INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
Colts' Deforest Buckner on COVID reserve list
The Colts announced they have placed defensive tackle DeForest Buckner on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The NFL's most recent COVID protocols state that "anyone with 'high risk' contact exposure to a coronavirus-positive individual must isolate for five days, even if said person is negative and remains asymptomatic."
In addition to that, if a player were to test positive for the coronavirus after Tuesday during a game week, that player, along with all "high risk" contacts are be forced to miss at least the upcoming game and perhaps more based on testing, symptoms, etc.
State update on response
Gov. Holcomb and state leaders provided an update on the COVID-19 response.
Leaders are asking people to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small as the spike in cases is increasing across the state.
The state is seeing a surge in deaths again in long-term care facilities.
The state's call for medical personnel help has led to a response from 752 retired health care professionals, 290 health care students and 3,312 active health care practitioners.
Indiana is expecting emergency approval of COVID-19 vaccines to happen in mid-December and will arrive in Indiana within 48 hours of that.
The state is emphasizing that anyone getting the vaccine will need to make sure they get both doses for it to be effective.
Symptoms of the vaccine the state said have been reported include: fatigue, headache and fever. State health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said that does not mean the vaccine gave you COVID.
Members of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission has made 1,569 unannounced visits to establishments. They found 47 establishments not in compliance with masking and/or social distancing. The state followed up with educational visits and verbal warnings.
Indiana study of COVID
The IUPUI's Fairbanks School of Public Health released updated findings on its study of coronavirus cases in Indiana:
- Less than 30: 1 in 19,531 infected
- 30-49: 1 in 2,471 infected
- 50-64: 1 in 224 infected
- 65+: 1 in 43 infected
The study also reported how many Hoosiers have ever been infected with COVID as of Nov. 19, 2020:
- Less than 30: 10.2 percent
- 30-49: 16.5 percent
- 50-64: 7.4 percent
- 65+: 6.9 percent
- TOTAL: 10.6 percent
The study also found 40 percent of Hoosiers are asymptomatic.
Mayor Hogsett quarantines after COVID-19 exposure
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and his wife, Steph Hogsett, are currently in quarantine after having close contact with an individual last weekend who tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a spokesperson for Hogsett, neither the mayor or his wife are exhibiting symptoms and plan to be tested at the end of the week.
Mayor Hogsett will remain in quarantine through Dec. 4.
ISDH daily update
The Indiana State Department of health reports 6,059 new cases of COVID-19 and 63 more deaths, bringing the state's total to 312,521 positive cases and 5.232 deaths. In all the state has administered more than 4 million tests since the start of the pandemic.
The state's positivity rate between Nov. 12 and Nov. 18 was 11.2 percent for all tests and 21.4 percent for unique individuals.
The state has 21.8 percent of ICU beds available. As of Tuesday, there were 3,363 COVID-19 patients in Indiana hospitals — another single-day high.
Anderson Community Schools to remain virtual through semester
Anderson Community Schools announced Wednesday that the district will remain on virtual learning through the end of the fall semester.
"Anderson Community Schools has been monitoring the number of positive Covid-19 cases occurring in Madison County. In the last 6-days alone, the average number of cases exceeds 112 cases per day. Given the Madison County Health Department measurements we use, anything over 24 cases-per-day is considered severe spread, and reason to use virtual education," the district said in a Facebook post. "We do not foresee the average cases per day dropping to a level that would let ACS return this semester."
The school system said they hope to return to buildings at the start of the spring semester, on Jan. 4, but the spread will dictate that decision.
US jobless claims rise to 778,000 as pandemic worsens
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks.
The Labor Department's report Wednesday said jobless claims climbed from 748,000 the week before. Before the virus struck hard in mid-March, weekly claims typically amounted to roughly 225,000. They shot up to 6.9 million during one week in March before dropping yet remain historically high more than eight months later, with many businesses unable to fully reopen.
The number of people who are continuing to receive traditional unemployment benefits is now 6.1 million, up from fewer than 1.7 million a year ago. Still, that figure had been declining for months. It shows that more Americans are finding jobs and no longer receiving unemployment aid. But it also indicates that many jobless people have used up their state unemployment aid — which typically expires after six months — and have transitioned to a federal extended benefits program that lasts 13 more weeks.
