Monday, 15 April 2019 12:00

City Announces Youth Violence Initiative

CITY OF AKRON: Today (Monday), Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Health Commissioner Donna Skoda joined together with community partners to mark the public release of Akron’s Youth Violence Prevention Strategic Plan.  The plan—which was developed after more than two years of research, data collection and community conversations with neighborhood stakeholders—calls for a 20%+ reduction in youth violent crime in Akron by 2023. The Youth Violence Prevention Steering Committee is comprised of leaders from government, public health, recreation, education, law enforcement, corrections, and non-profit community organizations.                           

“We cannot allow violent crime among our youth to continue to devastate lives, families and neighborhoods,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Our young people are in crisis.  While we have dedicated non-profits, advocates, and law enforcement agencies in our community, we must do more to coordinate all our efforts around specific, shared goals and action steps if we are going to make real progress.” 

The Youth Violence Prevention Strategic Plan targets older youth, ages 15 to 24. The plan is intended to remedy the weaknesses in Akron’s continuum of comprehensive services for all at-risk youth by plugging the service gaps for youth in the targeted age range.

The Plan identifies key risk factors that lead youth to commit acts of violence, along with important protective factors that can diminish the likelihood of violent activity.  These findings were used, along with crime statistics and mapping, to develop specific action steps related to the following eight Recommended Approaches:

  • Mentoring
  • Recreation and Discretionary Time
  • Re-entry Support
  • Police-Youth Relations
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Supports and Treatment
  • Gun Access Reduction
  • Community Awareness and Involvement
  • Capacity and Infrastructure Development

Each approach will require the commitment of various community partners. Summit County Public Health will be the lead agency on coordinating implementation of the plan among all the partners.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says, “Youth violence is a public health issue. It comes in all forms, from bullying, to assault, to gun violence. It deeply affects the mental, emotional and physical health of our youth, causing a wide variety of issues that Summit County Public Health works to combat every day. Many organizations and community groups have a hand in reducing youth violence, and this strategic plan offers us a chance for true and meaningful coordination. This will be a living document, one that can be updated and adjusted to best fit the needs of the community, as our work progresses.”

The City of Akron will be leading the charge on several approaches, including reducing access to guns, increasing positive recreational opportunities, and enhancing police youth relations and community awareness

“It is essential that we continue to get guns off our streets, provide neighborhood services like Midnight Basketball, and build trust between our youth and law enforcement by creating opportunities for positive interaction and open dialogue,” Mayor Horrigan continued. “As the African proverb states, ‘it takes a village to save a child.’ Likewise, it will take our entire community to save our children from heading down a path of violence. Through true coordination and real action, I believe we can accomplish a meaningful reduction in violent crime and provide Akron’s next generation with the tools and opportunities to thrive.”

A full copy of the Youth Violence Prevention Strategic Plan—including Steering Committee and Workgroup members, data graphs and maps, and a list of resources currently serving local youth—can be found at


Published in Local
Friday, 26 January 2018 10:39

SCPH Rolls Out Influenza Dashboard

In the wake of what has been a hyperactive flu season, Summit County Public Health has rolled out the new Influenza Data Dashboard, to give the public access to the most up-to-date numbers in relation to the flu. 

According to the press relese from SCPH, the dashboard includes information on flu-related emergency room visits, positive influenza tests, hospitalizations and deaths. Wiith all of the reports in the news media about the severity of this flu season, SCPH Clinical Health Director Leanne Beavers says it's important to look at historical data when discussing and comparing the most current flu season. The flu dashboard from Summit County Public Health allows you to do that, with data as far back as the 2013-14 flu season. 

As for the current flu season, Beavers says that within the past two weeks, Summit County has seen a plateau followed by a decrease in the number of flu admissions at local hospitals, but warns that in all likelihood, and historically speaking, we'll see an influx of Influenza B cases toward the end of January and into February. She adds that the Ohio Department of Health is already reported cases, though very few, of Influenza B. 

Check all of the latest numbers from Summit County Public Health through the new Influenza Data Dashboard

In addition to the flu data, SCPH has the most recent mortality rates in the county and state, the up-to-date birth numbers, and also overdose numbers for the county. Click here for more.  


Published in Local
Friday, 12 January 2018 10:49

SCPH Releases Updated Flu Numbers

Summit County Public Health has released an update on the Flu Status in our area, warning residents the bug has gone widespread.

The Department is reporting 5 deaths in our area; 4 adults, and 1 child.

They're urging everyone to get their flu shot, that there is still time.

Below is the full press release from SCPH: 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Flu Status In Summit County Akron, Ohio – Summit County Public Health (SCPH) warns Summit County residents that the flu is widespread across Ohio as well as 46 other States. The typical flu season lasts from October through May. Summit County has had 5 deaths (4 adults and 1 pediatric) from the flu so far this season; compared to ten adult deaths during the entire flu season last year. The CDC estimates that each year around 36,000 people die from flu.

Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses so it is important to know the difference. If you or a family member has a respiratory illness contact your medical provider for evaluation.

It is still not too late to get your flu vaccination. Flu vaccinations are still available at most healthcare providers’ offices and retail pharmacies. There are currently no vaccine shortages in Ohio.

Other ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include washing hands frequently; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues; coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick and until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. Persons with flu like symptoms should not visit patients in hospitals or nursing homes. For more information on flu please visit or 

Published in Local
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 11:50

Record Increase In Summit Co. OD Deaths

Summit County officials estimate that 2016 was a record-setting year for the number of drug overdose deaths in the county. 

Tests are still being conducted, and won't be completed until Spring, 2017, but officials estimate the total number of overdose deaths is somewhere between 225 and 250 for 2016. That would be an 11.3% increase over 2015, according to officials. 

Dr. Margo Erme with Summit County Public Health says, while the numbers are not surprising, there needs to be concentrated effort from health officials, law enforcement, and the public. "There is no one solution," Erme says. "We did not get to the situation overnight and it's multifactorial as to how we got here, so there is not going to be a single fix. 

Dr. Erme notes the number of visits to Summit County emergency departments that were attributed to drug overdoses was about 2,423. She says that has a lot to do with the prevalence of more deadly drugs, including fentanyl and carfental. 

Published in Local
Thursday, 14 April 2016 14:40

Zika Virus Positive In Summit County

Summit County health officials say a local resident came back to Summit County with the Zika virus, after having traveled to a country where the Zika virus is present.

But medical director Dr. Margo Erme says there's no health risk from the case in Summit County.

"The person is not infectious to anyone in Summit County," Dr. Erme tells, "and the primary transmission is mosquito borne...and at the time the person was ill, there were no mosquitos."

Summit County Public Health is not releasing the victim's name, gender or travel location, citing privacy concerns.

But Dr. Erme does say pregnancy wasn't a factor in this case.

She also says there's been no known local sighting of the mosquito that primarily carries the Zika virus.

Dr. Erme says those who have to travel to areas linked to the Zika virus need to take precautions, and even locally, steps should be taken to protect against all mosquito borne illnesses, such as West Nile Virus.

(Summit County Public Health Department, news release) Summit County Public Health (SCPH) was notified by the Ohio Department of Health that a Summit County resident that traveled to a Zika Virus Disease infected country in late February has tested positive for Zika Virus Disease. Pregnancy is not an issue with the infected individual and since Zika Virus Disease is spread primarily by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the individual is not infectious. "This local case is not a threat to the public health of Summit County residents," stated Dr. Marguerite Erme, Medical Director, SCPH. The illness was mild, hospitalization was not required, and the individual is currently symptom free. To protect privacy, SCPH will not be releasing any additional details regarding the infected individual.

The most commonly seen symptoms of the Zika Virus Disease include fever, joint pain, rash or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. About 80% of infected individuals have no Zika Virus Disease symptoms at all and hospitalizations and deaths are very rare. Symptoms are usually mild and appear two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. "The primary mosquito that carries the Zika Virus Disease, the Aedes aegypti, has not been seen in Summit County based on mosquito surveillance conducted by SCPH," according to SCPH Environmental Health Director, Bob Hasenyager.

Zika Virus Disease can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her child during pregnancy or at time of birth. The most serious complications linked to Zika Virus Disease are Microcephaly and other types of birth defects and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition that attacks the immune system and can cause paralysis. Zika Virus Disease in rare cases has also been transmitted sexually from male to female. Since there is neither a vaccine nor medications available to prevent Zika Virus Disease infection, pregnant women and women who may become pregnant should take recommended precautions:

If you are pregnant, postpone travel to the countries where Zika Virus Disease transmission is ongoing.

If your male sexual partner has traveled to, or lives in an area with, active Zika Virus Disease transmission, condoms should be used for the duration of the pregnancy. Discuss your male partner's potential exposures and history of Zika-like illness with your doctor.

If you are trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before you travel about your plans to become pregnant and the risk associated with Zika Virus Disease.

If you are pregnant or may become pregnant and must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

If you are not pregnant, but your male partner lives in or has traveled to a country with Zika Virus Disease, consider using condoms.

Individuals who have traveled, or plan to travel, to areas where Zika Virus Disease transmission is ongoing could be at risk for exposure. For the most up to date list of Zika Virus Disease infected countries please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at: The positive case in Summit County is one of nine positive cases in Ohio and one of 346 positive cases nationally; all cases of Zika Virus Disease reported in the United States have been travel related.

Summit County residents should take precautions to protect against all mosquito borne illnesses as the weather gets warmer and people are spending more time outside during peak mosquito hours.

Wear long sleeves and long pants when mosquitoes are most active.

Use an EPA-approved repellent on skin and clothes.

Stay in places with air conditioning or use screens on the windows or doors to keep mosquitoes out.

Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

For more information on Zika Virus Disease please visit

Published in Local