St. Joseph County

The St. Joseph Co. Health Dept. has just released information indicating the local face mask order will be extended through May 27. However, it appears the face mask order will end for good on May 27. The public health order says it will not be "renewed, revised or extended beyond May 27, 2021."

You can read more in the release below. 


Monday morning, St. Joseph Co. health officials announced another new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the county. 

Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the "California" variant is less contagious than the U.K. variant, which was identified in the county earlier this month. But, he said it’s still about 20 percent more contagious than the original strain, and it doesn’t seem to be as sensitive to the current vaccines.


Fox said that shouldn't stop people from getting their shots. He said they’ll still provide some protection, and will ultimately keep new variants from emerging.


“Even though this variant may not be as responsive to the vaccines, they will help decrease the conditions that allow different variants to flourish,” Fox said.


Fox said if community members want to stop the spread of more contagious variants, all they have to do is carefully follow the mitigation strategies – wearing a mask, washing their hands, and keeping their distance from anyone outside their household.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Leaders from Elkhart, St. Joseph, Marshall and Kosciusko counties came together on Tuesday to oppose state legislation they say would divert money from public schools.

Representatives from over 20 local school districts attended a collaborative event hosted by Strong Public Schools For Strong Communities, where local mayors, business leaders, chamber officials and community members took turns reading from a four-county declaration to Indiana legislators and Governor Eric Holcomb.

Drugs, Guns & Cash Seized In Granger Raid

Mar 19, 2021
Photo provided by St. Joseph Co. Police

St. Joseph Co. Police have released information about a drug raid in Granger earlier this week that resulted in seizures of drugs, guns and cash. So far no arrests have been made. 

Screenshot via Facebook Live

As of now, St. Joseph Co. Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says that 10% of the county's residents are fully vaccinated. Deaths from COVID-19 are coming down. The county has only seen two deaths from the virus in March and there were 20 deaths in February of s021. Fox says the number of cases has hit a plateau. He says the U.K. variant that has now been detected in the county is likely to infect more people and may cause more deaths. 

"We don't want to become hysterical, but we don't want to become complacent," Fox said in reference to the B.1.1.7 variant.  

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

St. Joseph County health officials announced Thursday that the more contagious UK strain of the coronavirus had been identified in the county.

Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the B.1.1.7 strain of the virus is more contagious and, in some cases, more deadly than the original strain. 


“It’s hard to sort out whether there are more cases and that’s why there are more deaths, or if the strain itself is actually more lethal,” he said.


Screenshot captured via YouTube

At the Indiana COVID-19 briefing Wednesday afternoon, state officials announced a new rental assistance program for renters who have suffered financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.


There are a couple of exceptions for local renters, though. Both Elkhart and St. Joseph counties have their own rental assistance programs, meaning renters have to apply through their local government instead of the state program.

Courtesy MACOG

St. Joseph County was recently recognized for being “solar-friendly” and for protecting pollinator habitats in its development projects. The county received the SolSmart Gold designation for meeting national benchmarks to encourage the growth of solar energy. 

SolSmart helps local governments meet those national benchmarks by streamlining zoning approvals and reviewing planning and zoning guidelines. St. Joseph County was recognized for having efficient permitting and zoning processes and training staff on solar energy codes, among other things.

(Joey Mendolia/WFIU/WTIU)

The CDC and FDA authorized the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use this weekend. Ahead of the vaccine's rollout, local health officials are encouraging residents to get a dose of any approved vaccine once they're eligible.

St. Joseph County health officials are announcing a major expansion in vaccine availability. 

 (You can read more in the release below.) 

Captured via Facebook Live

At St. Joseph County and South Bend’s biweekly COVID-19 update Friday afternoon, South Bend Mayor James Mueller said officials feel that spring is on the way.


“It seems brighter, the weather’s warmer," Mueller said. "That’s both in terms of the actual weather, but also in terms of where we are in this pandemic.”

The Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security shared a video during the state's weekly COVID-19 briefing that highlighted a program to vaccinate homebound Hoosiers. The video focused exclusively on efforts in St. Joseph County and South Bend. 

Watch the video here.

Screenshot from Facebook Live

The latest update on the status of COVID-19 in South Bend and St. Joseph County had all leaders participating in a Friday briefing expressing cautious optimism.   

Metro Homicide Investigating Infant Death

Feb 1, 2021

The Metro Homicide Unit in St. Joseph County is investigating the death of an infant. 

Screenshot from Facebook Live

"It's here or will be arriving soon."

That's the word from Dr. Mark Fox of the St. Joseph Co. Health Dept. on his predictions for the presence of variants of COVID-19 showing up in the county. He says people should operate on an assumption that they need to protect themselves from these strains which are more contagious. Although none of the strains have been detected yet in St. Joseph County, some have been detected in Indiana and in Michigan, particularly in the Ann Arbor area. 

