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Indiana coronavirus updates for Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Sept. 11, 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Sunday'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 all Hoosiers through the Indiana 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

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China quarantines college students under strict COVID-19 policy

Almost 500 students at China's premier college for broadcast journalists have been sent to a quarantine center after a handful of COVID-19 cases were detected in their dormitory. The 488 students, 19 teachers and five assistants at Communication University of China were transferred by bus beginning Friday night. 

The move underscores China's relentless enforcement of its strict “zero-COVID” policy, even as virtually every other country has sought to return to normal life with the help of vaccines and medications to fight the virus. 

As of last week, approximately 65 million people in China were under lockdown despite just 1,248 new cases of domestic transmission being reported Sunday. 

The lockdowns have sparked protests and have exacted a major toll on the economy.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 95.24 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 9:20 a.m. ET Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1.05 million deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 608.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.51 million deaths and more than 12.19 billion vaccine doses administered.

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.

CDC map shows 8 Indiana counties at 'high risk' of spreading COVID-19

On Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, eight Indiana counties were classified in the high-risk category for spreading COVID-19.

The central Indiana counties listed on the CDC data map as having a "high" community risk of spreading COVID-19 are Blackford, Delaware, Dubois, Gibson, Howard, Parke, Randolph and Warrick.

There were also 45 Indiana counties listed as "medium" risks, including Bartholomew, Decatur, Henry, Madison, Rush, Tippecanoe and Tipton counties in central Indiana.

Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby counties in central Indiana are listed as "low" risks for spreading COVID-19 as of Sunday morning.

Over the past seven days, Indiana has recorded 9,430 new cases and 52 deaths. The 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions for COVID-19 is 100.57.

Updated COVID-19 boosters now offered at Meijer pharmacies

All Meijer pharmacies in the Midwest are now offering the updated COVID-19 boosters, which help protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

The new boosters target today's most common omicron strains.

Meijer officials encourage people to stay on top of both COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccines ahead of the holiday season.

The Pfizer-BioNTech booster is available for anyone 12 years and older. The Moderna booster is available to those 18 and older. Both require at least two months since their last vaccination. For now, children younger than 12 are not authorized for this current booster.

Health officials say both the COVID-19 booster and flu shot can be received during the same appointment. 

To schedule a vaccine appointment with Meijer, text “COVID” or “flu” to 75049, visit their website or call your local pharmacy.

New York drops mask requirement on public transportation

New York state is dropping its mask requirement on public transportation, thanks in part to the availability of new booster shots targeting the most common strain of COVID-19. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that masks will be encouraged but not required on buses and trains, including the New York City subway system. 

Compliance with the subway mask requirement was high early in the coronavirus pandemic but has dropped steeply in recent months. 

Masks will still be required in health care settings, including hospitals and nursing homes. 

Hochul got a booster shot herself at her news conference in New York City and urged others to follow her example.

CDC drops quarantine, distancing recommendations for COVID-19

The nation's top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.

The changes, which come more than 2 1/2 years after the start of the pandemic, are driven by a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected, agency officials said.

What to know about BA.5, BA.4 variant symptoms

As Americans ramp up their summer travels without their masks, two COVID-19 subvariants are causing a surge in cases. 

BA.5, which accounts for 65% of cases, and BA.4, which is 16% of cases, are omicron's smarter cousins. The two subvariants are evading antibodies and even vaccine protections, as they are one of the most contagious versions of the virus yet.

"It knows how to trick our immune system," said TEGNA's medical expert Dr. Payal Kohli.

Since the subvariants derived from the original omicron variant, symptoms fall under the same umbrella. However, symptoms still vary depending on vaccination status, age, prior infection, medication and other factors, said Kohli.

Data collected from the Zoe app in the UK show most symptoms mimic the common cold, with sore throats and runny noses. Kohli said a significant change in symptoms for the subvariants are heightened amounts of sneezing, something not seen in earlier forms of the COVID-19 variant. 

The subvariants responsible for the latest surge pose a different threat as it also has higher rates of reinfection.

Parents can schedule vaccine appointments for young children

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) announced that the public can now schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children through age 5 by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov.

Appointments are available for individuals seeking the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years and the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years on the state's scheduling platform. 

IDOH has updated its map at www.ourshot.in.gov to show sites that offer vaccines for the youngest age group.

Appointments are recommended due to vaccine and provider availability. Individuals also can call 211 for assistance or contact their child’s healthcare provider to determine if they are offering vaccines.

Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.health.in.gov for important health and safety information.

Riley Children's Health offering COVID-19 vaccines

Riley Children's Health has the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years old.

Appointments are required and can be made by calling 211.

Riley Physicians at IU Health West: 

  • Mondays and Thursdays: 5 p.m.-8:20 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
  • 1111 Ronald Reagan Pkwy, Avon

Riley Physicians at IU Health North:

  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 5 p.m.-8:20 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
  • 11700 N. Meridian Street, Carmel

Riley Physicians at East Washington

  • Tuesdays and Fridays: 5 p.m.-8:20 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
  • 9650 Washington St #245, Indianapolis

Riley Physicians at Methodist Medical Plaza South

  • Wednesdays and Thursdays: 5 p.m.-8:20 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
  • 8820 S Meridian St Suite 125, Indianapolis

Riley Physicians at Georgetown

  • Tuesdays and Fridays: 5 p.m.-8:20 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
  • 4880 Century Plaza Rd Suite 250, Indianapolis

MCPHD offering COVID vaccine for kids 6 months to 4 years old

The Marion County Public Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 6 months to 4 years old at its district health offices and ACTION Health Center.

To see the schedule for each location, click here. Vaccinations are by appointment only. Call the specific location to make an appointment, or call MCPHD's Immunization Program at 317-221-2122.

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