St. Joseph County social distancing measures likely to continue through April

NOW: St. Joseph County social distancing measures likely to continue through April

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—Officials on Friday gave an update to the City of South Bend and St. Joseph County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller held the press conference alongside of Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox, St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners President Andy Kostielney, who appeared virtually, COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Rea and Venues Parks and Arts executive director Aaron Perri.

Mueller said that social distancing measures will likely continue through the month of April and potentially into the month of May as a local peak number of cases is still a couple of weeks out.

Fox discussed the current state of COVID-19 cases in St. Joseph County, saying that as of midnight last night, there were 77 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Sixty percent of confirmed coronavirus cases in St. Joseph County are in people under the age of 50. Patients range in age from adolescence to over the age of 80, Fox said.

According to Fox, six people are currently hospitalized in St. Joseph County because of the virus.

St. Joseph County has to date conducted about 2,000 tests. About five percent of all test results that have come back are positive. The county is waiting on about 500 test results. Waiting time for test results is currently on average about six days.

“We continue to see evidence of community transmission within St. Joseph County,” Fox said.

Mueller announced changes to the city’s website including a full Spanish language translation of resources and a new dashboard that tracks statewide and county cases of COVID-19. 

Starting Friday night, the South Bend river lights will be changed to red and white to recognize the work being done by local healthcare workers, Mueller said.

Kostielney said the county is working to bring in more personal protective gear. He said he has also been in contact with Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood as well as commissioners in Elkhart and Marshall counties about local response efforts.

Rea, who has been appointed as the county and city’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator, will now lead the local response efforts. 

Perri said that many of the parks staff have been redeployed to assist with organizations working to meet food security needs, what he said is one of South Bend’s biggest challenges during the pandemic. 

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