St. Joseph County Health Department

Justin Hicks / IPBS

Before administering the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers, first responders and individuals over age 80 this week, the St. Joseph County Health Department held a trial run for on Jan. 11.

Former South Bend Schools Superintendent Virginia Calvin was one of 10 community members who received a first dose of the vaccine on Monday. She said she didn’t sleep well the night before, anticipating a disorganized staff and a painful shot. 

 

AP

Last month, local hospitals received their first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, St. Joseph County Department of Health is awaiting its first shipment, which is scheduled to arrive next week.

Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the health department expects to receive 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by Monday, Jan. 11. The department plans to start administering those shots the following Tuesday.

 

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

After the St. Joseph Co. Health Dept. provided guidance Wednesday suggesting that schools move high schools and if possible middle schools, to online learning only, School City of Mishawaka and PHM have taken action. In notices posted on both schools websites, announcements were made to indicate that high school and middle schools would move to virtual learning only through mid-January of 2021.

The schools will move to virtual learning as of Mon., Nov. 23.

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

After months of back and forth, the St. Joseph County Council finally passed an ordinance Tuesday night that will allow the county health department to enforce its face mask order.

Under the ordinance, businesses – not individuals – can be fined up to $250 for failing to require face masks when six feet of physical distance can’t be maintained. 

County Health Officer Bob Einterz has been trying to pass this measure since July. Though it’s been a long road, he said he’s glad to see elected officials reach a compromise. 

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

At the St. Joseph County Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21, County Health Officer Bob Einterz gave a COVID-19 status update. 

He said the current level of community spread in the county makes it extremely difficult to pinpoint outbreaks; however, there are a few places community members should know to avoid.

“The places that we all know where people congregate in close groups in indoors: schools, churches, homes, at parties, bars, et cetera,” Einterz said.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The St. Joseph County Health Department sent letters to three dozen faith leaders this week asking them to conduct virtual services through March 2021 due to COVID-19.

The request comes after the health department conducted an analysis that revealed five clusters of coronavirus associated with religious activity in the county in the last six weeks.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

On Oct. 14, Governor Eric Holcomb extended the statewide mask order through Nov. 14, but he did not add any measures to enforce that order. The day before, the St. Joseph County Council decided to table an ordinance that would allow local enforcement of mask orders.

 

The ordinance that is in limbo would allow the St. Joseph County Health Department to fine businesses for violating its mask mandate. The Council tabled it for a month in order to question its legality. 

Screenshot from Facebook Live

St. Joseph County decided today against issuing any new public health orders. They will not roll back the current reopening stage and will instead increase their contact tracing efforts. 

Mark Fox, the county’s deputy health officer, says the Department of Health doesn’t want to penalize restaurants and bars that are following COVID-19 guidelines. Instead, the department will enhance investigation and abatement efforts for establishments failing to adhere to safety guidelines.

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

In response to rising hospitalization rates, St. Joseph County health officials are considering changing the county’s coronavirus health guidelines.

 

Bob Einterz, chief health officer for St. Joseph County, said that he and other health officials are still discussing all of their options.

“For example, moving the county back a stage from Governor Holcomb’s Stage 5 to more faithful enforcement of abatement orders,” Einterz said.

The St. Joseph County Health Department released new guidelines today for evaluating when and how to reopen schools.