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Infectious Disease Doctor Says Northeast Ohio COVID Surge Isn't A Surprise

Cuyahoga County had been orange, or Risk Level 2, since August. [Ohio Department of Health]
Cuyahoga County had been orange, or Risk Level 2, since August. [Ohio Department of Health]

Coronavirus cases are surging in Cuyahoga, Summit, and Stark counties, and state officials have moved the risk level from 2, or orange, to risk level 3, or red.

That means these counties are experiencing very high exposure and spread. State officials change the risk level based on, the number of new cases per capita, the increase in community spread, and the increase in outpatient visits.

This upward trend will likely continue, according to University Hospitals Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Amy Edwards.

The recent surge in new cases in Northeast Ohio is not surprising, Dr. Edwards said. There has been a slight increase in hospitalizations at UH, she said.  Hospital admissions, though, were not one of the reasons that Cuyahoga County went from orange to red.

Edwards expects more hospitalizations in the near future because she says people haven’t been following the recommendations to not have large gatherings.

“Are people sticking with their quarantine bubbles? No,” she said.

“They’re having birthday parties, and they’re having family get-togethers, and they’re having backyard barbecues with all the neighbors over, and I know they’re doing it because I see it. I actually see my own neighbors doing it, and I see it on my Facebook feed, so you can’t tell me that people are actually taking precautions because I know they’re not,” she said.

Some people have been following the guidelines, Edwards said.  Especially with wearing masks in public businesses, which helped slow down the spread of the virus. But everyone needs to participate to keep people safe and cases lower, Edwards said.

The state recommends those in Level 3 counties decrease in-person interactions, consider necessary travel only, and limit attending gatherings of any number. People in all counties, regardless of risk level, should continue following proper hygiene precaution and wear face coverings in public.

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158