Elkhart County recently moved into position as having the 3rd highest COVID-19 case count of all counties in Indiana. Local hospitals are starting to feel the impact of the surge.
Both Goshen Health and Elkhart General Hospital have reported a steady increase in the amount of COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Dan Nafziger with Goshen Hospital says he’s concerned about what will happen if the surge in Elkhart County continues.
“As long as the numbers keep increasing, you have to believe we will get to the point where we are full,” he says.
Nafziger says the volume of patients they’ve seen this week is the highest they’ve had since the pandemic began.
“The hospital is not full in the sense of completely full and we have no place to take another patient ever but we’ve had times where the intensive care unit beds are spoken for," he says. "We’ve had times where we’ve had patients waiting in the emergency room for a bed. We are very busy, as busy as we would want to be.”
Nafziger says the increase in hospital traffic and Elkhart County’s high positivity rate for coronavirus are strong indications that the spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases is likely not due to an increase in testing.
He says the surge could be due to manufacturers reopening and a lack of Elkhart residents physically distancing and wearing masks.
“The kind of things that could prevent spread are not obviously being used by the majority of people in Elkhart County.”
The County has not mandated face masks but Nafziger says that’s something he would be in favor of.
He says Goshen Hospital is still waiting on roughly 578 COVID-19 tests from this week so the number of positive cases are likely even higher than the current numbers indicate.
If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating at: https://wvpe.thankyou4caring.org/