COVID-19 levels on the rise in Cuyahoga County, health officials say
People should take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 as community levels of the virus are again on the rise in Cuyahoga County, public health officials said during a press conference Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control says that Cuyahoga County has reached the medium COVID-19 Community Level.
The agency takes into consideration hospital admissions, how many hospital beds are devoted to COVID-19 patients and the number of new COVID-19 infections in the county when determining the level of the virus in a given community, explained County Board of Health Commissioner Roderick Harris.
New cases are up 28% across the county, Harris said. But that number is likely underreported, he added, because many people are using rapid at-home tests.
Although, deaths and hospitalizations are still low in the county it's important to take steps to stop the virus from spreading further, Harris said.
Test if you’re feeling sick or before going into a group setting, stay up to date on your vaccines and get a booster if your eligible, he said.
“There is hope that we can get back down to a low community level if we all do our own parts to keep ourselves safe,” Harris said.
Last week, the CDC expanded guidelines for COVID-19 booster shot eligibility.
The agency now recommends that children ages 5 to 11 should get a booster five months after their initial Pfizer vaccine series. Additionally, the CDC strengthened its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should get a second booster dose four months after their first.
Dr. Prakash Ganesh, the board of health’s medical director, said that he sees people coming in for vaccinations once their loved ones are already sick.
“It hard to see for something that could have been prevented,” he said.
He also said he’s seeing more cases of long COVID, where symptoms last longer than four weeks.
“We want to make sure we protect our community,” he said. “Make sure you mask, socially distance, stay up to date on your vaccines, wash your hands, and make sure you test.”
The CDC recommends the following precautions when COVID-19 reaches the medium level:
- If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
- Get tested if you have symptoms