Cuyahoga County Creates New Tool To Track Businesses' COVID-19 Compliance
Cuyahoga County officials unveiled a mapping tool that allows people to see how well local businesses are complying with COVID-19 safety requirements at a news conference on Friday.
County Executive Armond Budish announced the new system, which relies on the public using a web-based portal to report whether businesses are following the county and state regulations.
Previously, county officials had established a telephone hotline where people could report violations of mask orders or social distancing requirements at businesses.
With the new web portal, individuals can fill out a form on their own to report violations or mention a business following the guidelines.
County officials will use the information submitted to populate an interactive map. The new map is color-coded. Green dots indicate businesses that are compliant, yellow means partially compliant and red is not compliant, Budish said.
“This will give everyone a way to shop comfortably, and hopefully it’ll give establishments an incentive to urge their patrons and staff to wear masks,” Budish said.
“My hope is that if you see a business that’s practicing good protocols, that you’ll take the time to tell people that as well, so we can see the good and bad actors,” he said.
The county has already sent out thousands of letters to businesses addressing complaints about their compliance, Budish said.
County officials also addressed an uptick in local COVID-19 deaths at the news conference.
There was a slight decline in new COVID-19 cases in the county this week, but an increase in deaths, said Health Commissioner Terry Allan.
The county reported 855 new cases this week, compared to 919 the previous week.
“We continue to cautiously watch the weekly data, case numbers, and testing positivity rates to see if the downward trend we’re seeing this week continues,” Allan said. “It’s too early to tell if we’re beginning to trend down or if we’re plateauing.”
Thirty-four deaths were also reported this week, the second-highest number of weekly deaths since the pandemic began.
Some of the deaths occurred previously but were reported to the board of health this week, said County Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett.
Medical beds and intensive care unit capacity at hospitals in the county has remained “stable,” Gullett said.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached a new high throughout the state, said Gov. Mike DeWine at a press conference Thursday. While hospitals in Cuyahoga County currently have the capacity to handle a surge in patients, Gullett said she doesn’t want it to get to that point.
“We never want to have to make decisions about who receives care because we don’t have ventilators or ICU beds,” she said. “So that’s what we’re all trying to prevent. We’re trying to prevent another week with 34 fatalities reported.”
The county’s contact tracers continue to find the virus being spread at large gatherings such as parties and group dinners, said Romona Brazile, who heads up the county’s prevention and wellness department.
“Unlike in the beginning of the response, when we called people, the person that was diagnosed was often the only one who was already sick in the household,” she said. “Now, we are unfortunately finding multiple sick people in the households.”