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CCBH medical director contrasts surge with model showing clusters of COVID-19 cases over time

647 confirmed cases in Cuyahoga Co., 20 deaths
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 10:36:18-04

PARMA, Ohio — There are now 647 cases and 20 deaths in Cuyahoga County, according to Dr. Heidi Gullett, medical director for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. In the county's daily briefing, Gullett spoke about a new model showing possible clusters of cases spread over time, as opposed to other models showing a surge of cases.

The age of patients with coronavirus ranges from 1 week old to 101 years old. The onset of illness was from Feb. 29 to April 4.

There are now 20 deaths reported between March 20 to April 7 in Cuyahoga County, with those who have died ranging in age from 55 to 93.

Different models presented on a state and local level continue to help health officials predict when a surge in cases will happen.

"When we present this data to you, that's all epidemiology data that has been collected in the past. So what we try to do with that data is to really understand what is happening in real time," said Gullett. "We try to analyze the data as quickly as we can so we can understand what more we have to do. Is our public health invention working? Where is our hospital surge capacity? All those things are things we are doing in the moment."

Gullett said they are seeing a lot of models presented either at the state level and now at the local level as well as nationally and even internationally. She said every future prediction is made with some assumptions.

"All of these models have limitations, but we are trying to understand them as to give you the best information we can on how long this is going to be," she said.

Gullett said based on recent modeling, she believes life may not return to "normal" as quickly as we would like or think it would.

"It's important for people to not look at these models and think this will all be over in a week or two months or whatever model you are looking at," said Gullett while stressing the importance of keeping up with social distancing and wearing a mask.

The board of health also talked about the recent model made by MetroHealth Medical Center, which shows not one big surge, but rather a cluster of cases over a long period of time, a model Gullett said is helpful as they have been identifying clusters at the onset of the pandemic.

"For us I don't think this will be a big surge and be over. I think for our community, again this is just based on modeling I'm seeing, there is probably something in between both models that apply to our community," Gullett said. "And it is possible there will be multiple surges at some point over time, particularly if people don't adhere to the stay at home order."

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