MEDINA, Ohio — Editors Note: This article has been updated to include Lorain City Schools' decision to further delay basketball and wrestling.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on Northeast Ohio, not just from a health standpoint, but from a social one, as well.
Medina City Schools announced this week it has suspended all athletic events and in-person extracurricular activities due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the area. The "pause" will be in effect until Dec. 17, at which time officials will commence a "re-evaluation."
On Wednesday, Lorain City Schools also announced they will continue a delay for basketball and wrestling competitions through Jan. 3, 2021. The district says the move is out of extreme caution, and that they're currently working with the conference to determine which events can be rescheduled, if any.
COVID-19 IN OHIO: The latest case numbers & trends
Medina and Lorain Counties are currently at Level 4 in the state's COVID-19 alert system, which indicates "severe exposure and spread" and comes with a recommendation that all citizens avoid leaving their homes for any nonessential activities. Medina City School District stresses it does not use these alert levels as the end-all-be-all for decision making, but confirmed the latest news played a significant role.
"With the increase of cases and hospitalizations in the County, it is prudent to take additional measures to help slow the spread of the virus," spokesperson Amy Busby wrote in a letter to parents on Friday.
Ohio Department of Health statistics indicate Medina County has had more than 1,300 new cases in the last two weeks alone, with the vast majority of those occurring in non-congregate settings. The county's ICU bed capacity is also at 85%, with more than 30% of those patients having COVID-19.
The suspension of activities affects all winter sports, including high school boys and girls basketball. The district is currently in all-remote learning until at least Jan 14.
Five other Northeast Ohio counties are currently at Level 4: Lake, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit.