No Plans For New COVID-19 Orders In Cuyahoga County After State Orders End

Gov. Mike DeWine's decision to end all state COVID-19 health orders, including the mask mandate, is being met with mixed reactions. Cuyahoga County health officials say they are supportive due to case counts dropping. [The Ohio Channel]
Gov. Mike DeWine's decision to end all state COVID-19 health orders, including the mask mandate, is being met with mixed reactions. Cuyahoga County health officials say they are supportive due to case counts dropping. [The Ohio Channel]
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In Cuyahoga County, COVID-19 case counts are dropping each week, although the county remains in the “red” level of the state’s public health advisory system, indicating high exposure and spread.

Still, some local health officials are supportive of ending all the state health orders, including Health Commissioner Terry Allan.

“I just think we’re in a period of very difficult decisions here, where there’s not absolute clarity on which way to go,” Allan said. “All along the way we’ve had to make decisions with incomplete information. What we do know is we are on a trajectory where our numbers continue to drop across the state.”

Allan pointed to the county’s vaccination rate as one reason he supports ending the orders. Currently, nearly 50 percent of county residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, which is higher than the statewide average of 42 percent.

Local health officials could still impose new restrictions after the end of the statewide order June 2, or if cases spike again in the fall, he said.

“(What) we’re going to be doing is watching those numbers. We’re going to then be thinking about, from a public health standpoint, what sort of recommendations might be relevant to consider as we go forward,” Allan said.

The new restrictions, though, would be harder to enforce if state orders are not in place, he said.

Not everyone, however, is as optimistic about Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s plans to end all COVID-19 health orders in June.

Vermilion resident Rev. Sarah Taylor does not think case numbers and vaccination rates are where they should be in her area for the orders to end.

“We’re in conditions right now that a year ago would have driven us to tighten restrictions. It’s hard to understand why are all of the restrictions are being dropped at this particular time when so many people aren’t vaccinated. So many people are at risk,” Taylor said.

Taylor resides in Erie County and leads a church in Lorain County – both of which are still in the red category of the state’s public health advisory system.

 It is not fair to lift the orders when children under the age of 12 are still not yet eligible to be vaccinated, she said.

“Where can 11-year-olds sign up for a vaccine? Show me where that is, and then I think we can make an argument on the basis of anyone has a choice to get the vaccine, but right now, that’s just not true,” she said.

It is understandable that parents whose young children are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination are concerned, said Commissioner Allan. He recommends getting together with vaccinated friends and family outside to be safe. 

“We know that if you are … whether a child or someone else, around a lot of vaccinated people, then the risk of transmission is low. The virus can’t get a foothold with other people that have not been exposed or vaccinated. And if you’re outside, that risk drops substantially,” Allan said.

Gov. DeWine announced in a May 12 address that he will lift all remaining COVID-19 health orders, except in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, June 2.

A law permitting state legislators to rescind the health orders, without the governor's consent, was set to take effect later in June.

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