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.
Omicron coronavirus variant found in 11 US states
Scientists around the world are working to learn more about the omicron variant of COVID-19. The variant, found in nearly 40 countries, was first confirmed in the U.S. on Dec. 1. Since then, health officials in several states have confirmed their own cases of the variant.
- California: The first confirmed case in the U.S., announced Dec. 1, was a person who had returned from South Africa.
- Colorado: Officials on Dec. 2 announced the state's first confirmed case in a woman who had just been on a trip to several countries in southern Africa.
- Hawaii: State health officials confirmed the variant Dec. 2 in an unvaccinated Hawaii resident with no recent travel history.
- Maryland: Health officials confirmed the omicron variant in three state residents on Dec. 3. Two are from the same household.
- Minnesota: The state's first case was confirmed Dec. 2 in a man who tested positive in late November. He was later found to have the variant.
- Missouri: The state's first case was confirmed Dec. 3. Officials said the infected person recently traveled domestically.
- Nebraska: Health officials announced six confirmed cases of the omicron variant on Dec. 3.
- New Jersey: Officials said on Dec. 3 that a Georgia resident is self-isolating in New Jersey after being confirmed to have the omicron variant.
- New York: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said as of Dec. 2, her state has confirmed five cases of the omicron variant.
- Pennsylvania: Officials reported the first confirmed case of the omicron variant in Pennsylvania on Dec. 3, a man in his 30s from Philadelphia.
- Utah: Utah health officials said on Dec. 3 that an older adult who had recently traveled to South Africa was confirmed to have the omicron variant.
Expert: 'Pandemic among the unvaccinated' could lead to worst winter surge yet
It’s known that COVID-19 thrives in cold weather, especially around the holidays when people are gathering, but this year, health officials are worried about the more contagious variants and the threat of more flu cases. Also, healthcare workers are short-staffed and tired.
Many health care workers said it feels like déjà vu because around this time last year, Indiana reached its peak with more than 3,400 Hoosiers hospitalized. This year, the number is lower, with more than 2,300 admitted, but some worry it's just the start.
Dr. Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive at Community Health Network, said it’s not all COVID-19 patients, but the concern is beds are filling up at an alarming rate, causing hospitals like Community Health Network to start preparing. One option he said is to delay surgeries and other services, which would affect even more Hoosiers in need of care.
Pushing COVID-19 boosters, Biden says 'we need to be ready' this winter
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced vaccinations as a key part of his plan to prevent another winter surge, especially as the omicron variant starts spreading across the country.
The five-step plan includes increasing booster shots and vaccinations among kids as young as five. The White House also wants to distribute COVID-19 treatment pills around the country as soon as they're approved. They plan to work on expanding free at-home testing for those who struggle to afford it and extend transportation mask mandates through March. Lastly, if you're flying into the country from overseas, you'll have to test negative within 24 hours of your flight.
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.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 48.99 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 787,700 deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 265 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.24 million deaths and more than 8.14 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 Branch, 2435 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 Office, 6042 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 Office, 6940 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 Office, 7551 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.