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Indiana coronavirus updates for Friday, Jan. 14, 2022

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.

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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IDOH update

The Indiana Department of Health reported nearly 16,000 new cases of the coronavirus Friday. Of the 15,926 positive cases reported Friday, 15,896 of them were confirmed Thursday. There were also 97 more deaths reported, bringing the total to 19,491.

The state set a new record for hospitalization. On Thursday, there were 3,519 patients being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals around the state. It's the first time that number has exceeded 3,500.

As of Friday, the state had 9.2% of its ICU beds available. Nearly 38% of all ICU beds in use around the state were by COVID-19 patients.

The state reported there were 4,557 newly fully vaccinated Hoosiers Friday, bringing the total to 3,599,575.

Federal testing website launches next week, 4 tests per home

The White House says the federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

The announcement on Friday comes as the administration looks to address nationwide shortages, but supplies will be limited to just four free tests per home. 

RELATED: Free at-home COVID tests: Reimbursement details, monthly limits

Americans shouldn’t expect a rapid turn-around on the orders, and Americans will have to plan ahead and request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for when to use a test. 

The White House said “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the United States Postal Service, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first class package service in the continental United States.

Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for US large businesses

The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job.

At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S.

The court’s orders Thursday during a spike in coronavirus cases was a mixed bag for the administration’s efforts to boost the vaccination rate among Americans.

The court's conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected.

“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here,” the conservatives wrote in an unsigned opinion.

In dissent, the court's three liberals argued that it was the court that was overreaching by substituting its judgments for health experts. “Acting outside of its competence and without legal basis, the Court displaces the judgments of the Government officials given the responsibility to respond to workplace health emergencies," Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a joint dissent.

The vaccine mandate that the court will allow to be enforced nationwide covers virtually all health care workers in the country.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 64.08 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 846,400 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 320.17 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.52 million deaths and more than 9.56 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.

Vincennes goes to remote learning after MLK weekend

Vincennes University announced remote learning plans Friday to take effect following MLK weekend. 

"In response to changes in COVID metrics and trends for the Vincennes campus." the university announced, "there will be a temporary pause in face-to-face instruction for the four days following the extended Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday Weekend (January 18, 19, 20, and 21). All other sites will continue instruction as usual. Internships, clinicals, and related off-campus activities will not be impacted by this temporary shift in instruction."

Classes are scheduled to resume face-to-face instruction on Monday, Jan. 24. Students will receive instruction from faculty members regarding specific delivery instructions for their courses.  

The school cited high COVID-19 presence around campus and in Knox County as the reason for the decision to go remote.

Ben Davis High School 10th-12th-grade students learning remotely through end of week

Students in grade 10-12 at Ben Davis High School in MSD of Wayne Township will be learning remotely through the end of the week, the district announced

The change is due to staffing limitations at the high school, according to a statement posted on the district's website.

The Area 31 Career Center will continue to operate with in-person instruction and all extracurricular activities will continue in person, the district said.

Midday transportation for Ben Davis students attending Area 31 will not be provided and students will need to make alternative arrangements.

Fishers Health Dept. offering vaccines, tests on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The Fishers Health Department will offer vaccines and testing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The health department hopes that with many schools and businesses closed for the holiday, people will take advantage of this opportunity.

The Fishers Vaccination Clinic, located at 12520 E. 116th Street, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17, for walk-ins and appointments. The clinic will also be open Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments can be made at fishers.in.us/vaccine.

The Fishers Testing Site, located at 4 Municipal Drive, will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for drive-through testing and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for priority testing for students and staff of K-12 Fishers-based schools. Tests can be scheduled at fishers.in.us/testing.

Hours for the ongoing school-based testing are as follows:

  • Monday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Friday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
  • Saturday: Noon-2 p.m.

Anderson Community Schools moves to e-learning

Anderson Community Schools became yet another Indiana school district to announce it was temporarily transitioning to e-learning on Wednesday. 

The district's decision was made in response to a high number of COVID-19 related absences among bus drivers and staff. 

Anderson Community Schools will have e-learning days on Thursday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 14. The district plans to resume with in-person instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 18, following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  

Greenfield-Central H.S. moves to e-learning

Greenfield-Central Community Schools announced Wednesday they were moving high school students to virtual learning for the rest of the week due to a surge in COVID cases in recent days that has impacted both students and staff at the school.

The district announced the move would be for Thursday and Friday of this week and would only affect students at Greenfield-Central High School. The district said it is monitoring the impact of the virus at other schools, as well.

Some IPS middle, high schools move to remote learning through end of week

Indianapolis Public Schools moved to remote learning on Thursday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 14 at high schools and standalone middle schools. 

IPS said the switch to remote learning is due to staffing limitations. The following schools moved to remote learning:

Middle schools

  • Arlington Middle School
  • Harshman Middle School
  • Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28
  • Northwest Middle School (including Newcomer)

High schools

  • Arsenal Technical High School
  • Crispus Attucks High School
  • George Washington High School
  • Shortridge High School

IPS said the decision was based on the number of staff absences, including COVID-19 isolations and quarantines at the middle and high school levels.

Heritage Christian canceling class Friday

Heritage Christian School is canceling class Friday as it deals with staffing shortages due to illness. It will not be an e-learning day for students.

The school had already planned for no class Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In a note to parents, the school said the long weekend would allow "for additional preparation as we plan for a return to school next Tuesday."

Extracurricular activities will go on as scheduled Friday.

Home COVID tests to be covered by insurance starting Saturday

Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations.

Under the new policy, first detailed to the Associated Press, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit.

President Joe Biden faced criticism over the holiday season for a shortage of at-home rapid tests as Americans traveled to see family amid the surge in cases from the more transmissible omicron variant. Now, the administration is working to make COVID-19 home tests more accessible, both by increasing supply and bringing down costs.

Later this month, the federal government will launch a website to begin making 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests available via mail. The administration also is scaling up emergency rapid-testing sites in areas experiencing the greatest surges in cases.

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