First Year Cleveland

First Year Cleveland

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Biomedical Research Building
11000 Cedar Avenue - 4th Floor Cleveland, OH 44106

Phone 216-368-4837
Home Solutions COVID-19

COVID-19 Information and Resources

During these challenging times, we at First Year Cleveland want to be sure you are informed of resources and information available to you and your family.

Who can be vaccinated?

Cuyahoga County is currently vaccinating those in Phase 1A (learn more about this group) and 1B (learn more about this group). People in Phase 1C and 2 may be vaccinated beginning Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Learn more about Phase 1C and 2 here.)

These groups include: 

  • People age 60 and above
  • Those with medical conditions that may increase their risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19
  • Employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid learning
  • Pregnant women
  • Child care workers

Where to get vaccinated

Search by ZIP code

State of Ohio COVID-19 vaccine provider locations

You must directly contact the provider of your choice from this list to schedule a vaccine appointment.

If you have signed up at to be notified when spots are open at one of Ohio's COVID clinics, you will still be able to receive a vaccine from the county, but you may wait longer than if you choose a provider from this list.

Important update re face masks (Jan. 26, 2021)

  • Effective January 26, 2021, individuals are required to wear masks in indoor or outdoor public spaces in all counties throughout Ohio.

  • A statewide mask mandate is in effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties. All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

    • at an indoor location that is not a residence;
    • outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members;
    • waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

  • The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include: those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability; those who are actively exercising or playing sports, at religious services, involved in public safety, or actively eating or drinking. Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.

  • View these face covering Dos and Don'ts:

COVID-19 general info:

City of Cleveland COVID-19 Dashboard

The COVID Racial Data Tracker

Johns Hopkins COVID Dashboard

Cuyahoga County Board of Health - County Tracker

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): The Basics

Frequently-asked questions

Household checklist

Cleaning and disinfecting your home

The MetroHealth System has partnered with Cuyahoga County to create a multilingual website with pandemic resources

What you can do to stay well and help prevent the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Stay at home and limit close contact with others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hand washing facilities are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a mask or face covering and keep a safe distance (6 feet) when around others.
  • If you develop a fever and have a dry cough or are experiencing shortness of breath, please call your doctor immediately. If you feel you need to go to the Emergency Room, call first BEFORE you visit an emergency department or doctor’s office. Stay home if you feel sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Don't shake hands or hug when you greet someone.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve on the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, light switches, tables, countertops, chairs, phones, remotes, keyboards, and touchscreen electronic devices.

What are the symptoms? 

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness. However, CDC and partners are investigating cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

How Coronavirus spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Latest updates

The Ohio Department of Health maintains a comprehensive website with information and resources related to COVID-19, including vaccination information:

Health Policy Ohio provides regularly updated Ohio and federal resources that provide the latest reputable information on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak:

Get text messages about important Coronavirus updates

Every day, the team covering the coronavirus will send three to four updates about the progress of the virus – confirmed cases of the virus, major cancellations, the latest medical advice, relevant scientific information and more. Learn more and sign up

Cloth face masks when in public

As of July 8, 2020 at 6pm, face masks became mandatory in high-risk counties, including Cuyahoga County:

  • In any indoor location that is not a residence;
  • When outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; or
  • While waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.

Other restrictions apply. Please see information at top of page or visit

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that Americans wear face masks in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The recommendation is being made based on studies that show a significant proportion of people with COVID-19 lack symptoms and can transmit the virus to others in close proximity through speaking, coughing, sneezing or other means. COVID-19 checklist for cloth face coverings (masks)

Some stores in Ohio are REQUIRING customers to wear face masks. See the list here.

CDC guidance and instructions for cloth face masks

Includes recommendations, instructions and FAQs for cloth face coverings:

Quick masks you can assemble with little or no sewing required: 

No masks for babies!

Why shouldn’t my infant use a mask?

  • Babies’  airways are smaller, so breathing through a mask is even harder on them.
  • Using a mask on an infant may increase the risk of suffocation. Masks are harder to breathe through. A snug fit will give them less access to air, and a loose fit will not provide much protection.
  • If they are having are hard time breathing, infants are unable to take the mask off themselves and could suffocate.
  • Older infants or young toddlers are not likely to keep the mask on and will likely try to remove it, as well as touch their faces more.
  • There are no N95 masks approved for young children.

How can I protect my infant?

