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.
Carmel Clay Schools to stay on hybrid schedule
Some Carmel students will stay on a hybrid schedule through the end of the school year, the district decided.
Carmel Clay Schools announced that students in grades 6-12 will maintain their current schedule for the last eight weeks of class. District Superintendent Dr. Michael Beresford said the decision was made after finding no clear way to combine classes while maintaining smaller class sizes and balanced schedules.
The district also considered social distancing requirements in its review. Larger class sizes and lunch periods would have required schools to expand those periods into other parts of the school building, which was determined to not be feasible. Overcrowding on school buses was also a factor in the decision, Beresford wrote in a message to parents.
The school district intends to return to full-time in-person learning in the fall, but in the meantime, staff is working to plan social opportunities for middle and high school students to safely gather with their classmates.
Gov. Holcomb weekly address
Gov. Holcomb and state leaders gave an update on vaccinations and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 2.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered to 1.3 million Hoosiers. The state has 870,000 fully vaccinated people, which is about 12.7 percent of the population.
- Ages 80+: 72 percent
- Ages 70-79: 75 percent
- Ages 60-69: 63 percent
- Ages 50-59: 43 percent
- Ages 45-49: 23 percent
The state is also now making pregnant women eligible to be vaccinated.
The state has administered more than 85 percent of the vaccine doses received, which is above the national average of 80 percent.
The state is working to reach the White House mandate of making vaccine eligible to everyone by May 1, but that doesn't mean Indiana will have enough vaccine.
Indiana is receiving thousands of doses less per 100,000 residents than other states. Indiana has expressed that concern to the federal government and was told the government will start supplying more vaccine.
Indiana now has 57 confirmed cases of the variant from the United Kingdom and is hoping enough people will be vaccinated before it becomes widespread.
There are 65 counties in blue and and all other counties in yellow.
The Indiana State Department of Health reports 919 more cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths from the virus. That brings Indiana's totals to 674,430 total positive cases and 12,482 total confirmed deaths.
The seven-day positivity rate from March 4-10 was 3.1 percent for all tests and 8.5 percent for unique individuals.
As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, more than 870,000 Hoosiers were fully vaccinated. The state has administered more than 2.19 million doses of the vaccine to date — more than 1.3 million first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, more than 835,000 second doses, and 34,000 Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 29.54 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 more than 536,000 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 120.69 million confirmed cases with more than 2.67 million deaths and 68.45 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.
Tens of millions should get stimulus checks Wednesday, banking groups say
The Internal Revenue Service has started processing and sending out stimulus checks for millions of Americans after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Tens of millions of people should be receiving their stimulus checks on Wednesday, March 17, according to the American Bankers Association.
Biden pledged on Monday that there will be 100 million stimulus checks in people's pockets in the next 10 days. Just after the relief aid was signed by Biden last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "payments to eligible Americans will continue throughout the course of the next several weeks."
The latest round of relief payments will provide households with $1,400 for each adult, child and adult dependent, such as college students or elderly relatives. Adult dependents were not eligible to receive payments in the previous two rounds of payments.
The payments start declining for an individual once adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 and go to zero once income hits $80,000. The payment starts declining for married couples when income exceeds $150,000 and goes to zero at $160,000.
Over the weekend, the IRS re-launched the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS.gov website to help Americas track their own payments.
Colts Pro Shop closing for NCAA tournament
The Indianapolis Colts Pro Shop at Lucas Oil Stadium will be closed from Wednesday, March 17 to Monday, April 5. The reasons for the closure are health, safety and security protocols at the stadium during the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the venues being used for the tournament.
Trump recommends Americans get COVID-19 vaccine
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday recommended Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine, but indicated he supports their freedom not to. It comes as a large number of Republicans have indicated they are likely to not opt for the shot.
"I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people who don't want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly," Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. "We have our freedoms, and we have to live by that and, I agree with that, also."
Trump, who was in office when the effort to find a vaccine began with Operation Warp Speed, said, "It's a great vaccine, it's a safe vaccine and it's something that works."
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 42% of Republicans say they probably or definitely will not get the shot, compared with 17% of Democrats — a 25-point split.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that Trump using his “incredible influence” with Republicans would “make all the difference in the world" when it comes to overcoming hesitancy.