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First COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Summit County, Public Health Emergencies Declared

a photo of briefing room at Summit co public health department
Summit County's Public Health Department modeled social distancing in the chair arrangement at a briefing Thursday about the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county.

Summit County has its first case of COVID-19. A woman in her 50s is currently hospitalized.

Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said this is the first case of community spread detected in Summit County. But she warns that people feeling symptomatic should consult their doctor first.

“I want to make it very clear: Summit County Public Health does not have the ability to test for COVID-19," Skoda said. "If you call our helpline we can help you find out where to go and give you a clear pathway to assess as to whether or not you need tested, but we do not test.”

The Cleveland Clinic main campus and University Hospitals (UH) are the only facilities in Northeast Ohio able to test for COVID-19, but officials at Akron General, Summa Health and Akron Children’s hospital say these facilities should have tests available by the end of the month. The Cleveland Clinic and UH announced Saturday that they will offer drive-through testing for people who have a doctor's order. The drive-through testing is available Saturday for Cleveland Clinic patients and will be available beginning Monday for UH patients. It is located in the garage of the jointly-owned W.O. Walker Building in University Circle, 10524 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. The site will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week. 

As schools across Ohio suspend classes, students who utilize their school’s free or reduced lunch program are left wondering what they’re going to eat.

Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said local officials are working to ensure those students don’t go hungry, and the federal government has helped.

United Way and the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank have stepped up to prepare meals for those in need.

“They have lifted some of the USDA restrictions on the food so they will be able to deliver some of those (sic) food to children while they’re off,” Skoda said.

Summit County will also add $200,000 to their contract with the Akron-Canton regional foodbank, which is already preparing food boxes for school children, the homeless and the elderly.

The city of Akron and Summit County have both declared a public health emergency. Akron will close all citycommunity centers beginning Monday, March 16. All programming has been canceled. Centers that serve as polling locations will still be open for the primary on Tuesday, March 17. The city plans to reopen the center Monday, April 6, unless otherwise advised by state and local public health officials.