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Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.

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.

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IDOH update

The Indiana Department of Health reported 5,536 new positive cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. There have been 1,574,807 positive cases in Indiana since the start of the pandemic.

The state reported an additional 129 people died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 20,296.

IDOH reported 2,520 more Hoosiers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday. The total number of people vaccinated in Indiana is now at 3,631,349.

There were 4,771 booster doses administered Tuesday, bringing the total number to 1,647,897.

According to data provided by IDOH, 98% of the COVID-19 samples tested the week of Jan. 10 were the omicron variant. 

Mobile testing and vaccine site returning to Carmel

The Indiana Department of Health is hosting a mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinic in west Carmel Jan. 26-29. The clinic will be open from noon until 8 p.m. at the Jill Perelman Pavilion. The address is 3000 W. 116th St.

Walk-ins are accepted but appointments are encouraged. Register at ourshot.in.gov. The clinic will have the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Booster shots will also be available. Individuals 5 and older are eligible to get vaccinated.

Kroger providing free nonsurgical N95 masks

Kroger will help provide free, nonsurgical N95 masks as part of its partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Customers will be able to visit Kroger stores with a pharmacy to pick up complimentary masks, while supplies last. Kroger initially said it anticipated the masks would arrive on Thursday but provided an updated timeline Wednesday morning: 

"Kroger is grateful for the ongoing role we’re able to play in helping help our associates and customers protect themselves and our communities against COVID-19," said Colleen Juergensen, president of Kroger Central Division. "At this time, we are awaiting our distribution of masks from the Strategic National Stockpile and are prepared to make them available to the public as soon as we receive them."

A Kroger spokesperson confirmed the Thursday arrival of N95 masks seemed unlikely.

Up to three masks will be available to every customer, while supplies last. Customers should look for a branded display or ask an associate for help finding it.

Pfizer opens study of COVID shots updated to match omicron

Pfizer has started a study comparing its original COVID-19 vaccine with doses specially tweaked to match the hugely contagious omicron variant.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced the study on Tuesday.

COVID-19 vaccine makers have been updating their shots to better match omicron in case global health authorities decide the change is needed.

The new U.S. study is enrolling up to 1,420 healthy adults, ages 18 to 55, to test the updated omicron-based shots for use as a booster or for primary vaccinations. Researchers will examine the tweaked vaccine’s safety and how it revs up the immune system in comparison to the original shots.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 72.17 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:15 a.m. Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 872,100 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 358.64 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.61 million deaths and more than 9.85 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.

FDA limits authorization on 2 COVID monoclonal antibody treatments due to omicron

COVID-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because they are unlikely to work against the omicron variant that now accounts for nearly all U.S. infections, U.S. health regulators said Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration said it was revoking emergency authorization for both drugs, which were purchased by the federal government and given to millions of Americans with COVID-19 — bamlanivimab and etesevimab, which are given together, and REGEN-COV. They remain authorized "only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments," the FDA said.

If the drugs prove effective against future variants, the FDA said it could reauthorize their use.

IU women's basketball game against Illinois postponed

The game between Indiana and Illinois on Thursday, Jan. 27 has been postponed due to COVID with the Illinois program.

Both teams and the Big Ten Conference are working to reschedule the game.

If the game cannot be played, it will count as a "no contest" for both teams.

Ticket holders will receive further information from the ticket office.

IU offering free N95 and KN95 masks to students, faculty and staff

Indiana University is distributing free N95 and KN95 masks to students, faculty and staff beginning Monday and continuing through early February, as supplies are available. 

The masks are available at designated locations across all IU campuses. 

The university said this expanded offering will be in addition to the surgical masks already available at most building entrances.

Aaron Carroll, IU’s chief health officer, said broader distribution of disposable masks was prompted by evolving guidance about masking, broader availability of masks from suppliers, and concerns with counterfeit N95 and KN95 masks in the marketplace.

“We encourage everyone to keep a mask supply at hand; this is simply an additional resource for the IU community,” he said.