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Indiana coronavirus updates for Saturday, July 31, 2021

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Saturday, July 31, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Saturday'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 12 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

Colts one of 4 NFL teams to offer vaccines at training camp Saturday

The NFL’s “Back Together Saturday” at training camps is about football. But it's also about having fans return to watch, with all 32 teams conducting open practices on Saturday. 

Some clubs have invited local youth teams to their facilities. Most are focusing on family activities. Other clubs have chosen to do this strictly for season ticket members. Notably, the Colts, Patriots, Saints and Washington Football Team are offering COVID-19 vaccinations at their facilities. Already, 4.8 million vaccines have been administered at 24 NFL team complexes.

Walk-ups are welcome to get a vaccine at Colts Camp at Grand Park in Westfield. Click here for days and hours.

Upcoming mobile vaccine clinics in central Indiana

Mobile vaccination clinics are planned on the following schedule:

Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.:
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp
19000 Grand Park Blvd., Westfield, IN 46074

Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.:
Jasper County Fair
2671 W. Clark St., Rensselaer, IN 47978

Jackson County Fair
476 E. County Road 100 South, Brownstown, IN 47220

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
Saint Mary’s Church
311 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

Patients with an appointment at a state-hosted public vaccination site can get a free Uber or Lyft ride. Call 2-1-1 or (866) 211-9966 to receive a voucher to cover the cost of an Uber ride to and from your vaccination appointments. IU Health offers free Lyft rides to any vaccine site in the state. Call 1.888.IUHEALTH (888-484-3258) and choose option 9 if you need transportation to your vaccine appointment.

Indiana officials recommending, not requiring vaccine, masks

Indiana’s top health officials made pleas Friday for Hoosiers to get vaccinated and continue wearing masks as an especially contagious coronavirus variant spreads throughout the state, but said there are no plans to reinstate public health restrictions or mandates statewide. 

State health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box said during a news conference that in recent weeks, the number of new coronavirus cases recorded in Indiana “bounced back up” to rates comparable to a year ago. Box said the biggest threat is from the delta variant, which spreads more easily than previous versions of the coronavirus. 

State officials have declined to reimpose any statewide face mask requirements or crowd-size limits, however, citing a need for local officials to make those decisions on their own.

Pentagon grappling with new vaccine orders; timing uncertain

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is vowing he “won’t let grass grow under our feet” as the department begins to implement new vaccine and testing directives. But Pentagon officials are scrambling to figure out how to implement the changes across the vast military population and determining which National Guard and Reserve troops would be affected by the orders. 

The Pentagon has two missions: It must develop plans to make the vaccine mandatory for the military, and it has to implement new requirements for federal workers who will have to either attest to a COVID-19 vaccination or face frequent testing and travel restrictions.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 34.94 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 613,015 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 197.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.2 million deaths. More than 4 billion vaccine doses have been 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.

RELATED: Track vaccinations in your ZIP code

Hamilton Co. officials urge residents to follow state mask guidelines

The Hamilton County Health Department is urging residents to follow the State Department of Health’s recommendation that all Hoosiers over the age of two wear masks in public indoor spaces, including school buildings. The recommendation follows the CDC’s announcement earlier this week. 

“We have shared this guidance with the school districts in Hamilton County and are encouraging them to modify their operational plans for a safe return to in-person learning,” says Jason LeMaster, the health department administrator. “Local school boards are responsible for implementing their own restrictions to address the impact and spread of COVID-19 in their buildings, facilities, and grounds, except as required by federal or state authority.” 

At this time, there are no additional local orders beyond what the State Health Department has recommended:

Unvaccinated staff and students: 

  • Masks recommended indoors (except when eating) 
  • Keep social distance of at least three feet if all (unvaccinated) individuals are masked 
  • Keep social distance of at least six feet in all other areas of the school or if unmasked 
  • Quarantine is required if individual has had close contact with someone who tested positive 

Vaccinated staff and students: 

  • Masks are not necessary 
  • Use good judgment regarding social distancing 
  • No quarantine needed if identified as a close contact as long as individual has no symptoms 

"Our best protection is vaccination."

“The delta variant has thrown a wrench in to our plans,” LeMaster said. “The longer it takes us to get people vaccinated, the more time the virus has to mutate and become more transmissible. We need to do all we can to protect those at highest risk. Our best protection is vaccination.”