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Indiana coronavirus updates for Thursday, July 29, 2021

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, July 29, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Thursday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest news on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in Indiana.

Registrations for the vaccine are now open for Hoosiers 12 and older through the Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Here's everything we know about the COVID-19 vaccine

Boone County Jail outbreak

More than two dozen inmates at the Boone County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Boone County Sheriff's Office said 25 inmates have tested positive for the virus in the past two weeks. 

The first positive test came back July 16. The extent of the outbreak was learned after all but four of the jail's 132 inmates later took voluntary tests. 

Two staff members also tested positive for the virus. The employees and infected inmates are being quarantined.

IPS requiring masks for all students and staff

Indianapolis Public Schools announced Thursday it will require all students and staff to wear masks while indoors. The move comes after the Marion County Health Department — in line with the CDC — recommended all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, mask up in indoor public places.

IPS initially released its safety plan July 20. The original plan only recommended those who are vaccinated wear masks. Thursday's updated guidance requires masks for all, regardless of vaccination status.

This is the new policy IPS released:

Over the past three days, updated recommendations for K-12 schools has been shared by the Centers for Disease and Prevention, the Indiana Department of Health, and the Marion County Public Health Department.  After reviewing all of the guidance, we will update our mask protocol for students and staff to require everyone – regardless of vaccination status — to wear a mask while indoors. As we’ve communicated the last 18 months and will continue to reiterate, our IPS administration will remain nimble and prepared to change course based on updated recommendations and information from our health leaders and partners. The health and safety of our students and staff remain our priority, and we want to do what it takes to keep our students safely learning in person this year. Our full COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-22 school year can be found on our district website at myips.org.

CDC updates testing recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its testing recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. 

According to the update on the CDC's website, if a person is fully vaccinated and gets exposed to someone with COVID-19 they should get tested 3-5 days after exposure.

The previous recommendation said those who are fully vaccinated did not need to get tested if exposed, unless they were showing symptoms.

This change comes the same week the CDC issued a fresh recommendation that calls for wearing a face mask indoors again in areas of the country that are COVID-19 hot spots, even for the vaccinated. The change covers about two-thirds of all counties and parishes in the United States, according to CDC data.

The organization's decision came roughly two months after the CDC said vaccinated individuals could go without masks in most situations. But the decision was reversed after the delta variant drove cases back up across the country.

State reports 5.4K new full vaccinations, 1,284 new cases and 6 additional deaths

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 1,284 new cases of COVID-19 in Indiana today, bringing the state's total to 769,875 people who have contracted the virus. 

ISDH also reported six additional deaths from Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the state's confirmed death toll to 13,570. With another 429 probable deaths reported to date in patients for whom no positive test is on record, Indiana's probable death total sits at 13,999.  

With 5,479 new fully vaccinated Hoosiers as of Thursday morning, Indiana has 2,939,841 residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Biden to allow eviction moratorium to expire Saturday

The Biden administration will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire Saturday, arguing that its hands are tied after the Supreme Court ruled it could only be extended until the end of the month.

In a statement Thursday, the White House said President Joe Biden would have liked to have extended the federal eviction moratorium due to the spread of the delta variant. Biden called on "Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay."

The moratorium was put in place last September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Regulators approve extended emergency use of Eli Lilly's COVID-19 treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has broadened the Emergency Use Authorization for Eli Lilly's anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib used to treat COVID-19.

The treatment can now be used on its own, when previously it had to be used in conjunction with remdesivir. Previously, the FDA said the drug combination appeared to reduce recovery time in hospitalized patients, compared to patients who received only remdesivir.

The expanded Emergency Use Authorization allows baricitinib to be used for treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized adults and pediatric patients two years of age or older requiring supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

Emergent: FDA letting troubled COVID vaccine factory restart

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing the problem-plagued factory of contract manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions to resume production of COVID-19 vaccine bulk substance to resume, the company said Thursday.

The Baltimore factory was shut down by the FDA in mid-April due to contamination problems that forced the company to trash the equivalent of tens of millions of doses of vaccine it was making under contract for Johnson & Johnson. The bulk vaccine was contaminated with an ingredient for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was being made in the same factory.

Emergent did not say exactly when production will resume at the factory.

US jobless claims down 24,000 to 400,000 as economy recovers

The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits slid last week, another sign that the job market continues to recover rapidly from the coronavirus recession.

Jobless claims dropped by 24,000 to 400,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The weekly applications have fallen more or less steadily this year — from a peak of 904,000 in early to January. But they remain high by historic standards: Before COVID struck the United States in March 2020, claims were coming in at about 220,000 a week.

AstraZeneca to seek US approval of COVID vaccine in 2nd half of year

AstraZeneca said Thursday that it intends to seek U.S. authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of this year, offering a new timetable for the much-delayed application.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker announced the schedule as it released second-quarter financial results, which showed that the company and its sub-licensees delivered more than 700 million doses of the vaccine to over 170 countries in the first half of this year. That includes 80 million doses that went to the COVAX initiative for low- and middle-income countries.

The news on the U.S. filing is being closely watched, as the timeframe has slipped.

Avon Schools expands mask recommendation to all

Avon Schools are updating their mask recommendations for the upcoming school year, but are stopping short of requiring face coverings. 

