BENTON HARBOR — It was a deadly weekend in Berrien County for COVID-19 deaths.

The county recorded seven new COVID deaths on Saturday, Dec. 12, alone, with another being reported on Monday.

Saturday was one of the single most deadly days of the pandemic so far in Berrien County.

This brought the county’s death toll to 135. The deaths continue to be people older than 40.

COVID hospitalizations at Spectrum Health Lakeland rose to one of its highest levels ever reported on Sunday. The hospital reported having 70 patients as of 10 a.m. It reported having 66 patients on Saturday and Monday mornings.

As deaths mount and hospitalizations remain high, recoveries outpaced new cases over the weekend in Berrien County. The county added 478 recoveries and 260 new COVID-19 cases over the three days. That’s compared to 266 recoveries and 311 new cases last weekend.

This brings the number of active cases in the county to about 3,726. That’s down from 3,913 the previous Monday.

Van Buren County added four deaths over the weekend, bringing its death toll to 61. Cass County added one death, bringing its death toll to 36.

In addition, Van Buren recorded 100 new COVID-19 cases and Cass County recorded 82. That’s lower than what the counties recorded last weekend. Van Buren County added 145 new cases last weekend, while Cass added 95.

School outbreaks

The state, on Monday, released a report showing several small COVID-19 outbreaks in Berrien County schools.

It was reported that Brown Elementary School in St. Joseph recently had three COVID cases in both students and staff.

Brandywine Middle/High School had two staff member cases, while Lakeshore High School had two student cases.

Blossomland Learning Center had four cases in both students and staff.

Outbreaks are defined as two or more COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households.

Long-term care facilities

COVID outbreaks at area long-term care facilities continue to ebb and flow, according to the state’s report on Monday.

Riveridge Rehab and Health Center at Niles recorded just three new resident cases and five new staff cases last week, though it also saw nine resident deaths.

Pine Ridge Rehab and Nursing Center in Stevensville, which had also been dealing with an outbreak, recorded four new resident cases and two new staff cases.

Royalton Manor in St. Joseph, which is still dealing with an outbreak, recorded 20 new resident cases, 16 new staff cases and one resident death, according to Monday’s report.

The Timbers of Cass County in Dowagiac saw its number of resident cases double over last week, to 32. It also had three resident deaths and 10 staff member cases.

A few other facilities reported new cases in residents and staff. View the whole report at

Contact:, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman

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