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Indiana coronavirus updates for Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Tuesday'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: Here are the most common omicron symptoms being reported

Randolph Central Schools move to e-learning

Randolph Central School Corporation announced Tuesday a switch to e-learning for the remainder of this week.

"Because of the increased number of staff positives and our shortage of substitute teachers we have decided to switch to (e-learning) beginning tomorrow and continuing through this Friday," read a message from school superintendent Rolland Abraham.

Read the full message here.

IU women's basketball postpones another game due to COVID-19

The IU women's basketball team postponed another game due to COVID-19. The game against Iowa on Sunday, Jan. 23 in Iowa City will need to be rescheduled.

A future date for the game has not been set. If the game is not able to be rescheduled, it would count as a “no contest” for both teams.

The IU women already postponed the game with Michigan State, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Indiana University. Ticketholders will receive information from the ticket office on next steps.

Indiana House passes bill weakening employer COVID vaccine mandates

The Indiana House passed HB 1001 on Tuesday, weakening employer COVID vaccine mandates and eliminating Gov. Eric Holcomb's state of emergency. 

The bill passed 57-35 with several Republicans choosing to vote against it.

The bill would require a business with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate to recognize medical and religious exemptions and provide the ability to opt out through weekly testing and/or natural immunity.

Last week, the House amended the bill to take out language that penalized a business through unemployment insurance if an employee quit over a vaccine mandate. The bill was also amended to say a company could not enter into a contract or bid after March that would contain a provision requiring an employee to receive an immunization against COVID-19 unless the above exemptions were allowed. 

The measure now goes on to the Senate to consider.

IU Health gets extension on military help

IU Health told 13News Tuesday, that a 30-day extension had been granted to allow the U.S. Navy's clinical team to keep supporting Methodist Hospital.

The team consists of physicians, nurses and respiratory professionals, and they are integrated into medical units and the emergency department. The support team consists of 14 nurses, four doctors and two respiratory technicians.

Hospital staff, working harder than ever to heal, are still pleading with the public to ease the strain:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Mask up.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Get tested and stay home if you're sick.

IDOH update

The Indiana Department of Health reports 1,940 more Hoosiers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday. The total number of people vaccinated in Indiana is now at 3,611,825.

There were 5,864 booster doses administered Monday, bringing the total number to 1,599,314.

IDOH reported 12,126 new positive cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday. There have been 1,474,289 positive cases in Indiana since the start of the pandemic.

The state reported an additional 77 people died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 19,643.

Free at-home COVID test ordering begins day early

The Biden administration has started taking orders for free at-home COVID tests, a day before the website was scheduled to officially launch.

Officials had said that orders would begin Wednesday, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Tuesday that a "beta testing phase" of the ordering site had gone live as a way to test the system before a full rollout Wednesday.

The website, COVIDTests.gov, now includes a link for Americans to order up four at-home tests per residential address, to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

It's not yet known whether orders will continue to be accepted throughout the day Tuesday or if those will be cut off at some point before Wednesday's official launch.

The website is part of the Biden administration's plan to fight the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19. The federal government is limiting the number of tests any household can order due to projected high demand. Four tests can be shipped per household, not per person.

The White House said when announcing this plan that more tests could go out at some point to each household, but that depends on supply.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra postpones concerts

Carmel Symphony Orchestra is postponing five upcoming concerts due to concern over the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The postponed concerts include the following:

  • Family Fun Concert – Sunday, Jan. 23
  • Masterworks 3 with the Harlem String Quartet – Saturday, Feb. 12
  • Beethoven Lives Upstairs: A Classical Kids Live! Event – Saturday, Feb. 19
  • Pops Concert: Serpentine Fire - the Music of Earth, Wind & Fire – Saturday, Feb. 26
  • Side-by-Side Concert with Fishers High School featuring CSO Young Artist Competition winner Abigail Ko – Sunday, March 6.