In an email to parents, Superintendent Scott Wyndham said the district is now recommending facemasks for individuals regardless of if they are vaccinated or not. Previously, only unvaccinated people in the district's facilities were recommended to wear a mask. 

There will not be a mask requirement at this time, other than on school buses, which are covered by a federal mask mandate.

RELATED: As schools prepare to resume classes, some parents raise concerns over mask policies

"I hear from many who do not want their children to wear masks. I also hear from many who want masks required in all school settings. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is still an issue with which we're all wrestling as a community, state, nation, and planet," Wyndham said in the email. "We will continue to support one another to the best of our abilities through what I hope is the final stages of this pandemic. One way we can do this is continuing to wear masks while indoors." 

Avon students return to class on Thursday.

Upcoming mobile vaccine clinics in central Indiana

Mobile vaccination clinics are planned on the following schedule:

Today-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.:
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp
19000 Grand Park Blvd., Westfield, IN 46074

Today, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.:
Statehouse Market
430 Robert D. Orr Plaza, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Today-Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.:
Jasper County Fair
2671 W. Clark St., Rensselaer, IN 47978

Jackson County Fair
476 E. County Road 100 South, Brownstown, IN 47220

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
Saint Mary’s Church
311 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

Patients with an appointment at a state-hosted public vaccination site can get a free Uber or Lyft ride. Call 2-1-1 or (866) 211-9966 to receive a voucher to cover the cost of an Uber ride to and from your vaccination appointments. IU Health offers free Lyft rides to any vaccine site in the state. Call 1.888.IUHEALTH (888-484-3258) and choose option 9 if you need transportation to your vaccine appointment.

IndyGo transit center hosting vaccine clinic Friday

IndyGo riders who get a COVID-19 vaccine will receive free access to IndyGo for an entire month. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is making the incentive available to everyone who takes advantage of a vaccination clinic Friday, July 30, from 2-6 p.m. at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center (CTC), located at 201 E. Washington St.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is teaming up with IndyGo, Shalom Health Care Center, the Marion County Public Health Department, the Indianapolis Public Transportation Foundation and the Indy Chamber to host the free vaccination clinic. No registration is required.

The pop-up vaccination clinic at the Carson Transit Center will conveniently connect those who ride IndyGo to the vaccine, making it easier for people on the go.

“It is our hope that people thinking about getting vaccinated will take advantage of this opportunity to utilize our extensive mobility network to connect to this important service,” said Inez Evans, IndyGo president & CEO.

“We must increase our efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible to all residents,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Partnerships such as this one help bring the vaccine closer to where people live or work. Each person we vaccinate makes our community healthier and more resilient as we reduce the impact of COVID-19.”

Everybody who gets a Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine will receive a free 31-day IndyGo paper pass at the clinic immediately following their vaccination. Participants must be age 18 or over.

IndyGo’s future headquarters at 9503 E. 33rd St. is also open for free vaccinations Tuesdays – Saturdays in partnership with the Marion County Public Health Department. Click HERE for specific times.

Fact-checking misinformation after CDC updates mask guidance for COVID-19

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 being the dominant variant of concern in the United States, now representing over 80% of cases across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once again updated its mask guidance for fully vaccinated people on July 27. 

Following the CDC’s announcement, misinformation began to spread online about why the update happened, with some people claiming that fully vaccinated people are transmitting the virus at a higher rate than unvaccinated people and that the CDC is now mandating mask-wearing throughout the entire country. 

We can verify that fully vaccinated people are not transmitting COVID-19 at a higher rate than unvaccinated people.

During the press conference, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, said that information on the Delta variant from several states and in other countries indicates that on rare occasions some fully vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant after they had already been vaccinated could potentially be contagious and spread COVID-19 to others. These are known as “vaccine breakthrough cases.”

“Vaccinated individuals continue to represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country. We continue to estimate that the risk of a breakthrough infection with symptoms upon exposure to the Delta variant is reduced by sevenfold. The reduction is twentyfold for hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Walensky.

Officials in Tokyo alarmed as cases hit record highs

Japanese officials have sounded the alarm as Tokyo reported record-breaking coronavirus cases for the third straight day with the Olympics well underway.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katunobu Kato told reporters the new cases are soaring not only in the Tokyo area but across the country. He says Japan has never experienced the expansion of the infections of this magnitude. 

Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases Thursday, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the numbers a week ago, Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, but its seven-day rolling average is growing and now stands at 28 per 100,000 people. 

People are still roaming the streets despite stay-at-home requests, making restrictions ineffective. The Tokyo governor says cases could hit 4,500 a day.

Europe on vacation, but vaccinations not taking a break

Europe’s famed summer holiday season is in full swing, but efforts to inoculate people against the coronavirus are not taking a break. 

Instead, with lockdowns easing and nations looking to breathe new life into their ailing tourism industries, vaccinations are being taken to vacationers. It's all part of efforts to maintain momentum in protecting people against the pandemic that has killed more than 1 million across the continent. 

From France’s sun-kissed Mediterranean coast to the azure waters of Italy’s Adriatic beaches and Russian Black Sea resorts, health authorities are trying to make a COVID-19 shot as much part of this summer as sunscreen and shades.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 34.67 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4 a.m. ET Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 611,800 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 195.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.18 million deaths. More than 3.96 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

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 like pneumonia, or death.

RELATED: Track vaccinations in your ZIP code