Coronavirus updates for Saturday, May 23, 2020

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR/TEGNA/AP) — Saturday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees test positive for COVID-19 at Carrier manufacturing facility

13News has learned that there are now a total of five people who work at Carrier on West Morris Street in Indianapolis who have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday, when two people were sent home.

One of the male employees who tested positive in these latest cases had no signs or symptoms often associated with the virus. He’s encouraging not only his coworkers at Carrier to get tested, but everyone.

According to an official at Union Steele Workers of America Local Union 1999, who represents employees at Carrier, the union was waiting on an email from the company on Monday about the first two cases that resulted in the shutdown of one production line.

Large-scale coronavirus vaccine testing program aims to meet year-end goal

A vaccine expert at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Dr. Larry Corey, told Reuters, somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 people are expected to be enrolled in a massive coronavirus vaccine testing program.

Corey says a highly effective vaccine could be tested in about 6 months if researchers see a large difference between the vaccine and a placebo.

Another possible time frame for what researchers are calling a "modestly effective vaccine" could take nine to 12 months.

A public private partnership being called Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) was announced last month and it's part of a massive effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Vaccines will be tested with healthcare workers and in communities where the virus is still spreading. Washington, D.C. has not reached the peak of the outbreak so the nation's capital is one likely test site according to Reuters.

Latest Indiana data continues to show slight drop in daily tests coming back positive

Saturday's data shared by the Indiana State Department of Health shows 513 new cases of COVID-19 reported statewide.

Indiana's total number of deaths rose to 1,812 with 21 new deaths recorded between April 27 and May 22.

Another 152 probable deaths have been reported to ISDH based on clinical diagnoses in patients with no positive test on record. Deaths are reported based on when the ISDH is notified, and those deaths have occurred over multiple days.

Out of nearly 215,000 total tests statewide, 14.4 percent have come back positive for the virus.

Marion County now has more than 9,000 cases. That’s about a third of the cases in the state.

Virus cases drop to zero in China but surge in Latin America

Coronavirus cases are dropping in much of Asia even as the outbreak surges in Latin America while the world grapples with balancing the urge to restart economies with fears about health risks.

China, where the outbreak began late last year, reported no new confirmed cases for the first time.

In South Korea, there were 23 fresh infections, mostly from the densely populated Seoul area where authorities shut down thousands of nightclubs and bars. The encouraging reports are likely to set off a much awaited thrust to get back to business as governments have been readying social-distancing measures to reopen economies.

Movie theaters taking cautious approach to opening

A number of national theater chains in Indiana don’t seem to be in a rush to open.

Originally, the state plan to reopen would have let theaters open this weekend. Governor Eric Holcomb, however, pushed that date back to June 14.

“When we open, there is no reason to do it in a way that would put anybody at risk or do anything that would not be in the best interest of the community,” said Jonah Crismore, Executive Director of Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington.

Crismore says they’ve gotten feedback from customers who say they prefer for the theater to take their time.

Under Stage 3:

  • People can gather in groups up to 100
  • Restaurant dining rooms remain at 50 percent capacity
  • Retail stores and malls open to 75 percent capacity
  • Gyms, YMCAs and fitness studios can open with restrictions
  • Community pools and campgrounds can open
  • Recreational sports practices may begin (except contact sports such as football and lacrosse)
  • Youth summer day camps may begin June 1
  • State park inns will be reopening
  • Raceways can reopen without fans

The governor's order on Friday will also do the following:

  • Extend prohibition on turning off utilities
  • Extend prohibition on filing mortgage foreclosures and evictions
  • Extend deadlines to acquire or renew driver licenses, vehicle registrations, etc.

For more information on the stages and what is and is not allowed, click here.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been 1.64 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 6 a.m. ET Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 96,300 deaths and 317,000 people recovered.

Worldwide, there have been 5.22 million confirmed cases with 338,000 deaths and 2.06 million recovered.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Los Angeles County not expecting to open widely until July 4

While most of California took another step to partly reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend, Los Angeles County didn’t join the party.

The nation’s most populous county is not looking to reopen more widely until July 4th. The number of coronavirus cases haven’t lowered to meet the new state standards for allowing additional businesses and recreational activities.

The large nursing home population has accounted for many cases and deaths, along with dense neighborhoods of people more at risk of exposure.

Los Angeles County, with a quarter of the state’s nearly 40 million residents, accounts for about half of its COVID-19 cases and half of the state’s more than 3,600 deaths.

Greenwood opening outdoor recreation areas Sunday

Greenwood tennis courts, basketball courts, pickleball courts, skate park and softball diamonds are scheduled to open this Sunday, May 24.

City officials also plan to also reopen the Greenwood Community Center to members only beginning Monday at 8 a.m.

“As we begin to reopen city amenities, we strongly encourage all residents and visitors to follow guidance from federal, state and local health officials,” said Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers in the announcement.

Public restrooms will remain closed, and drinking fountains can only be used to fill bottles.

City employees are required to wear masks, but patrons are not required to wear them.