While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for January 13

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ISDH responds to new CDC vaccination guidelines. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine guidelines are pushing states to quickly vaccinate anyone older than 65 years old. The new recommendations come as Indiana begins vaccinating Hoosiers who are at least 80 years old.

“I think it’s going to be challenging for most states, including Indiana, to go ahead and adopt those recommendations,” said Brian Dixon, director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute.

The Indiana State Health Department says they have no plans to shift gears just yet. They say all 520,000 doses of the vaccine have been spoken for and scheduled. Shifting to vaccinate more Hoosiers could become a tax on health care workers administering the vaccine, as well as the supply itself. While Indiana may not be changing course, Dixon believes the guidelines could help other states.

Efforts underway to expand vaccinations in central Indiana. There are new COVID-19 vaccine clinics popping up across the state in an effort to increase vaccinations.

Tuesday morning, the City of Fishers started vaccinating eligible residents who are 80 and older at a temporary location.

By January 25, the City of Fishers and the health department are hoping turn a former Marsh Supermarket into a vaccination site. The 48,000 square foot space hasn’t been used for years. Now they’re finding a different way to help serve the community.

“So we are right now scheduling for 80 and over as laid out by the state criteria. Following that, we know that we will be doing 70 to 79 and following that 60 to 69-year-olds,” said Fishers Health Department Public Health Director Monica Heltz.

New requirement coming to passengers entering the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States effective January 26.

Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19, the CDC reports. This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.

Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants.  With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as the US work to vaccinate the American public, the CDC says.

Disneyland to become mass vaccination site. California’s Disneyland Resort is set to become a COVID-19 vaccination “super site” as the park remains closed to visitors.

The amusement park will be Orange County’s first large “Point-of-Dispensing” (POD) site and will have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of residents every day. The hope is that “super” PODs will increase efficiency and provide multiple vaccine distribution points across the county.

The Disneyland site will be operational later in the week, the county said.

Biden administration to reveal stimulus plan tomorrow. We should learn this week if the $2,000 COVID-relief checks promised by President-elect Biden will be part of his first stimulus package as president.

All signs point to “yes” and it should become official when Biden unveils his stimulus plan on Thursday. While the current price tag of the package is unknown, it is expected to include an extension of unemployment assistance, aid to local and state governments, a boost for small businesses, funding for vaccine distribution and schools, and the largest direct payment check yet.

“My priority is to get, first and foremost, a stimulus bill passed and secondly, again to rebuild the economy,” Biden said on Monday. “I’ve been speaking with some of my Republican colleagues about being able to move on a second package sooner than later.”

Analysts say the voting on Biden’s stimulus plan should give us insight on whether or not Republicans will work with the Democratic majority or collectively draw a line in the sand.

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