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Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish hints at possible COVID-19 vaccine requirement for county employees

Nearly every county in Ohio, including Cuyahoga, is now listed as having a high level of community transmission of COVID-19.

CLEVELAND — With COVID-19 numbers locally and around the state climbing, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish held a briefing on Wednesday alongside county health leaders.

Budish noted that two weeks ago, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County was around 60 cases per 100,000. On Tuesday, that number had increased by 75% to 105 cases per 100,000.

"This increase has a clear correlation with our rate of vaccination. Ohio is in the bottom half of state vaccination rates, sitting at number 28 out of all the states," Budish noted.

During his remarks, Budish hinted that the county may impose a vaccination mandate for employees. "We have not yet adopted a vaccine mandate, though we’re thinking about it. But we are trying incentives," he said. 

Beginning Monday, August 23, all Cuyahoga County employees will have the opportunity to get their shots during the workday at four vaccination locations inside county buildings. MetroHealth will be administering these vaccines. 

Budish says he will ask Cuyahoga County Council to provide a $100 incentive to county employees who get vaccinated.

Nearly every county in Ohio, including Cuyahoga County, is now listed as having a high level of community transmission of COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an updated map from Aug. 9 to 15, all but three of Ohio's 88 counties are high. The other three counties, Athens, Hancock and Ashtabula, are substantial.

According to the CDC’s guidance, vaccinated people should return to wearing masks if they live in a county with a substantial or high spread.

In the color-coded map, orange reflects substantial community transmission and red indicates high transmission.

Substantial transmission means there have been between 50-100 cases per 100,000 residents over a 7-day period. High transmission means an area has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period, according to the CDC.

"We are at the highest number of new cases since February. Today we're reporting 3,235 cases," Gov. Mike DeWine said on Tuesday. "On July 7, our cases were at 17 cases statewide per 100,000 people for a two-week period. Today, that number is 236 per 100,000 people."

You can watch Wednesday's briefing in the player below

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