ELKHART — The number of COVID-19 cases in Elkhart County and the state continues to surge into record territory, health officials reported Thursday.
In Elkhart County, 412 new cases of the disease related to the coronavirus were reported from Wednesday, about 15 percent higher than the previous one-day record of 357 cases set on Nov. 6, bringing the total number of positive cases in the county to 13,246.
Two new deaths were reported, both from Wednesday, bringing that total to 179, according to the daily snapshot compiled by the Indiana State Department of Health.
Health officials have been warning about the implications stemming from community spread of the virus, saying hospitals have reached their limits to care for the critically ill.
Elkhart General on Thursday reported 91 COVID-related hospitalizations, while Goshen Health had 41 cases, for a combined 132 hospitalizations. Just two months ago, the total had been around 20.
The moving average of positive tests in the county rose to a new high of 16.5 percent, surpassing for the first time the rate of 16.3 percent set on April 14. The average positive rate for individuals tested rose to 32.1 percent, also a new high.
Testing also reached new highs.
Many of the testing sites in Elkhart County are experiencing significant wait times due to the number of people needing to be tested, County Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz said Thursday.
“We ask for your patience during this time,” she said.
The testing site in Nappanee has less of a wait than the rest, Mertz said. It is located at the Goshen Health Anglemeyer Clinic at 1953 Waterfall Drive, Nappanee.
Similar spikes were reported statewide.
Indiana health officials reported 51 more coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday as the state also saw new record levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations and confirmed coronavirus infections.
Indiana hospitals were treating 2,569 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday, the most at any point during the pandemic and a 200 percent increase since Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions in late September. COVID-19 patients now make up 31 percent of those in the state’s intensive care units – triple the percentage in September.
The state health department on Thursday also reported 6,642 new coronavirus infections. That is the first time daily reported infections have topped 6,000 and the moving seven-day average of new infections is six times higher than in September.
The state now has 4,813 pandemic fatalities, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections since March.
Holcomb cited concerns about hospitals being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in announcing Wednesday the reinstatement of limits on social gathering sizes for nearly all counties across the state.