Coronavirus updates from Wednesday, Nov. 18.
INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday’s latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
ISDH daily update
The state is reporting 6,143 new cases of COVID-19 and 60 more deaths from the virus. That makes a total of 268,222 cases and 4,830 deaths in Indiana since the start of the pandemic.
The positivity rate continues to soar. Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 11, it was 12.2 percent for all tests and 23.4 percent for unique individuals.
The state also surpassed 3,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients for the first time. On Tuesday, there were 3,040 people being treated in hospitals for the virus. The state has 21.7 percent of its ICU beds available. Of those currently in use, 39 percent are by COVID-19 patients.
Community Health Network restricts visitors
Community Health Network will begin restricting visitors in some facilities starting Wednesday due to rising COVID-19 cases.
Visitation will not be allowed in the following hospital units/sites of care:
- Emergency Department
In other areas, visitors will be limited:
- Maternity (1 support person)
- Pediatrics (1 parent/guardian)
- NICU (parents/guardian)
- End of life (2 visitors)
Masks and health screenings are required for everyone in Community Health Network facilities.
Franciscan Health changing drive-thru COVID testing hours
Hours are changing for drive-thru COVID-19 testing at Franciscan Health Indianapolis.
The new hours, which began Tuesday, Nov. 17, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
There will be no testing on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. Patients must have a doctor’s order and register for a test the same day in order to receive one. Call 317-528-8974 to register.
Staff member at Fishers school dies
A staff member at Thorpe Elementary Creek Elementary School in Fishers has died from COVID-19, according to the superintendent.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out today to the family of Pam Podany, a Thorpe Creek staff member who died last night from Covid,” HSE Schools Superintendent Allen Bourff said in a tweet Wednesday morning. “Condolences also to her school family.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story said the staff member was a teacher. HSE Schools has not yet confirmed Podany’s role.
Pfizer: COVID-19 shot 95% effective, seeking vaccine approval soon
Pfizer says that more interim results from its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study suggest the shots are 95 percent effective and that the vaccine protects older people most at risk of dying from COVID-19.
The announcement, just a week after Pfizer first revealed promising preliminary results, comes as the company is preparing within days to formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine.
Pfizer initially had estimated its vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech, was more than 90 percent effective after 94 infections had been counted. With Wednesday’s announcement, the company now has accumulated 170 infections in the study — and said only eight of them occurred in volunteers who got the actual vaccine rather than a dummy shot. One of those eight developed severe disease, the company said.
The company has not yet released detailed data on its study, and results have not been analyzed by independent experts.
Pfizer said its vaccine was more than 94 percent effective in adults over age 65, though it is not clear how the company determined effectiveness in older adults, with only eight infections in the vaccinated group to analyze and no breakdown provided of those people’s ages.
Fishers’ new public health order begins Wednesday
Fishers’ new public health order in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases goes into effect Wednesday, Nov. 18.
The following changes are being implemented:
- Social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people inside and 25 people outside.
- Businesses must post signs, telling visitors to wear masks while inside.
- Masks shall be worn at all times while indoors at restaurants except when eating or drinking.
- All patrons or group parties must be at least 6 feet away from people at other tables in restaurants. Party size must be limited to eight people or fewer at each table. Table service is required for indoor dining or drink service.
- No bar-top seating is permitted at restaurants. Tables within a bar area may be open for table service, but customers must remain seated and congregation is not permitted.
- All self-service beverage or food stations offering food items not pre-packaged shall be closed.
- No more than two people may wait in the lobby at restaurants for a table unless social distancing can be accommodated.
- Attendance at extra-curricular co-curricular activities are limited to parents, support staff, and players/participants only.
- Special events — such as conferences, conventions, sport or racing competitions, extracurricular school events, concerts, shows, fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades, graduation ceremonies, community holiday celebrations, fundraisers, or other entertainment events — must have approval to host more than 25 people.
Additionally, the Fishers Health Department signed an extension to the Fishers mask mandate for 30 days.
The public health order will end Thursday, Dec. 10.
Last week, Fishers moved its COVID-19 community risk level to red, which is considered the severe risk category.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 11.35 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 248,000 deaths and 4.29 million people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been more than 55.64 million confirmed cases with more than 1.33 million deaths and 35.79 million recoveries.
The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
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.
Washington Township schools move to e-learning Wednesday
The MSD of Washington Township is moving to virtual instruction only for all schools and students Pre-K through 12th grade beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18.
This comes after Mayor Joe Hogsett announced all Marion County schools must return to e-learning by Nov. 30.
Muncie middle school closes until Nov. 30
A Muncie middle school will be closed through Thanksgiving as several staff members quarantine due to a case of coronavirus.
A staff member at Southside Middle School received confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test Tuesday night. After conducting contact tracing, school officials determined the entire front office staff at the school, as well as administrators, had been in close contact with the individual and needed to quarantine for 14 days.
The school is expected to be closed until Monday, Nov. 30 with all after-school activities canceled until it reopens.
Students at the middle school will move to e-learning for the rest of this week and next week leading up to Thanksgiving.
No other Muncie schools were affected by the positive case, school officials said.
Michigan’s 3-week emergency order begins Wednesday
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) new COVID-19 restrictions begin Wednesday, Nov. 18.
The new emergency order enacts a three-week pause on indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates.
Under this order, indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time. However, MDHHS strongly urges families to pick a single other household to interact with over the next three weeks, consistent with new guidance released by the department.
Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only. Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place.
Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed.
Professional and college sports may continue without spectators; however, all other organized sports must stop. Under the order, colleges and high schools are ordered to proceed with remote learning only, ending in-person classes.
The order is not a blanket stay-home action like in the spring. The order leaves open any work that cannot be performed from home, including manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open.
Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed, such as retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
In-person K-8 schooling may continue if it can be done with strong mitigation, including mask requirements, based on discussion between local health and school officials. Child care also remains open to support working parents.