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Data suggests Independence Day celebrations are to blame for increase in COVID-19 cases in St. Joseph County

NOW: Data suggests Independence Day celebrations are to blame for increase in COVID-19 cases in St. Joseph County

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Independence Day celebrations may have directly affected an upward trend in coronavirus cases in St. Joseph County, health officials say.

New data shows the number of new cases tripling since the holiday weekend.  St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says cases in St. Joseph County is worse than they’ve ever seen over the course of the pandemic.

“On July 2nd our 7-day rolling average of cases was 15.6 and yesterday I think it was 45.6," Fox said. "Nobody wants to go into lockdown again right that’s not fun for anyone and yet our numbers are the worst that we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic worse than they were even at their peak in April."

Fox says it’s no coincidence these numbers are trending upward after the holiday weekend. Contact tracing has pointed to large family and social gatherings as well as graduation and birthday celebrations.

The number of new cases is greater than the amount of increased testing. Meaning the upward trend is not just a result of more coronavirus testing.

 “These are real infections in the community and not just an artifact of increased testing,” Fox said.

Indiana is still in Stage 4.5 of Governor Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan. The state was originally scheduled to advance to Stage 5 on Independence Day weekend.

Dr. Fox says if case counts continue to rise, he won’t be surprised if we continue to take steps backward.

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