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Indiana coronavirus updates: Holcomb extends COVID-19 state of emergency, lawmakers ... - WTHR

Indiana coronavirus updates: Holcomb extends COVID-19 state of emergency, lawmakers ... - WTHR

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The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Thursday'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 Hoosiers 5 and older through the Indiana State 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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Holcomb extends COVID-19 state of emergency, lawmakers pause on vaccine mandate exemptions

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency order will extend into the new year. It had been set to expire on Dec. 1. 

“Last week I made clear what would be necessary to responsibly allow the state public health emergency to expire. However, following the announcement that the General Assembly will not return on Monday, Nov. 29, I plan to extend the state public health emergency and the executive order next week for another 30 days to preserve the necessary provisions. I will continue to work closely with Speaker Huston and Senator Bray as we move into next legislative session.”

Holcomb had said that lawmakers would need to pass legislation to protect Hoosiers by allowing for the continuation of enhanced federal matching funds for Medicaid expenditures, the continuation of the enhanced benefit for those receiving federal food assistance and extend the ability to efficiently vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds.

Lawmakers had created a draft proposal to cover those three items, but it would also force businesses to grant COVID-19 vaccination requirement exemptions without any questions and block similar immunization rules set by state universities. The issues were hotly debated during public testimony Nov. 23.

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) released a statement saying the legislature would not return Monday, Nov. 29 to vote on the proposal. He said they would instead work on the issue through December and reconvene in January.

"Tuesday's passionate public testimony reinforced the concerns I've heard from constituents and business leaders over the federal mandates. While most Indiana companies are acting in good faith, it's unacceptable that some employers are blatantly disregarding well-established vaccine exemptions, and we'll address these issues through legislation. Over the next month, we'll continue to listen and talk with stakeholders about our policy proposals, and we'll file legislation in the near future. Hoosiers can rest assured that we'll hit the ground running come Jan. 4."

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 48.09 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 775,300 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 259.49 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 5.17 million deaths and more than 7.49 billion vaccine doses administered worldwide.

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.

MCPHD closed for Thanksgiving, including vaccine clinics

The Marion County Public Health Department, as well as the COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites it operates, will be closed for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. 

Three vaccination sites and a testing site will also have the following schedule changes: 

  • COVID-19 testing at 3838 N. Rural St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24. No appointment will be required. You can make an appointment to be tested at this site by visiting MarionHealth.org/indycovid or calling 317-221-5515.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination site for children ages 5-11 that's located at 3685 Commercial Drive will be closed until Monday, Nov. 29. 
  • The COVID-19 vaccination sites at the College Avenue Branch Library and Martindale-Brightwood Branch Library will be by appointment only Wednesday. The vaccine will not be offered at these sites on Saturday, Nov. 27.

US to require vaccinations for all border crossings by January

President Joe Biden will require essential, nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers, government and emergency response officials, to be fully vaccinated beginning on Jan. 22, the administration planned to announce. 

A senior administration official said the requirement, which the White House previewed in October, brings the rules for essential travelers in line with those that took effect earlier this month for leisure travelers, when the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals.  

Essential travelers entering by ferry will also be required to be fully vaccinated by the same date, the official said. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement.

The rules pertain to non-U.S. nationals. American citizens and permanent residents may still enter the U.S. regardless of their vaccination status, but face additional testing hurdles because officials believe they more easily contract and spread COVID-19 and in order to encourage them to get a shot.

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