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Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish: COVID-19 situation 'is on the verge of spiraling out of control'

A Case Western Reserve University doctor says the county could reach 2,000 cases of coronavirus per day by the end of November if the current trend continues.

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish was joined by members of the county's board of health for a coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon. 

Budish wasted no time in providing a grim update on where things stand in the county's battle with COVID-19. "The situation here, as we have been repeatedly warned, is now on the verge of spiraling out of control," he warned.

Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan reported that the county's hospital testing positivity rate was 14.9% this past week, an all-time high, compared to 9.3% the previous week. By comparison, the state of Ohio's seven-day positivity rate is at 11.2%, with the latest known daily figure of 12.9%.

"Recommit to masking in all places, small groups, remote work where possible and staying home when you’re sick are tried and true interventions," Allan stated.

The problems may only be just beginning for Cuyahoga County. 

Case Western Reserve University Dr. Johnie Rose delivered some sobering projections during the briefing. Should the current trend of COVID-19 spread continue, Dr. Rose believes that Cuyahoga County could see as many as 2000 cases per day by the end of November. On Monday alone, there were more than 700 new cases in the county.

"Clearly something needs to change about our behavior," Rose added.

Budish acknowledged that the public is getting tired as the pandemic drags on into its eighth month. But he implored residents to keep fighting to prevent the spread. 

"Part of the reason for the recent surge is that we've let down," he said. "Wearing a mask that doesn't cover your nose, that doesn't cut it. Wearing the same mask every day without washing it, doesn't cut it."

Budish added that something else that wouldn't 'cut it' was having family over for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Friday's media conference comes as the state of Ohio continues to break records for daily cases of COVID-19. For the first time, the Ohio Department of Health reported more than 8000 cases in a 24-hour period on Friday. 

At his Thursday COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine revealed that all 88 of the state's counties are now to be considered to be "high incidence" in regards to the coronavirus.

DeWine also noted that the state's lowest current county in regards to the coronavirus, Carroll County, is nearly twice as high as what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be "high incidence."

As of Thursday, 68 of Ohio's 88 counties have reached the Level 3 "red" coronavirus risk level of the state's Public Health Advisory System. Two of those counties, Franklin County and Tuscarawas County, are on the watch list to reach Level 4 "purple" -- the highest level on the advisory -- as soon as next week.

You can watch Friday's briefing in the player below:

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