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WVPE News

St. Joseph County, Indiana Officials Say Local Economy May Not Be Safe To Reopen Until Late May

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PAUL SANCYA / AP
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It’s been roughly one month since Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a stay-home-order due to the coronavirus. St. Joseph County, Indiana officials discussed when it may be safe for the county to start reopening during a virutal press conference Friday.

St. Joseph County, Indiana officials say the peak in COVID-19 cases for the county may be later than first thought.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller says that means safely reopening businesses likely won’t happen until late May or early June.

“We can’t open too early or we’ll have ruined all the sacrifices we’ve made so far.”

Mueller says when the county does begin to reopen the economy, it won’t be all at once and there will likely still be some social distancing measures in place.

Governor Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order is in effect until May 1st, unless extended. Mueller says he expects Holcomb to take into account all corners of the state when starting to reopen.

“We’re going to follow the data, and the recommendations from our health officials and do what's right for our residents," he says. "We hope the governor will be supportive and that’s our expectation.”

But if Holcomb lifts the order for the entire state before it’s safe for St. Joe County to reopen, Mueller says they may take other actions.

Mueller says there needs to be at least 14 days of declining case numbers in the county before it’s safe to start reopening.

Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox says the County would also need widespread access to rapid testing, contact tracing, and enough hospital equipment for COVID-19 patients. 

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

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