CLEVELAND — The Ohio Department of Health reported 8,092 new positive COVID-19 cases Monday, which continues the trend of a record-high number of new cases throughout the month of December.
Additionally, 211 new hospitalizations were reported.
After days of uncertainty when it comes to locating COVID-19 at-home test kits, some health officials are stocking up, while others continue to wait for their next shipment.
For Lorain County health commissioner Mark Adams, his team prepared for what the holidays could look like, even without the omicron variant.
His health department received 600 at-home COVID-19 tests on Monday, which were distributed to Lorain County Urban League and El Centro. A spokesperson said test kits are limited to four per household and want to remind everyone that Lorain County Public Health does not distribute at-home COVID-19 test kits to individuals.
“Our phone calls skyrocketed from Monday through the last couple of days,” he said on Sunday. “The libraries have gotten rid of nearly 20,000 in a month. They’re just flying off the shelves through the libraries.”
Adams told News 5 he continues to encourage individuals to get vaccinated, whether for the first time or for a booster dose.
It comes as the county reported cases this past Wednesday and Thursday that more than doubled the daily number of new cases compared to any other point during the pandemic.
“Part of it is more testing, and part of it is faster-spreading omicron,” Adams said. “Hopefully, we don't see the hospitalizations out of that. Hopefully, the data that suggests that omicron doesn't pack as potent as a punch. There are some papers out there ready for peer review, so I'm very optimistic with it, especially because I see what's going on in the community.”
Commissioner Adams told News 5 that depending on COVID-19 testing supply and the timeliness of upcoming shipments could enable the health department and its area partners to offer a drive-through testing site in the county soon.
“There will be an ending to this and just continue keeping on and protecting each other,” he said.
After a week of overwhelming turnouts, the W.O Walker Cleveland Community Center reopened Monday as a COVID-19 testing site seven days a week from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The site will be closed on January 1.
Individuals can schedule an appointment time by clicking here.
Once an appointment time is confirmed, you will be prompted to register with Mako labs. Everyone must have a confirmed appointment time and a QR code from MAKO to be tested, even if you have previously registered, say officials.
If you don't schedule an appointment, you will not be able to get tested, says the ODH.
The drive-thru testing is located in the garage of the W. O. Walker Building in University Circle at 10524 Euclid Avenue.
Anyone older than two will be able to register for a test.
The site offers free PCR testing, and results will be available within two to three days.
The Cleveland Public Library announced Monday afternoon that it had received a shipment of several thousand test kits, which it will continue to distribute through its drive-through window. Just hours later, the library announced it had sold out.
We are currently out of COVID-19 Rapid Tests. We will update https://t.co/Hs5ZhUoCOz and our social channels when more are delivered. Thank you.— Cleveland Public Library (@Cleveland_PL) December 27, 2021
As of Monday, the library will remain open only through its walk-up and drive-up service.
"You can still get books, you can still print items; there’s a ton of things you can still do even though you can’t come into the building, Robin Wood, senior director of public service said.
In Summit County, the Ohio National Guard, along with area hospitals and the health department will offer drive-thru PCR COVID-19 testing beginning December 28, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Summa Health’s offices at 1077 Gorge Blvd in Akron.
That clinic will run from December 28 through December 30 then continue from January onward, with the capability to test up to 300 people per day.
"We're hopeful that some of our other rapid home tests will come in and we'll be able to supplement with that for some folks," Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said. "So there should be a great increase in the availability of testing for Summit County."
Testing will be free and open to anyone aged 2 years old and older, however, registration is required and can be done by clicking here.
On Monday, the health department announced it had received a new shipment of COVID-19 test kits which were distributed two total tests per person on a first-come, first-served basis. By the afternoon, the department announced it had cut off its line with more than 7,000 distributed already.
After accepting requests for tests kits over the past several days, county health leaders announced Monday they received a significantly smaller shipment of tests.
Plans are still in place for walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for booster shots or first or second shots at their office, located at 470 Center Street, Bldg. 8 in Chardon.
On Monday morning, health leaders said they distributed 1,000 kits in record time, however other kits could possibly still be found throughout the community at different locations including the New Philadelphia City Health Department, Mineral City Nicole Donant Library, Newcomerstown Mayor's Office, Tuscarawas Village Office, or the Uhrichsville City Building.
At the Canton City Public Health, commissioner Jim Adams told News 5 his team continues to work with the Stark County Library system when it comes to distributing COVID-19 test kits. However, his wait continues when it comes to a new shipment from the federal government.
"We also have some kits available to us from the Ohio Department of Health that we use for outbreak investigation and situations like that," Adam said. "Unfortunately, we don't have enough kits that are available for the general public."
Adams told News 5 this stretch of new positive cases statewide continues to put a strain on his staff, whether it's positive cases for themselves or close contacts causing quarantining.
It's an issue he says will continue to impact health care workers as long as cases continue to climb.
"This last surge is just about enough to push [health care workers] over the edge," he said. "And it's really hard, really hard on our hospitals and folks who are providing that level of care."
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