CLEVELAND — New COVID-19 Modeling from MetroHealth Systems is suggesting that Cuyahoga County coronavirus cases could be lower than once expected.
According to MetroHealth, the county “could see sustained impact driven by clusters of infection rather than a single large surge.”
“The leadership from Governor (Mike) DeWine, Dr. (Amy) Acton and others has saved lives and radically altered the spread of coronavirus. The public distancing response is historic and has changed the trajectory of the infection from being driven by widespread communal transmission to infection in clusters of people in close contact.” said MetroHealth CEO and President Dr. Akram Boutros.
MetroHealth officials state that the model shows new cases of COVID-19 increasing gradually until the end of the month and followed by “irregular outbreaks” of clusters throughout the rest of the year. A similar pattern is expected across Ohio, with “significantly lower number of daily new infections than previously expected and continuing at flat rate through the remainder of the year."
Preventing the spread of coronavirus in Ohio is still paramount; Metrohealth is urging all residents to continue to practice social distancing.
“The importance of social distancing cannot be overstated. These models do not mean people can or should go back to life as normal. In fact, they assume people will continue to stay home if they have symptoms, frequently wash or disinfect their hands, not touch their face, and stay at least six feet apart when in public,” Dr. Boutros said. “If we were to become lax or immediately go back to numerous unprotected close contacts, the bell-shaped surge would return.”
Health officials said they have already seen small clusters of COVID-19 cases involving people in close quarters such as those at funerals, in nursing homes, in the county jail and at religious events.
“The models have serious policy implications and raise important questions about how to best provide health care to our community,” Dr. Boutros said. “If this scenario continues to play out over several months, one question we as health leaders must address is, at what point do should we resume preventive screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies? We will need to provide health care treatment that is now being put on hold, while at the same time containing the spread of coronavirus.”
Overall, as mentioned by Dr. Acton during a daily news briefing on Tuesday with Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio is doing well in its fight with COVID-19 as residents have for the most part, adhered to the stay-at-home order and listened to healthcare officials.
Additionally, by halting elective surgeries the number of people who have come into the hospitals has been lowered, which in turn, preserves personal protection gear for healthcare workers treating patients who are critically ill.
“It is too early to declare victory, but this is a signal that here in Northeast Ohio we might be in a difficult, sustained campaign instead of a relatively short but intense war,” Dr. Boutros said. “We will continue to prioritize the health and wellness of our patients, our employees and our community. We will get through this by working together.”
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