According to Dr. Mark Fox with the St. Joseph Co. Health Department, the county is seeing the highest number of patients in the hospital as compared with any previous point in the pandemic. He says there has also been a significant increase in deaths from COVID-19 in the county in September and October. For example, October has been the deadliest month so far. The virus has claimed 49 lives and the month isn't over. Last month, in September, 24 people died from coronavirus in the county. Fox says the increase in deaths is largely due to cases among individuals in nursing homes.
Fox says he continues to recommend that indoor gatherings be limited to ten people with all the appropriate precautions in place, like masks, social distancing and hand washing.
"We have the great potential of overwhelming our healthcare system," said South Bend Mayor James Mueller. Mueller noted that Elkhart County is seeing spiking cases that are also straining the healthcare system in the region. Mueller says right now a person's chance of contracting the virus in the community is the highest that it has ever been.
St. Joseph Co. Commissioner Andy Kostielney said, "It's like groundhog day all over again." Kostielney's reference is to the ongoing plea by public officials to urge residents to wear masks, social distance, wash hands and continue to take all the precautions that have been encouraged for months. As for Halloween coming up, Kostielney said, "Just because you can trick or treat, doesn't mean you should."
Kostielney is also concerned about a spike in cases that could be coming when the Clemson v. Notre Dame football game is played at Notre Dame Stadium on Nov. 7.