96.1 WSBT Local Update

6/1/20 Update

–Case Counts: Nationally: 106,000+ deaths, 1.83 million cases. Michigan: nearly 5,500 deaths, 53,000+ cases. Berrien County: 49 deaths, 626 cases. Indiana: 1,960+ deaths, 34, 500+ cases. Eklhart County, 1,322 cases. St. Joseph County: 1,274 cases.


–Elkhart County passes St. Joseph County for highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the local area. Spike in cases partly due to reopenings of RV plants and other businesses, and Elkhart County does not have a mask-wearing policy.


–Concerns that mass protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis may inadvertantly cause a spike in coronavirus cases. Many protesters wearing masks, but some are not, and mass gatherings increase risk of transmission, plus make contact tracing much more difficult.


–South Shore Line has suspended all service today because of continuing protests in Chicago over the death of a man in police custody in Minneapolis.


— Survey: fewer Americans are concerned about being exposed to the virus while receiving necessary medical treatment. Elective medical procedures on the rise at hospitals across the country

5/22/20 Update

–Case counts: nationwide: 95,000+ deaths, 1.6 million+ cases. Michigan: 5,100+ deaths, 53,000+ cases. Berrien County: 40 deaths, 564 cases. Indiana: 1,700+ deaths, just under 30,000 cases. St. Joseph County: 1,062 cases.


–Indiana Governor Holcomb revises Stage 3 reopening order to exclude playgrounds and movie theaters. Park facilities such as tennis and basketball courts can reopen. Community swimming pools can also open.


–South Bend high schools will have belated in-person graduation ceremonies, separate for each high school, on July 24 or 25 at Four Winds Field.


–Obama administration scientists announce the US has about three months before a resurgence begins. Recommends stocking up on medical supplies, don’t count on vaccine being ready next year. Trump says country will be ready, will not close down again.

5/19/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 90,000+ deaths, 1.54 million cases. Michigan: 4,900+ deaths, nearly 52,000 cases. Berrien County: 30 deaths, 528 cases. Indiana: 1,600+ deaths, 28,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 35 deaths, 972 cases.


–Notre Dame announced students will return to campus for in-person classes in the fall semester, time schedule adjusted earlier. Students arrive week of August 10 (2 weeks earlier than usual), no fall break in October, semester finishes before Thanksgiving. Professors to prepare to teach on line if necessary.


–Michigan to open retail, restaurants, and bars in Upper Peninsula and northern lower peninsula starting Friday. Rest of state remains under lockdown, pending results up north.


–Indiana to allow fitness clubs/gyms to reopen starting Sunday, subject to requirements for screening, social distancing, etc.

5/15/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 86,600+ deaths, 1.45 million cases. Michigan: 4,700+ deaths, 49,000+ cases. Berrien County: 27 deaths, 470 cases. Indiana: 1,500+ deaths, 26,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 33 deaths, 870 cases.


–Stay at home emergecy orders affecting businesses that think they should be allowed to operate. Example: campgrounds where social distancing is relatively easy.


–Another three million new unemployment claims last week, for a total of over 36 million nationwide since mid-March. Unemployment rate expected to be near or above 20 percent at next update.


–Health department urges public to cooperate when approached by contact tracers. Says they will not seek perosnal or bank information, only who you’ve been around and how you feel.


–Immunologist demoted by Trump administration tells House committee US should be ready for a difficult upcoming winter with a resurgence of coronavirus. Dr. Rick Bright says “there is still no coordinated federal response to the ongoing crisis.”

5/13/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 83,000+ deaths, 1.4 million cases. Michigan: 4,650+ deaths, 48,000+ cases. Berrien County: 25 deaths, 411 cases. Indiana: 1,400+ deaths, 25,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 32 deaths, 826 cases.


–Coronavirus reinforces St. Joseph County decision to encourage mail-in voting for June 2nd primary election. Deadline to request mail-in ballot: May 21. Voters on June 2nd can choose from among 12 vote centers across the county to cast ballots. Previous precinct voting not available, in part because of inadequate staffing, in part because usual locations (schools, etc.) are unavailable.


–South Bend International Airport (SBN) suffering along with the rest of the air travel world from effects of coronavrus pandemic. Many commercial, general aviation flights canceled, related revenues (parking, concessions, FBO business) also way down. Too soon to know how much and how soon it will come back.


–Notre Dame raises $8.7 million for student financial aid in 8-hour live event Tuesday evening. University expects about 500 more students will need financial aid than before because of economic fallout from coronavirus.

