INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Wednesday'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.
Indiana COVID-19 hospitalizations highest in nearly a year
Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have topped 3,000 people for the first time in nearly a year amid the state’s ongoing infection surge.
State health department tracking shows Indiana hospitals were treating 3,020 COVID-19 patients as of Monday. That is up about 150% in the past five weeks and the most such patients since just before Christmas Day last year.
About a quarter of those patients are in hospital intensive care units. The Indiana Hospital Association said last week the state’s hospitals are seeing their highest-ever total patient counts.
Indiana has been averaging about 35 COVID-19 deaths a day so far this month.
U.S. tops 800,000 deaths
More than 800,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
The once-unimaginable figure is seen as doubly tragic, given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after the vaccine became available practically for the asking last spring.
The United States has the highest reported toll of any country. The U.S. accounts for approximately 4% of the world's population but about 15% of the 5.3 million known deaths from the coronavirus since the outbreak began in China two years ago.
EU official: Omicron to be dominant variant by mid-January
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says that omicron is expected to be the dominant coronavirus variant in the 27-nation bloc by mid-January.
The head of the EU’s executive branch said Wednesday the bloc is well prepared to fight omicron with 66.6% of the European population now fully vaccinated against the virus.
Von der Leyen said she is confident the EU has the “strength” and “means” to overcome the disease although expressing her sadness that once again “Christmas will be overshadowed by the pandemic.”
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 50.23 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 800,473 deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 271.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.3 million deaths and more than 8.5 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.
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 Branch, 2435 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 Office, 6042 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 Office, 6940 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 Office, 7551 S. Shelby St.
- Mondays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 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.