SOUTH BEND — In April, families of residents at Cardinal Nursing and Rehabilitation in South Bend became alarmed over what appeared to be a coronavirus outbreak at the facility.

Dozens of residents eventually tested positive, with some deaths following, in what proved to be St. Joseph County’s first outbreak at a nursing home.

In the weeks since, several other nursing homes in the county and surrounding communities have also seen clusters or outbreaks of the virus, with hundreds more people affected, driving the number of overall cases and accounting for the largest share of deaths. Some facilities, though, are now reporting drops in cases.

Altogether, 231 nursing home patients and employees in St. Joseph County had tested positive for COVID-19 as of last week, according to Dr. Mark Fox, the county’s deputy health officer.

The cases account for nearly 14% of the total number of known COVID-19 infections in the county. But of the 68 coronavirus deaths in the county as of Wednesday, nearly 74% were nursing home residents.

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