CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and county health leaders held a briefing on Friday with the latest on the response to COVID-19 and an update on its vaccination rollout.
Budish reported that as of Friday, just over 45% of Cuyahoga County's residents have received their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine. "That’s not too bad, we’re about 8th in the state and the best of the large Ohio counties. But we can do better," he remarked.
To illustrate his point, Budish noted that on March 31, 13,000 residents in the county received a vaccine that day. This week, that number has dropped to under 1,500 a day.
"The pandemic is still raging, and people are still getting sick and dying. We still have to protect ourselves by wearing masks, sanitizing, and social distancing. The best protection is a vaccine. When you get vaccinated, your life can begin to go back to normal," Budish added.
You can watch Friday's entire briefing below:
Friday's briefing came as over four million Ohioans have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Locally, the mass vaccination site at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center is continuing to distribute doses. Next week, the site will distribute the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Unlike the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, which each require a two-dose regimen, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only consists of one shot. The Wolstein Center accepts walk-in appointments from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and reservations can also be booked via gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available beginning on Monday, May 11 and will continue to be distributed through Monday, May 17. Beginning on Tuesday, May 18, the Wolstein Center will begin administering second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which it has been exclusively distributing since opening in March.
Meanwhile, Budish was busy earlier this week helping to open Ohio's first diversion center that offers help instead of jail in Cuyahoga County.
"This will require a major culture change in Cuyahoga County," Budish declared. "Instead of thinking of people who have mental illness and addiction as criminals, we're thinking of them now going forward as people who need help."
A county survey found about a third of inmates have some type of addiction or mental health disorder.
"Those inmates stayed in jail 77% longer than the other inmates," county ADAMHS Board CEO Scott Osiecki said.
The diversion center will be located at the Oriana House at 1829 East 55th Street in Cleveland. It will offer:
- Short-term, temporary housing for approximately 50 individuals daily
- Day treatment
- Case management
- Behavioral health and substance abuse counseling and support services
- County-provided services for enrollment in benefit programs such as Social Security disability and Medicaid
- County-provided employment/vocational training services to facilitate entry or re-entry into the workforce system
- Coordination of patient needs after their on-site care
- Space for linking patients to other service needs such as Medicaid assistance