Indiana coronavirus updates for July 18, 2022

Monday’s latest updates on the coronavirus Pandemic for July 18, 2022.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Monday’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 all Hoosiers through the Indiana Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.

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CDC map shows 19 Indiana counties at ‘high risk’ of spreading COVID-19

On Monday, July 18, 2022, Cass, Clark, Clay, Floyd, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Howard, Jasper, Montgomery, Owen, Posey, Randolph, Scott, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo and Warrick counties were listed on the CDC data map as having a “high” community risk of spreading COVID-19, while 38 more Indiana counties were listed as “medium” risks.

Multiple counties in states bordering Indiana were in the high-risk category on Friday.

Over the past seven days, Indiana recorded 12,340 new cases and 83 deaths. The four counties that reported significant increases in deaths were Elkhart, Hamilton, Marion and St. Joseph.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 89.54 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 7:20 am ET Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1,023 million deaths recorded in the US

Worldwide, there have been more than 562.48 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.36 million deaths and more than 11.83 billion vaccine doses administered.

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.

What to know about BA.5, BA.4 variant symptoms

As Americans ramp up their summer travels without their masks, two COVID-19 subvariants are causing a surge in cases.

BA.5, which accounts for 65% of cases, and BA.4, which is 16% of cases, are omicron’s smarter cousins. The two subvariants are evading antibodies and even vaccine protections, as they are one of the most contagious versions of the virus yet.

“It knows how to trick our immune system,” said TEGNA’s medical expert Dr. Payal Kohli.

Since the subvariants derived from the original omicron variant, symptoms fall under the same umbrella. However, symptoms still vary depending on vaccination status, age, prior infection, medication and other factors, said Kohli.

Data collected from the Zoe app in the UK show most symptoms mimic the common cold, with sore throats and runny noses. Kohli said a significant change in symptoms for the subvariants are heightened amounts of sneezing, something not seen in earlier forms of the COVID-19 variant.

“Now, interestingly enough, we’re also anecdotally seeing that there may be a slightly higher degree of loss of taste, and loss of smell,” Kohli said.

Without many of the “classic” COVID-19 symptoms like muscle aches, high fevers and chills, it becomes increasingly difficult to decipher whether you have COVID or simple allergies.

Consistent testing is the best way to confirm whether your symptoms are truly COVID-19, according to Kohli. For those who are vaccinated, things can get a little more complicated as immune systems in early days of infection can cause a false negative on at-home tests.

The subvariants responsible for the latest surge pose a different threat as it also has higher rates of reinfection.

“Even if you’ve had infection recently, with omicron, or you’ve had what we call hybrid immunity, which is infection plus vaccination, which was thought to be the highest level of protection, we are seeing a higher rate of reinfection occurring even in those individuals,” she said.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration urged Americans to get their booster shots as a way to protect themselves from the new subvariants.

Now with Novavax, a more traditional protein-based vaccine approved by the FDA, and a COVID-19 pill, Americans have more resources than ever to protect themselves during another surge. However, nearly a quarter of Americans haven’t gotten their COVID-19 shot.

“Even though the Vaccines and the boosters that we have out there right now are really designed for the original Wuhan strain, and not so much for the subvariants, we are seeing that there’s a high degree of efficacy at for the Vaccines that keeping you out of the hospital,” Kohli said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the most common symptoms for COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

COVID interrupted routine vaccinations for 25 million kids worldwide

About 25 million children worldwide have missed out on routine immunizations against common diseases like diphtheria, largely because the coronavirus Pandemic disrupted regular health services or triggered misinformation about vaccines, according to the UN

In a new report published Friday, the World Health Organization and UNICEF said their figures show 25 million children last year failed to get vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, a marker for childhood immunization coverage, continuing a downward trend that began in 2019.

Data showed the vast majority of the children who failed to get immunized were living in developing countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines. While vaccine coverage fell in every world region, the worst effects were seen in East Asia and the Pacific.

