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Posted on: May 20, 2020

Update from Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha R. Briley - May 20, 2020

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Yesterday, Governor DeWine announced the State of Ohio was moving away from “orders” to “strong recommendations” regarding the coronavirus. The last few weeks of announcements and openings have rightfully created some confusion for us all regarding the impact of COVID-19. On the one hand, the State appears to be relaxing restrictions and allowing reopening of businesses while cities, including the City of Cleveland Heights, are canceling activities and limiting access to public buildings. As if the pandemic itself wasn’t enough, we are now finding ourselves trying to navigate what feels like a myriad of conflict in what we should and should not do to protect ourselves and our families.

The City remains committed to this community’s health and safety. It is our paramount priority. As we endeavor to keep you safe, we remain focused on the guidance of public health experts, including the CDC, in our fight to contain COVID-19’s spread in our community.

Here are a few of the things that we know:

  • COVID-19 continues to spread in our community as shown by our increasing case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths.
  • Those who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic can spread the virus to others, possibly unknowingly.
  • Testing capacity is limited so only a small fraction of the community with the highest risk factors are being tested. Public health officials at every level have continued to warn us that our reported numbers do not reflect the full picture of those impacted by this dangerous virus.
  • Community transmission can be mitigated by limiting activity to only the most essential tasks, avoiding crowds of any size, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently and disinfecting common surfaces as often as possible.
  • Supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, and basic disinfecting products are experiencing a global shortage.
  • We will be living with the reality of COVID-19 in our daily lives until there is an effective vaccine.

Though it may seem like our responses are worlds apart, the Governor and Ohio’s Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have not wavered from these facts. In fact, the new set of State “recommendations” continue the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and advise that people stay at home except for engaging in essential activity. The City of Cleveland Heights has delivered and will continue to provide essential services to the community while keeping our staff and the public as safe as we can. 

This has meant making some very difficult decisions regarding summer activities and other cancellations that some may argue are indeed essential to health in other ways. Yes, protocols have been prescribed for reopening various sectors but guidelines, protocols, and recommendations only go so far as our willingness to adhere to them and our ability to implement them. The facts have not changed. And, while we all learn to live with this new reality, that doesn’t mean we should assume more risk than absolutely necessary especially when the downside of that risk includes serious health complications and death.

I want to caution us all to continue to be vigilant in protecting ourselves and loved ones and reevaluate the things that are most important to us. Fear is a reasonable reaction, but I am not asking you to live afraid. I am asking that together, we commit to doing the things we know will mitigate the risk to our own or someone else’s life. The Governor now calls those things “strong recommendations,” which means we have a choice in deciding to follow them or not. I hope we all choose well.

#ClevelandHeightsAllTogether

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