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Indiana coronavirus updates for Sunday, May 22, 2022

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Sunday, May 22, 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 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.

RELATED: Here's everything we know about the COVID-19 vaccine

RELATED: Biden administration launches covid.gov site

US sees risk of COVID supply rationing without more funds

The White House is planning for what it calls “dire” contingencies that could include rationing supplies of vaccines and treatments this fall if Congress doesn’t approve more money for fighting COVID-19. 

Biden administration officials have been warning for weeks that the country has spent nearly all the money approved for COVID-19 response. The administration faces critical decisions about how to spend what's left. 

In public comments and private meetings on Capitol Hill, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus coordinator, has painted a dark picture in which the U.S. could be forced to cede many of the advances made against the coronavirus over the last two years and even the most vulnerable could face supply shortages.

The administration is weighing whether to use it to secure the next generation of vaccines to protect the highest risk populations or to prioritize highly effective therapies to reduce the risks of severe illness and death. 

Rationing could expose even the most vulnerable to shortages.

That decision may be made in the coming week, according to the administration, as the White House faces imminent deadlines to begin placing orders for vaccines and treatments before other nations jump ahead of the U.S. in accessing supply.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 83.26 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of noon ET Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1,002,140 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 525.36 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.27 million deaths and more than 11.44 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.

3 Air Force cadets who refused vaccine won't be commissioned

The U.S. Air Force Academy says three cadets who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine will not be commissioned as military officers but will graduate with bachelor’s degrees. 

Academy spokesman Dean Miller says a fourth cadet who only recently decided to be vaccinated will graduate and become an Air Force officer. Miller said in a statement Saturday that the three won't be commissioned as long as they remain unvaccinated. 

He says the Air Force secretary will decide whether the unvaccinated students will be required to pay their educational costs in lieu of service.

COVID-19 vaccine booster available for Hoosiers age 5-11

The Indiana Department of Health announced Friday that Hoosiers age 5-11 are now eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine following authorization this week from the FDA and CDC.

The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering boosters of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine to children in the age group whose last dose was administered at least five months ago.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only one authorized for children age 5-11.

You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Any site administering pediatric doses can administer a pediatric booster dose. Most sites accept walk-ins.

North Korea reports more fevers as Kim claims virus progress

North Korea says it has found nearly 220,000 more people with feverish symptoms, even as leader Kim Jong Un claims progress in slowing a largely undiagnosed spread of COVID-19 across an unvaccinated population of 26 million. 

The outbreak has caused concern about serious tragedies in the poor, isolated country with one of the world’s worst health care systems and a high tolerance for civilian suffering. 

Experts say North Korea is almost certainly downplaying the true scale of the viral spread, including a strangely small death toll, to soften the political blow on Kim, who seemed to hint at relaxing his pandemic response.

CDC advisers urge Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11

Kids ages 5 to 11 should get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, advisers to the U.S. government said Thursday.

If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, as expected, it would open a third COVID-19 shot to healthy elementary-age kids — just like what is already recommended for everybody 12 and older.

The hope is that an extra shot will shore up protection for kids ages 5 to 11 as infections once again are on the rise.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer's kid-sized booster, to be offered at least five months after the youngsters' last shot.

The CDC takes the next step of recommending who actually needs vaccinations. Its advisers debated if all otherwise healthy 5- to 11-year-olds need an extra dose, especially since so many children were infected during the huge winter surge of the omicron variant.

But the U.S. now is averaging 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since February. And ultimately, the CDC's advisers pointed to growing evidence from older kids and adults that two primary vaccinations plus a booster are providing the best protection against the newest coronavirus variants.

RELATED: CDC advisers urge Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11

FDA authorizes at-home test for COVID-19, flu and RSV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the greenlight to the first non-prescription COVID-19 test that also detects the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

The test involves taking a nasal swab sample at home and then sending it to Labcorp for testing. Results are then delivered through an online portal, with follow-up from a health care provider if it's a positive or invalid test result, the FDA explained in its announcement

The test can detect multiple respiratory viruses at the same time, including influenza A and B, commonly known as the flu, RSV, along with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the CDC. While most people recover in a week or two, it can be serious, especially for infants and older adults, the agency explains on its website. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in kids younger than one.

Labcorp's test kit can be purchased online or in a store without a prescription and is designed for people 2 years and older.

RELATED: FDA authorizes at-home test for COVID, flu and RSV

CDC encourages considering mask use indoors

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking.

Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice, officials said.

Friday, Lawrence and Orange counties are the only counties in Indiana where the CDC data map shows a "medium" community risk. Surrounding Indiana, the Louisville and Chicago metro areas are also deemed medium risk by the CDC.

White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public

The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.

The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.

People who have difficulty getting online or need help placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance.

The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.

2nd COVID-19 booster shot available to Hoosiers 50 and up

The Indiana Department of Health announced Wednesday that Hoosiers age 50 and older, as well as those 12 and older with weakened immune systems, are now eligible to receive a second mRNA COVID-19 booster shot at least four months after their first booster dose.

The announcement comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and and certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging that those eligible rush out and get it right away.

The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering second boosters of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to people who qualify.

The CDC also says that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose of either mRNA vaccine.

You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Appointments are recommended, but many sites do accept walk-ins.

Marion County COVID-19 vaccination and test clinics continue

The Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) continues to provide free COVID-19 vaccination and testing to anyone interested in receiving these services.

MCPHD is operating one COVID-19 testing site, which is a drive-thru clinic located at 3838 N. Rural St. in Indianapolis.

The clinic's current hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This clinic offers PCR testing only and no rapid testing. A list of additional test sites registered with the Indiana Department of Health is available at coronavirus.in.gov.

Appointments for COVID-19 testing at the MCPHD location are not required but are available by visiting marionhealth.org/indycovid or calling 317-221-5515.

MCPHD is also offering COVID-19 vaccines at its district health offices, ACTION Health Center, and four other locations in Marion County. Appointments for vaccines are not required but are recommended. 

Please visit ourshot.in.gov or call 2-1-1 to find a vaccination clinic.

Marion County clinic schedule

  • Northeast District Health Office, 6042 E. 21st St.
    Mondays: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
    Tuesdays: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Eagledale Plaza Health Office, 2802 Lafayette Road
    Tuesdays: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Northwest District Health Office, 6940 N. Michigan Road
    Thursdays: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
  • South District Health Office, 7551 S. Shelby St.
    Mondays: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
    Fridays: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • ACTION Health Center, 2868 N. Pennsylvania St.
    Wednesdays: 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Martindale-Brightwood Public Library Branch, 2435 N. Sherman Drive (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • College Avenue Public Library Branch, 4180 N. College Ave. (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • East 38th Street Public Library Branch, 5420 E. 38th St.  (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • IndyGo Carson Transit Center, 201 E. Washington St.  (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesdays: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
    Wednesdays: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
    Thursdays: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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