  • Limit exposure and avoid unnecessary public contact.
  • If going out is essential, cover the infant carrier (NOT THE INFANT) with a blanket, which helps protect the baby, but still gives them the ability to breathe comfortably. Do not leave the blanket on the carrier in the car or at any time when the baby and carrier are not in direct view.
  • Keep hands clean. Frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds is optimal, but hand sanitizer, with at least 60% alcohol is the next best substitute.
  • Clean frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, light switches and electronics often.
  • Teach older children to avoid touching their faces.
  • If a parent cannot leave the young infant at home and is pressed to go into the public, keep the outing short and always follow the 6 feet distancing rule.
  • Remember to always wash your hands (and any siblings' hands) as soon as you return home.

COVID-19 support lines

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, or suspect you may have COVID-19 symptoms, please call the following support lines:

  • Ohio Department of Health: 833-4-ASK-ODH (833-427-5634)
  • Care Alliance: 216-535-9100, press 6
  • Cleveland Clinic: 855-697-3750
  • MetroHealth: 440-59-COVID (440-592-6843)
  • Neighborhood Family Practice: 216-281-0872
  • Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services (NEON): 216-231-7700

Mental health services

If you are struggling with mental health concerns due to the ongoing stress of the pandemic, call the COVID CareLine for Ohioans at 1-800-720-9616. Trained staff will be available 24/7 to provide emotional assistance, and all calls are confidential. After 8:00 PM, the calls will be forwarded to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you are experiencing stress or anxiety: Call the Cuyahoga County's 24-hour Warmline at 440-886-5950 to talk through things with a peer. Here are some OhioMHAS tips for managing Coronavirus-related stress.

What to do if you are sick

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and begin to develop symptoms such as a fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Do not visit a doctor's office, emergency room or medical facility without calling first. Patients with a fever over 100.4 and/or a cough are asked to self-quarantine.

Procedures for Cleveland-area hospital systems: 

Cleveland Clinic:

University Hospitals:

The MetroHealth System: Over the last several months, MetroHealth has partnered with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and others to ensure under-resourced neighborhoods and individuals in our communities had access to safe and reliable COVID-19 testing – at no cost to patients. In order to receive the COVID-19 community testing service, you must register in advance at the links below or by calling 216-957-3939. Registration by phone is available 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday. More info here

What if I don't have a doctor or health insurance? 

If you don't have a primary care physician and you have serious symptoms of coronavirus, use the CDC’s Self-Checker to see if the website recommends seeking medical care. You can also call a hotline, such as the one at MetroHealth – 440-59-COVID – which is available to everyone, 24/7.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act made coronavirus testing free for everyone—provided states use their Medicaid programs to cover the uninsured. Restrictions apply. 

People under the age of 61 who have a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees are asked to self-isolate and contact their doctor.

Learn more about testing and treatment if you have no health insurance.

For a list of testing sites, visit

Continue to practice good hygiene and follow the guidance of public health officials:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean high-touch areas – counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, nightstands – every day using household cleaning spray or wipes according to label directions
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Practice social distancing, avoiding contact with others. When you’re with other people, try to keep a distance of six feet between you and others

Managing fear and anxiety

As we learn more about COVID-19 it’s normal to experience a number of emotions. There are ways to manage your anxiety and help you better cope with the feelings you may be experiencing. Some tips from the Cleveland Clinic: How to Protect Your Mental Health During COVID-19. Also see Mental Health Services above. 

For pregnant, new and breastfeeding moms

Pregnant and have questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

We are sharing this information from to help parents-to-be get answers to questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and their pregnancy, like "Is it still safe to deliver in a hospital?" "How might Coronavirus affect my pregnancy?" and more ... 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pregnancy FAQs: Medical experts answer your questions

How COVID-19 might affect you and your baby

Hospital rules for labor & delivery, CenteringPregnancy and more

Our friends at have compiled this list for pregnant moms-to-be, including visitor restrictions for each hospital and information on CenteringPregnancy and other prenatal programs.

Considering giving birth at home?

Having a baby at home seems to be an appealing option for pregnant women who don’t want to face the uncertainties that come along with having a baby during a pandemic. But home births aren’t just about birthing pools, candles and being surrounded by loved ones. There are some risks that come along with them as well. Full story

COVID-19 and new moms

Information on virus symptoms, postpartum recovery and wellness, dealing with emotions, tips for connecting with others while maintaining social distancing, staying safe at home, and more:

COVID-19 and breastfeeding

Interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control based on what is currently known about how COVID-19 is spread:  

Breastfeeding for a mother confirmed or under investigation for COVID-19

Breastfeeding and have concerns?

