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Indiana coronavirus updates for Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Thursday'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: LIST: Where have omicron cases been confirmed in the US?

RELATED: Here's where you can get a COVID-19 booster shot

ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 5,513 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. Nearly 15% of the new tests administered came back positive. A total of 1,145,633 positive cases have been identified in Indiana since the start of the pandemic.

There were also 41 additional deaths reported Thursday, bringing the total to 17,351 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19.

ISDH reported that another 6,208 Indiana residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,483,755.

A total of 1,007,145 booster doses have now been administered to Indiana residents. More than 29,000 new booster doses were reported Thursday.

FDA expands Pfizer COVID booster shots to age 16

U.S. health authorities said Thursday that 16- and 17-year-olds should get a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine once they're six months past their last shot.

The U.S. and many other nations already were urging adults to get booster shots to pump up immunity that can wane months after vaccination, calls that intensified with the discovery of the worrisome new omicron variant.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for 16- and 17-year-olds to get a third dose of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. And hours later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the last barrier — saying those teens should get their booster as soon as it's time.

IU Health requests assistance from National Guard as hospitalizations reach all-time high

Indiana University Health announced Thursday that it has requested assistance from the National Guard in nearly all of its hospitals due to an increase in hospitalizations.

"As COVID cases continue to increase and hospitalization of COVID and non-COVID patients reach all-time highs, the demand and strain on Indiana University Health’s team members, nurses and providers has never been greater," IU Health said in a statement.

Riley Children's Hospital is the only IU Health hospital which did not request assistance.

IU Health said it is enlisting members of Indiana's National Guard to assist in areas of critical need in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Health.

The National Guard teams deployed at hospitals are comprised of two clinical and four non-clinical service members, and deployments are in two-week increments.

Avon schools reinstate mask mandate starting Thursday

Students will again be required to wear face masks in all Avon schools.

The school district notified families Wednesday that masks would be mandatory in all buildings starting Thursday, Dec. 9. Avon Community Schools Corporation Superintendent Dr. Scott Wyndham said the decision was made when the Indiana State Department of Health updated its COVID-19 advisory map on Wednesday and Hendricks County remained at a red advisory level for a second consecutive week.

Under school district protocols, the second week of "red" status for the county meant masks would be mandated.  

Wyndham said the newest mask mandate would be in effect through the end of the semester, and the district will re-evaluate the situation during winter break and notify parents Dec. 29 or 30 of the status of the mask mandate before students return to class Jan. 4.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 49.53 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 793,200 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 267.85 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.27 million deaths and more than 8.28 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.

Indiana among 6 states accounting for half of country's COVID-19 hospitalizations

Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois accounted for the majority of the increase in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 over the last two weeks.

The states account for 35% of the population in the 30 states seeing an increase but 60% of the added COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to an NBC News analysis of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

The U.S. is currently seeing about 58,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations each day.

Since early November, hospitalizations have almost doubled in Indiana.

Brebeuf Jesuit brings back mask requirement due to rising COVID-19 cases

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School announced on Tuesday that the school will resume requiring masks indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, through the end of final exams.

The requirement began on Wednesday, Dec. 8 and will last through Friday, Dec. 17. The school said that an increase in COVID-19 cases in the school community and the surrounding area, as well as increasing hospitalizations in the area, contributed to the decision.

"For those reasons, especially as we near final exams and holiday time with family, we feel it is most prudent at this time to add this layer of precaution for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors," principal Greg VanSlambrook said in a statement.

The school said it will continue to track the latest data over winter break to determine if the masking requirement will continue into the new year.

Pfizer: Lab tests suggest COVID-19 boosters protect against omicron variant

Pfizer said Wednesday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine may protect against the new omicron variant, even though the initial two doses appear significantly less effective.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said lab tests showed a booster dose increased by 25-fold the level of so-called neutralizing antibodies against omicron.

Pfizer announced the preliminary laboratory data in a press release, and it hasn’t yet undergone scientific review. The companies already are working to create an omicron-specific vaccine in case it’s needed.

December schedule for testing, vaccine sites in Marion County

The Marion County Public Health Department announced 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 Branch2435 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 Office6042 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 Office6940 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 Office7551 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.

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