Indiana expands COVID-19 vaccination to nursing homes, assisted living

Indiana health officials reported 2,494 new coronavirus infections and 43 additional deaths Monday as administration of a vaccine began for nearly 1,000 long-term care facilities across the state.

The newly confirmed deaths, which occurred over several days, raised Indiana’s toll to 7,886, including both confirmed and presumed infections, the Indiana State Department of Health said in its daily update.

Although less than 1% of the state’s population, long-term care residents account for 50% of the state’s coronavirus deaths.

CVS Health began vaccinating residents and staff at Indiana nursing homes and assisted living facilities for the coronavirus on Monday, the company said in a news release.

CVS Pharmacy teams will make three visits to each facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot and a booster shot, officials said. The vaccination effort is expected to take about 12 weeks to complete.

Indiana’s front-line health care workers began receiving the state’s first shots of Pfizer’s vaccine against COVID-19 earlier this month.

The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, said people must continue to observe precautions as it will be months before the vaccines are widely available for the general public.

The Health Department also reported that 2,866 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday at Indiana’s hospitals — a 17% decrease from pandemic-high hospitalization rates a month ago.

Nearly 600 new cases of COVID-19 in Indiana schools were additionally reported, according to the agency’s weekly school statistics update. As of Monday, 1,886 schools have had at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. An additional 175 schools have not reported any cases, and 307 schools have yet to report their data to the state.

Although schools were closed last week for winter recess, state health officials said they’re still asking administrators to report virus exposures from school-sponsored activities that occur during the break.

The number of Indiana residents known to have had the coronavirus is now up to 496,306.

To date, 2,605,669 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 2,600,211 on Sunday, the department said. A total of 5,553,545 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

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