St. Joseph County provides update on COVID-19 response

St. Joseph County officials held a press conference Friday afternoon to provide an update to the county's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Mark Fox of the St. Joseph County Department of Health, South Bend Mayor James Mueller, St. Joseph County Commissioner Andrew Kostielney and the county's COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Rea participated in the press conference.

Dr. Fox provided an update on the latest statistics on cases in the county.

There are a total of 363 cases and 7 deaths. There are 23 people hospitalized in the county at this time, but not all are residents of St. Joseph County. There are 25 cases under investigation at county hospitals.

Dr. Fox added our doubling time has improved from 5 days to 7 days.

There are approximately 400 tests being conducted every day, but they take an average of 2.9 days for the results to be available.

Mayor James Mueller spoke about reopening businesses and other facilities. He said the numbers are encouraging but it is still unknown when things will reopen.

He said the best guess is the peak will hit in middle May - but things won't reopen immediately after the peak is hit. And when things to reopen, they won't reopen at once. Businesses and locations that closed first, like long-term care facilities, will reopen last.

Commissioner Andrew Kostielney discussed voting for the June 2 primary.

He encourages everyone to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

If you want to vote absentee in person, that begins May 26 at the City-County building and City Services building in Mishawaka. Absentee voting in person ends May 30.

In person voting will be held on June 2 at 10 vote centers.

He added closures will be extended through May 4, but it depends on what Governor Eric Holcomb does on Friday.

Coordinator Jeff Rea says he has been working with county leaders to ensure needs are addressed and there are plans for reopening businesses.

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