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Medical Examiner Issues Public Health Winter Warning

2/17/2021


Media Contact: Christopher Harris, (216) 443-7157; cbharris@cuyahogacounty.us


At Least 5 Possible Winter-Related Deaths in 5 Days; 7 since February 1st

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH
- Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson, today issued a public health warning, stating Cuyahoga County has suffered at least 5 deaths that appear to be winter-related in 5 days. In total, the office has seen at least 7 possible winter-related deaths since February 1st. This has been the most fatal (winter-related deaths) two-week period since 2009. Cuyahoga County suffered one fatality during the same period in 2020. Additionally, most of these cases involved environments where there was no working heat.

“There has been a spike in cold-related deaths, particularly in the last week. Most of these individuals lacked working heat in their residence,” said Dr. Gilson. “The county can assist with this issue and other programs related to the cold. Please check on older neighbors, especially those who may be more isolated due to the pandemic.”

chart of winter wither deaths

As temperatures continue to get colder, Cuyahoga County would like to remind residents of some resources that are available:

2-1-1:
Community referral line to get information about social, health, housing resources

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP):
https://hhs.cuyahogacounty.us/programs/detail/dsas-home-energy-assistance-program

Residents may call the Division of Senior and Adult Services for assistance to complete the HEAP application, 216-420-6700

Office of Homeless Services:
https://hhs.cuyahogacounty.us/programs/detail/if-you-need-shelter

HEAP Winter Crisis Program:
https://development.ohio.gov/is/is_heapwinter.htm

Winter Reconnect Order:
https://puco.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/puco/utilities/gas/resources/winter-reconnect-order-maintain-electric-and-natural-gas-service

If you are a senior or know an older adult who needs help with heat, food, etc., contact the Division of Senior and Adult Services at 216-420-6700.