Breastfeeding and have concerns due to COVID-19? Please take a few moments to read this important information from 

  • There are only limited studies on women with COVID-19. To date, the virus has not been detected in breast milk though further study is needed.
  • Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and given what is known mothers with COVID-19 can breastfeed.
  • A mother with confirmed COVID-19, or who is asymptomatic with possible COVID-19, should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. 
  • Before breastfeeding:
    1. Wash your hands before touching the infant
    2. Wear a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.
  • Read more here

Breastfeeding support:

For daily breastfeeding support from other families, Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio offers a PREP+ Breastfeeding Support group that maintains an active online Facebook presence:  PREP+ Facebook page. Consider joining if you are not already a part of this group.
They will also offer live Zoom meetings during the regularly scheduled time for the in-person PREP+ group. If you want to sign up for the group, please email your request to and you will be sent you the Zoom meeting link. There is no charge for the support group.

Boosting your immune system:

Thanks to Birthing Beautiful Communities for these tips to help you fight infection:

  • Iron, iron, iron: Iron is a key mineral that helps keep your immune system strong during pregnancy.

  • Maximize your Vitamin D intake: Vitamin D supports the body’s immune system by helping to regulate cells focused on fighting infection.

  • Add probiotics to the mix: Add probiotics to your diet through supplementation and through natural food sources, including yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, tempeh, and kimchi. If you choose a probiotic supplement, ask your healthcare provider about which strains and amounts are right for you to support your immunity during pregnancy.

  • Get your rest: According to an online Mayo Clinic article, sleep can have a profound effect on your immune system. If you don’t get enough sleep, you “are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus."

Don’t feed homemade formula to babies; seek help instead

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is warning parents not to feed homemade formula to infants. Babies should be fed only breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula that has been prepared according to the directions on the package. Homemade formula can harm infants. Learn more

Families in need of baby formula during the COVID-19 pandemic may contact the faith-based Save Our Babies initiative for milk. Please contact Bregina Knuckles at 216-721-0234. 

Child care information

COVID-19 Child Care Information for Families

Who is eligible for pandemic child care? Who are the approved providers? Learn more here.

Food and meals

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Program

The food assistance program is for individuals, children and families with low income and no assets. Benefits are issued monthly through the Ohio Direction Card, or (Ohio EBT).

  • A felony conviction will not deny applicants from being eligible for food assistance.
  • Single men and women may apply for food assistance. It is not necessary to have children in the household.
  • As an example of potential eligibility; a single person with no children, under the age of 60, can make around $1,265 per month or $15,180 per year and still qualify. The income limit for those age 60 or older is slightly higher.
  • If you think you might be eligible, you should apply.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has received approval to extend the recertification eligibility period from March, April and May by another six months due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Learn more here

Apply for benefits here

Click and Connect grocery shopping for families using SNAP

Grocery stores and other retailers can offer online "click and collect" grocery shopping and curbside pickup for families in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more here 

NE Ohio Neighborhood Health Services Food Distribution

NEON Health will be distributing food through October, 2021 to families in need. A number of locations are available for food pick-up, and you must clear your vehicle's trunk prior to pick-up for the safety of their staff. First come, first served. If it's raining, distribution is cancelled. 

See distribution calendar here

The Greater Cleveland Foodbank 

The Greater Cleveland Foodbank is continuing their important work of providing meals to those in need throughout our community. If you are in need, call their Help Center to obtain updated information on where you can turn for food. The Help Center’s phone number is 216-738-2067.

In addition, they have recently released a listing of food resources near Zip Codes 44137 and 44112. Please click below for appropriate listing. 


If you or someone you know needs food, have them call 1-216-738-2067.

Calls to the Foodbank's help center have tripled in recent days. If you can help the Foodbank with a monetary donation, please visit

Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland

The Hunger Network has a comprehensive map of its Hunger Centers here

Map of free meals and food distribution sites

View a community-organized map of free meals and food distributions here. And a link to a map that shows shuttle locations can be found here.

Baby formula

Families in need of baby formula during the COVID-19 pandemic may contact the faith-based Save Our Babies initiative for milk. Please contact Bregina Knuckles at 216-721-0234. 

COVID-19 and health disparities

Here you will find stories from across the web related to the Coronavirus and the health disparities that are coming to light. Read the stories here

COVID-19 inequities: A crisis within a crisis

Because crises like COVID-19 create and deepen existing inequities in society, it’s more important than ever that we prioritize equity and make sure we reach the children and families who need us most. Read the letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics President, Sally Goza, MD, FAAP

Taking care of yourself and your children

During these challenging times, it's especially important to take steps to maintain your health and wellbeing – as well as that of your children, exercise, alleviate stress and anxiety, and simply take care of yourself. Many resources are available with a quick Google search, but we offer a few here to get you started: 

Develop a self-care plan

Managing stress and anxiety for adults and children

Supporting kids during the Coronavirus crisis

Free physical activity resources for adults and kids

Walk. Run. Dance. Play. What's your move? 

