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Cuyahoga County health officials say re-opening will be slow process dependent on social distancing

Posted at 3:47 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 18:57:07-04

PARMA, Ohio — While we wait to see how the reopening of Ohio unfolds, officials continue to warn us that it will be a slow process. Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan says now is the time to be proactive, not complacent.

Some local business owners are already onboard, and they’re hoping others will join in.

Jo-Joe’s Automotive in Parma is taking social distancing orders seriously, which Allan says is the best path to getting us all back to some sense of "normal life."

After closing for two-and-a-half weeks back in March, Jo-Joe’s is back in business with some slight adjustments, such as moving cabinets forward to maintain distance between staff, mechanics and customers, said co-owner Laura Hannak.

Hannak is a cancer survivor, which makes her high-risk if she contracts the virus. In addition to those measures, she and her staff also decided to limit their office space to two people at a time and closed off the waiting room entirely.

They’re also sanitizing anything they touch, like car keys.

“I just have to explain, it's for your safety, from me. It's your safety from our employees, and it's my safety from you,” Hannak said.

Those added precautions fall in line with the social distancing and health safety measures Allan says are needed as the state moves towards re-opening.

“We have to remember that our case counts and fatality numbers are still increasing,” Allan said.

Allan says limited testing continues to be a challenge. Because of that, tests are being prioritized for communities that are most vulnerable to the virus, like people in nursing homes, health care workers and first responders.

Despite the increase in cases and deaths, there is a glimmer of hope. The board of health said Tuesday marked the first time since the start of the pandemic that it recorded more recoveries than confirmed cases.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.