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Indiana coronavirus updates for Saturday, Jan. 8, 2021

The latest Indiana updates in the coronavirus pandemic for Saturday, Jan. 8, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Saturday'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.

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

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Fishers Health Department to offer COVID-19 testing for students beginning Monday

The Fishers Health Department announced it will open priority rapid COVID-19 testing appointments for students and staff of Fishers-based schools beginning on Monday, Jan. 10.

The department said the measure is an effort to help ensure schools remain open and in person while keeping students and staff safe.

The testing will take place at the existing drive-thru location located a 3 Municipal Drive in Fishers.

Kindergarten through grade 12 Fishers-based school staff and children who want a PCR test must register online. The department said they're only able to offer rapid tests to people 18 and younger, and 50 and older.

Registration information and testing hours can be found at this link.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 59.38 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 5:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 836,600 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 303.23 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.48 million deaths and more than 9.38 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.


Court documents show Djokovic had COVID-19 last month

Lawyers for tennis star Novak Djokovic have filed court documents in his challenge against deportation from Australia that showed he contracted COVID-19 in the middle of December. 

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic was denied entry at the Melbourne airport late Wednesday after the Australian Border Force canceled his visa for failing to meet its entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Djokovic was given a medical exemption on Jan. 1 based on his recent infection and it was backed by the Victoria state government and Australian Open organizers based on information he supplied to two independent medical panels. 

Djokovic is in an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne preparing for his challenge in the Federal Circuit Court on Monday.

Pfizer vaccine appears to protect kids against MIS-C

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report Friday showing Pfizer shots seem to protect older children who develop a serious but rare COVID-19-linked condition that involves inflammation of multiple organs.

Among 102 kids ages 12 to 18 who were hospitalized with the condition, none who had received two Pfizer shots at least 28 days earlier needed ventilators or other advanced life support. By contrast, 40% of unvaccinated children required such treatment.

The condition, multisystem inflammatory syndrome, causes symptoms that may include persistent fever, abdominal pain and rashes. Most children recover, but 55 deaths have been reported. 

The report comes as hospitalizations of U.S. children under 5 with COVID-19 soared in recent weeks to their highest level since the pandemic began, according to government data released Friday on the only age group not yet eligible for the vaccine. 

Since mid-December, with the highly contagious omicron variant spreading furiously around the country, the hospitalization rate in these youngest kids has surged to more than 4 in 100,000 children, up from 2.5 per 100,000.

The rate among children ages 5 to 17 is about 1 per 100,000, according to the CDC data, which is drawn from over 250 hospitals in 14 states.

Moderna COVID-19 booster shot timing shortened to 5 months

U.S. regulators on Friday shortened the time that people who received Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine have to wait for a booster — to five months rather than six.

The two-dose Moderna vaccine is open to Americans 18 and older. The Food and Drug Administration's decision Friday means Moderna recipients are eligible for a booster after at least five months have passed since their last shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed.

That's in line with new recommendations for recipients of the Pfizer vaccine. Initial Pfizer vaccinations are open to anyone 5 or older. But only Pfizer recipients 12 and older are eligible for boosters, and earlier this week, U.S. health authorities said they can get one five months after their last shot.

In a statement, FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks called vaccination “our best defense against COVID-19” and said a shortened wait for a booster may help as the country battles a surge of the highly contagious omicron variant.

A booster after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine already is urged two months later.

Indianapolis Public Library canceling all programs, meeting room reservations beginning Monday

The Indianapolis Public Library announced Friday it is canceling all in-branch library programs and community meeting room reservations as of Monday, Jan. 10 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The library shared the announcement on Twitter and said all library branches, online programs, computers, curbside pickups and vaccine clinics will still be open and available.

State reports record 15K positive cases, 150 additional deaths

The Indiana Department of Health reported 15,277 new positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday. There have been 1,314,688 positive cases in Indiana since the start of the pandemic.

The state reported an additional 150 people died from COVID-19 between Nov. 5, 2021 and Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths to 18,794 Indiana residents.

IDOH also reported that another 2,835 Indiana residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,575,607.

With 13,579 more booster doses administered as of Friday, a total of 1,457,759 booster doses have now been given to Indiana residents. 

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