CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish held a COVID-19 news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Budish was joined by Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan and Board of Health Director of Epidemiology, Surveillance & Informatics, Jana Rush.
Allan announced that the Cuyahoga County Board of Health is offering a $100 cash card to any individual that receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of the board's upcoming community clinics.
The dates and times for the clinics can be found here.
Only individuals receiving their first shot will be eligible for the extra incentive. Those who are receiving their second shot or booster will not receive the cash.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health announcement comes two days after Cleveland Clinic announced that within the past month, the number of hospitalizations has doubled. According to the Cleveland Clinic, many of the admitted patients were unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, Budish's remarks were centered around plans to improve internet access for residents in the county. "Nineteen percent of county residents don’t have consistent access to the internet. That’s roughly 228,000 people, one of the worst connection rates in the country," he said.
The county is looking at several proposals and is also working on a pilot program in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. A partnership will DigitalC and the Cleveland Public Library will help build out wireless internet service infrastructure for approximately 70 percent of the neighborhood and provide equipment for roughly 500 households.
Two weeks ago, Budish and Allan issued a Universal Indoor Masking Advisory for all of Cuyahoga County.
"Our Mask Advisory strongly urges masking in all indoor areas to prevent a crisis of COVID cases, hospitalizations and fatalities," Budish during the announcement on September 15. "We urge our businesses and municipalities to enforce the use of masks in all buildings. And we urge schools to require masks for all students and staff so that kids can stay safe and learning in school."
Budish pointed out that Franklin County, where Columbus is, and Lucas County, which houses Toledo, both had adopted similar advisories.
"We must do better. We have to stop the spread of this virus. And time is running out. Wearing masks is a small price to pay to protect our children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. As the weather gets colder, and we’re forced indoors, chances of spread will only increase," Budish cautioned.
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