Elkhart County Health Department

Photo Provided / Elkhart County Health Department

Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait will be stepping down at the end of the year.

Wait took over the health department in January after former Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz retired at the end of 2020. 


(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Elkhart County Health Department opened a new COVID-19 testing center Wednesday.

Free drive-through tests are now available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at the Pierre Moran Park pool (119 Wolf Ave., Elkhart).


The health department says only PCR tests will be available due to a shortage of rapid antigen tests. No appointments, ID or insurance is necessary to get tested.


The health department asks that cars enter on East Hubbard Avenue from Prairie Street. 



Ahead of the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 6, the Indiana Department of Health will be offering COVID-19 tests and vaccines in Goshen. 

A spokeswoman for the Elkhart County Health Department says the clinic is in response to the county’s rising positivity rate and recent move to the state’s “orange” category, which indicates high community spread of the virus.


Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The Elkhart County Health Department is once again urging all residents to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, as the delta variant drives a rapid increase in cases in the county.


Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait said Thursday the county’s positivity rate has nearly doubled in the last three weeks, from just over 5 percent to 9.4 percent.


Elkhart County Health Department

The Elkhart County Health Department is recommending that all residents wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The Centers for Disease Controls has labeled the county as having “substantial” spread of the Delta variant, which is more contagious and more transmissible than other variants of the coronavirus.



With fewer people needing a COVID-19 test due to the vaccine, Elkhart County is making some changes to its testing sites. 

The free testing site in the Concord Mall parking lot will permanently close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30. 

A new drive-up location will open at Elkhart Central Fire Station (500 East St. Elkhart, IN 46516) on July 6. That site will operate from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to noon on the first and third Saturday of each month.


(Alex Paul, WTIU/WFIU News)


The Elkhart County Health Department is hosting two walk-in vaccine clinics.


On Thursday, June 10 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the health department is offering walk-in vaccines at the Middlebury Community Public Library located at 101 East Winslow Street in Middlebury.


And on Monday, June 14 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., the health department is hosting a walk-in vaccine clinic at Church Community Services located at 907 Oakland Avenue in Elkhart.


Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Only about 25 percent of Elkhart County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a number the Indiana Department of Health is looking to boost. 


The Elkhart County Health Department partnered with the state department of health to open a mobile vaccination clinic at Goshen High School Thursday morning.


(Rebecca Green/WBOI)

The Elkhart County Health Department has announced several opportunities to get the COVID-19 vaccine over the next month:

(Screenshot of Facebook Live)

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday the state will open vaccine eligibility to anyone over age 16 on March 31, and end the statewide mask mandate April 6, raising concern among some local health officials.

St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said local officials weren’t expecting the mask order to end and vaccine eligibility to open so close together. 


(Provided by IU Health)

NEW: Friday evening the Elkhart County Health Dept. announced that all weekend plans for pop-up clinics have been canceled.  That impacts weekend plans aimed at vaccinating the Amish and it also impacts plans for next week's Tolson Center pop-up clinic vaccinations. 


The Elkhart County Health Department will operate a mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Clinton Frame Church in Goshen on Saturday, Jan. 23. 

Captured via Zoom

Elkhart County’s new health officer, Dr. Bethany Wait, said the health department’s vaccination effort for individuals age 80 and older is now underway.

Wait said the health department began administering its first doses on Monday, Jan. 11, and will have given over 250 shots by the end of the day Tuesday. 


She said depending on state guidelines and the county’s vaccine allotment, more groups could soon be eligible for the vaccine. 


Elkhart County Health Department

According to new information from the Elkhart County Health Department, the county has seen more deaths in 2020 than in any of the previous five years.


As of Dec. 14, 1,992 people had died in Elkhart County, a 9 percent increase when compared to 2019. Fourteen percent of those deaths were related to COVID-19.


From 2015 to 2019, about 1,830 people died each year in Elkhart County, on average. Adding in 2020's deaths bumps that average up to about 1,857 - a 1.5 percent increase.


Three Elkhart County cities have committed to enforcing the county’s COVID-19 protocols. The mayors of Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee will each bring an ordinance to their city councils next week.

The ordinances will recognize and support the county health department’s COVID-19 orders, which limit gathering sizes and mandate face masks, among other things. They will also support the County Commissioners’ ordinance that establishes fines for violating those health orders.


Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz gave a COVID-19 update at the Elkhart Kiwanis Club’s regular meeting held virtually Tuesday afternoon. She re-emphasized the dire situation at local hospitals.

“People who think there’s going to be car accidents and they can go to the emergency room and be taken care of – that’s not true," Mertz said. "That’s the seriousness of what we’re seeing now.”

Screenshot captured via Facebook

Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson held a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21, to review the county’s COVID-19 status with the County Health Officer and the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Elkhart General Hospital.

Elkhart County recorded a record 152 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, Oct. 15, according to numbers released by the Indiana Department of Health on Thursday. 

The county also moved from the state’s “yellow” designation to “orange” on Wednesday, but that won’t have much effect on Concord and Elkhart Community Schools — at least for the immediate future.


Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS

Elkhart County Health officials provided updates on Monday, Oct. 12, on the state of the pandemic in Elkhart County.


In an email released on behalf of Elkhart County Health Officer, Dr. Lydia Mertz, new information indicates that the county has had 12 COVID-19 deaths in the first 10 days of October, averaging more than one a day. 

Elkhart County health officials also believe they are starting to see suspected cases of re-infection.

Courtesy of the Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

Elkhart County reported a record 131 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. Those findings were reported on Thursday, Oct. 8, by the State Department of Health.


That surpasses the county’s previous daily case record of 112, reported back in June. County health officials are concerned that area hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.


When asked how quickly hospitals could reach capacity, Elkhart County Health Department spokesperson Melanie Sizemore said, soon. 


The Elkhart County Health Board has rescheduled its meeting that abruptly ended this week for Sept. 29. The meeting will take place virtually at 7pm. A link will be available to the public on the Elkhart County website. 

From the Elkhart Co. Health Dept. Facebook page

Via a Facebook post, the Elkhart Co. Health Dept. has announced another twist in the school reopening plan. The latest information is that schools *can* now choose to open for in-person instruction. This comes one day after the county's superintendents took part in a conference call with the county's health officer and were given the impression that they needed to move to online instruction only through September.