GOSHEN — Goshen Hospital Chief Medical Officer and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Dan Nafziger reported Thursday evening that COVID-19 patients are filling units.

“We have had full intensive care and step down units (Thursday) with 19 COVID-19 patients,” Nafziger stated in a press release. “We want our patients to come in if they are sick and need care, but we are even more grateful if they stay safe and healthy by wearing masks, physical distancing and hand washing. Both large gatherings and smaller indoor family events with people outside your household are risky at this time.”

According to Goshen Health spokesperson Liz Fisher, the hospital is not at the point yet of diverting patients.

At Elkhart General Hospital, Dr. Michelle Bache, vice president of medical affairs, said, “We continue to have an extremely high census of COVID positive patients at Elkhart General Hospital and many more patients who are receiving evaluation and care in our Emergency Department. Earlier this week, we expanded inpatient beds to respond to the surge and this has helped us manage our volume of COVID patients. We are actively evaluating opportunities to further increase our inpatient beds in order to respond to the community need.

“COVID-related care is consuming many of our resources and we are closely evaluating our capacity to continue providing elective procedures and surgeries. We have had to transfer a few patients to other facilities within Elkhart County because of the COVID surge. We expect this situation to continue in the foreseeable future given the increasing prevalence of COVID in the community.”

The Elkhart County Health Department issued a statement Friday:

“As you know, Elkhart County is now in the orange status, due to the large number of new cases of COVID-19 we are experiencing. This means we are having a significant community spread of the coronavirus. This increase is not caused by one industry, one business, or schools being open. It is caused by the carelessness of many of us in wearing masks in public, staying 6 feet from others, and not washing our hands or using sanitizer as frequently as we should. Everyone is tired of the disruption this coronavirus has brought into our lives, but we cannot give up now. We, as a community, were able to drop the number of cases we had when we were a ‘hot spot’ in the nation by doing these things. We worked as a community to bring down the rate of illness, hospitalizations, and death. Let’s not surrender to this virus now! Let’s go back to the things that were so effective in August, and make our community an example of what can be done when everyone works together!”

Indiana’s daily average of new coronavirus infections continued growing at record levels with Friday’s update from state health officials, who also added 23 more COVID-19 deaths to the state’s toll.

The state health department’s daily update showed Indiana’s seven-day rolling average of newly confirmed COVID-19 infections reached 1,720 as of Thursday. That is the highest level the state has seen during the pandemic and has more than doubled over the past three weeks.

The 2,320 new infections reported Friday marked the first time that figure topped 2,000 in a single day, but the health department said the number was inflated by about 300 cases that weren’t previously included because of technical issues.

The newly recorded deaths raise Indiana’s death toll to 3,887, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections, according to the health department. That’s an increase of 126 deaths in the past week.

Gov. Eric Holcomb cited the increase in cases on Wednesday when he said he would continue the statewide mask mandate for another month. Holcomb, however, chastised those who resist wearing masks as disregarding the safety of others.

Indiana’s 1,311 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported as of Thursday keeps Indiana at its highest level since mid-May. Such hospitalizations have grown by two-thirds since late September when Holcomb decided to lift nearly all state restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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