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Comparing coronavirus trends in Indiana and Michigan

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:36 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A surge in COVID-19 cases in the Hoosier State pushed their total case count past Michigan’s for the first time on Monday.

16 News Now reporter Jack Springgate spoke with health officials from both Michigan and Indiana to tell us what is causing these trends.

It’s hard to say these trends are caused by any one factor, but health officials on both sides of the state line say safety precautions each state has in place and how well people are following them, have a lot to do with the trends we’re seeing.

Indiana’s population is roughly two thirds of Michigan’s yet the Hoosier State has more confirmed positive cases.

While these numbers tell us how many people are contracting COVID-19, Gillian Conrad with the Berrien County Health Department says the precautions and restrictions put in place by each state tell us why we’re seeing these trends.

“In Indiana, they’ve moved to stage 5 of their reopening plan which has fewer restrictions on people to move freely about, gather in groups, may or may not wear face coverings, schools are opening up in Indiana. They’ve been open in many areas of Michigan. So comparing and contrasting what has been in place with executive orders or mandates placed by governors or local officials are very important to understand why numbers might be what they are,” Conrad said.

Here’s a look at how we got here. Just two months ago, Michigan had twenty-thousand more cases than Indiana.

One month ago, that difference is cut in half.

The newest numbers show Indiana has more cases than the Michigan.

St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says remaining at stage five of the back on track plan is sending the wrong message to Hoosiers.

“Part of the concern is the psychological impact of going to stage 5 which for some people sends a signal that--O.K. we’re safe going about and pursuing greater interaction in the community and that we don’t need to be as attentive to the safeguards,” Fox said.

Dr. Fox says there are safe ways to spend time together safely, but you have to be mindful of safety factors like mask wearing, physical distance, whether people are washing their hands, and the amount of time spent indoors.

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