Indiana COVID-19 Update: IN reports 4,411 new coronavirus cases, 40 deaths

Indiana COVID-19 vaccines expanded to those 70 and older
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana public health officials announced 4,411 new COVID-19 cases and 40 additional deaths on Thursday.

Overall, 8,830 Indiana residents have died from COVID-19 and 578,494 have contracted it since the start of the pandemic.

Health officials say the latest recorded seven-day positive COVID-19 test rate in the state is 15.3%. Health officials say there have been more than 6 million tests administered.

Indiana has also expanded access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Indiana expands COVID-19 vaccines to Hoosiers 70 and older

The Indiana State Department of Health says Hoosiers 70 and older can now register to receive coronavirus vaccinations as Indiana continues to expand access to the shots.

The vaccines became available to Indiana residents 80 and older last Friday following the initial rollout of doses for Indiana health care workers and nursing home residents and staffers in December.

RELATED: Indiana COVID vaccine distribution ramps up in Gary as elderly begin to receive doses

The Indiana State Department of Health announced Wednesday that appointments for those 70 and older can be made at the website or by calling the state's 2-1-1 telephone assistance service.

State officials will release more information about the vaccine expansions during a Wednesday afternoon news briefing.

Officials: More contagious virus variant found in Indiana

State health officials say a more contagious variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in the United Kingdom late last year has been found in Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health said the variant was identified through testing by the state agency's laboratory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but Monday's announcement included no additional information on its discovery in Indiana.

State Health Commissioner Kris Box said in a statement the variant "does not cause more severe infections, but it is much more easily spread."

She says it's discovery means that "it's more important than ever" for Hoosiers to continue wearing masks and taking other precautions.

WLS-TV contributed to this report

The video in the media player above was used in a previous report.
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