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UPDATE: St. Joseph County, Indiana Sees 3rd COVID-19 Related Death, Possible Disparities In Testing

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Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio
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NEW:

Friday St. Joseph County health officials announced a third death in the county due to COVID-19. The patient who died was a women in her 60's with multiple underlying medical conditions who had been hospitalized for several days. 

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Leaders from the state of Indiana and St. Joseph County, Indiana held a virtual press conference Thursday to give an update on the local response to the coronavirus. 

Health officials confirmed the second COVID-19 related death in the county. The patient was an elderly woman. Her test results took ten days to come back.

A total of 19 St. Joe County residents have required hospitalization.

Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox said overall, test results are speeding up.

He said it’s taking an average of 5-6 days for tests to come back.

Positive cases in African-American and Hispanic residents are proportionate with their population in the County. However Black and Hispanic residents are hospitalized at a higher rate than white patients.

That’s according to data released by the county health department.

“There may be an underlying disparity with access to testing and we’re trying to dramatically expand testing, especially on the west side of the county,” Fox said.

The county is trying to set up two additional testing sites on the west side to combat this. 
Fox said St. Joe County is seeing a slower rate of infections compared to the entire state.

“Here in St. Joseph County, we’ve seen significant flattening of the curve. It speaks to the mitigation strategies that have been pursued.”

Fox acknowledged it may be tempting to to hold parties with several religious holidays right around the corner. But he said now is not the time to ease up on social distancing measures.

Contact Annacaroline at acaruso@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @AnnacarolineC16

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating at:  https://wvpe.thankyou4caring.org/ 
 

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