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.
State reports 14K more fully vaccinated, 19 additional deaths
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 14,889 more people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Saturday morning. Indiana has recorded more than 5.15 million shots, and 2,507,121 individuals have been fully vaccinated as of Saturday.
ISDH also reported 448 new cases and 19 additional deaths from the virus. The deaths occurred between Feb. 27 and Friday, and brings Indiana's total deaths from COVID-19 to 13,198. Another 417 probable deaths have been reported in patients who died with COVID-19 symptoms but had not tested positive for the virus.
The new cases reported Saturday brings to 743,338 the number of Indiana residents now known to have tested positive for the virus.
Scientists in Vietnam identify new virus variant
Vietnam has discovered a new coronavirus variant that’s a hybrid of strains first found in India and the U.K., the Vietnamese health minister said.
Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said Saturday that scientists identified the variant while examining the genetic makeup of the virus that had infected some recent patients. He said lab tests suggested it might spread more easily than other versions of the virus.
Long says the new variant has spread to 30 of Vietnam's 63 municipalities and provinces, and could be responsible for a recent surge in confirmed cases.
Viruses often develop small genetic changes as they reproduce, and new variants of the coronavirus have been seen almost since the one that causes COVID-19 was first detected in China in late 2019.
The World Health Organization has listed four global “variants of concern” – the ones found in the U.K. and India, plus two more identified in South Africa and Brazil.
Vietnam initially stood out in its success battling the virus. As of early May, it had recorded just over 3,100 confirmed cases and 35 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
But in the last few weeks, the country has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 more deaths.
Marion County Health Department reminds fans to follow protocols
The Marion County Public Health Department is reminding residents and visitors of health protocols in place for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
They include wearing a mask, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and observing social distancing measures at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We are thrilled that we were able to work with the IMS to develop health protocols that allow for fans to be welcomed back to this iconic venue for the 105th Running of the Indy 500,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Health Department. “These protocols are in place to ensure race fans can safely enjoy the race and the weekend’s festivities. We ask residents and visitors to wear a mask, wash their hands, and follow distancing measures at IMS while enjoying the greatest spectacle in racing.”
Mask ambassadors will also be on hand to remind race fans of the importance of masking up.
Gov. Holcomb keeping school mask mandate through June
Indiana’s mask mandate for those inside schools will last for another month as Governor Eric Holcomb has issued a new extension of the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency. The executive order signed Friday by Gov. Holcomb ends the mask requirement for students and K-12 school workers on June 30.
The order says it will be up to local school boards to decide whether to adopt mask rules or other restrictions for the upcoming school year. The new order taking effect Tuesday lifts mask requirements for state buildings, except for locations such as prisons and state hospitals.
Hoosiers urged to visit free vaccination clinics
The Indiana Department of Health is encouraging Hoosiers to to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at a series of FEMA clinics around the state. Those clinics will run through 3 p.m. on Saturday.
- McMillen Park, 3901 Abbott St., Fort Wayne
- Civil Rights Heritage Center, 1040 W. Washington St., South Bend.
Vaccinations are free at all sites, and no appointment is necessary.
Additional clinics are planned next week in Marion, Muncie, Butler, Shelbyville and Syracuse. To find a location visit www.ourshot.in.gov or call 211.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 33.24 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6 a.m. ET Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 593,960 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 169.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 3.52 million deaths. More than 1.8 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.
The actual 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.
Memorial Day ceremonies canceled at Crown Hill Cemetery
Crown Hill Cemetery is canceling its Memorial Day Ceremonies due to the pandemic. The decision was made in the interest of the safety of visitors and employees.
With the in-person event canceled, there will instead be a short, patriotic video released. The video will be available to view at 8 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, on the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation’s website as well as the various Crown Hill social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.