5/12/20 Update

–Case Counts: Nationally: 81,000+ deaths, 1.38 million cases. Michigan: 4,500+ deaths, 47,500+ cases. Berrien County: 24 deaths, 403 cases. Indiana: 1,400+ deaths, 24,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 31 deaths, 811 cases.


–IN Workforce Development advises you risk losing unemployment beneifts altogether if you refuse offered work or falsily earnings.


–St. Joseph County deputy health officer Dr, Mark Fox worries about pptential growth of new Coronavirus cases because of restaurant reopenings.


–Cluster of cases on South Bend’s west/near northwest side concerns health department. Supsected cause: essential job workers bringing virus home to families.


–White House announces $11 billion going to states and territories for coronavirus testing.

5/11/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 80,000+ deaths, 1.37 million cases. Michigan: Berrien County, 22 deaths, 391 cases. Michigan: 4,550+ deaths, 47,000+ cases. Indiana: 1,375+ deaths, 24,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 30 deaths, 723 cases.


–Numerous businesses reopen across Indiana today, including restaurants (for inside dining, with restrictions), barbershops and hair salons (by appointment only, wait outside in car until called in). Some major stores like Macy’s at UP Mall are open.


–St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says increased mixing of people with reopenings will increase number of COVID cases.


–A lot of traditional summer events across our area may not happen this year, as fairs, festivals, and other events scramble to figure out if they can happen safely. Outright cancellations so far include the Leeper Park Art Fair, Elkhart Jazz Festival and Urban Adventure Games.


–Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issues formal opinion saying the Capitol Commission has legal authority to ban firearms inside the state capitol building. Commission vote on banning guns in building could come today. Legislature has ultimate say.


Another major US retailer may be about to fall into bankruptcy amid the coronavirus crisis. There’s a report out of New York that JC Penney is preparing to file as soon as this week, and close about 200 of its 850 stores nationwide. No word yet whether Penney’s at UP Mall will be affected.

5/8/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 76,000+ deaths, 1.29 million cases. Michigan: 4,300+ deaths, 45,000+ cases. Berrien County: 21 deaths, 354 cases. Indiana: 1,295 deaths, 22,500+ cases. St. Joseph County, 30 deaths, 709 cases.


–Inmate lockdown at St. Joseph County jail, after inmate recently transferred from state prison at Westville tested ppsitive. Inmate in medical isolation unit as contact tracing and testing check others he was in contact with.


–St. Mary’s College announces plans to resume normal on-campus classes for fall semester.


–Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends state’s stay at home order to May 28, but allows manufacturing to reopen effective Mon 5/11. Construction allowed to resume this week.


–US unemployment rate hits 14.7%, worst since 1940. More than 20 million jobs lost in April alone.

–NFL releases 2020 schedule: regular season begins Thu 9/10, Bears and Colts each open on the road Sun 9/13. Bears and Colts meet Sun 10/4 in Chicago.

5/7/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: ~75,000 deaths, 1.26 million+ cases. Michigan: 4,250 deaths, 45,000+ cases. Berrien County: 20 deaths, 344 cases. Indiana: 1,264 deaths, 21,800+ cases. St. Joseph County: 30 deaths, 698 cases.


–Billy Joel concert scheduled for Notre Dame Stadium June 20th postponed, rescheduled for June 26.2021, due to coronavirus.


–ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick says coronavirus pandemic will force all major colleges to restructure athletic programs to save money. Possible changes: less and cheaper travel, elimination of some non-revenue producing sports.

–Notre Dame reports it expects a full freshman class of about 2,000 students this fall, whether on campus or remote learning. University promises to make additional funds available for students needing more financial aid.


–Budget concerns due to coronavirus outbreak lead St. Joseph County to abandon fall leaf collections in unincorporated parts of the county, at least this year. Only bid was for a five year contract, something the county doesn’t want to commit to amid budget uncertainties.

5/6/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 72,000+ deaths, 1.24 million cases. Michigan: 4,100+ deaths, 44,000+ cases. Berrien County:20 deaths, 315 cases. Indiana: 1,200+ deaths, 21,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 30 deaths (including several from neighboring counties who died in local hospitals), 681 cases.


–St. Joseph County deputy health officer Dr. Mark Fox says health inspectors will enforce county’s mask order, but police will not. Fox says enforecement will target businesses, not individuals. Mask order runs through July 4th.