A St. Joseph County School Embraces Solar Power For Energy

Jan 25, 2021

WALKERTON, Ind. (AP) — A school in northern Indiana expects to be powered by the sun by March. The project at North Liberty Elementary in St. Joseph County is part of a broader effort to improve energy efficiency in the John Glenn district. Principal Randy Romer says the 846 solar panels can be used as an education tool as students learn how output varies depending on the weather. A monitor will be placed in a common area so students can see how much power is being produced.


A bicyclist died in South Bend Friday after colliding with a semi. 

Captured via Facebook Live

St. Joseph County and South Bend City officials were able to offer some positive news at their biweekly COVID-19 update on Friday, Jan. 15. 


The county’s Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says the county’s 7-day rolling average of new cases has improved steadily since Thanksgiving, and the post-holiday “bump” in new daily cases has not been dramatic. 


He also says county hospitalizations are at their lowest point since the beginning of October.


Photos provided by St. Joseph Co. Police

St. Joseph County Police announced that two women have been arrested in connection with a string of porch thefts throughout portions of Michiana. 

 (You can read the release from police below.) 

Photo provided by St. Joseph Co. Police


Upon further review, St. Joseph Co. Police now say that two people rescued from a vehicle in a ditch on Dragoon Trail earlier today were not there for two days after all. 

Here is the latest statement from police on a corrected version of the timeline of events: 

After further investigation County Police have received information which questions the original time of the crash. Information given to dispatch by the 911 caller and sent out on to officers was that the two occupants of the Red Dodge Charger in the ditch off Dragoon Trail were trapped for two days. Upon further investigation it is now believed that the occupants were trapped for less than 24 hours. 

The property owner has told county police he was in the field on Monday January 4 around noon and did not see the vehicle. The property owner believes the vehicle likely entered the property after dark on January 4th and missed a curve while driving down the dirt lane. The occupants of the vehicle stated that they were not sure when they crashed or how long they had been trapped.



Today St. Joseph Co. Police released details of a crash in which two people were stranded in a vehicle in a ditch for two days before being found by hunters.

 (You can read details from the release below.) 


St. Joseph County and South Bend city offices will extend limited in-person availability through mid-January due to the pandemic.

(You can read more from a release issued by the City of South Bend below.) 

Based on the recommendation of the St. Joseph County Department of Health, most offices for the City of South Bend and St. Joseph County will continue to limit in-person access to the County-City Building and Courthouse Complex through Friday, January 15, 2020.

St. Joseph County has reported 40 homicides this year, more than any other year since the County Metro Homicide Unit began keeping track in 1993.


St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says Metro Homicide recorded more than double the number of homicides this year as compared with 2019.

It’s a dramatic jump, but Cotter says St. Joseph County isn’t alone in seeing an increase. 

“Homicides have substantially upticked throughout the United States, especially in areas that have larger populations,” Cotter said.

LOCKPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A police cruiser has been stolen and wrecked in southwestern Michigan by a 25-year-old woman who slipped from handcuffs after being arrested earlier for drunken driving. Authorities say the woman had been taken into custody about 3 a.m. Monday after a crash in Lockport Township. She was placed in the rear seat of a St. Joseph sheriff’s office vehicle. After getting free of the handcuffs, she climbed through a partition and into the driver’s seat as deputies searched her vehicle.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

St. Joseph County Health Department officials in South Bend released a new order indicating that the county's face mask mandate that has been in place for months will be extended through the end of March 2021. The previous order was due to expire at the end of 2020. 

Facebook Live

Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox was able to note some positive trends at the St. Joseph County biweekly COVID-19 update on Friday, Dec. 18.


The county's new daily case count has decreased over the last 10 days, which Fox called "some of the best news we've had in a while." The "second-best news," he said, is that the county's 7-day rolling average of new cases is below 200 for the first time since early November.


MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) — Relatives of two local teenagers killed in a hit-and-run crash last week as police chased another vehicle remembered the young couple during a candlelight vigil at the crash scene. Nineteen-year-old Clayton McClish and his 18-year-old fiancé, Elizabeth Johnson, died Dec. 2 when McClish's car was struck by a vehicle fleeing police in Mishawaka, just east of South Bend. The driver of that vehicle fled the scene on foot with another male. Both remain at large.

Facebook Live

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror and the December holidays loom large, South Bend Mayor James Mueller says, "It's not inevitable we will have a medical catastrophe." But he reminds area residents that he believes there is "no margin for error." 

"These are gonna be dark days in the winter," he acknowledges as fears continue that more holidays will mean more spikes in local COVID-19 cases. 


8,527 cases and 60 deaths from COVID-19 were reported Wednesday, Dec. 2 by the Indiana State Dept. of Health. The single day number of cases is the most yet since the pandemic started.

A stunning 859 of those new cases reported yesterday were in St. Joseph County alone, doubling the county's previous one-day high of 445 on Nov. 13. Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the dramatic increase is likely the result of a data glitch. 

The St. Joseph Co. Prosecutor's Office has released information regarding skeletal remains found over the weekend in a creek bed in the North Liberty area.

Screenshot via Facebook Live

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.