Elkhart County seeing another spike in COVID-19 cases from variants

NOW: Elkhart County seeing another spike in COVID-19 cases from variants

ELKHART, Ind. -- Hospitalization rates have nearly doubled this week in Elkhart County. With both the UK and California variants present, residents and the health department are hoping more people getting vaccinated will help slow the spread down.

At a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, the health department confirming both Elkhart General-- and Goshen Hospital---are both at capacity.

“If people would actually do what they should be doing which is get vaccinated. Specially over here in Elkhart where you have factories galore and people are working side by side and it’s really hard to be able to social distance," said Ben Leslie, Elkhart County Resident.

The increase in cases have increased positivity rates to 35% this week. With hospitalizations also increasing - the health department says residents should be aware of the spread but don’t need to panic.

“If you have a life threatening condition you still need to go to the hospital. You still can go to your local hospital they will be able to care for you on an emergency basis in the emergency room and then they can decide what kind of care you need ongoing," said Dr. Bethany Wait, County Health Officer.

According to Wait the major reason for full hospitals, a shortage in staff members, saying while masks aren’t 100% effective and mandates are being lifted people should continue to wear them so they don’t overwhelm local facilities.

“That’s why we continue to push masks. We understand that it’s not 100%. I get that. However, if we can get people to wear their masks we’re not gonna have the significant spread," said Wait.

With vaccination rates going up - it’s leaving some residents hopeful the county will be able to go back to normal soon.

“I believe in science and the science is telling us this. So, you want everything to go back to normal. You want that spike to go down get vaccinated," said Leslie.

The health department did confirm while the numbers are concerning it’s half of what they saw during their peak last year.

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