Summit County Public Health

woman in face mask.

Summit County Public Health has passed an order mandating that masks be worn in public, even though a statewide order remains in place. Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says the county wanted to pass its own order just in case the state order is lifted.

photo of empty classroom

School districts across the region are working to start the school year safely amid rising numbers of COVID-19.

Summit County Public Health this week recommended schools conduct the first 9 weeks of classes online. But the health department acknowledged that in-person classes might still be needed for students with disabilities who might require greater supports.

summit health chart

With cases of COVID-19 still rising across the county, Summit County Public Health on Monday recommended that schools conduct classes online this fall rather than in person.

The health department also issued guidance to help schools respond to the pandemic.

A father with an infant

Health experts are encouraging Summit County parents to follow safe sleep guidelines after a large increase in the number of sleep-related, infant deaths.

The County used to see an average of seven such deaths per year, going back to 2013. In 2019 that number doubled to 14 and, so far, 2020 shows no signs of improvement.

A photo of Donna Skoda.

As cases of COVID-19 increase across Ohio, Summit County Public Health is warning residents to be safe this holiday weekend. As of today, there are 54,166 total cases, an increase of 1,301 from Wednesday. Total deaths attributed to COVID-19 stand at 2,903. Officials fear these numbers will rise due to July 4 festivities.

During the Summit County Public Health weekly briefing, commissioner Donna Skoda asked residents to remember how we can control the spread of the virus. 

a photo of a test kit

This week, entertainment venues across the state are reopening following three months of shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. As things open back up, officials in Summit County want people to continue acting responsibly when it comes to preventing the spread of the disease.

a photo of protesters in Akron

Officials with the Summit County Public Health Department say – when it comes to protests – they’re concerned about it leading to community spread of coronavirus.

Northeast Ohio communities have seen a number of protests following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says protesting is their right, but she asks that it be done safely.

a photo illustration of a telehealth visit

Businesses in Ohio are re-opening and schools are making plans for this fall. But you’ve still got questions about the future of telemedicine, and when and how libraries will reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

We answer those questions and more in this week’s edition of “OH Really?

photo of Coronavirus testing

Ohio’s coronavirus testing rate is one of the worst in the country. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the per capita rate is about even with Texas and Kansas, and about one-quarter of Rhode Island’s, which tops the list.

photo of Higgins the dog

Ohio businesses continue to re-open this week, and you’ve still got questions about how coronavirus will affect everything from your pets to homeless people.

A photo of the entrance to the Summit County Courthouse.

As some of Ohio’s non-essential businesses reopen, you’ve still got questions about how coronavirus will affect everything from college tuition refunds to child custody hearings.

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As some of Ohio’s nonessential businesses prepare to reopen, you’ve still got questions about how coronavirus will affect everything from dental appointments to funerals.

Listener James Little asked how the current pandemic is affecting mortuary services. To find out, we spoke with Gary Burr, president of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association.

photo of Summit County mass texting program

Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says the health department expects guidance this week from state officials on how and when they can implement expanded coronavirus testing.

During her weekly update Thursday, she also unveiled a mass texting system to provide instant public health notices for residents. Sign up information is here. Skoda says re-opening Ohio will be a gradual process.

The national stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplied Ohio with more than 493,000 gloves, 271,000 N95 masks, 675,000 surgical masks and other gear.

But state and local leaders say those shipments weren’t enough to mount a proper defense against the coronavirus pandemic. So local governments have been asking for PPE donations — and in some cases, buying their own gear.

Summit County is emphasizing a need for more tests and education to help protect its African American population from the coronavirus.

African Americans make up 15 percent of the county’s residents but account for 32 percent of its COVID-19 cases. The county is using social media to send out tips on staying safe, said Health Commissioner Donna Skoda, but reaching specific populations is hard under the stay-at-home order.

photo of farm

Gov. Mike DeWine has signaled that Ohio nonessential businesses could start reopening by the end of next week. And you’ve been asking what that means for coronavirus testing, the state’s farmers and even Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Now, Sarah Taylor and Kabir Bhatia from our newsroom answer questions you’ve sent in for “OH Really?”

photo of Summit County COVID-19 cases

Summit County has released data on how many coronavirus cases are in each of its zip codes.  There are 373 confirmed cases as of Thursday.  The most cases are in West Akron, Hudson, and Twinsburg, with between 21 and 30 cases each.

a photo of briefing room at Summit co public health department

Data released in Summit County Wednesday shows that coronavirus is disproportionately impacting African-Americans.

The data shows 15 percent of county residents are black, but 36 percent of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Summit County are African-American.

Summit County Public Health Epidemiologist Joan Hall says her department needs to increase awareness on how to avoid the coronavirus.

photo of Summit County COVID-19 cases

Officials with Summit County Public Health say they’re crunching the data on the county’s 222 cases of COVID-19. As of Thursday, 56 percent of the cases are women. There have been 13 deaths, and 51 people are hospitalized.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said epidemiologists plan to release a breakdown of cases by race by the end of this week.

tents  in the the woods

Summit County agencies are working round the clock to create a quarantine facility for the area’s homeless who must be quarantined.

The homeless quarantine center is being set up in the gymnasium at the Chapel in Akron. Officials hope to open it next week.

Leading the effort is the Continuum of Care, a nonprofit of more than 30 agencies that provides services for the homeless.

united way logos
United Way of Summit County

Six Summit County entities have joined together to raise and channel much-needed funding into the community.


For the first time in history, people across the country have been directed to stay home.

Schools and daycares have closed. Bars and resturants are shuttered.

Elder care facilities are in lockdown. Businesses have closed their doors to all but the most essential workers.

Groups cannot gather outside homes, and everyone is expected to stay six feet apart.

photo of Coronavirus blood vial

Life as we knew it in Northeast Ohio has been grinding to a halt because of the coronavirus. You’ve been asking WKSU’s OH Really? about everything from risk factors to home remedies. We've been gathering answers to your questions about the virus.

photo of Donna Skoda

Summit County Public Health is adjusting to life with coronavirus, and it’s impacting the agency’s staffing.

The health department has issued 26 layoff notices, many for clerical positions or for people who worked face-to-face with the public.

Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says about half the agency’s 200 staffmembers have been reassigned to work on the response to coronavirus.

a photo of briefing room at Summit co public health department

Summit County has its first case of COVID-19. A woman in her 50s is currently hospitalized.

Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said this is the first case of community spread detected in Summit County. But she warns that people feeling symptomatic should consult their doctor first.