Coronavirus

The number of novel coronavirus cases has increased in Elkhart County by 60 since noon Wednesday, according to numbers released today by the Indiana State Department of Health.

That brings the total number of cases in Elkhart County to 1,495, the highest locally. However, other local counties also saw jumps in their numbers as well, especially in Marshall County, which increased by 31.

Here are today’s numbers:

  • Statewide — 36,096 positive cases, up 452 (152 of those from our six-county region); 2,052 deaths, up 20; 285,234 tested, up 7,508 with 12.7% testing positive.
  • Elkhart County — 1,495 positive cases, up 60; 28 deaths, adjusted down from 29; 11,103 tested.
  • LaGrange County — 116 positive cases, up 14; two deaths, zero new; 646 tested.
  • Noble County — 268 positive cases, up 17; 21 deaths, zero new; 1,841 tested.
  • Kosciusko County — 179 positive cases, up 13; two deaths, up one; 2,093 tested.
  • St. Joseph County — 1,337 positive cases, up 17; 36 deaths, up one; 14,573 tested.
  • Marshall County — 178 positive cases, up 31; two deaths, zero new; 2,005 tested.

Summer will not slow down virus

Summer is not going to slow down the coronavirus. That and other discoveries were released Thursday by Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz.

“The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new, and because of that we are still learning things about it,” she writes.

Here are the most recent discoveries, according to Mertz:

• It seems the virus will continue to spread and cause outbreaks throughout summer. Officials had hoped it would lose some strength in hot humid weather, but studies now show that is not going to happen. Mertz said residents will need to continue to be as vigilant as they have been all spring.

• An analysis of 44 studies in the medical journal Lancet today showed that physical distancing of at least 3 feet is strongly associated with a lower risk of transmission of the coronavirus, but a distance of 6 feet is even more effective.

Face mask use was also associated with a large reduction in risk of infection, more so for the N95 masks used by health care personnel, but cloth masks also showed a significant reduction in infection.

• A study has shown 42% of people who tested positive were asymptomatic (a study in Indiana showed the number to be 45%). Asymptomatic patients tended to be younger (in the 20- to 40-year-old range), and female (67%). Asymptomatic patients who tested positive shed the virus for an average of eight days.

4) In a study of 2,000 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, 87% reported loss of smell, and 56% had taste dysfunction. Those who show either of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible testing.

The Health Department will be continue to provide updates from studies weekly, Mertz said.

Home & Family Arts open class canceled

With the cancellation of the 2020 Elkhart County 4-H Fair due to the current pandemic, the Home & Family Arts open class department, fashion show, open house, special contests and exhibits will also be canceled.

For those who have already started on or finished their entry, organizers said to save their item to enter next year, if possible.

Foundation awards COVID-19 grants

The LaGrange County Community Foundation has awarded $35,000 over the last 10 weeks in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants were awarded to eight nonprofits that identified needs associated with COVID-19. These grants were made possible through donors and the United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties.

Utilizing the Good Samaritan Fund, grant priorities of elderly and other high-risk populations, residents who are food insecure, supplies to support emergency response and physical and emotional well-being of children and youth have been supported.

The Mongo UMC Food Pantry received $5,000 to support food provisions for families and seniors in need. Established in 2018, with support from The Emergency Food Assistance Program, that helps supplement the diets of families with food assistance at no cost. The Mongo UMC Food Pantry is able to reach low-income residents in LaGrange County, a need identified by partners.

“With the grant award from the Foundation, we have been able to almost double the number of families being served,” said Shanan Staton, manager of the Mongo UMC Food Pantry. “We have shopped well and been conservative with our windfall. We are still servicing around 100 families. The assumption is this number will remain steady throughout the summer with many businesses and industries returning to a new reduced normal and the presence of children home throughout the summer and the lack of summer feeding programs available.”

The Community Foundation is accepting applications for COVID-19 crisis relief. Nonprofits are encouraged to apply at lccf.net or contact the Foundation for more information at 260-463-4363.

The 2020 COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant awards include:

• Children First Center, Therapeutic Support Services, $3,000.

• Lakeland School Corp., facilitating communication with all Lakeland students during the COVID-19 pandemic, $5,000.

• LaGrange County Emergency Management Agency, LaGrange County first responder personal protection, $5,000.

• LaGrange County Council on Aging Inc, Save Our Senior Center, $2,000.

