Andy Kostielney

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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. 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

As election season comes to a head, South Bend Mayor James Mueller and St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners President Andy Kostielney are asking voters to respect the electoral process as winners are announced throughout the week.

Mueller asked voters to remember their sense of community, even though tensions are running high. 

“There’s a reason why there’s historic turnout this year, because people feel a lot is at stake," he said. "But we’ve got to remember that no matter who wins, we’ve got to come together.”

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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.