CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County is bordered by two counties at the highest level of COVID-19 exposure. Both Lake and Lorain counties went from red to purple on the state's risk map earlier this week. Now, at the start of the holiday season, leadership in both counties are regrouping.
"We know that you're experiencing fatigue with the message. We understand that you love your loved ones and you want to be with them." said Mile Lundy, a Lorain County Commissioner. "But we should be looking at what do we want next Thanksgiving to look like our next Christmas to look like."
But leaders like Lundy and Jerry Cirrino in Lake County can't look that far ahead right now.
"Well, of course, it's not the news we are hoping for, but we've been headed in that direction. So it's not a terrible surprise to us," Cirrino said about the county's progression through the incidence rates.
Lake County turned purple after there were more than 2,500 cases reported in the county. Cirrino said it's time "to take this very seriously and to do our best to to follow the guidelines that have been directed to us."
To the west, in Lorain County, the numbers are high too.
More than 2,200 cases were reported in the last two weeks.
Lundy said, despite the spike in cases, it's time for county residents to stay the course.
"So don't give up now, don't give up now, stick to it. Hang in there," Lundy said. "If you've been covered for you this long, why do you want to come up short now?"
As Lundy and other county leaders work to keep people focused on the end goal, the county is about to launch a public health campaign.
"To try to caution people that they're this close to the to the finish line," he said about the goal of the campaign. "Let's finish strong. And that means staying safe and not taking risk."
But, Lundy said something like this should have come earlier to be effective at slowing the rate of infection in the county.
"You know, obviously, it's it's too late for that campaign to necessarily help us at this point. But but hopefully at least nothing else. It will at least maybe help to the bend this curve a little bit."
Lake and Lorain counties aren't the only counties in the state at the highest incidence level.
Franklin and Montgomery counties are also purple.