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Northeast Ohio health leaders react as COVID cases, hospitalizations surge

Medina, Lorain, Huron and Erie counties are at CDC's high COVID community level; Cuyahoga, Summit, Lake, Geauga, Portage, and Ashtabula counties are at medium.

CLEVELAND — The state of Ohio paints a color pallet of orange and yellow on the Center for Disease Controls' online COVID-19 tracker.

The tracker, updated on Thursday, shows that Medina, Lorain, Huron, Erie, and Trumbull counties are peaking at a "high" community level classification. Cuyahoga, Summit, Lake, Geauga, Portage, and Ashtabula counties stand at a “medium” community level of COVID-19 cases. 

“One of these factors may be our recent hospitalizations,” said Lorain County Public Health Department Supervisor Kat Bray.

According to Bray, the county is seeing roughly 100 cases a day, with 37 people hospitalized recently.

Comparing July 2022 to July 2021, Bray said the amount of COVID-19 deaths has fallen nearly 20 percent.

“We are about where we expected it to be,” she added.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden announced he contracted the coronavirus Thursday and has been experiencing mild symptoms. Paxlovid, the new drug approved for prescription by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on July 6, is also helping treat the president.

Dr. Amy Edwards, a University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Pediatric Infectious disease expert, told 3News the antiviral medication helps fight virus replication in the body, which could help the president and others recovery quickly.

“If you're suppressing viral replication then if it can't more virus then you get better faster, right?” Edwards said.

The FDA said Paxlovid is meant to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 cases; Edwards said low risk patients may not even need the drug.

“It's not clear that Paxlovid confers much benefit because if you're already low risk then what is the drug going to do?" Edwards said.

As cases rise, the medication could help more patients in the future. It's part of yet another wave of infections that health experts anticipate is still to come.

“We’re not alarmed because it's expected that these case counts will ebb and flow, especially even looking forward to the fall,” Bray said.

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