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Indiana coronavirus updates for Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Saturday, Oct. 16, 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

RELATED: Eligible Hoosiers can sign up for Pfizer’s booster shot, but not everyone needs to

Robert Durst hospitalized with COVID-19, his lawyer says

New York real estate heir Robert Durst has been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19, his lawyer said Saturday.

Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin said he was notified that Durst was admitted after testing positive for the coronavirus. DeGuerin said he didn't know Durst's condition and was trying to find out more details.

Durst, 78, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without a chance of parole for the murder of his best friend more than two decades ago. Durst, who has numerous medical issues, sat in a wheelchair with a catatonic stare during much of the sentencing hearing.

Lawsuits demand unproven ivermectin for COVID patients

At least two dozen lawsuits have been filed around the U.S., many in recent weeks, by people seeking to force hospitals to give their COVID-stricken loved ones ivermectin, a drug for parasites that has been promoted by conservative commentators as a treatment despite a lack of conclusive evidence that it helps people with the virus.

The families have gotten prescriptions for ivermectin, but hospitals have refused to use it on their loved ones, who are often on ventilators and facing death. 

The lawsuits have had a mix of results in state courts. Some judges have refused to order hospitals to give ivermectin. Others have ordered medical providers to give the medication, despite concerns it could be harmful

Booster shots outpacing new COVID-19 vaccinations 

Far more Indiana residents have been receiving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots than getting new vaccinations since those shots became available last month. 

The Indiana State Department of Health added booster shots given to its daily tracking of vaccine distribution this week. That tracking shows that over the past three weeks nearly 60% of the shots administered were booster shots.

The push for boosters kicked off in September after federal officials authorized third doses of the Pfizer vaccine for people at high risk of COVID-19. 

Indiana's pace of people receiving shots to become fully vaccinated has fallen to its lowest level since the vaccines became available last winter.

There were 4,266 more Hoosiers fully vaccinated Friday, bringing the state's total to 3,329,239.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 44.88 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6 a.m. Saturday according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 723,750 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 240.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.89 million deaths. More than 6.59 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.

US: States can order COVID shots for younger kids next week

U.S. health officials are setting the stage for a national COVID-19 vaccination campaign for younger children, inviting state officials to order doses before the shots are authorized.

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine is currently being given to people as young as 12 in the U.S. In the next three weeks, federal officials plan to discuss making smaller-dose versions available to the nation's 28 million children between the ages of 5 and 11.

To help states and cities prepare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week sent out a seven-page document with guidance on how to set up expanded vaccination programs.

For example, it notes pharmacies in every state can give COVID-19 shots to children, but it clarifies that only doses prepared and packaged specifically for children are to be used for those under 12.

It doesn't speak to some thornier questions, however, such as how much school-based clinics should be relied on or whether kids should be required to get then shots as a condition of school attendance.

Cities, police unions clash as vaccine mandates take effect

Police departments that are requiring officers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are running up against pockets of resistance across the U.S. 

Police unions and officers are pushing back by filing lawsuits to block the mandates. 

In Chicago, the city mayor is going to court against the leader of a police union after he called on officers to ignore an order to report their vaccination status by Friday. 

Seattle’s police department sent detectives and non-patrol officers to emergency calls this week because of a shortage of patrol officers. 

Union leaders fear it will become worse because of the vaccine mandates.