CLEVELAND — Top officials in Cuyahoga County gave the latest updates Friday on the local response to the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 case numbers have remained mostly flat over the past few weeks, but remain high, keeping the county at a Level 3 "red" alert as part of the state's advisory system. So far, 470 county residents have died from the virus, and hospital capacity and testing positivity rates remain above the state's average.
This week, the county board of health recommended all schools within its limits start classes remotely this fall, something Cleveland has already pledged to do. An interactive website has also been set up to show which businesses are in best compliance with Gov. Mike DeWine's face mask mandate.
Today, County Executive Armond Budish also pledged the November election would go ahead as scheduled, despite the suggestions of President Donald Trump (who has no authority to change the date). However, Budish did acknowledge voting would look "vastly different" this year, and will soon introduce legislation to allow county workers to help work the polls.
"I urge every leader of an organization here in Cuyahoga County, whether large or small, to support the urgent need for poll workers," he said. "Please let your employees take the time to work the polls. We need this election to go smoothly."
Along with case numbers, the testing positivity rate fell to its lowest level in weeks (6.5%) while hospital bed occupancy remained mostly flat at 82%. Community spread, however, remains "widespread," which lead to the board's recommendation that schools start outside the classroom.
"We understand that school districts may need to make decisions that are appropriate for their individual school districts," Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allen said. "These are very difficult decisions. We are living in unprecedented times."