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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 is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.
The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
MetroHealth 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 research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.
Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.
The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.