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Indiana coronavirus updates for Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

Latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, Dec. 16, 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 5 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.

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Lawmakers to hear HB 1001 on vaccine mandates

Indiana lawmakers are scheduled to hear testimony Thursday on a bill to eliminate COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

House Bill 1001 would require businesses to accept medical and religious exemptions, and let employees who had COVID-19 in the last six months avoid getting the shot.

Employers would also have to offer and pay for COVID tests if a worker doesn't want the vaccine.

HB 1001 would also outlaw vaccine passports at state universities.

Indiana COVID-19 hospitalizations highest in nearly a year

Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have topped 3,000 people for the first time in nearly a year amid the state’s ongoing infection surge. 

State health department tracking shows Indiana hospitals were treating 3,020 COVID-19 patients as of Monday. That is up about 150% in the past five weeks and the most such patients since just before Christmas Day last year. 

About a quarter of those patients are in hospital intensive care units. The Indiana Hospital Association said last week the state’s hospitals are seeing their highest-ever total patient counts. 

Indiana has been averaging about 35 COVID-19 deaths a day so far this month.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 50.37 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 802,511 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 272.23 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.33 million deaths and more than 8.55 billion vaccine doses 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.

St. Joseph County judges require masks in courthouses

A northern Indiana county’s judges have reinstated an order requiring people to wear masks in four courthouses because of the county’s rising COVID-19 infection rates. The order applies to the three St. Joseph County courthouses in downtown South Bend and one in Mishawaka. 

Chief Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley told the South Bend Tribune she made the call with Circuit Judge John Broden after consulting with the county’s other Superior Court judges. The order took effect Monday. 

Signs also have been posted saying that access to court facilities is limited to attorneys and parties required to attend emergency, in-person hearings and individuals seeking emergency protection orders. The signs also say that no visitors or children are allowed.

December schedule for testing, vaccine sites in Marion County

The Marion County Public Health Department announced the December schedule for its COVID-19 vaccine clinics and testing sites. 

The clinics will offer vaccines for people 12 and up, pediatric doses for children 5-11 and booster shots for adults 18 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months prior. Walk-ins are accepted, and appointments can be made at ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211.

Note: all sites will be closed Dec. 23-25, and Dec. 31.

  • Indianapolis Public Library Martindale-Brightwood Branch2435 N. Sherman Dr. (Ages 12 and up only)
    • Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Indianapolis Public Library College Avenue Branch, 4180 N. College Ave. (Ages 12 and up only)
    • Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  •  Northeast District Health Office6042 E. 21st St.
    • Mondays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • Eagledale Plaza Health Office, 2802 Lafayette Road, Suite 13
    • Tuesdays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Northwest District Health Office6940 N. Michigan Road
    • Thursdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 11 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • South District Health Office7551 S. Shelby St.
    • Mondays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • ACTION Health Center, 2868 N. Pennsylvania St. (Pfizer only)
    • Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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