Indiana developing virus vaccine eligibility criteria
Indiana health officials reported 758 new COVID-19 cases and 20 additional deaths Monday.
The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed a total of 107,229 positive coronavirus cases in the state, including 3,235 deaths. There have been 1,756,019 tests conducted, with an 8.5% cumulative positivity rate.
The Indiana Supreme Court says Chief Justice Loretta Rush has tested positive for a COVID-19 infection but not yet developed severe symptoms. The court said Monday that Rush learned about her infection on Sunday and underwent the test after a family member tested positive for the coronavirus. Rush has been working remotely and hasn't been to the Statehouse, where the Supreme Court justices have offices, since Sept. 1. A court spokeswoman says Rush is under a doctor's care but has not gone to a hospital for treatment. Rush has been Indiana's chief justice since 2014.
Indiana health officials are developing the criteria they'll use to decide who's entitled to receive a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available.
Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said last week she expects the supply of doses will be extremely limited once the federal government approves a vaccine for widespread human use. It might be just 10 million or 15 million doses for the 330 million people living in the United States.
The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that if the vaccine is distributed to each state based on its share of the U.S. population, Indiana might receive only 300,000 doses initially for its 6.7 million residents.
Nearly 100 additional coronavirus testing sites are planned across Indiana by the end of this month. State officials announced Wednesday that $30 million over the next two years from federal coronavirus funding will go to 76 county health departments for the new testing sites. About three dozen sites will be open by the end of this week, with a total of 95 scheduled to be in operation by Oct. 1. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the new sites should be conducting 100 to 200 free tests a day.
A northern Indiana prison has been placed on lockdown after weekend testing found nearly 60 inmates and several prison workers were positive for COVID-19. The Miami Correctional Facility's spokesman, James Frye, said Wednesday that a team from the Indiana State Department of Health did rapid testing at the prison over the weekend. Before that testing, two inmates and five staffers had tested positive for COVID-19. But the Kokomo Tribune reports that by Wednesday, testing found 60 offenders and 10 staff members were positive for COVID-19. National Guard units began helping operate the prison in August, after several prison workers were stricken with COVID-19.
Indiana lawmakers are preparing to move much of their 2021 legislative session activity out of the Statehouse over coronavirus concerns. A joint House-Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed a plan aimed at allowing the 100-member House hold its floor sessions and committee meetings in the auditorium and conference rooms in a state office building next to the Statehouse. The 50-member state Senate is planning to keep meeting in its Statehouse chamber but will convert its public gallery into seating for senators in order to allow sufficient distancing when the legislative session starts in January.
Several dozen Indiana high school athletic programs are turning to pay-per-view broadcasts of their football games and other fundraising efforts to help make up revenue they've lost due to a drop in fan attendance amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the South Bend Tribune, Northern Indiana's Mishawaka High School is charging fans $9.99 to view broadcasts of its football games. The school is receiving 60% of the revenue from each purchase. The broadcasts, run by Mishawaka students and faculty, had been free to watch for the past three years. The football broadcasts are streamed on the IHSAA Champions Network.
Indiana University has halted all voluntary workouts indefinitely for its men's basketball, field hockey, men's soccer and wrestling teams after 14 participants tested positive for the coronavirus this week. The Hoosiers did not identify which teams recorded the positive tests. The football team, like other Big Ten programs, is not playing this fall. Indiana said 63 positives have been reported from more than 1,400 tests of athletes, coaches and staff since June 8.
The Indianapolis Colts will allow a maximum of 2,500 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team's home opener Sept. 20 against the Minnesota Vikings. That number was determined following discussions with the Marion County Public Health Department and set to meet local, NFL and CDC guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19. But the Colts will not operate their Touchdown Town outside the stadium until further notice. Colts staff will meet with local health officials as early as next week to discuss capacity for future games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.