Why Cuyahoga County has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other county in Ohio

Posted at 12:49 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 18:36:53-04

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — Since counties across the state began testing for coronavirus at the onset of the pandemic, Cuyahoga County remains the county with the highest number of cases in Ohio with 53.

But why does the number continue to grow for Cuyahoga County?

Dr. Heidi Gullett, medical director for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, said that continual increase in documented cases can be attributed to the prevalence of testing sites throughout the county.

The hospital system in the area worked quickly with a private business that works with the Center for Disease Control to get testing here, Gullett said.

“We have had the most testing capacity out of all the other counties in the state,” she said during a briefing on COVID-19 Friday morning.

She said area hospitals including University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic have all stepped up and came on board with testing sites.

“When you have an increase in testing, you will likely have more confirmed cases,” Gullett said.

But she notes that just because Cuyahoga County has the most confirmed cases, it doesn’t mean cases in similar prevalence are not in other parts of the state; they just don’t have the testing capacity Cuyahoga County has.

When asked what the estimated number of likely cases in Cuyahoga County are, Gullet was hesitant to give any number as it’s difficult to forecast between the number of those who are getting tested with those following isolation recommendations because they have mild symptoms and may not want to inundate the hospital system and take up testing supplies.

“We are being very conservative on how we identify cases. Our team is working closely with those individuals confirmed with the virus to see who they could have exposed and then give them isolation instructions even if they don’t have a result from a lab test to confirm," she said.

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“When you have an increase in testing, you will likely have more confirmed cases,” Gullet said.

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