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Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are 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 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

Zionsville reinstates mask mandate for younger kids

The Zionsville School Board voted Wednesday to reinstate a mask mandate for students under the age of 12.

According to the school district's website, the policy requires all children under 12 to wear a mask and strongly recommends those over the age of 12 who are not vaccinated to wear a mask indoors. 

Masks must also be worn by everyone while on school transportation.

Zionsville students return to school August 3.

Avon Schools expand 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.

Biden to launch vaccine push for millions of federal workers

Hoping to set a model for employers nationwide, President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that millions of federal workers must show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine or submit to regular testing and stringent social distancing, masking and travel restrictions. 

An individual familiar with the president's plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm details that had yet to be announced publicly, emphasized that the new guidance is not a vaccine mandate for federal employees and that those who decide not to get vaccinated aren’t at risk of being fired.

The new policy amounts to a recognition by the Biden administration that the government — the nation’s biggest employer — must do more to boost sluggish vaccination rates, as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rebound, driven largely by the spread of the more infectious delta variant.

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.

Reports: Most Apple stores to require masks again for shoppers, employees

Apple plans to restore its mask mandate for shoppers and employees in half of its 270 U.S. stores on Thursday.  

In a memo given to Bloomberg News, the company informed retail staff of the decision Wednesday, following new mask recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apple has also informed corporate staff that they must wear masks inside office buildings too. 

“After carefully reviewing the latest CDC recommendations, and analyzing the health and safety data for your local area, we are updating our guidance on face masks for your store,” Apple told staff. “Starting July 29, face masks will be required in store for customers and team members -- even if they’re vaccinated.” 

Apple is the first major retailer to change its mask policy in response to the CDC recommending vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in areas with substantial or high community transmission of COVID-19.  

Significant outbreak of COVID-19 at Indiana Law Enforcement Academy

The 2021 class going on at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield was suspended due to a "significant outbreak of COVID-19 among students."

As of Wednesday morning, 10 students had tested positive. Nine more students were being retested after their initial results were inconclusive. 

There are also 50 students who are isolating because they are symptomatic or are considered close contacts of a positive case.

The majority of the 117 students in the class are unvaccinated.

The Indiana Department of Health will again provide specific protocols, such as cohorting students and masking requirements, for all ILEA operations. A restart date for the class has not been set.

Ascension St. Vincent will now require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccination

Ascension St. Vincent said all employees will soon be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.  

Ascension said thousands of employees have already received the vaccination, but more must be done to overcome the pandemic.

Ascension said the timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting the requirement will be Nov. 12, 2021. 

In the instances when someone may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious beliefs, Ascension will provide a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process we use for the annual influenza vaccine.

Ascension has 160,000 employees nationwide and operates 22 facilities in Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health is reporting 12 additional deaths from COVID-19 and 1,248 new cases as of Wednesday. The death toll in Indiana is now at 13,564, and a total of 768,624 Hoosiers have contracted COVID-19.

ISDH also reported 3,689 more Hoosiers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That means there are 2,934,389 Hoosiers vaccinated against the virus.

Britain wont require quarantine for most vaccinated visitors

Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and much of Europe can enter England without quarantining starting next week.

The British government says people who have received both doses of a vaccine approved by the FDA in the U.S. or the European Medicines Agency, can take pre- and post-arrival coronavirus tests instead of self-isolating.

There is one exception: France, which Britain has dubbed a higher risk because of the presence of the beta variant of the coronavirus. Visitors from France will continue to face a British quarantine.

Currently only people who have been vaccinated in Britain can skip 10 days of quarantine when arriving from most of Europe or North America. The move to boost Britain’s ailing travel industry comes despite rising coronavirus cases.

The rule change takes effect Monday and only applies to England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will decide whether to follow suit.

Marion County follows CDC guidance, recommends masks in indoor public places

The Marion County Public Health Department is recommending individuals wear masks in public indoor places, regardless of their vaccination status.

The recommendation comes after the CDC issued new guidance Tuesday for individuals in places where COVID-19 is surging. The government agency reversed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S.

The CDC's COVID Data Tracker specifies areas where the virus is spreading by county. The map color-codes each county from blue (the lowest level of community transition) to red (the highest level of community transition). The agency suggests individuals living in counties that are orange or red mask up indoors. 

Based on data collected between July 19 and July 25, Marion County was on the orange level — substantial.

Tokyo governor urges youth to get vaccinated to slow surge

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has urged younger people to cooperate with measures to bring down the high number of infections and get vaccinated, saying their activities are key to slowing the surge during the Olympics. 

On Tuesday, the Japanese capital reported 2,848 new cases, exceeding its previous record in January. Koike noted that the majority of the elderly have been fully vaccinated and infections among them have largely decreased, while the mostly unvaccinated younger people are now dominating the new cases.

Vaccination prospects for the younger have improved, and some can get their shots organized by work places and colleges, while others still wait based on seniority. There are also concerns over hesitancy among the young. 

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 34.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 611,200 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 195.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.17 million deaths. More than 3.92 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

Sydney to remain in lockdown as cluster grows

Australia’s largest city Sydney will remain in lockdown for another month.

The New South Wales state government said the lockdown of the city of 5 million would last at least until Aug. 28, after reporting on Wednesday 177 new infections in the latest 24-hour period. It was the largest daily tally since the cluster was discovered in mid-June.

“I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

More than 2,500 people have been infected in a cluster that began when a limousine driver tested positive on June 16 to the contagious delta variant. The driver had been infected by a U.S. aircrew he transported from Sydney airport.

The death toll from the cluster reached 11 on Wednesday with a woman in her 90s dying in a Sydney hospital.

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