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Health officials say Elkhart County seeing spike in young adults with coronavirus

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - As the search for a solution to Elkhart County’s infamous rise of coronavirus cases continues, local health officials say young people may be partly to blame.

“They’re young and they kind of think they are invincible. They are not wearing masks and they are not social distancing. That is what we think is happening,” Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz says.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, young people 29 and under are responsible for more than one third of positive cases in Elkhart County at 34.8%-- more than any other age group.

“The younger age group spike is not unique to Elkhart County, but our numbers are just bigger overall. The whole state is seeing an uptick in cases in the ages of 0-29, which is not something we saw at the beginning of this virus,” City of Elkhart spokesperson Corinne Straight-Reed says.

Another reason to blame for an uptick in cases, according to Dr. Mertz, are delayed test results.

“We’re just getting labs back that were done over a week ago, that were done more than 10 days ago. We’re just getting a whole batch of results at once and that’s not -- so we have to go back and look and see when was the test actually done, when was it actually collected, and that is very time consuming,” Mertz explains.

It is an issue Mertz says the CDC will be analyzing over the next several weeks, as members of their team will be working with local health officials side-by-side to help turn things around in Elkhart County.

“We are really fortunate to be able to get these experts to come and look at the situation with us and determine what else we can do to make the numbers better here,” Mertz says.

According to Mertz, it will likely take a couple of weeks before the CDC can come up with concrete results on what Elkhart County can do to help lower the spread of the virus moving forward.

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