COVID-19 bar graph

GOSHEN — Goshen Hospital is seeing a decrease in the percent of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

“At this point, we’re seeing a decrease in the percent of positive cases, and the number of patients hospitalized is relatively steady,” Dr. Dan Nafziger, Goshen Hospital chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist, said. “The overall number of positive tests is lower in part due to delays in test results — but they may also be related to more people wearing masks more consistently in public.”

“We appreciate how seriously our community is taking the precautions of physical distancing, wearing masks, handwashing and staying home when sick,” Randy Christophel, Goshen Health president and CEO, said. “We continue to feel supported by our community, which encourages us in our work.”

For people who have not yet resumed appointments with their healthcare providers, Goshen Health offers virtual visits as well as in-office appointments.

The following are the numbers for COVID-19 activity for Goshen Health as of Monday, going back to March 11.

Testing:

• 11,145 tests completed

• 1,414 positive test results (overall positivity rate of 13.3%)

• 9,177 negative test results

• 505 outstanding test results

Hospitalizations:

• 196 hospital admissions

• 186 hospital discharges

• 20 confirmed COVID-19 positive related mortalities

Local COVID-19-related deaths reported

Two local deaths were reported by the Indiana State Department of Health during its Tuesday afternoon website update.

Noble and Kosciusko counties each reported a death, contributing to the 14 overall deaths reported in the state.

Here are the numbers reported Tuesday:

Statewide — 69, 255 positive cases, up 836; 2,794 deaths, up 14; 785,018 tested, up 9,567; positivity rate, 8.8%; 7-day positivity rate, 7.3%.

Elkhart County — 4,630 positive cases, up 33; 77 deaths, zero new; 35,155 tested, up 234; positivity rate, 13.17%; 7-day positivity rate, 9.1%.

LaGrange County — 546 positive cases, up four; 10 deaths, zero new; 2,572 tested, up 10; positivity rate, 21.23%; 7-day positivity rate, 13.8%.

Noble County — 637 positive cases, zero new; 29 deaths, up one; 6,040 tested, up 36; positivity rate, 10.55%; 7-day positivity rate, 6.7%.

Kosciusko County — 822 positive cases, up three; 13 deaths, up one; 8,906 tested, up 43; positivity rate, 9.23%; 7-day positivity rate, 4.5%.

St. Joseph County — 3,203 positive cases, up 49; 79 deaths, zero new; 44,106 tested, up 638; positivity rate, 7.26%; 7-day positivity rate, 5.0%.

Marshall County — 744 positive cases, up two; 22 deaths, zero new; 7,071 tested, up 70; positivity rate, 10.52%; 7-day positivity rate, 5.7%.

First Fridays Festival canceled

GOSHEN — The August First Fridays festival in downtown Goshen has been canceled, organizers announced Monday afternoon.

Health officer explains school decision

Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz said the department is getting numerous inquiries about why she is not recommending online only education for school districts.

“I cannot speak for the St. Joseph County Health Officer, but I’m sure we are both looking at the same data for our counties, considering where we as a county seem to be going, and how the county is doing over several metrics,” Mertz writes in a press release. “While Elkhart County had the dubious distinction of being a ‘hot spot’ for coronavirus, the community took preventative measures to heart and we no longer have that designation.”

She said Elkhart County and St. Joseph County have different demographics and trends at this time. Elkhart County’s metrics are going down, while St. Joseph County’s, which had been going down after a face mask mandate May 4, have started to go back up.

“We each need to do what is best for our county considering what is happening at the present time,” she writes. “If metrics change over time, I will revisit my recommendation, and I am sure the St. Joseph County Health Officer would also adjust sanctions according to any fluctuation occurring.”

Mertz also addressed coronavirus stress in a separate press release.

When trying to manage that stress, Mertz said:

• Get your information from a trusted source, such as the Indiana State Health Department website, the CDC or the World Health Organization.

• Try not to be overwhelmed with information.

• Don’t be afraid to limit media exposure if it feels it’s becoming too much to process.

• Take the necessary steps to prevent illness: wash your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, wear a mask in public, physically distance yourself and stay home when ill.

• Keep yourself healthy. Eat nutritious foods, exercise and keep hydrated.

• Stay in touch with family and friends. Use electronic means or a spaced meal in your backyard with just a few people. Talk to them, and listen to them as well.

• Keep participating in activities and hobbies as much as possible.

• Recognize signs of distress in yourself and others, and reach out if needed. Look for sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, or fighting with family and friends. Any behavior that is out of the ordinary may be a sign of too much stress.

For those who need help, check the bewellindiana.org site for information, crises numbers to call, and a mental health self-assessment. People can also call the National Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish speakers). This number, sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, provides immediate crises counseling. Or text CONNECT to 741741.

According to Mertz, COVID-19 anxiety can make any illness worse if not monitored and treated. Mental illnesses and addiction can cause as much debility as heart disease, she writes.

Sheila Selman can be reached at sheila.selman@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240311. Follow Sheila on Twitter @sselman_TGN.

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