The Elkhart County Board of Health met Thursday night to discuss the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past several days. The meeting was originally scheduled for last week, but had to be canceled when a group of about 50 unmasked individuals showed up. Last night’s meeting had a virtual option to try and address that and people in attendance could be seen wearing masks.
Since the June 30th mask order, the COVID-19 positivity rate in Elkhart County has decreased from nine-point-eight to five-point-eight percent. However, the county’s hospitalization rate has risen to concerning levels in the past few days according to local health officials.
Josi DeHaven, Director of Clinical Quality at Goshen Health, said the majority of regional hospitals no longer have the capacity to care for COVID patients and are planning to transfer them elsewhere in Indiana.
“There is so many people that have worked so hard to see those rates come down and now is not the time to let those rates go up,” DeHaven said.
Dan Nafziger, Chief Medical Officer for Goshen Hospital, estimated there are currently about 42 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Elkhart County. He also expressed concerns about ICU bed availability.
At the end of the meeting, Elkhart County Health Officer, Lydia Mertz, announced her official retirement will occur at the end of this year. This summer she faced pushback for how school reopening plans were handled.