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MetroHealth Modeling Projects Increase in COVID-19 Cases
CLEVELAND – Updated modeling by The MetroHealth System projects an increase in COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County and across the state later this month and into June as Ohio gradually reopens businesses, with a decrease in cases in late June.
“With more people going back to work, dining out and interacting with others, of course we expect an increase in cases,” said MetroHealth CEO and President Akram Boutros, MD. “Economic activity has to return, but we remind people to take necessary precautions.”
Last month, MetroHealth was the first health care system in the state to release a model predicting the number of cases in Ohio and Cuyahoga County would be significantly lower than originally projected.
MetroHealth’s projections have proven to be largely accurate. They are marked by clusters of infection representing jagged increases and decreases on a graph, as opposed to a larger bell curve demonstrating widespread community infection.
The models were developed to help MetroHealth prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MetroHealth’s original modeling captured the extent to which Ohioans were engaged in social distancing. If we were to become lax or immediately go back to numerous unprotected close contacts, the bell-shaped surge would return, Dr. Boutros said.
“One of our concerns has been the increased rates of illness and mortality as people put off necessary medical care and procedures,” Dr. Boutros said. “There’s likely to be a significant increase in impairment and number of deaths if people continue to defer crucial health care services. ”
MetroHealth physicians and public health officials have observed clusters of infection involving people who have attended funerals, after religious celebrations, in nursing homes, the Cuyahoga County Jail, and confined workspaces.
With the gradual reopening of bars, restaurants and other businesses in process, the revised modeling predicts an increase in clusters of infection throughout May. Infections are likely to ebb and flow, but gradually decrease throughout June, according to the modeling.
“We know this will be a sustained issue that our hospitals and community will work together to address for many months to come,” Dr. Boutros said.
The MetroHealth System, Cuyahoga County’s public health system, is honoring its commitment to create a healthier community by building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland. The building and the 25 acres of green space around it are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth’s West Side neighborhood.
MetroHealth broke ground on its new hospital in 2019. The project is being financed with nearly $1 billion the system borrowed on its own credit after dramatically improving its finances. In the past five years, MetroHealth’s operating revenue has increased by 40% and its number of employees by 21%. Today, its staff of 8,000 provides care at MetroHealth’s four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75% of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
The health system is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.
As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.