YMCA health and fitness videos

Thoughtful ways to help others

Guided meditation video (length 6:43)

Relax with these virtual museum tours

The best national parks to visit virtually

Helpful information including age-appropriate responses to common questions, a guide to self-care, and activities for young children experiencing social distancing:

Parenting support group

The Building Strong Families program at University Settlement in hosting an Online Parenting Support group series.  

Additional information here

How to be a good neighbor (even during a pandemic)

One thing that’s made it tougher to be a good neighbor recently is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While good neighbors watch each other’s kids and invite each other to parties and events, those are things no one should be doing right now — in fact, they could put your neighbors at risk, which is the opposite of being a good neighbor.

So, for as long as the pandemic continues (and as it finally comes to an end), consider these neighborly actions.

Tips on celebrating the holidays while social distancing

The holiday season may look different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate, including with your loved ones. This is the year for shopping online — which has already seen a huge increase  and continues to be the safest way to buy things for yourself and others. Though the U.S. in particular is experiencing a new COVID-19 surge this holiday season, there are ways to create new and safe holiday traditions.

Learn more by clicking here

Recently unemployed?

Unemployment insurance benefits

An executive order issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expands flexibility for Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits during Ohio’s emergency declaration period.

Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 9am to 1pm. 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has a page devoted to answering your questions and helping you obtain unemployment insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic: Coronavirus and unemployment insurance benefits

Expanded unemployment

Due to many businesses closing operations, Governor DeWine has signed an executive order to suspend the one-week waiting period so that employees can immediately begin receiving unemployment compensation. The order also allows employees to access unemployment compensation even if their employer does not offer paid leave, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional. These individuals will also be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work.

Learn more about expanded unemployment rules

Employment opportunities

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services currently has more than 50,000 jobs listed. Click here for job postings.

FAQs for homeowners

If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage due to unemployment related to COVID-19 please refer to this document prepared by the Ohio Department of Health

Money-savings tips for workers impacted by COVID-19

If you’re one of the millions who’ve been laid off due to the Coronavirus pandemic, use these resources and money-saving tips to help you through this time.

Internet access

If you need internet service for work or school but don’t have access at home or can’t afford to pay your bill, there are options available. In response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on society, multiple Internet Service Providers have made updates to their low-cost internet service programs to ensure individuals and families stay connected to the internet during this challenging time.

Below are links to resources that provide detailed information about local organizations that provide discounted distance learning devices, remote learning programs and free wireless internet access in Cleveland for low- and middle-income individuals and families

  • Other internet providers (not all) have announced free or very cheap plans for new users, often just for the next two months. An updated list of those plans from major providers can be found at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance website.

Keep Ohio Connected (internet service availability)

Learn what Internet Service providers are doing to keep Ohioans connected, including keeping service turned on during the pandemic and waiving late fees:

Public hotspot locations

map showing free Wi-Fi locations around the county is available on the Cuyahoga County website.

Filing your taxes

The deadline for filing federal taxes (both personal and business) is April 15, 2021. Learn more here

Driver's license renewals and vehicle registrations 

Although Ohio BMV locations are now open, citizens are urged to utilize the online renewal site to reduce crowding and wait times at BMV locations:

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio licenses (including driver licenses, CDLs, identification cards, temporary instruction permits, vehicle registrations, disability placards, and vehicle temporary tags) that expire between March 9, 2020 and April 1, 2021 are now valid until July 1, 2021.

A provision of House Bill 404 extends the expiration date of driver licenses, identification cards and vehicle registrations. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, documents that expire between March 9, 2020 and April 1, 2021 are now valid until July 1, 2021.

Additional info here

If you would like to help

Greater Cleveland Foodbank

No matter how long the COVID-19 crisis lasts, hungry neighbors will continue to need our support. Many hardworking families in Northeast Ohio can barely make ends meet – 1 in 6 people in our community struggle to put food on their table.

But you can change that: Every $1 donated to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank can help provide enough food for 4 nutritious meals.

Please give so families in need can have nutritious meals during this challenging time.

Community resources

United Way 2-1-1 –  Free and confidential 24-hour information and assistance
Red Cross - Steps to help you cope
Resource list with meal sites and more (thanks to Pre4CLE)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Support resources

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