–Homeless woman dies in Roseland Motel 6 used by South Bend as housing for quarantining those without homes to shelter in. Roseland town council charges South Bend provides inadequate security to enforce quarantine, putting others in Roseland at risk.


–Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says college football season remains up in the air, but for now, opener in Ireland against Navy remains on the schedule, and they are planning as if it will be played. Swarbrick also says college athletics in general will likely look different after the pandemic, as schools look to cut costs.


–About 50-million Americans are seeing their credit card limits cut or their accounts closed because of the coronavirus outbreak’s effects on the economy. A new study by Lending Tree found that one in four credit card holders have either had their credit limits cut or their accounts closed during the past 30 days.

5/5/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 69,000+ deaths, 1.21 million cases. Michigan: 4,100+ deaths, ~44,000 cases. Berrien County: 20 deaths, 304 cases. Indiana: 1,150+ deaths, 20,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 24 deaths, 667 cases.

–St. Joseph County face mask requirement takes effect today thru July 4th. Mask must be worn covering nose and mouth in any indoor public setting where 6 feet of separation cannot be maintained. Practical effect: must wear indoors in public.


–South Bend travel advisory continues to May 11th. No non-essential travel in South Bend.


–Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood tweets that there is no travel advisory in his city. Says he will follow Governor Holcomb’s guidelines, but Mish. police will not enforce county mask order.


–University Park Mall among those reopening Monday, though only about 25% of stores were open. Anchor stores (JC Penney, Macy’s, Barnes & Noble) remained closed. Measures for social distancing in place. Separation between food court tables, some food court businesses open, others closed.


–Pork processing plant in Logansport IN (central Indiana) will reopen this week, after closing for two weeks after 900 employees tested COVID positive. Costco (among others) rationing amount of meat customers can buy per visit.


–Indiana Air National Guard to do A-10 Warthog flyover to honor front line COVID workers late today. Flyover reaches downtown South Bend at 6pm, plus or minus a minute or two. Also flying over Lafayette, Gary, Michigan City, Plymouth, Warsaw.

5/4/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 68,500+ deaths, 1.19 million cases. Michigan: 4,000+ deaths, 47, 500+ cases. Berrien County: 18 deaths, 300+ cases. Indiana: 1,100+ deaths, just under 20,000 cases. St. Joseph County: 20 deaths, 660 + cases.


–St. Joseph County health department issued order Sunday requiring wearing of face masks covering nose and mouth in all “enclosed public spaces,” meaning indoor spaces open to the public. Exceptions for medical need, and to give or receive services (you can take it off to eat, for ex.) Order in place May 5-July 4. Enforcement by health inspectors.


–Among those hurting during outbreak: non-profits (Example: Humane Society and blood donations). Tue 5/5 is “Giving Tuesday” to encourage support of charities and non-profits.


–Churches also considering whether and/or when to start holding traditional services again. Most are on line or outside since lockdown began.


–Car crash fatalities drop during COVID lockdown, as people drive a lot less. Michigan reports 67% decline in fatal crashes in April, compared to last April. But rate of drivers going 100mph or more is up substantially. Anecdotal reports of increased road rage.

4/29/20 Update

Case counts: Nationally: 59,000+ deaths, 1,040.000+ cases. Michigan: 3,500+ deaths, 37,000+ cases. Berrien County: 15 deaths, 232 cases. Indiana: 901 deaths, 16,500+ cases. St. Joseph County: 20 deaths, 606 cases.


–University Park Mall set to reopen to customers this Saturday (5/2). Owner Simon Properties plans to open 48 other malls nationwide as well. But if Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb extends the state’s stay at home executive order, mall could remain closed. Decision expected by Friday.


–Indiana State Department of Health orders all nursing homes and long-term care facilities to provide families of residents with daily updates on number of known coronavirus cases in their facilities, and what they are doing to keep residents safe. Family members complain of no information and no access to loved ones.


–Martin’s Supermarkets now requires all customers, staff, and vendors to wear face masks whenever they are inside a Martin’s store.


–RV shipments down 20% from last year following coronavirus shutdown.


–Those awarding the Oscars and Golden Globes make a this-year-only change to eligibility rules to allow digital releases that never appear in theaters to be eligible for awards. Most movie theaters are closed because of COVID-19, and many films may not get into theaters this year.

4/28/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationwide: 57,000+ deaths, 1 million+ cases. Michigan: 3,400+deaths, 38,000+ cases. Berrien County: 14 deaths, 217 cases. Indiana: 844 deaths, ~16,000 cases. St. Joseph County: 19 deaths, ~600 cases.


