Lines form for COVID vaccines, testing

Jan. 20—ELKHART — Long lines could be spotted outside Elkhart Fire Station 3 on Wednesday as residents took advantage of free vaccines and testing for COVID-19.

The Indiana State Department of Health's Strike Team hosted the drive-thru clinic, which will take place from noon to 8 p.m. each day through Saturday.

Elkhart County already has two clinics, one at the Elkhart Central Fire Station and another at the Center for Healing & Hope.

Melanie Sizemore, the county health department administrator, said the state requested that the state open a four-day clinic to help reduce the positivity rate in the county.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health dashboard, the county's coronavirus numbers, already at all-time highs, continue to rise.

The seven-day average positive test rate was at 31.9 percent. The number of cases per 100,000 residents was over 1,000 in Elkhart County for the first time since the outbreak began, at 1,081.

And for the first time, the risk status in every county in the state was in the red category.

"Since turning red, we are seeing a significant increase in testing," Sizemore said.

Sizemore said the county does not have the funding to open a third clinic, but strives to inform the community when the state comes to town to open a temporary clinic.

"That's an extra site for that period of time," she said.

The state lists dozens of other locations in the county where residents can find tests or vaccinations.

Health officials continue to urge residents to wear masks in public, maintain distancing and get vaccinated.

About 44.5 percent of Elkhart County residents 5 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Representatives from Elkhart General or Goshen Hospital could not be reached on Wednesday.