Health officials concerned as daily COVID-19 cases reach record high

NOW: Health officials concerned as daily COVID-19 cases reach record high

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.-- On Thursday, the Indiana Department of Health announced that the state has yet again broke COVID-19 case records with 6,654 additional Hoosiers contracting and testing positive for the virus. In total, this brings the number of Indiana residents who have contracted the virus to 230,965.

The state also reporting 51 new deaths, bringing the total to 4,563 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19.

“I’m very concerned about the state of Indiana and particularly concerned about the citizens of St. Joe County,” St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Robert Einterz said. “I’m concerned that the rate of rise of COVID within our community is continuing and without any end in sight.”

While case counts skyrocket, hospitalizations are also on the rise.

“Right now the hottest zone in the state is here. And so, our situation here is far more critical the other parts of the state simply because hospitals are all feeling it at the same time,” St. Joseph Health System CEO Chad Towner said.

St. Joseph Regional Health CEO Chad Towner said they have already reached max capacity in bed space and worries that this continued climb in cases could cause major issues for hospitals in the region.

“859 were tested positive yesterday and the math that we’re seeing. In two weeks, we’ll have to find 122 hospital beds for them... it doesn’t exist,” Towner said. “We are dangerously approaching very fast a situation where there’s a hospital somewhere in the region that will eventually have a patient show up in the emergency department be waiting in line and unfortunately not have a bed or not have a bed to go upstairs in, they’re not going to get the care they need and we will see death rates climb.”

Governor Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that Indiana will have tighter restrictions in place starting on November 15. Orange status counties will be limited to 50 people at gatherings and red status counties will be limited to 25.

For St. Joseph County, that sits in an orange status, St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Robert Einterz said he has different recommendations.

“Our recommendations for the last several weeks have been that individuals limit social gatherings to less than 10 people and we stand by that. We were concerned several weeks ago that we would be seeing the surge that we are currently experiencing and we recognized at that time of the community didn’t take the responsibility, individuals did not take responsibility that we would in fact be in the middle of a surge. We are seeing that right now,” Einterz said.

St. Joe leaders urging the community and Hoosiers throughout the state to do their part to slow the spread and save lives.

“We need the community to hear us that it is getting dangerously close to a tipping point that we are not going to be able to take care of and emergent condition that’s COVID or not,” Towner said.

It’s time for the community to double down and to do what needs to be done to slow the spread of this virus,” Einterz said.

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