Elkhart County seeing another spike in Covid-19 cases

NOW: Elkhart County seeing another spike in Covid-19 cases

ELKHART, Ind. --- The coronavirus continues to impact Elkhart County as the virus spreads wildly around the area. A month ago, there were 31 new cases per day during a seven-day average. As of Sunday, there has been a significant increase of 87 new cases per day over the same seven-day average. 

The worsening situation has caused the county to transition to color code orange. The color code is one of four metrics used to test the severity of Covid-19. Going from yellow to orange beginning Wednesday, the county will be going from second best to second worst. 

The virus does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and Elkhart County Health Officer Lydia Mertz agrees as she thinks the county is not in the best of shape currently with the virus.

"Right now Elkhart County is really having a problem with Covid. Our new case rate is very high, and we're actually seeing the same number of cases that we did back when we were a hot spot in the nation so that's very disturbing to us," said Mertz. 

During the peak of the pandemic for Elkhart County in June, there were 78 new cases per day a previous high. The recent announcement of 87 new cases per day has caused more concern as Mertz explains how hospitalization rates are creating less available rooms for those who need it. 

"The hospitals are full and wondering what they're going to do if we continue on this route. They just are running out of room and running out of staff to take care of sick people," explained Mertz.

County officials are looking at the Indiana stage five reopening plan as a cause for the spike. Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder discussed the rise in cases shortly after the order went into effect, and how an adjustment may be needed to get things back under control. 

"We need to go back to all those things we were doing at stage 4 or 4.5. That's when we had stabilized pretty well. That means we need to be more cautious about wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, all those things that we knew we needed to do. We need to go back to doing that," said Yoder. 

Scott Hamilton, an Elkhart resident, despite the spike, is doing what most are. They are taking it one day at a time because at the end of the day that is all you can do.

"Well you have to wear masks, and I do local window washing in Elkhart trying to keep the windows and doorways clean for everybody and we have to keep going all the time on this, and that's really all I can do," said Hamilton. 

Despite concerns, there is optimism the new spike will get back under control. Health officials say for that to happen residents need to have the same level of care they did in the summer and the situation can improve.

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