• Westview School Corp., Westview Cares — Covid-19, $5,000.

• The Arc of LaGrange County, personal protection equipment — Gear-up for safety, $5,000.

• Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana Inc., LaGrange County Farm Wagon Mobile Food Pantry, $5,000.

• Mongo UMC Food Pantry, Mongo UMC Food Pantry, $5,000.

Salvation Army to change social services

The Salvation Army in Goshen recently announced changes to its social services in an effort to encourage access to those in need, particularly those in hardship due to the coronavirus economic environment, SA officials said.

Dairy is being added to available food from The Salvation Army Goshen. The American Dairy Association Indiana has awarded them a cooler for storage of dairy for distribution to those in need.

“We thank all who nominated and selected us for this additional way to serve our community in this critical time,” said Maj. Tim Sell. “Dairy is critical to individual nutrition and both local and national economies. We are grateful to be able to keep the flow of dairy products active when our nation’s food supply is regaining traction.”

The Salvation Army also announced that in addition to its usual services offered on weekdays (9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. with Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon), Tuesdays will be food box distribution. Other services will be seen by appointment the other days of the week, and many appointments are instantaneous.

“We want to get food relief out this summer in a dramatic fashion. That only happens if folks in need know what we offer and when we offer it,” Sell said.

For those who already registered at The Salvation Army, a picture identification is all that is required. New applicants can bring a picture ID (expired ID is acceptable) and, if from out of southern Elkhart County, a current utility bill or other proof of residence is requested.

“We have a simple application when we consider that family makeup and other data are used to apply for grants and other resources to serve our local needs,” Sell said.

Groups and individuals are being sought on Mondays to prepare for the expected food demand on Tuesdays. The only limitation will be that those seeking assistance and willing to volunteer give their volunteer service on a different day.

Further information is available at The Salvation Army, 1013 N. Main St., Goshen. The phone number is 574-533-9584; mailing address is Box 114, Goshen, IN 46527-0114; website — www.SAGoshen.org; toll-free number — 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Boys & Girls Club opening June 15

Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County will open for the summer, beginning the week of June 15.

BGCEC will offer limited-size summer programs at five locations in Elkhart County. Enhanced safety measures will be in place for members and staff, club officials said.

Given the state of the virus in the community, the club staff said they plan to reopen with the following in place:

KIDSCARE

KidsCare will open June 15 at Mary Daly and Pinewood elementary schools. The number of KidsCare members per site will be limited to 45 for June and July.

People can now begin or renew memberships with KidsCare for $30 per child.

Applications are available online at greatfutures.club/summer.

Summer Program Registrations: $45 per child per week this summer. This summer parents who are first responders or health care workers will receive priority.

KidsCare will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Parent/caregiver orientation for COVID-19 procedures is required before KidsCare members can attend the summer program.

CLUBS

Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee Clubs will open the week of June 15.

The number of club members per site will be limited to 100 for the entire summer.

People can begin or renew memberships with BGCEC for $30 per child. Membership and payment available online at greatfutures.club/summer.

Early Bird hours: 6-10 a.m. Weekly fees: $45 for first child, $35 for second child; $20 for third and subsequent children.

This year, families requesting Early Bird are asked to commit to the full six weeks of summer program. Payment in advance of the upcoming week is required.

This summer, parents who are first responders or health care workers will receive priority. Working families requesting Early Bird will be placed in a lottery to randomly select the members to attend club this summer.

Parent/caregiver club orientation for COVID-19 procedures is required before club members can attend the summer program.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Upon this limited reopening, enhanced safety precautions are as follows:

• All team members will wear a mask at all times when interacting with others

• Regular cleaning and disinfecting will take place every 60 minutes

• Adults other than employees are not permitted into the building; by appointment only

• Dropping off and picking up children will engage a new process to limit contact

• Team members’ and youth temperatures will be recorded each day

• Members will be assigned to a “family group” and will spend the day with the group for their activities, meals and play time. If anyone becomes ill in the group, all members will be notified

• Members will be asked to wash their hands between each hour-long activity

• Members will spend time outside or engaging in physically distanced activities as much as possible throughout the day

TO HELP

As parents and caregivers, club staffers ask that they monitor any symptoms and keep their child home if they observe any of the following: persistent fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, enlarged lymph nodes, swollen hands and feet, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and anew loss of taste or smell.

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