Indiana COVID-19 Update: IN reports 1,260 new COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths as Gary mass vaccination site opens

INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- Indiana public health officials announced 1,260 new COVID-19 cases and 15 additional deaths on Wednesday.

Overall, 12,694 Indiana residents have died from COVID-19 and 693,452 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 4.5%. Health officials say there have been more than 9 million tests administered.

Gary, Indiana is at the center of the state's ongoing push to get Hoosiers vaccinated.

A new mass vaccination site at the old Roosevelt High School opened Tuesday in Gary as the state lifted its mask mandate.
WATCH | Indiana lifts statewide mask mandate
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Indiana public health officials announced 669 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths on Tuesday, as the statewide mask mandate was lifted.

The advisory from Gov. Eric Holcomb allows municipalities to make their own rules on where and when Hoosiers will have to mask up. It went into effect at midnight Tuesday.

Holcomb's amended mask advisory will still require masks in schools and state-owned buildings, as well as at COVID testing and vaccine sites.

The city of Gary, like several other communities, has decided to keep its mask mandate in place for the foreseeable future.

The site, which officially opens on Wednesday, has the capacity to provide up to 2,000 shots per day. An additional 1,000 doses are also available through the mobile vaccination units.

Officials plan to vaccinate at least 100,000 people in the next eight weeks.

The site opened on the same day that Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb chose to lift the state's mask mandate. He insisted he made the change based off data.

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IN Gov. Holcomb announced the opening of a mass COVID vaccination site Tuesday in Gary.

Initially the site will use the Pfizer vaccine which requires two doses, and for the last two weeks of the eight-week program, they will use the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which has just one dose.

Government officials said Gary's diverse population makes it attractive in their effort to reach areas hard-hit by COVID-19. They said 1 million people live within a 30-minute drive of the high school, and nearly two-thirds are African American or Hispanic.

As COVID rates in the state climb, top health officials are preparing for another spike in cases.

Indiana gets $61M to boost COVID-19 vaccine among minorities

Indiana is getting $60.8 million in federal funding to support efforts to get minority populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic vaccinated against COVID-19.

The funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help programs such as door-to-door outreach to raise awareness about vaccinations or help people sign up to get vaccinated.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana's funding is part of $3 billion the CDC is distributing among 64 jurisdictions to encourage vaccination and access to vaccines for communities that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted.

The money comes from pandemic relief funding approved by Congress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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