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Indiana coronavirus updates for Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022

Saturday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Sept. 17, 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Saturday'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: New COVID-19 booster shots going out to Hoosiers: Who should sign up

RELATED: Central Indiana school districts share how they combat learning loss from COVID-19 pandemic

CDC map shows 2 Indiana counties at 'high risk' of spreading COVID-19

On Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, two 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 Gibson and Warrick in southern Indiana.

There were also 41 Indiana counties listed as "medium" risks, including Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Delaware, Grant, Hancock, Henry, Howard, Monroe, Rush and Tipton in central Indiana.

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

Over the past seven days, Indiana has recorded 7,334 new cases and 75 deaths. The 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions for COVID-19 is 75.86.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 95.64 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 5:30 a.m. ET Saturday, 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 611.42 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.52 million deaths and more than 12.22 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.

IDOH: More locations added for new COVID-19 booster shots

The Indiana Department of Health announced Tuesday that it has added additional locations offering the newly-approved COVID-19 boosters to its online map.

Appointments are not yet available online, but can be made by contacting a pharmacy or health care provider, or by calling 211 for assistance.

Additional locations will be added as vaccine shipments continue arriving across Indiana, the state health department said.

“The omicron variant has been the main cause of COVID-19 infections for months, so having a vaccine that specifically targets this variant as well as the delta variant will help keep Hoosiers healthier as we enter the fall and winter, when respiratory illnesses often increase,” Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG said in a statement. “I encourage individuals who are eligible to consider getting the new COVID-19 booster when they schedule their annual flu shot and make protecting themselves against COVID-19 part of their annual health care strategy.”

The new Pfizer booster is available for people 12 and older, while the Moderna booster has been authorized for those 18 and older. Individuals are eligible to receive an updated booster dose as long as it has been at least two months since they received their last booster dose or complete their primary vaccine series.

More information can be found on the health department's website.

WHO: COVID end 'in sight,' deaths at lowest since March 2020

The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday that the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide last week was the lowest reported in the pandemic since March 2020, marking what could be a turning point in the yearslong global outbreak.

At a press briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world has never been in a better position to stop COVID-19.

“We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” he said, comparing the effort to that made by a marathon runner nearing the finish line. “Now is the worst time to stop running,” he said. “Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap all the rewards of our hard work.”

In its weekly report on the pandemic, the U.N. health agency said deaths fell by 22% in the past week, at just over 11,000 reported worldwide. There were 3.1 million new cases, a drop of 28%, continuing a weeks-long decline in the disease in every part of the world.

Still, the WHO warned that relaxed COVID testing and surveillance in many countries means that many cases are going unnoticed. The agency issued a set of policy briefs for governments to strengthen their efforts against the coronavirus ahead of the expected winter surge of COVID-19, warning that new variants could yet undo the progress made to date.

US moved online, worked more from home as pandemic raged

During the first two years of the pandemic, the number of people working from home in the United States tripled, home values grew and the percentage of people who spent more than a third of their income on rent went up, according to survey results released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Providing the most detailed data to date on how life changed in the U.S. under COVID-19, the bureau's American Community Survey 1-year estimates for 2021 showed that the share of unmarried couples living together rose, Americans became more wired and the percentage of people who identify as multiracial grew significantly. And in changes that seemed to directly reflect how the pandemic upended people's choices, fewer people moved, preschool enrollment dropped and commuters using public transportation was cut in half.

The data release offers the first reliable glimpse of life in the U.S. during the COVID-19 era, as the 1-year estimates from the 2020 survey were deemed unusable because of problems getting people to answer during the early months of the pandemic. That left a one-year data gap during a time when the pandemic forced major changes in the way people live their lives.

The survey typically relies on responses from 3.5 million households to provide 11 billion estimates each year about commuting times, internet access, family life, income, education levels, disabilities, military service and employment. The estimates help inform how to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending.

Response rates significantly improved from 2020 to 2021, “so we are confident about the data for this year,” said Mark Asiala, the survey’s chief of statistical design.

Updated COVID-19 boosters now offered at Meijer, Walgreens and CVS

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.

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.

Officials with CVS said locations across the area are now offering the new booster shots, with more doses coming in on a rolling basis over the coming days and weeks. Appointments are recommended and can be made online.

Similarly, Walgreens is also offering the new boosters with shipments arriving daily. Their online portal shows appointments available across central Indiana.

The CDC recommends Hoosiers sign up for an appointment if it has been more than two months after their latest vaccine dose.

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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