Friday St. Joseph County and South Bend leaders provided an update on an ever worsening situation with COVID-19 locally.
Dr. Mark Fox, Deputy Health Officer for St. Joseph County, says he expects the county will move into a "red" designation from the Indiana State Dept. of Health by the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. County Commissioner Andy Kostielney echoed that concern saying that he is also concerned about hospitals being able to provide care.
"It sucks," said Kostielney of the situation people are facing as Thanksgiving looms and extreme caution is being urged to avoid family gatherings with anyone outside your household.
South Bend Mayor James Mueller said if the numbers don't make it clear to people, he would ask residents to consider that hospitals are at capacity and will have to use trailers to store dead bodies because the "bodies are piling up."
Today the South Bend Community School Corp. announced its middle schools and high schools will move to online learning in compliance with recommendations from the local health department. Fox says that the county has seen an increase in COVID-19 transmission among individuals at the high school level.
Fox says "we may have to define a category beyond red" when it comes to the severity he expects the county and state as a whole to potentially reach regarding the spread of COVID-19.
As for the face mask fine ordinance that passed the St. Joseph Co. Commission earlier this week, Kostielney clarified that it will be at least a couple weeks before that ordinance actually takes effect.
Fox says so far there have been 1,000+ complaints about businesses that aren't enforcing mask wearing.