Two Summit County mayors are releasing data on the specific number of COVID-19 cases in their cities, even though county public health officials have yet to publicize certain figures for each ZIP code in the county.
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert on Wednesday said his city had 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and noted he expected that number to "double by this weekend."
Twinsburg Mayor Ted Yates on Thursday said the city had eight confirmed cases of COVID-19, while Twinsburg Township had five confirmed cases.
When he reported an earlier number last weekend, Shubert had said there was "possibly one death" in the city of Hudson connected to the disease. On Wednesday, Shubert said he is still awaiting an update on the autopsy in that case.
Shubert previously said he is using unidentified "multiple sources" who are providing him with "accurate" information.
Shubert explained that he released the information because he felt "residents have a need to know," and added he felt providing the specific data is helpful to citizens.
"It does heighten awareness and make people more cautious," said Shubert. "...I am making sure we are transparent."
Leaders in other communities, including Cuyahoga Falls, Silver Lake, Macedonia and Sagamore Hills, said they either did not have information or declined to offer figures.
There were 153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths associated with the disease in Summit County as of noon Thursday, according to Summit County Public Health officials.
The latest data was shared by Summit County Public Health officials during their Facebook Live session Thursday afternoon.
Of the 153 cases, 53 percent were female, 61 people were hospitalized at the time of their diagnosis and the age range on the cases is 21-95.
Summit County Public Health this past week released a color-coded zip code map showing which ZIP codes have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. The map does not list the specific number of cases for each zip code. The ZIP code map can be viewed at www.scph.org/covid-19.
Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said on Thursday that the zip code map is being updated each day, but they are not yet releasing the number of cases for each zip code in an effort to protect patients’ privacy.
Skoda has previously said counties are not allowed to provide information that could help the public identify a person who is under investigation for a communicable disease or an individual who tested positive or died from the disease.
"Right now, there is not any area [in the county] that has an exceedingly [high] number of cases," said Skoda on Thursday. "…as the numbers are lower, we are not going to identify those."
Another county public health official noted Cuyahoga County released specific number of cases for ZIP codes once its overall number of confirmed cases hit 300.
Skoda has said it is feasible that as the number of deaths in the county rises, and it is no longer as easy for people to identify the person by an obituary or other methods, the health department will be able to provide more information, including gender and whether there were underlying health conditions.
For more information, call the COVID-19 Call Line at 330-926-5795.
Summit County is registering potential medical volunteers for the COVID-19 response. If you are interested, register for the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC): https://www.ohioresponds.odh.ohio.gov. Questions may be sent to email@example.com.
Editor’s note: Akron Beacon Journal Consumer Columnist and Medical Reporter Betty Lin-Fisher contributed to this story.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.