ST. JOSEPH COUNTY — New data on cases in St. Joseph County has revealed a surprising number of younger people testing positive.
The demographics of coronavirus cases in St. Joe County don’t line up with national or even state statistics.
But the St. Joe County Health Department expects they soon will.
New data, once again showing that nobody can avoid getting the coronavirus.
According to recent numbers in St. Joseph County, half of all positive cases are people 40 and under.
In contrast, statewide only about a quarter of all cases fall in that age group.
“We happen to have clusters within families or within smaller social networks, I guess just coincidentally happen to involve people pushing 40, but not quite 40,” said Dr. Mark Fox, St. Joseph County Health Department.
Dr. Fox says there’s no real reasoning behind those numbers. He said a lot of those people dined or traveled together, came into contact at work and a lot got it from a relative.
A surprising fact since data from other countries suggest a low percentage of household transmission.
“It’s a relatively small number of infections that we’re talking about here, but it struck me that there were some pretty tight clusters of networks that had seem to be impacted,” said Dr. Fox.
He says that number of young people is easing the strain on local hospitals, since younger people typically don’t require hospitalization.
But the county still has 500+ tests they’re awaiting results on, which Fox believe will change the demographics.
Overall, the northern region hasn’t seen a major surge in cases, pointing to the possibility that social distancing is having an effect.
“When you look at the state data as a whole, the last data set I looked at it did show at least some decrease in the steepness of that curve,” said Fox.
As a state is expected to peak in mid-April, but Fox expects the northern region to peak later than Indianapolis.
Fox says until then and for some time after, social distancing will be the best thing we can do.
We also asked Dr. Fox about testing in the area.
Right now, he said there’s about a 6-day delay on test results, which is a long time compared to other areas around the country.
He says hot spots are currently being prioritized.
Targeted testing is still be practiced and Fox says he expects that 6 to 8 weeks from now there will be more universal access to coronavirus tests.