Experts said this “historic backsliding” in vaccination coverage was especially disturbing since it was occurring as rates of severe malnutrition were rising. Malnourished children typically have weaker immune systems and infections like measles can often prove fatal to them.

White House urges caution on COVID variants, pushes boosters

The Biden administration is calling on people to exercise renewed caution about COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of getting booster shots for those who are eligible and wearing masks indoors as two new highly transmissible variants are spreading rapidly across the country.

The new variants, labeled BA.4 and BA.5, are offshoots of the omicron strain that has been responsible for nearly all of the virus spread in the US and are even more contagious than their predecessors. White House Doctors Stressed the importance of getting booster doses, even if you have recently been infected.

“Currently, many Americans are under-vaccinated, meaning they are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Staying up to date on your COVID-19 Vaccines provides the best protection against severe outcomes.”

Walensky said the US has seen a doubling in the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since April, reflecting the spread of the new subvariants, although deaths have remained steady around 300 per day.

Pharmacists can now prescribe Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill

Pharmacists can prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new US policy announced recently that is intended to expand use of Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid.

The Food and Drug Administration said pharmacists can begin screening patients to see if they are eligible for Paxlovid and then prescribe the medication, which has been shown to curb the worst effects of COVID-19. Previously, only physicians could prescribe the antiviral drug.

Biden administration officials have expressed frustration that several hundred Americans continue to die of COVID-19 daily, despite the availability of vaccines and treatments.

Administration officials have been working for months to increase access to Paxlovid, opening thousands of sites where patients who test positive can fill a prescription for Paxlovid. The FDA change will make thousands more pharmacies eligible to quickly prescribe and dispense the pill, which must be used early to be effective.

Parents can schedule vaccine appointments for young children

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) announced that the public can now schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children through age 5 by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov.

Appointments are available for individuals seeking the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years and the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years on the state’s scheduling platform.

IDOH has updated its map at www.ourshot.in.gov to show sites that offer vaccines for the youngest age group.

Appointments are recommended due to vaccine and provider availability. Individuals can also call 211 for assistance or contact their child’s healthcare provider to determine if they are offering vaccines.

Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.health.in.gov for important health and safety information.

Riley Children’s Health offering COVID-19 Vaccines

Riley Children’s Health has the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years old.

Appointments are required and can be made by calling 211.

Riley Physicians at IU Health West:

  • Mondays and Thursdays: 5 pm-8:20 pm
  • Saturdays: 8 am-11:20 am
  • 1111 Ronald Reagan Pkwy, Avon

Riley Physicians at IU Health North:

  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 5 pm-8:20 pm
  • Saturdays: 8 am-11:20 am
  • 11700 N. Meridian Street, Carmel

Riley Physicians at East Washington

  • Tuesdays and Fridays: 5 pm-8:20 pm
  • Saturdays: 8 am-11:20 am
  • 9650 Washington St #245, Indianapolis

Riley Physicians at Methodist Medical Plaza South

  • Wednesdays and Thursdays: 5 pm-8:20 pm
  • Saturdays: 8 am-11:20 am
  • 8820 S Meridian St Suite 125, Indianapolis

Riley Physicians at Georgetown

  • Tuesdays and Fridays: 5 pm-8:20 pm
  • Saturdays: 8 am-11:20 am
  • 4880 Century Plaza Rd Suite 250, Indianapolis

MCPHD offering COVID vaccine for kids 6 months to 4 years old

The Marion County Public Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 6 months to 4 years old at its district health offices and ACTION Health Center.

To see the schedule for each location, click here. Vaccinations are by appointment only. Call the specific location to make an appointment, or call MCPHD’s Immunization Program at 317-221-2122.

White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public

The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the US government is now accepting a third round of orders.

The White House recently announced that US households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the US Postal Service.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental US, its Territories and Overseas military bases, the White House said.

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