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Elkhart health officials once again urge citizens to ‘mask up’

Courtesy of the Elkhart Co. Health Dept.
Courtesy of the Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

Health officials in Elkhart County are once again urging citizens to don face masks. Interim County Health Officer Dr. Richard Hostetter says it’s not a mandate, but rather, a plea.

“We’re seeing record levels of hospitalizations in Elkhart County due to COVID,” Hostetter said in a release. “Please mask-up and get vaccinated. It will help.”

The PSA comes just days after every Indiana county entered the most serious “red” category on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map.

Hostetter said the county is seeing record numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — the vast majority of which are unvaccinated.

Dr. Michelle Bache, vice president of medical affairs at Elkhart General Hospital, added that area hospitals have “very limited” COVID-19 treatment options at this time.

“We have very limited treatment options right now, so our most effective strategy is to reduce the spread of this contagious variant,” she said in the release. “Even if you’re not worried about your own personal risk for COVID, masking is an effective way to limit the opportunity for Omicron to infect other vulnerable members of our community.”

Health officials urged the use of high-quality masks, like N95s or KN95s. But, if you only have cloth masks, they say to double up.

“If you’re not fully vaccinated, if you have a weak immune system, or even if you’re fully vaccinated but live in an area like ours where transmission levels of the disease are high, please wear a mask,” Dr. Daniel Nafziger, chief medical officer at Goshen Hospital, said in the release. “This is for your own protection. We can get through this. But, we need to work together.”

Contact Gemma at or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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