–Huge backups at Indiana Workforce Development with unemployment benefits. they say 80 percent of applications are simple enough to be dealt with automatically. 20% require further checking, and that means tens of thousands of people. They say they’re working through it as fast as they can.


–Notre Dame research suggests stay-at-home orders may be needed well into the summer. Analysis of models for fewest deaths, versus shorter time under restrictions. Key conclusion: what we do in the next week or so will make a huge difference down the road.


–Many Indiana dentists reopen, but only for treatment of problems. No routine cleanings as yet.


–Japanese head of Olympics scheduled for 20-21 says if they can’t have games in summer ’21 they will be canceled. But adds he expects them to happen when currently scheduled.

4/24/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 50,000+ deaths, 897,000+ cases. Indiana: 700+ deaths, 13,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 13 deaths, 531 cases. Micchigan: ~3,000 deaths, 35,000+ cases. Berrien County: 11 deaths, 189 cases.


–Indiana begins study to sample a representative 5,000 people. Subjects will be tested for COVID-19 and for antibodies to show they’ve been exposed in the past on four occasions: now, late May, October, and next April. State Health Commissioner says study will establish how widespread the virus is, guiding decisions on reopenings and gatherings.


–Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends stay at home order to May 15, lifts restrictions on some businesses. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, plant nurseries and bike repair shops can resume operating, subject to social-distancing rules.


–Drive-in theater in Plymouth planned to reopen today under county permission, but state excise police advised it would violate Governor’s executive orders. Owners of Tri-Way Drive-In seeking clarification, will not open until they understand their legal position better.


–US House passes half trillion dollar COVID relief bill, sending it to President Trump. Key features: $380 billion for small businesses, money for testing and hospitals. President signing it today.

4/23/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: ~48,000 deaths, 855,000+ cases. Michigan: 2,800+ deaths, ~43,000 cases. Berrien County: 11 deaths, 177 cases. Indiana: 661 deaths, 12,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 12 deaths, 502 cases.


–Tyson Foods to shut down pork processing plant in Logansport (Cass Co. IN) for 2 weeks after 146 employees test positive for Coronavirus. Plant employs 2,200. Shutdown takes effect by Saturday.


–Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer says she expects to extend the state’s stay at home order beyond April 30th, even if she relaxes some requirements on businesses. Also announced 2 week furloughs for about 2,900 state workers (6% of workforce).


–Washington DC: House expected to easily pass $483 billion bill to aid small businesses affected by tanking economy during pandemic. Also includes money for hospitals and testing. Passage sends it to President Trump, who has indicated he will sign it.


–New research in Journal of the American Medical Assn. reports men are more likely than women to get seriously ill from COVID infections. Study backs up anecdotal reports from doctors.

4/22/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 45,000+ deaths, 827,000+ cases. Michigan: 2,700 deaths, 33,000 cases. Berrien County: 10 deaths, 170 cases, Indiana: 630 deaths, 12,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 12 deaths, 478 cases.


–US Senate passes $483 billion coronavirus response bill, including $330 billion for small businesses, and money for hospitals and testing. House scheduled to vote on it tomorrow. President tweeted support for it.


–IN Education Supt. Jennifer McCormick says full return to classrooms for k-12 students this fall is probably “pie in the sky.” State considering remote learning, and maybe some classroom learning with severe social distancing restrictions for fall.


–Spectrum Lakeland Health in St. Joseph among locations trying out experimental COVID treatment using plasma from people who have recovered from the virus.

4/21/20 Update

–Case counts: nationally: 42,900+ deaths, 800,000+ cases. Michigan: 2,400+ deaths, 32,000+ cases. Berrien County: 8 deaths, 164 cases. Indiana: 569 deaths, 11,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 11 deaths, 452 cases.


–At least 60 of St. Joseph County’s coronavirus cases are from a single long-term care facility the Health Dept. does not identify, but families of victims tell the South Bend Tribune it is Cardinal Nursing and Rehabilitation on East LaSalle Street in South Bend.


–Governors Eric Holcomb (R-IN) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) say there are possibilities for lifting some portions of stay at home orders in early May. But both say it will depend on Coronavirus trend information, and the better we do at social distancing now, the sooner things can ease up. The Governors say there is a real danger of a resurgence if restrictions are eased too fast or too soon.


