PARMA, OH — Cuyahoga County officials are warning that this Memorial Day weekend is no time for people to take a break in the fight against coronavirus.
"If we don't follow these practices, I'm pretty sure we'll be standing here in a couple weeks and there will be a spike," said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. "It's happened in other places. Why would Cuyahoga County be any different?"
With warm weather on its way and people eager to get out of the house during the holiday weekend, health officials said Friday it's still important people to remember to avoid gathering in large groups, practice social distancing and wear masks when in public.
"We want people to stay socially connected, but that six foot distance as a guide is still in place," said Health Commissioner Terry Allan.
State health figures show the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases has risen each of the last three weeks in Cuyahoga County. Health officials believe the rising numbers reflect more testing for the virus, and more people interacting as the state eases restrictions put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus.
"I would be remiss if I didn't say my heart was a bit heavy when I saw pictures on social media of people who were gathering and weren't social distancing," said Cuyahoga County's Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett.
In the last week, the health department received 28 complaints of people not following social distancing rules or gathering in large groups. County records showed 14 of those complaints came Thursday.
"These safety protocols were put in place for a reason," said Allan, "and that reason hasn’t changed."
Health officials hope if people do leave home to celebrate the traditional start of summer in Northeast Ohio, they do it responsibly and don't undo what month of restrictions have accomplished.
"Our numbers haven't blown up the way they may have been predicted to early because people followed recommendations," said Gullett, "and we need them to continue to do that."