Communities in northern Summit County and West Akron currently have the highest concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases in the county.
A Summit County Public Health map at www.scph.org/covid-19 was updated this week to indicate a number range of cases for each ZIP code The map previously only listed ZIP codes with any confirmed cases, but did not indicate the number of cases.
The ZIP codes with between 21 and 30 cases include 44087 (Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and Reminderville), 44236 (Hudson and Boston Heights), 44313 (West Akron, Fairlawn and Cuyahoga Falls) and 44320 (West Akron and Norton).
When asked why West Akron and northern Summit communities have more cases than the rest of the county, the department’s epidemiologist, Joan Hall, said "part of this is the availability of testing."
More testing is available from the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals in Cleveland, which are closer for northern Summit County residents.
"Also, the northern part of the county may have gone to Cleveland for drive-up testing," which is available in Cuyahoga County, she said.
Additionally, a nursing home with numerous confirmed cases is in the 44313 ZIP code, Hall said. She was referring to Ohio Living Rockynol, which has reported seven deaths, five residents in the hospital and another 12 employees who have tested positive.
Five ZIP codes — including northwestern Summit County communities in 44286 and 44141, those in the 44264 ZIP code that includes the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the central Akron neighborhoods covered by 44304 an 44308 — have no confirmed coronavirus cases as of this week.
The latter two are for downtown Akron and much of the University of Akron area, which Hall said do not have too many residents or are areas with students who have moved home.
But Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda warned residents not to read too much into the ZIP code map.
"Even though the map will show more cases in a particular ZIP code, please remember the county still has inadequate testing ability and widespread community spread is in county," she said.
Skoda previously said her agency could not share cases by ZIP code when the number was too low and could compromise health privacy rules.
However, Skoda said this week that there are enough cases now to indicate the range of cases.
"In an effort to be transparent — and the cases are now about 300 — as promised, Summit County has posted a case map by ZIP code on our website," Skoda said Thursday during a public briefing. "The map will be updated on weekly basis as daily numbers are small and won’t likely change characteristics of map frequently."
Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.beaconjournal.com/topics/linfisher