least 45 deaths – five of them confirmed last week inWooster.

The overall total across the state remains unknown because many local health departments aren’t releasing that data or revealing which nursing homes have had outbreaks. The state health department last week identified cluster areas. Portage County is one of three areas epidemiologists have identified as high-risk, mainly because of the many nursing homes. 

In the Youngstown area, 12 have died from the virus at long-term care facilities. 

The state association representing for-profit nursing homes says it’s frustrated more information isn’t being shared. It also says more testing is needed in the nursing homes.