ELKHART — Elkhart County continued to lead the state in new COVID-19 infections Friday with 87.

Two additional deaths also were reported Friday, bringing the county’s toll to 38, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Eighty-five of the 87 newly reported cases were from Thursday with the other two from May 29 and June 1. The new deaths were both from Wednesday.

In an open letter to the community, Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz acknowledged the high rate of positive cases, hospitalizations and a rising death count, and she urged residents to be vigilant even as they celebrate Father’s Day over the weekend.

“Wherever you are and whatever you do to honor your father, please remember we are a hot spot of the pandemic,” Mertz said. “Protect those you love by using social distancing, wearing a mask, covering coughs/sneezes, washing your hands and staying home if you are sick. Please do not put the lives of the people you love in jeopardy by ignoring this virus or downplaying its potential to kill.”

The newest tally showed 2,477 infections had been confirmed in Elkhart County since the outbreak began in mid-March. That’s the third highest total in the state, behind Marion County with 10,885 and Lake County with 4,326.

The 85 new cases in the county on Thursday followed the one-day high of 115 cases on Wednesday. It also led all other counties for the day, followed by Marion (54), Lake (37) and Allen (25).

Across the state, 23 more Indiana residents have died from COVID-19, pushing the state’s confirmed and presumed deaths over 2,500, state heath officials said Friday.

Eighteen of the 23 newly reported deaths occurred Wednesday and Thursday, raising the state’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths to 2,327, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

The state agency has also recorded 189 fatalities considered coronavirus-related by doctors but without confirmation of the illness from test results. Those deaths give Indiana 2,516 confirmed or presumed deaths from the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

The state health department also reported 389 more coronavirus cases Friday, increasing Indiana’s total confirmed cases to 41,746.

To date, 392,887 test results have been reported to the state agency and about 11 percent of those results have been positive for the coronavirus.

In Elkhart County, 533 new tests have been completed, bringing the total to 17,344. The positive test rate locally is 14.3 percent, state health officials said.

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