Health officials confirmed the first COVID-19 related death in a St. Joseph County, Indiana resident Thursday.
Officials said the patient was a man in his eighties with existing medical conditions. He died on March 23rd. He was hospitalized for about ten days. He had respiratory failure, but did not require ventilation.
Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox said this is unfortunate, but not surprising given the pace this virus spreads.
“We recognize by this time next week, I would fully expect there would be more deaths distributed across the community.”
Fox said the county’s rate of new infections has been slower than he first predicted which could be a sign that social distancing measures are working.
But he said there’s a backlog of tests waiting to come back that could be throwing off those numbers.
The patient was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia on March 16th and tested the same day. The test results came back about ten days later.
Fox said it’s disappointing how long the test results took.
“It’s certainly longer than we like to see. I think it’s a reflection of them testing capacity nationally. There’s a tremendous backlog everywhere. It’s regrettable that especially in a hospitalized patient, that it took that long.”
Fox estimates there are several hundred tests still pending for St. Joseph County.
There are 27 positive COVID-19 test results in the county to date.
Details are below.
St. Joseph County- As of this morning 7 more individuals in St. Joseph County have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to 28.
We are also confirming our first death as a result of COVID-19 infection. The patient, a male, in his eighties, had severe comorbities.