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Executive Budish and Commissioner Allan Issue Statements Regarding COVID Concerns During New Year’s Eve Celebrations

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Media Contacts:
Tyler Sinclair: (216) 225-3693; tsinclair01@cuyahogacounty.us


CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH — The state of Ohio is quickly approaching and will soon eclipse 2,000,000 cases, 100,000 hospitalizations, and 30,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic. On a national scale, over the last seven days, the State is seventh in daily average number of cases, second in daily average of hospitalizations, and fourth in daily average of deaths.

Cuyahoga County leads the entire state in all categories with nearly 220,000 cases, 11,000 hospitalizations, and 2,800 deaths to date. On a national scale, over the last seven days, the County is ninth in daily average number of cases, 13th in daily average hospitalized per 100,000 people, and 12th in daily average of deaths. In other words, it’s bad!

Given these recent trends and the approaching New Year’s Eve holiday, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish issued the following statement:

“The unprecedented number of COVID cases we have seen over the last couple of weeks has put an extraordinary strain on our already overwhelmed hospital systems. Just yesterday, the Governor announced that 5,356 people are currently hospitalized with COVID and 20,320 new cases in the last 24 hours – both of which are tragically new State records.

With the holiday weekend approaching, many people have planned to get together with friends and family to throw large parties, go to bars, or attend other large events to ring in the new year. I certainly understand the desire to get out to celebrate after we’ve been restricted for so long. But I want to STRONGLY urge people to avoid big crowds, and if you do go out, wear a mask!

With the Omicron variant continuing to spread, and a statewide vaccination rate of only 55%, we owe it to our nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers to limit our exposure so we are not piling on their already heavy burden.

Remember – giving up large gatherings for fun now is a much better option than gathering for a funeral later.”

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan issued the following statement:

“Cuyahoga County is experiencing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases and our medical systems are sadly suffering the effects. Over the last 7 days, our case rate has been over 17 times the CDC threshold for high transmission and our positivity rate has reached 34%. These are historic highs for our community since the start of the pandemic. We are off the charts, even when compared to our brutal COVID-19 winter surge in 2020. We’re sounding the alarm, urging our community to take every precaution to prevent further transmission that could pile on to our hospitals systems, which are already bursting at the seams.

About 60% of the county is currently vaccinated, leaving almost 500,000 Cuyahoga County residents still vulnerable to serious health effects from the virus. Only about 24% of our children aged 5-11 have started vaccination and about 43% of our vaccinated population has received an additional or booster dose. We can and must do better. The Omicron variant, which is highly contagious, is spreading widely and quickly, in addition to Delta. It is anticipated that Omicron will become the dominant strain in Ohio and elsewhere, even as Influenza cases are increasing. Our community is staring this “triple threat” right in the face.

This is serious business.

Unvaccinated and unmasked means that you will be exposed to the virus in the coming days. Gathering with large groups of people for New Year’s celebrations only compounds these formidable risks. We are urging you to avoid these large gatherings, get vaccinated, get boosted and mask up to protect the ones you love. Our choices over the next 48 hours will mean the difference between life and death for some of our residents. Help us work toward a brighter 2022, for everyone.”