–Oil prices have hit record lows again today, as demand has now fallen well below any previous measures, and oil suppliers are running out of storage. Gas can be found under $1.40 a gallon all over South Bend. Oil producers are facing potential bankruptcy in short order if nothing changes.


–Coronavirus testing is supposed to be free, but some in St. Joseph County are getting billed (https://wsbt.com/news/local/coronavirus-testing-is-free-but-some-in-st-joseph-county-are-getting-billed)

4/17/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationally: 146,000+ deaths, 675,000+ cases. Michigan: 1,200+ deaths, 29,000+ cases. Berrien County: 7 deaths, 133 cases. Indiana: 477 deaths, 9,500+ cases. St. Joseph County: 7 deaths, 334 cases. Elkhart County: 3 deaths, 123 cases. LaPorte County: 5 deaths, 112 cases.


–Beacon Health System is offering a drive-up mobile testing site from noon to 3 p.m. Friday outside Goodwill Industries, 1805 W. Western Ave. South Bend. The tests are first come-first served, and officials say for testing, people must be symptomatic with fever, cough, or shortness of breath.


–St. Joseph Health System is operating testing sites at Sister Maura Brannick Health Center, 326 Chapin St., and a mobile medical unit at Northwest Family Medicine Clinic, 2930 Cleveland Rd. Health officials require people to call 574-335-8560 before coming to these testing sites.

–South Bend Medical Foundation beginning collection of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. FDA has approved emergency use of such plasma in critically ill COVID patients in the hope that immune antibodies contained in it will help treat the infection.


–President Trump announces “phased and deliberate approach” to reopening the US economy starting in May. Says it will first happen in areas of low virus transmission, and Governors of states will have final say on what happens in their states. Many governors say they need greater testing capacity and contact tracing before they can reduce restrictions.


–Seven midwestern state Governors (IN MI OH KY IL WI MN) say they will coordinate policies on relaxing economic restrictions. Includes Indiana, Michigan, and all neighboring US states.

4/15/20 Update

Case counts: Nationally: 26,000+ deaths, 614,000+ cases. Michigan: 1,700+ deaths, 27,000+ cases. Berrien County: 5 deaths, 111 cases. Indiana: 387+ deaths, 8,500+ cases. St. Joseph County: 5 deaths, 264 cases.


–New spike in St. Joseph county cases has at least two factors: a) increased testing capacity, meaning we’re finding more cases, even if the growth of cases is plateauing: b) concentration of cases in senior long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.


–Michigan businesses near Indiana complain that their restrictions are tougher than Indiana’s putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Drive by protest today at state capitol in Lansing to protest Governor Whitmer and urge quicker relaxation of restrictions.


–1st mobile COVID testing site in St. Joseph County today at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church on South St. Joseph Street in South Bend. Must have symptoms of COVID and state issued ID. Noon-3pm or as long as testing supplies last. 3 days or less for results.


–Federal stimulus payments hitting direct deposit accounts this week and next.


–Today is NOT tax day. April 15 deadline extended to July 15 due to COVID crisis.

4/14/20 Update

–Case counts: nationally: 23,000+ deaths, 587,000+ cases. Michigan: 1,600+ deaths, 25,000+ cases. Berrien County: 4 deaths (3 in one senior care facility), 105 cases. Indiana: 350 deaths, 8,200+ cases. St. Joseph County: 3 deaths, 194 cases.


–St. Joseph County health officer Dr. Mark Fox makes the following points: A) peak of infections locally is likely this week, but peak of demand on hosptals and doctors is likely several weeks off, because it takes up to 2 weeks for symptoms to appear. B) While they are starting to think about scenarios to reopen the economy. we are still AT LEAST several weeks from being able to. Says the data will tell us when.


–Indiana likely to be borrowing federal TItle XII funds later this year to keep playing state unemployment benefits. Expect to run through reserve funds in the next 3-4 months.


–Ford and 3M are teaming up on a new air purifying respirator for COVID-19 patients. Paid UAW volunteers begin production today at a plant near Flint,  Michigan.


–Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says protests will not persuade her to loosen stay at home orders before health experts and statistics say she should. Says loosening up too soon could bring another wave of infections.


–Wakarusa-based Tri-County Ambulance sending four ambulances and 9 people to New York to help with COVID-19 outbreak.

4/13/20 Update

–Case counts: 22,000+ deaths, 361,000+ cases. Michigan: nearly 1,500 deaths, 25,000+ cases. Berrien County: 4 deaths, 104 cases. Indiana: 343 deaths, 8,000+ cases. St. Joseph County: 3 deaths, 192 cases.