“Hopefully, the peak of this particular surge will be reached over the next month or so, and by the time we resume our concerts, we’ll be on the down side of Omicron,” said Robert Schlegel III, chairman of the CSO Board of Directors.

The CSO season will resume on March 12. The Family Fun concert from Jan. 23 will be presented on May 14. The other concerts affected by the pause, including Serpentine Fire: the Music of Earth, Wind and Fire, will be booked for the 2022-23 season with dates announced in April.

IMS testing, vaccine clinic extended with new hours

The Indiana Department of Health has extended its COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through Saturday, Feb. 26. The hours of operation have also been revised, which goes into effect immediately. 

The clinic, which is held in the INDYCAR parking lot at 4551 W. 16th St. across from Gate 2, offers vaccinations and testing on the following schedule: 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: Noon-8 p.m.
  • Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Appointments are strongly recommended, but walk-ins will be accepted if there is availability.

IDOH will contact those who have already scheduled appointments from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday and Fridays.

Record number of Indiana COVID-19 cases reported for calendar month

There have now been more COVID-19 cases reported in January than any other month during the pandemic, and we're only halfway through the month.

The Indiana Department of Health has reported 195,194 cases through Jan. 16. That tops the previous high of 173,671 cases in December 2020.

There were 13,506 cases of COVID among students in Indiana reported for the week ending Jan. 14. That is several thousand more than the previous record. An additional roughly 2,000 cases reported were connected to the week prior.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 66.42 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 851,700 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 330.88 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.54 million deaths and more than 9.67 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.

IU women's basketball game postponed 

Due to COVID-19 protocols in the Indiana University women's basketball program, the game with Michigan State, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19, is being postponed.

A future date for the game has not been set. If the game is not able to be rescheduled, it would count as a “no contest” for both teams.

Ticketholders will receive information from the ticket office on next steps.

Heritage Christian cancels middle, high school classes Tuesday

Illness and staffing absences continue to plague Heritage Christian School. Classes will be canceled for middle and high school students Tuesday, Jan. 18. It will not be an e-learning day. Students in sixth grade and below will have class in-person as normal.

Parents said circumstances in the next few days could require additional closures.

The campus will remain open and the schedule unchanged for extracurricular activities.

Carmel hosting mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinic this week

The Indiana Department of Health is hosting a free mobile testing and vaccination clinic in Carmel this week.

The clinic will be held at the Jill Perelman Pavilion, located at 3000 W. 116th St., from Wednesday, Jan. 19-Saturday, Jan. 22 from noon-8 p.m.

Click here or call 211 to register. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are accepted.

Insurers must now reimburse cost of at-home COVID tests

Most Americans will be able to get reimbursed for COVID-19 tests that they purchase, starting Wednesday, Jan. 15. But before Americans start sending their insurer the bill, there are a couple of caveats they need to know.

Private insurers will be required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month per insured person, according to a new Biden administration rule.

People will have the option of buying tests at a store or online, then seeking reimbursement from their health insurance provider. Insurers are being incentivized to work with pharmacies and retailers to develop plans to cover the cost of the tests with no out-of-pocket cost to customers, but those programs will not be immediately widespread.

The Biden administration says the procedures will differ from insurer to insurer, and it is encouraging Americans to save receipts from rapid test purchases for later reimbursement and to reach out to their insurance providers for information.

Critically, the requirement only covers purchases on or after Saturday, Jan. 8. Insurers are not expected to retroactively reimburse the cost of tests purchased earlier.

Those with public health insurance through Medicare, or without insurance, will be directed to covidtests.gov to order tests or to community health centers in their area offering free testing.

Federal testing website launches Wednesday; 4 tests permitted per home

The White House said the federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

The announcement comes as the administration looks to address nationwide shortages, but supplies will be limited to just four free tests per home. 

RELATED: Free at-home COVID tests: Reimbursement details, monthly limits

Americans shouldn’t expect a rapid turn-around on the orders, and Americans will have to plan ahead and request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for when to use a test. 

The White House said “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the United States Postal Service, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first class package service in the continental United States.