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GOSHEN — Elkhart County officials on Monday issued a new public health order requiring facial coverings in public, but easing limits on social gatherings, through May 14 to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

The measure, which replaces previous COVID-19 public health orders, also says other mitigation efforts are "strongly recommended" and that the public must continue following additional measures implemented by individual businesses and entities. 

The new order comes as the number of cases in the county continues to rise. Over the past month, the number of positive cases has tripled, from a seven-day moving average of 19 per day to 58 per day. Similarly, over the course of the last month, the positivity rate seven-day moving average has gone from a low of 4.5% up to 7.5%. Additionally, the hospitalization census and hospital admissions in Elkhart County are again on the rise.

“It is my goal to help Elkhart County control the spread of the virus to allow us to keep our kids in school, keep our hospitals accessible, and keep our businesses open,” Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany A. Wait said in a release.

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