Glimmers of hope in fight against COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County

Health officials believe surge may be manageable
Cuyahoga County
Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 20:34:48-04

PARMA, OH — Even as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Cuyahoga County, health officials said Monday they're cautiously optimistic a surge in cases here may be manageable.

Already, the health department said they're seeing data showing people are heeding warnings to stay home to limit the spread of the virus. The county's medical director said preliminary data shows fewer cars on the road and that more people appear to working from home.

"Those things about people heeding the warning and actually doing what each of us is empowered to do here is very encouraging to me," said Dr. Heidi Gullett.

She said the county has also worked hard to identify people who may have come in contact with others infected with coronavirus and urged them to isolate to limit potential spread and avoid a flood of patients entering hospitals.

"We're really trying to do everything we can to manage people in place when it's safe to do so," said Gullett, "so that our hospitals aren't overwhelmed with people who don't need to be there, but they're able to care for the sickest folks."

The latest numbers from the Cuyahoga Board of Health show the county's hospitals still have the capacity to care for patients. As of late last week, the county said 31% of intensive care beds, and 69% of pediatric hospital beds were available. The health department's data showed 45% of ventilators were also available.

But, Gullett pointed out that doesn't necessarily mean Cuyahoga County is out of the woods yet. She said because Cleveland is a regional healthcare hub, it's possible local hospitals could see an influx of patients from surrounding counties as the number of COVID-19 cases grows.

"As we get more sicker people in other parts of Northeast Ohio, they will be coming here for care," said Gullett. "We know that the cases are growing in Ohio, and so the coming weeks are going to be challenging for all of us in that regard."