Hamilton County stricter restrictions begin Wednesday
A new public health order with stricter restrictions go into effect in Hamilton County Wednesday, Nov. 25. Hamilton County is currently under the orange (moderate to high transmission) level of the state's color-coded metrics.
Here is what is in the order if the county remains in the orange level:
- The Hamilton County Health Department will not approve any safety plans for social gatherings of more than 250 people.
- Organizers of social gatherings and events at venues with multiple, clearly separate areas, such as banquet rooms, conference rooms or multiple sports fields, must submit a safety plan for each separate area up to a maximum of 250 individuals per gathering or event.
- Attendance at community recreational sports leagues and tournaments will be restricted to 250 people (including participants, personnel and spectators).
If the county is upgraded to the red (very high transmission) level, here's what will change:
- The Hamilton County Health Department will not approve any safety plans for social gatherings of more than 100 people.
- Organizers of social gatherings and events at venues with multiple, clearly separate areas, such as banquet rooms, conference rooms or multiple sports fields, must submit a safety plan for each separate area up to a maximum of 100 individuals per gathering or event.
- Attendance at community recreational sports leagues and tournaments will be restricted to 100 people (including participants, personnel and spectators).
- Restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other establishments providing in-person food and drink service must limit capacity to 50% of indoor capacity.
- Restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other establishments providing in-person food and drink service must be closed and cleared of customers between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. to perform enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- Restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other establishments providing in-person food and drink service will only be allowed to seat customers at tables. Bar seating will be closed.
- Gyms, exercise, and fitness centers (including yoga studios, dance studios, karate studios, martial arts studios and other similar fitness centers) must limit capacity to 50%.
- Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites (including museums, music venues, auction venues, flea market and parks) must limit capacity to 50%.
- All other non-essential entertainment businesses (including movie theaters, bowling alleys, trampoline parks, boating and marina facilities, and rock wall climbing facilities) must limit capacity to 50%.
- Personal service businesses (including salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, microblading and tattoo parlors) may remain by appointment. Face coverings may be removed for beard trimming or as required to complete the service.
Schools will be allowed to implement their own plans for ensuring health and safety.
The county also said residents are strongly encouraged to quarantine for 14 days if they travel to or from another county, state or country.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 12.59 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 259,000 deaths and 4.69 million people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been more than 59.81 million confirmed cases with more than 1.41 million deaths and 38.3 million recoveries.
The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
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.
Butler limits capacity at Wednesday's basketball season opener
Butler University will limit capacity at Hinkle Fieldhouse for its men's basketball season opener to 1,500 fans. The Bulldogs will play Western Michigan Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Following the season opener, Butler will consider increasing the fan capacity to 2,000 for Sunday night's game against Eastern Illinois at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
"As the first game of the season approaches, we decided that this is a prudent step to take," said Barry Collier, Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics. "Capping our fan capacity at roughly 15 percent for the season opener takes into account the trending COVID-19 numbers that we are seeing locally."
The Marion County Public Health Department had approved a fan capacity of 25 percent at Hinkle Fieldhouse, which is a little under 2,300 fans.
MCPHD drive-thru testing sites changing hours during holiday week
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites operated by the Marion County Public Health Department are changing for the week of Thanksgiving.
Sites that have testing hours on Wednesday will close at noon. All sites will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Regular testing hours will resume Monday, Nov. 30.
Testing is free, but you need to register in advance and make an appointment. Appointments can be made at MarionHealth.org/indycovid or call 317-221-5515.
Los Angeles County in-person dining restrictions begin Wednesday
Los Angeles County officials are prohibiting in-person dining for at least three weeks as cases rise throughout the holiday season.
The new rules will take effect Wednesday at 10 p.m. local time. Restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer takeout, drive-thru and delivery services.
Officials had warned that these restrictions could come into play if the county's five-day average of new cases was above 4,000. Sunday's five-day average was 4,097 cases.
Most of California, including Los Angeles County, has been under a curfew since Saturday night at 10 p.m.