ELKHART — Hospital officials said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Beacon Health has dropped significantly from recent weeks but urged the public to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and others from the contagious respiratory disease.

The promising report came from Dr. Michelle Bache, vice president of Medical Affairs at Elkhart General Hospital, on Friday in an interview provided by Beacon Health. Bache said the number of hospitalized patients has declined by 60 percent compared to November.

“Our deaths are going down and this is really great for the community as a whole, not just the hospital,” she said. “This has allowed us to ramp back up our surgical services. We’re able to provide additional health care services to the population besides just COVID, so it’s been just great.”

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has decreased at Elkhart General Hospital, which had 37 COVID-19 patients Wednesday, down from a high of about 90 in November.

The hospital still has COVID patients, but an anticipated surge in admissions after the holidays never came, Bache said. She attributes the encouraging news to people being more vigilant and following safety protocols to help alleviate the spread and expressed her gratitude for their efforts.

“I think the community really took the message that we were trying to deliver to heart and really listened to what we said and thankfully were limiting gatherings,” she said. “I know personally, people were not traveling or getting together with big groups as they historically had and mask usage has really gone up. I noticed just anecdotally walking through my community many more people are wearing masks and they’re working.”

“(Residents) have made the difference for us, you have done this, and I can’t thank you enough,” she said.

Despite the improvement, Bache said, “We’re not out of the woods yet,” and urged residents to remain vigilant.

“COVID-19 is going to be with us I think for the foreseeable future,” she said. “We still need to mask, social distance and keep doing what you’re doing. We don’t want to get back to where we were in November. We want to be able to have smaller gatherings and do these things safely. It’s probably going to be the end of the summer or late into 2021 before we can hope that our vaccination will get to enough people to where we can relax a bit.”

(4) comments

fire111

Also Joe. Let me help you out a bit. The Lagrange County Health Officer on a recent TV interview sighted a fair problem in that county. He didn't say who. But we know. Don't we Joe. Dr Pechin's quote was...."We have a unique county. We have a lot of people with independent minds, independent plans, lots of push back!" We also know for a fact ,that Lagrange County Indiana has the largest Amish population as a percentage of the counties total population of ANY county in the nation. We also know that they are a proud God fearing group and place their faith above some times the English norms of belief and practice. I would wager these facts contribute to the higher rates of covid cases.

fire111

Really? The surge never came and the count is down by 60% from last November? But the media tells us huge death counts. And some locals (Joe) are STILL crying Wolf! And the sky is falling!!! By the way. Last evening while driving and listening to 95.3 the Northwood/ Northridge boys basketball pre game came on the radio. Twice statements were made about the big turnout. So being just a mile from the school! I drove by. The north parking lot at the Middle School had maybe 300 cars or more. Bet there wasn't much distancing going on in the gym. A statement from one announcer said each player was given 4 tickets for family . those 80-100 must have driven 3 cars a piece. So the question is.... if it's OK to have large attendance @ Northridge..... why not elsewhere?

Joe King

We are now approaching 400,000 dead americans with 4000 deaths in a single day. One hospital doesn't make an entire community. And she said because people listened and followed health officials guidelines the numbers weren't high as expected////as Lagrange get put back in the Red Zone....Fire has the mentality that if eats a sand which, there must not be global hunger going on...or Elephants are so good at hiding in tree tops because you never see any....

fire111

I'm sorry Joe! WE know how you are! It's not 1 hospital Joe . Dale Patterson VP of Medical Affairs @ Memorial says covid admissions down 100 less at Memorial Beacon. Elkhart Beacon down 60% from last November. Goshen also down! And no Joe. The thing about trees wood be.... your quote is funnier than mine. Mine would be .... as a 38 year firefighter, I NEVER saw a cat skeleton in a tree. My quote is fact! Your quotes, not so much!

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