INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday'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 select groups through Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an address to the state Tuesday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be open to all Hoosiers ages 16 and older on March 31.
The state public health emergency will be renewed for another 30 days, beginning April 1.
Then, starting April 6, decisions about venue capacity and social gatherings will be made by local officials.
The statewide mask mandate will become a mask advisory on April 6, however face coverings will remain mandatory in all state buildings and facilities and in all vaccination and COVID testing sites until further notice.
Indy bars ordered to shut down for violating health orders
Casba Bar and After 6 have been ordered to shut down immediately after the health department said the bars made repeated violations that put the community's health at risk.
The health department said Casba Bar was in violation of the current emergency public health order and also violated a risk mitigation plan earlier in March. The violations included:
- Inadequate social distancing space
- Having no seated service
- Not enforcing mask mandate
Casba had its license suspended and was given a risk mitigation plan earlier this year. In order to reopen, the bar will need to submit another plan that outlines steps it will take to protect customers.
MCPHD said After 6 was using an illegal, non-licensed caterer and violated public health orders. After 6's violations included were the same as Casba's.
Earlier in the week, After 6 got hit with a citation due to operating past the hours permitted in the current public health order. Like Casba, the bar will need to submit a risk mitigation plan before the county allows it to reopen.
The Indiana State Department of Health reports 701 new cases and 18 more deaths Tuesday. The state has seen a total of 679,079 positive cases and 12,553 confirmed deaths from the virus.
As of Tuesday morning, 970,161 Hoosiers were fully vaccinated. More than 1.4 million people have received the first shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, while more than 926,000 have gotten the second dose. An additional 43,555 Hoosiers have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Regal Cinemas to reopen US theaters in early April
For the first time in about six months, Regal Cinemas will be reopening its theaters to the public in April, according to an announcement from its parent company, Cineworld Group.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Cineworld Group said the phased reopening will kick off with a limited number of theaters opening for "Godzilla vs. Kong" on April 2 and going wider with "Mortal Kombat" on April 16.
Cineworld added that it plans to reopen its U.K. locations in May, once the government guidance allows it.
Ball State hosting first spring homecoming
Ball State University is hosting its first Spring Homecoming April 26-May 1 after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the traditional celebration held in the fall.
Spring Homecoming will feature socially distanced campus activities, spirit contests and more, wrapping up with the spring football game on May 1.
Many events will be held virtually, so Cardinals near and far can participate. For more details on the events and how to register, click here.
In place of the traditional Homecoming Parade, the university will hold a "Cards in the Yard" decorating contest. Participants should deck out their homes, rooms, home offices and lawns with Cardinal spirit. Take photos and videos and email them to Josie Marcum at email@example.com by 5 p.m. on April 26 for a chance to win a prize in the following categories:
- Alumni house lawn
- Department (campus department)
- Faculty/staff lawn
- Greek organization lawn
- Home office
- Independent student house lawn
- Muncie business
- Residence hall room
AstraZeneca may have used outdated info in vaccine trial, according to US health officials
U.S. federal health officials say results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have used “outdated information."
The Data and Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement that it was concerned that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.
AstraZeneca reported Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection among adults of all ages in a long-anticipated U.S. study, a finding that could help rebuild public confidence in the shot around the world and move it a step closer to clearance in the U.S.
AstraZeneca also said the study’s independent safety monitors found no serious side effects, including no increased risk of rare blood clots like those identified in Europe, a scare that led numerous countries to briefly suspend vaccinations last week.
The company aims to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks, and the government’s outside advisers will publicly debate the evidence before the agency makes a decision.
Authorization and guidelines for use of the vaccine in the United States will be determined by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after a thorough review of the data by independent advisory committees.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 29.86 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 542,000 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 123.69 million confirmed cases with more than 2.72 million deaths and 70.13 million recoveries.
The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
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.
Gov. Holcomb to provide next steps in fight against COVID-19 Tuesday evening
Gov. Eric Holcomb is addressing the state on the next steps in the fight against COVID-19.
The live press conference will begin Tuesday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Tourism groups push US to eliminate travel restrictions
Airlines and other tourism-related businesses are pushing the White House to draw up a plan in the next five weeks to boost international travel and eliminate restrictions that were imposed early in the pandemic. More than two dozen groups made their request in a letter to the White House on Monday.
They want people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to be exempt from testing requirements before entering the United States. They also want the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to say that vaccinated people can travel safely.
The organizations calling for relaxing international restrictions include the chief trade group for the nation's largest carriers, Airlines for America, the U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They set a May 1 target for the government “to partner with us” on a plan to rescind year-old restrictions on international travel.
The groups cited the recent decline in reported new cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States. Nearly 45 million Americans, more than 13% of the population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC figures.
The groups say those and other steps will speed up the recovery of the travel and airline industries, which have been devastated by a plunge in travel during the pandemic.