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Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Issue 28-Day COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Advisory

In a press conference Wednesday, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and other local leaders announced a 28-day stay-at-home advisory in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. [Cuyahoga County Board of Health]
In a press conference Wednesday, County Executive Armond Budish and other local leaders announced a 28-day stay-at-home advisory in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. [Cuyahoga County Board of Health]

Updated: 4:35 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2020

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have issued a  stay-at-home advisory starting Wednesday and ending on Dec. 17 in an attempt to curb the skyrocketing spread of COVID-19 in the area. 

Residents are asked to only leave their homes for essential trips, such as work, school, and to purchase groceries or medical supplies, city and county officials said Wednesday. Residents are also advised to avoid out-of-state travel and to forgo having guests in their residences during the upcoming holidays. 

“Our intent with this resolution is to take the governor’s lead, through his recent activation of the curfew, and provide additional guidance,” Health Commissioner Terry Allan said. “We’re faced with what could become a significant humanitarian issue if we don’t act now.”  

Without intervention and changes in residents’ behavior, Cuyahoga County is projected to report 1,000 new cases per day by next week, said County Executive Armond Budish. 

“We’ve asked a lot of you, and I know we’re all tired of this, but we can’t let up now. We’re in the fight of our lives,” Budish said. 

The advisory will last for 28 days, the length of two incubation periods of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, health officials said. 

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson also extended the city’s emergency proclamation through the end of the year and said enforcement of virus mitigation guidelines for businesses will continue.  

“A statewide mandate, which the governor fully realizes is on the horizon if we can't get this done, which will result not only in businesses closing, but being out of business and a layoff of people,” Jackson said. “That is what this is about.” 

Public and private gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 residents, according to the advisory. 

The stay-at-home advisory also asks residents to cancel parties, receptions and other events until the current COVID-19 surge passes. If events are not cancelled, banquet and rental halls as well as places of worship are advised to limit the number of people in attendance at events and services to ensure social distancing, the advisory states.  

K-12 schools and universities operating with a remote or hybrid model are encouraged to transition to all-online learning after Thanksgiving. 

Businesses and local governments are advised to transition to online transactions whenever possible, officials said. 

Law enforcement officials will not be asked to enforce the stay-at-home measure, Budish said. 

“People have responsibility to do the right thing. I mean, you’ve got to protect your fellow residents. Otherwise, this is getting out of control,” Budish said. “I’m just asking and begging people to follow these, please.” 

Jackson echoed that the call is for citizens to be responsible rather than having local police force the issue.

“It is not the intent to have this be a law enforcement thing. This is communication from us as leaders to people to express the severity of the pandemic," Jackson said. “Just being punitive is not going to work here. Now, we'll continue doing our inspections of restaurants and clubs and bars, particularly on the weekend.”

The advisory also includes guidance for illness and exposure response. Residents identified as a close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 should quarantine in a room or area away from the rest of their household and use a separate bathroom for 14 days. Close contacts should not wait to hear from the health department to take such precautions, health officials said. 

Residents diagnosed with COVID-19 should self-isolate for 10 days after symptoms begin, according to the advisory.  

The announcement comes  one day after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine introduced a 21-day curfew order across the state, wherein residents are asked to stay in their homes after 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m. starting Thursday night. 

The city of  Columbus and Franklin County, as well as Dayton and Montgomery County have also announced similar 28-day stay-at-home advisories this week.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.