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As Purple Level Looms, Summit County Health Needs People to Stay Vigilant Against Coronavirus

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Kabir Bhatia
Summit County Public Health Medical Director Dr. Erika Sobolewski (left) and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan joined medical leaders from the county to ask everyone to help stem community spread of the coronavirus.

Summit County has not moved to the highest threat level on the state’s coronavirus map. But health care officials say everyone needs to remain vigilant, as the county has started meeting the requirements to move from red to purple.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says schools could choose to go to fully remote learning if the county goes to purple, but she does not foresee that happening this week.

“School is in and I know everybody wants to go back to normal. We want to have sleepovers and let kids play video games after school – but that’s what is spreading the disease. It is not the kids in the classroom, socially distancing, being taught by a teacher,” she said.

Skoda adds they’re also seeing increased spread of the disease in congregant living arrangements, such as retirement homes and in some immigrant communities. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan says they’ve been working with faith leaders and bilingual police to get the word out to people in places like North Hill in Akron.

And Dr. Cliff Deveny, CEO of Akron-based Summa Health, says they’re now starting to see long-term effects even in people who beat COVID-19.

“Younger people having heart issues; people get renal failure. And it’s affecting all the different organs in the system. We don’t know what the long-term mortality will be or the long-term medical effects will be,” Deveny said.