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Indiana coronavirus updates for Friday, Dec. 4, 2021

Friday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Dec. 3, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Friday'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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ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 4,982 more Hoosiers were fully vaccinated Friday. Indiana has a total of 3,336,898 fully vaccinated individuals. Among those fully vaccinated are 14,453 5-11-year-olds.

ISDH also reported 5,659 new positive cases Friday, bringing the state's total to 1,118,335. There were 57 additional deaths reported, bringing the total to 17,117. Another 595 deaths are considered "probable," meaning the patient is believed to have had COVID-19, but there was no positive test on file.

Omicron coronavirus variant found in 5 US states

The omicron variant of COVID-19, which had been undetected in the U.S. before the middle of this week, had been discovered in at least five states by the end of Thursday, showing yet again how mutations of the virus can circumnavigate the globe with speed and ease.

Just a day after the first known U.S. case was found in California, tests showed the omicron variant had infected at least five people in the New York City metropolitan area, plus a man from Minnesota who had attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November.

Officials reported another case in a Colorado woman who had recently traveled to southern Africa.

The variant was also confirmed in an unvaccinated Hawaii resident with no recent travel history, state health officials said.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 48.83 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 785,900 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 264.24 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.23 million deaths and more than 8.08 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.

December schedule for testing, vaccine sites in Marion County

The Marion County Public Health Department announced Wednesday 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. and Saturday, Dec. 4 from 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.

Pushing COVID-19 boosters, President Biden says 'we need to be ready' this winter

With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases predicted this winter, President Joe Biden on Thursday appealed for Americans to get their boosters and get behind his plan to tackle the new omicron variant through wider availability of vaccines and shots, but without new major restrictions on daily life.

Biden wants to require private insurers to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests, and he is tightening testing requirements for people entering the United States, regardless of their vaccination status. Beginning next week, Biden said, all travelers to the U.S. will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of boarding flights. That compares with three days now for those who have been vaccinated. 

While some other countries are closing their borders or reinstituting lockdowns, the president said he would not, at this time, impose additional lockdowns beyond his recommendation that Americans wear masks indoors in public settings.

Biden is also extending his directive requiring masks on airplanes and other public transit, which had been set to expire in January, through at least March 18, the White House said.

“Experts say the COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the weeks ahead this winter, so we need to be ready,” Biden said during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in suburban Maryland after a briefing with scientific advisers.

About 100 million Americans are eligible for boosters under current U.S. policy, with more becoming eligible every day. Officials believe that persuading the vaccinated to get another dose will be easier than vaccinating the roughly 43 million adult Americans who haven't gotten a shot.

“Go get your booster now,” Biden said.

So far, about 42 million Americans — about half of them seniors — have received a booster dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week broadened its booster dose recommendation to cover all Americans at least age 18, starting six months after their second dose of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.