–Michigan opens 13 new sites for COVID testing today, including in Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Recommended you call and get screened over the phone before you show up. Each site can test up to 100 people a day; new lab facilities to turn results quickly.


–It’s Dyngus Day, normally a huge day locally for Polish food and politics. No political meetings because of social separation, but many restaurants offer carry out or drive-thru Polish meals.


–Federal stimulus money starts hitting people’s bank accounts this week. $1,200 per person who makes less than $75,000 per year. Those with direct deposit info already on file with IRS get theirs first. Those without will wait until IRS can ramp up enough capacity to churn out all the paper checks necessary. Estimate: weeks or months.

4/10/20 Update

–Case counts still rising. Nationally: 17,000+ deaths, 469,000+ cases. Michigan: 1,000+ deaths, 21,500+ cases. Berrien County, 2 deaths, 80 cases. Cass County: 1 death, 10 cases. Indiana: 300 deaths, 6,900+ cases. St. Joseph County, 2 deaths, 165 cases. Elkhart County: 3 deaths, 61 cases. LaPorte County: 3 deaths, 31 cases.


–Sunburst races postponed from June 6th, possible reschedule for August, date not yet decided. Finish line will likely NOT be in ND Stadium, maybe Four Winds Field.


–South Bend schools will proceed with referendum to raise $220 million over 8 years on June 2nd primary ballot. Considered delay because of coronavirus.


–Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends statewide stay-at-home order through April 30th. Further extensions are possible.


–British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is out of intensive care after several days there fighting COVID-19. Said to be improving.


–NASA satellite data shows the US and world’s air is a lot cleaner with the economic slowdown due to coronavirus. Expected to get dirtier again when people start traveling again. In northern India, people can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades.

4/08/20 Update

–Case counts: Nationwide: 12,900+ deaths, 401,000+ cases. Michigan: 845 deaths, 17,900+ cases. Berrien County: 2 deaths, 64 cases. Cass County: 1 death, 9 cases. Indiana: 203 deaths, 5,900+ cases. St. Joseph County: 1 death, 142 cases. Elkhart County: 3 deaths, 46 cases. LaPorte County: 3 deaths, 28 cases.


–CDC may loosen guidelines to allow emergency workers like nurses, doctors, and first responders to return to work 14 days or more after exposure to COVID-19, provided they are symptom free, wear face masks at work, and have temperature checked twice a day.


–New York City death toll tops 4,000, a thousand more than died in the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.


–British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care with COVID-19, the first major world leader hit by the virus. Reportedly on oxygen, but not on a ventilator.


–School City of Mishawaka closing playgrounds, taking down basketball goals to discourage kids playing without social distancing. Mishawaka will also end its school year early, on May 20th.

4/07/20 Update

–St. Joseph County health officer Dr. Mark Fox says the county is 2-to-3 weeks away from the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. Number of cases is doubling about every 5 days.


–Case counts: Nationally: 11,000 + deaths, 368,000+ cases. Michigan: 727 deaths, 17,000+ cases. Berrien County reports 2nd death from COVID-19. 60 cases reported in Berrien County. Indiana: 173 deaths, 5,500+ cases, half of them in Indy metro area. St. Joseph County, 135 cases. Elkhart County, 43 cases.


–Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb closes state park campgrounds until further notice. Parks are open, but facilities and buildings are closed.


–Food Bank of Northern Indiana sees big increase in demand amid rising unemployment due to coronavirus closures. Food Bank wants cash donations in particular. FeedIndiana.org.


–School City of Mishawaka announces the school year will end earlier than usual, on May 20th. No in-person classes until further notice, remote learning, if necessary, until the end of school.


–British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care in London. He announced last week he was positive for COVID-19, was hospitalized Saturday, and has deteriorated since then.

4/03/20 Update

–Case count: Worldwide: 1,000,000+ cases, 53,000+ deaths. USA: 245,000+ cases, 6,000+ deaths. Michigan: 10,791 cases, 417 deaths. Indiana: 3,437 cases, 101 deaths. St. Joseph County: 1 death, 72 cases. Elkhart County: 3 deaths, 27 cases. Berrien County: 1 death, 40 cases. Cass County: 1 death, 6 cases. Michigan update expected around 2pm.


–Both governors (IN & MI) have officially ended in-person classes for grades K-12 for the school year. Local districts must submit plans for remote learning to state authorities to cover enough days to reach state minimums for days of learning. Seniors who complete their work will graduate on time, though ceremonies will not be held.


