March 20, 2020 Media Briefing Recap

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Joint Information Center:; 216-443-5245

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH —Today the Cuyahoga County Board of Health held their media briefing regarding COVID-19 at their offices at 5550 Venture Drive, Parma, Ohio 44130 at 8:45 a.m. The next briefing will take place Monday, March 23 at 8:45 a.m. The briefings will continue until the COVID-19 situation no longer merits daily messaging.

Below are points discussed by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan and Board of Health Medical Director, Dr. Heidi Gullett:

  • As of this morning, the number of confirmed COVID-19, in Cuyahoga County, excluding the City of Cleveland, is 43.The date of onset ranges from February 29-March 15. There are currently four hospitalizations and zero deaths.
  • No information on the names or locations of the individuals who test positive will be released to protect their health information.

  • Testing in Cuyahoga County is currently focused on those that are hospitalized.
  • Testing for COVID-19 is done to clinically manage persons with the disease, to control the risk of spread and to understand the spread of the disease in the community so we can flatten the curve.

Cuyahoga County Coronavirus Help Line
  • Earlier this week the new Cuyahoga County Coronavirus Help Line was announced, which is in partnership with the United Way 2-1-1 First Call for Help program.
  • Within the first day of being live, the Help Line received 470 calls.
  • To reach the Help Line, please call 855-711-3035.

  • The statement made during Governor DeWine’s press conference about taking temperatures of employees each day was a recommendation, not a mandate. It may be best for individuals to check their temperatures before coming to work so as not to exposure other co-workers in case they are sick.

National Guard Proclamation
  • Governor DeWine signed a proclamation on Wednesday that will activate approximately 300 personnel from the Ohio National Guard to support humanitarian efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Starting next week on Monday, you will begin to see the National Guard as they support the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks at locations throughout the state. They will assist with staffing and distribution of food to those in need.

Scam Warning from Ohio Attorney General

The Ohio Attorney General issued a warning yesterday regarding scams related to coronavirus. They include:
  • Door-to-door salespeople offering COVID-19 testing
  • Asking for any combination of your social security number, bank account number or medical information to qualify for a test
  • Emails that are “phishing” for information by getting you to click on a link or a pop-up advertisement
  • Products for sale that will “cure the coronavirus”
  • Tips to avoid falling victim to a scam:
    • Check out any charity or organization that is not familiar to you before making a donation
    • Do not respond to emails from people you do not know. Do not click on links that are strange to you.
    • Never give out personal information. Offer to call the person back at a number that you can verify as being the bank or organization they claim to represent.

  • Just this week the State has seen more than 78,000 unemployment claims put in as opposed to their usual 6,500.

Sheriff’s Sales and Foreclosures
  • County Executive Armond Budish announced yesterday that the County is suspending all Sheriff’s sales and tax foreclosures of home. People who are on tax delinquency payment plans will also not be put in default status due to late or missing payments.

Corrections System Preparations
  • The County is continuing to work to keep people in our care safe and healthy.
  • Thanks to the work of the Sheriff, Prosecutor O’Malley, Administrative Judge Sheehan, Administrative Judge Earley, and all of the city and county judges and prosecutors and the defense bar, the jail population has reduced to 1,331 as of yesterday, the lowest it has ever been, and well below the capacity of 1,865.
  • The population decrease reduces the risk of people spreading the virus and makes it possible to create spaces in the jail so that up to 25 symptomatic inmates can be immediately isolated and up to 48 COVID-19 positive inmates can be quarantined if needed.
  • MetroHealth has also developed new screening procedures and medical processes to address the COVID-19 crises and has increased medical screenings for COVID-19 symptoms immediately at the entrance to the jail.

Children and Seniors
  • The County is responsible for Child Protection, and calls are still being answered from the kids’ hotline. Child Protection Specialists are still working cases, making visits, investigating allegations and working to make sure children are safe. They are following state guidelines for visits that must still take place but being mindful of not exposing families and workers if possible.
  • The Department of Senior and Adult Services is continuing face-to-face interactions for emergency Adult Protective Services within 24 hours per the state mandate.
  • Many senior centers have transitioned from congregate meals and are not switching to delivery of meals to our seniors at home.

  • The County is committed to providing shelter access to persons and families who have no place to stay. We are attempting to adjust our services to reduce person-to-person contact and encourage self-containment.
  • The Coordinated Intake and Assessment system will continue to be utilized, operating now solely by phone at 216-674-6700. Coordinated Intake is available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. by phone Monday through Friday. The United Way First Call for Help line is available at 2-1-1 during all other evening and weekend hours.
  • We will begin using a screening process for person seeking shelter. For those clients who may need further medical evaluation, we are working with MetroHealth and Care Alliance medical staff to assist with further assessment.
  • Another goal is to reduce the concentration of currently homeless residents in close proximity to each other in the two large shelters, which would help reduce possible disease transmission.
  • Shelter residents will first be encourages to seek temporary housing with friends and family, with incentives provided to help facilitate this. Other temporary housing options suitable for residents who need isolation or quarantine will also be identified.

For more information from the Board of Health, visit

For information from the CDC, visit

For information from the Ohio Department of Health, visit or call 1-833-4-ASKODH.