CLEVELAND — After spending the past two weeks on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 'high' community level for COVID-19, Cuyahoga County has now been downgraded to 'medium.'
The change in status means health experts are no longer recommending all county residents wear masks while in indoor public spaces, particularly for fully vaccinated individuals.
Lorain County has also been downgraded by the CDC, moving from 'high' to 'low'
The CDC's updated guidance takes new and active hospitalizations into account, and become more stringent of any county has reported at least 200 new COVID cases per 100,000 citizens over the previous week. During the last seven days, the center says Cuyahoga County has seen only 163.15 new cases per capita, meaning its 11.5 new hospitalizations per capita no longer meet the threshold to take it beyond the "yellow" risk area (20.0 is needed when the case figure is below 200).
Meanwhile, Lorain County's case rate stands at 167.51, with hospitalizations per capita of 9.8.
While masks are no longer fully advised in Cuyahoga County, the CDC still says people in medium areas should think about possibly wearing coverings or avoiding crowded areas if they are immunocompromised. Local and state governments in Ohio are not expected to issue any more sweeping mask mandates for high communities, but business and establishments are still free to set their own rules.
Here are the other Northeast Ohio counties that are at medium community level:
The CDC's new reporting comes as the Ohio Department of Health announced that the state had just over 18,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, an increase of about 700 over the previous seven days.