Indiana surpasses 16,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Health officials say anyone who wants to can get their booster shot. And the state prepares to vaccinate children 5 to 11 years old.
Indiana added 11,027 new cases in the last seven days – only a few hundred less than last week.
It did, however, surpass 16,000 confirmed deaths on Tuesday. After peaking at an average of 98 deaths per day in December, Indiana’s average plummeted to less than 10 per day from April until July. September's average climbed to 39 deaths per day. However, October so far is about 27.
To put that in context, the total deaths reported in October so far is only a little more than half September’s total, with five days left in the month.
State health officials say there are an additional 545 suspected COVID-19 deaths – where a test wasn’t administered but health care professionals believe the person had the virus.
The state added 204 deaths to its total in the last week.
State health officials say anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot should feel free to get one.
The state’s guidance, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention direction, says Hoosiers age 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions or who are immunocompromised really need the booster.
Beyond that, though, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said Hoosiers can decide for themselves whether they think they’re at risk of the virus.
“Teachers and bus drivers and governors who are shaking hands and out in big groups all the time, health care professionals – really, I think that anybody who really would like to have a booster should feel free to sign up and get a booster,” Box said.
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Indiana officials say they’ll be ready to start administering COVID-19 vaccinations to children age 5-11 as early as this week.
Federal approval of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group could come as soon as Tuesday.
Indiana Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said the state has already been preparing to get children under 12 vaccinated against COVID-19. She said there are more than 1,300 vaccination sites around the state ready for that age group.
“That includes a site in every single county across the state,” Weaver said. “As soon as it’s approved, we’ll update our OurShot.in.gov map, so you know which locations are offering to 5- to 11-year-olds.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb said he’s exploring ways to end the state’s public health emergency surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s even as he extended the declared emergency for another month, while rescinding some recent executive actions.
Holcomb is dialing back on some of the few orders he has remaining. Gone are directives that require hospitals to report diversion data to the state and consider postponing non-emergent procedures.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said last week Indiana’s statewide hospital census is still at its highest level over the last five years.