–Indiana High School Athletic Assn. (IHSAA) formally cancels all spring sports.


–Billionaire Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is donating 100-million dollars to Feeding America to replenish their network of food banks and pantries. Oprah Winfrey donates 10-million to COVID-19 relief.


–Video game sales around the world are smashing records as people are stuck at home. Industry analysts say video games provide safe entertainment for people under stay-at-home orders and give them a way to stay in touch with friends as well.

4/02/20 Update

–Senior PGA Championship golf tournament canceled this morning by PGA of America, after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a new emergency order extending stay at home order and non-essential business closures another 70 days, into early June.


–Whitmer also ended in-person school classes in grades K-12 for the remainder of the school year, said seniors will be allowed to graduate, and standardized testing this spring is canceled.


–COVID-19 case numbers: Indiana: 78 deaths, 3,039 cases. St. Joseph County, 1 death, 65 cases. Elkhart County: now 3 deaths, 27 cases. Michigan: 337 deaths, 9,334 cases. Berrien County, 1 death, 38 cases. Cass County: 1 death, 6 cases. New Michigan update around 2pm.


–US Labor Department reports 6.6 million people filed new unemployment claims last week, doubling the record set the previous week. Seen as clear indication of a deep recession taking hold amid the stay at home orders and non-essential business shutdowns to fight the coronavirus.


–Presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden tells MSNBC’s Brian Williams that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is among those on his list of possible choices for his Vice-Presidential running mate. Biden previously suggested he would name a woman to the number two spot on his ticket.

4/01/20 Update

–Case count update: Indiana: 65 fatalities, 2,565 cases. St. Joseph County, 1 death, 57 cases. Elkhart County, 2 deaths, 23 cases. Michigan: 259 deaths (80% in Detroit metro), 7,615 cases. Berrien County, 1 death, 35 cases. Cass County: 1 death, 4 cases. Nationally: 4,000+ deaths, 189,000+ cases.


— Spring allergy season underway. Key symptom differences between allergies and COVID: allergies don’t cause a fever, usually don’t cause persistent cough.


–Bremen auto parts maker NISCO converts to making masks and gowns for medical personnel and first responders. Ditto; Carrhart workwear company in suburban Detroit.


–Additional cancellations/postponements: Holy Cross College graduation (moved to Labor Day weekend), Goshen Air Show and Fireworks (cancelled, was to be July 11th)

3/31/20 Update

–Case counts continue to climb. Indiana: 49 deaths, 2,156 cases. St. Joseph County, 49 cases. Michigan: 184 deaths, 6,498 cases. Berrien County: 32 cases. Nationwide: 3,100+ deaths, 164,000+ cases.


–indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed an executive order Monday allowing some professionals who do not currently hold an active license to practice, including retired doctors and nurses, those licensed in other states, and some medical students and graduates.


–Indiana Workforce Development is trying to keep up with all the applications for unemployment benefits, but admits there are many more calling than they can handle right now. Spokesman Josh Richardson says most applicants can complete the entire process on line.


–Red Cross notes big drop in blood donations, urges us all to check at RedCross.org for ways to donate.


–It’s not nearly enough to make up for jobs lost, but there are people hiring these days. Kroger in Michigan says it wants about two thousand more workers, as they struggle to keep up with demand.


–Notre Dame says commencement will be held on line May 17, diplomas will be mailed to graduates in June. University will host a special event for 2020 grads Memorial Day weekend 2021.


–The Morris announces cancellation of remaining performances of “The Lion King.”

3/30/20 Update

–President Trump extends White House social distancing guidelines through at least the end of April, admitting it will not be business as usual by Easter, as he had hoped.


–St. Joseph County health officer Dr. Mark Fox says he believes the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak locally will come in about two weeks.


–US Surgeon General names Indianapolis as likely coming hot spot for COVID-19. Says Indy is tracking similar to other hot spots like New York, Detroit, and others.


–The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continues to rise, with more than 143,000 people testing positive and a death toll now over 2,500. Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIH says total US deaths could top 100,000 before it’s all over.


–Local case numbers: St. Joseph County: 1 death, 38 cases. Elkhart County: 12 cases. LaPortre County: 6 cases. Indiana: 132 deaths 1,786 cases, 1,000+ in metro Indy. Michigan: 5,486 cases (4,000 in metro Detroit). Berrien County, 29 cases. Cass County, 4 cases.


–Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) urges compliance with social distancing, hygiene precautions, predicts testing improvements will ultimately allow many to return to normal activities.


–Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces extended unemployment benefits to help cover contract workers and low wage employees not currently covered.

3/27/20 Update

–Case counts are starting to climb rapidly. Indiana: 24 deaths, 981 cases (645 yesterday), 28 cases in St. Joseph County, first death reported. All surrounding counties now have cases. Michigan: 60 deaths, 2,856 cases, 11 cases in Berrien County. Detroit a hot spot for the virus. Nationwide: 86,000+ cases, 1,300+ deaths. About 45% of cases in New York City area.


–British Prime Minister Boris Johnson becomes first major world leader known to test positive for the virus. Has persistent cough, but is working from isolation at home.


–House of Representatives voting today on $2 trillion economic incentive package passed by Senate earlier this week. President Trump promises to sign promptly once passed.


–Better Business Bureau warns of coronavirus scams: callers or emailers claiming to be from government agencies offering help to get your check from economic stimulus package. Also peddling treatments, cures, and fake tests for coronavirus. A) nobody has to help you get your check. B) there is no known cure, treatment, or prevention for virus. C) the faster they want you to act, the more likely it’s a scam.

3/26/20 Update

–US Senate passed $2 trillion economic stimulus package overnight. House vote could come as early as Friday. President Trump has promised to sign if House passes the bill unchanged. Key provisions: $1,200 checks to many American individuals, small business bailouts provided they keep employees, guaranteed government loans to larger corporations.


–Today’s case data: Indiana: 17 deaths, 645 cases, 21 in St. Joseph County, 7 in Elkhart County, 2 in LaPorte County, first case reported in Marshall County. Michigan: 43 deaths, 2,294 cases, 10 in Berrien County. Nationwide totals: 66,000+ cases, 1,000+ deaths.


–Today (Thursday) the Food Bank of Northern Indiana in South Bend is hosting drive-through food distribution for families in need. Each family will be given a bag of assorted dry goods: one pack of frozen meat and one pack of frozen fruit. They ask you to have your trunk open in order to minimize contact. Starts at 3pm at Food Bank on Chapin.


–New York Times reports more 3.3 million new unemployment claims were filed across the US last week, a new record. Strong indication of the economic toll the pandemic is taking.


–Stay at home orders continue in effect in Indiana and Michigan. The better we are at social distancing, the less time we’ll have to do it.

3/25/20 Update

–Case count: Indiana, 14 deaths 477 cases, 19 in St. Joseph County, 5 in Elkhart County, 2 in LaPorte County. Michigan: 24 deaths, 1,791 cases, 8 in Berrien County. Nationwide: 55,000+ cases, 800+ deaths.


–President Trump and Senate leaders of both parties agree on $2 trillion economic stimulus package, Senate passage expected within days; House must also pass before Trump can sign into law. Direct cash payments to many American workers, small business aid to keep employees on payroll, guaranteed loans to larger businesses.


–People who intentionally spread the coronavirus could face criminal charges under federal terrorism laws, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official said Tuesday.


–Buckingham Palace reports Prince Charles, 71, heir to the throne, has coronavirus. Mild symptoms, isolating at home. Other celebrities with the virus include singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, 71.

3/24/20 Update:

–Current case counts: Indiana, 365, 12 deaths, 15 cases in St. Joseph County. Michigan: 1,328 cases, 15 deaths, 5 cases in Berrien County. Nationally: 46,000+ cases, 585 deaths.


–Stay at home order already in effect in Michigan. Indiana’s takes effect at midnight tonight. Stay at home, unless you are getting food or medicine, going to/from an essential job, taking care of animals, or dealing with necessary vehicle, home repairs. Outside recreation/exercise is encouraged, but maintain social distancing (6 feet from others). Indiana’s order is two weeks, Michigan’s three, but either/both could be extended.


–Alarming rate of new cases noted in and around New York City. Governor Andrew Cuomo reports hotel/convention space being hastily converted to field hospitals to help handle overload of patients. This is why stay at home orders are important in other states like Indiana. The idea is to slow transmission of the virus to a level the health care system can handle. About a third of all cases nationally are in New York.


–Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend delays scheduled opening for 2020. Was to be April 3rd. Zoo will reevaluate when Governor lifts stay at home order. No date decided on so far.


–International Olympic Committee confirms Summer Olympics scheduled to start in late July in Japan will be postponed, possibly to 2021. Canada, Australia, and US all said they would not participate if games happened on schedule.