COVID-19 Isn't Taking A Holiday Weekend Break, Says Cuyahoga Health Dept.

people toasting at a backyard barbeque
Warmer weather doesn't mean the virus is gone, said Cuyahoga County Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett on Friday. [oneinchpunch / Shutterstock]

Cuyahoga County health officials warned residents to practice safe social distancing measures during the Memorial Day weekend.

Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett said she, too, is excited the weather forecast calls for warmer temperatures and some sun this weekend, but she’s concerned people gathering to enjoy the warm weather could increase the spread of COVID-19.  

“Please listen to our guidance. This is, again, not about taking away anyone’s individual right to do what they want to do,” Gullett said. “We just ask that you do it responsibly.”

People can spread the virus without exhibiting symptoms, or before they start showing symptoms, so Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish encouraged residents to continue social distancing even if you feel great.

“The virus hasn’t gone away; it’s still there,” he said.

While everyone wants the coronavirus pandemic to be over, Gullett said that just isn’t the reality.

“No one would love this to be over more than our team,” she said. “We long for the days when we can go back to doing good ol’ boring public health stuff. But we can’t, and we’re going to be at this a long time.”

Many business owners have put measures in place so people can enjoy being out responsibly, and Gullett asked people to comply with those rules.

She said her heart was heavy when she saw pictures from last weekend of people gathering and not social distancing.

“That’s because I’ve talked to people on the phone and seen from our team and the several thousand interviews we’ve done how serious and devastating this infection can be,” Gullett said.

County officials also warned about scams related to COVID-19, specifically scammers who use contact tracing as an excuse to get bank account information and other personal information.

Contact tracing is a critical part of the coronavirus response, Budish said, and contact tracers often call people to track down the spread of the virus by asking where they have been and when. But he said they’ll never ask for information like that.

“Legitimate health department contact tracers will never, never, never ask people for their social security numbers, banking information, or for money,” Budish said. “They will never ask for those things.”

Links and texts saying you were exposed to COVID-19 are also bogus, Budish said, and residents should report anyone who tries to get that information.

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