Health Department releases CDC report about COVID-19 in Elkhart County
ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- The Elkhart County Health Department has released the CDC report that looks at how the county became a ‘hot spot’ for COVID-19 and general recommendations moving forward.
The CDC Community Assessment evaluated COVID-19 in Elkhart County, Indiana from July 6 to August 5.
It provides a general background, an epidemiological analysis of COVID-19 in the county, a qualitative investigation, a case investigation and contract tracing assessment and general recommendations.
“The release of this report comes at a time when we’re experiencing another spike in cases,” said Dr. Lydia Mertz, Elkhart County Health Officer. “But, we can get this under control. Folks need to go back to wearing a mask in public, social distancing, staying home if they are sick, and washing their hands.”
The report addresses communication issues with the Amish community where members may not be following social distancing and mask wearing protocols. The report recommends in-person communication with members of the community as well as through print media.
Leaders of the Hispanic and Latino community identified some of the barriers to preventing the spread within their families. Some undocumented members of the community didn’t use food banks or get tested due to their fear of being deported. In addition, some living in multi-generational housing found it difficult to isolate when sick.
For contact tracing, the report found the Indiana State Department of Health has a robust contact tracing database and process flow, but the CDC says the state must increase understanding of and community engagement in contract tracing to stop the spread.
The recommendations include enhancing data collection and reporting, tailoring messages for Hispanic or Latino and Amish people, continue assessment of RV plants and enhance case investigation and contact tracing.