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.
The Indiana Department of Health reports 4,041 more Hoosiers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday. The total number of people vaccinated in Indiana is now at 3,595,122.
There were 14,647 booster doses administered Wednesday, bringing the total number to 1,534,717.
IDOH reported 16,563 new positive cases of the virus Thursday. The state also reported 75 more deaths Thursday. Those reported deaths date back to occurring Sept. 30, 2021.
Hospitalizations also continue to increase. On Wednesday, there were 3,451 COVID patients being treated in Indiana hospitals. That's among the most of the pandemic. There are 10% of ICU beds available in the state. Of the ICU beds in use, 38% of them are being used by COVID-19 patients.
As of early Thursday morning, .069% of fully vaccinated individuals in the state have been hospitalized with breakthrough cases of the virus.
Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for US large businesses
The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job.
At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S.
The court’s orders Thursday during a spike in coronavirus cases was a mixed bag for the administration’s efforts to boost the vaccination rate among Americans.
The court's conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected.
“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here,” the conservatives wrote in an unsigned opinion.
In dissent, the court's three liberals argued that it was the court that was overreaching by substituting its judgments for health experts. “Acting outside of its competence and without legal basis, the Court displaces the judgments of the Government officials given the responsibility to respond to workplace health emergencies," Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a joint dissent.
The vaccine mandate that the court will allow to be enforced nationwide covers virtually all health care workers in the country.
Ben Davis High School 10th-12th-grade students learning remotely through end of week
Students in grade 10-12 at Ben Davis High School in MSD of Wayne Township will be learning remotely through the end of the week, the district announced.
The change is due to staffing limitations at the high school, according to a statement posted on the district's website.
The Area 31 Career Center will continue to operate with in-person instruction and all extracurricular activities will continue in person, the district said.
Midday transportation for Ben Davis students attending Area 31 will not be provided and students will need to make alternative arrangements.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 63.20 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4 a.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 844,560 deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 317.16 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.51 million deaths and more than 9.53 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.
Fishers Health Dept. offering vaccines, tests on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The Fishers Health Department will offer vaccines and testing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The health department hopes that with many schools and businesses closed for the holiday, people will take advantage of this opportunity.
The Fishers Vaccination Clinic, located at 12520 E. 116th Street, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17, for walk-ins and appointments. The clinic will also be open Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments can be made at fishers.in.us/vaccine.
The Fishers Testing Site, located at 4 Municipal Drive, will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for drive-through testing and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for priority testing for students and staff of K-12 Fishers-based schools. Tests can be scheduled at fishers.in.us/testing.
Hours for the ongoing school-based testing are as follows:
- Monday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.
- Tuesday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Wednesday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.
- Thursday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Friday: 7:30-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
- Saturday: Noon-2 p.m.
17% of US elementary school kids fully vaccinated 2 months after authorization
Distrust, misinformation and delays because of the holidays and bad weather have combined to produce what authorities say are alarmingly low COVID-19 vaccination rates in U.S. children ages 5 to 11.
As of Tuesday, more than two months after shots became available to the age group, just over 17% were fully vaccinated. While Vermont is at 48%, California is just shy of 19% and Mississippi is at only 5%.
Vaccinations among the elementary school set surged after the shots were introduced in the fall, but the numbers have crept up slowly since then and appears to have had little effect on the omicron variant’s explosive spread.
Anderson Community Schools moves to e-learning
Anderson Community Schools became yet another Indiana school district to announce it was temporarily transitioning to e-learning on Wednesday.
The district's decision was made in response to a high number of COVID-19 related absences among bus drivers and staff.
Anderson Community Schools will have e-learning days on Thursday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 14. The district plans to resume with in-person instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 18, following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Greenfield-Central H.S. moves to e-learning
Greenfield-Central Community Schools announced Wednesday they were moving high school students to virtual learning for the rest of the week due to a surge in COVID cases in recent days that has impacted both students and staff at the school.
The district announced the move would be for Thursday and Friday of this week and would only affect students at Greenfield-Central High School. The district said it is monitoring the impact of the virus at other schools, as well.
Some IPS middle, high schools move to remote learning through end of week
Indianapolis Public Schools will move to remote learning on Thursday, Jan. 13 and Friday, Jan. 14 at high schools and standalone middle schools.
IPS said the switch to remote learning is due to staffing limitations. The following schools will move to remote learning:
- Arlington Middle School
- Harshman Middle School
- Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28
- Northwest Middle School (including Newcomer)
- Arsenal Technical High School
- Crispus Attucks High School
- George Washington High School
- Shortridge High School
IPS said the decision was based on the number of staff absences, including COVID-19 isolations and quarantines at the middle and high school levels.
Heritage Christian canceling class Friday
Heritage Christian School is canceling class Friday as it deals with staffing shortages due to illness. It will not be an e-learning day for students.
The school had already planned for no class Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In a note to parents, the school said the long weekend would allow "for additional preparation as we plan for a return to school next Tuesday."
Extracurricular activities will go on as scheduled Friday.
Biden sending more COVID tests to schools to keep them open
The Biden administration is increasing federal support for COVID-19 testing for schools in a bid to keep them open amid the omicron surge.
The White House announced Wednesday that the administration is making a dedicated stream of 5 million rapid tests and 5 million lab-based PCR tests available to schools starting this month to ease supply shortages and promote the safe reopening of schools. That's on top of more than $10 billion devoted to school-based tests authorized in the COVID-19 relief law and about $130 billion earmarked in that law to keep kids in school.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said students need to be in their classrooms and the announcement shows the administration's commitment to helping schools stay open.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that our children have an opportunity to stay in school," Cardona said Wednesday on “CBS Mornings.” “That’s where they need to be, and we know we can do it safely.”
States are applying to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the tests, Cardona said, adding that he expected distribution to begin as early as next week.
Home COVID tests to be covered by insurance starting Saturday
Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations.
Under the new policy, first detailed to the Associated Press, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit.
President Joe Biden faced criticism over the holiday season for a shortage of at-home rapid tests as Americans traveled to see family amid the surge in cases from the more transmissible omicron variant. Now, the administration is working to make COVID-19 home tests more accessible, both by increasing supply and bringing down costs.
Later this month, the federal government will launch a website to begin making 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests available via mail. The administration also is scaling up emergency rapid-testing sites in areas experiencing the greatest surges in cases.