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St. Joseph County Health Officials Counsel Preparedness in the Face of Potential Coronavirus

St. Joseph County Health Department


The St. Joseph County Health Department is urging preparedness over panic as fears of a potential local coronavirus outbreak increase.


COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is a respiratory illness. It’s main symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. So far there have been no cases confirmed in Indiana or Michigan, the closest cases are in the Chicago area.

Mark Fox is Deputy Health officer for the St. Joseph County Department of Health. He said they are working with schools, health care centers, long-term care facilities and others to keep up with the disease as recommendations change.

“We wanna be prudent. We wanna be prepared and we want to be coordinated across the system.”

Vice President of Medical Affairs at Memorial Hospital, Dr. Dale Patterson said right now they’re asking people to call ahead before coming in to their doctor if they suspect it to be COVID-19.


“We’re going to be changing our instructions as things evolve and our recommendations evolve from the CDC. So we’re asking people to reach out to their primary care provider if they think they may have COVID-19 to find out what the best place is to get the best care at that time.”

All testing for the disease must be approved by state health officials and run through the state lab in Indianapolis. More available testing is waiting for FDA approval and roll-out.

Everyone should be practicing basic preventative hygiene; thoroughly washing hands, covering coughs, not touching faces, and disinfecting surfaces. The general public does not need surgical masks. 

Anyone who is sick should stay home and out of social situations and avoid visiting places like hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities with high risk populations.


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