Covid-19

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the statewide mask order last week. But experts say the municipalities and counties that have maintained some kind of mask order are helping keep cases and hospitalizations down.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Republican lawmakers set up a potential court fight Thursday when they overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb’s recent veto of emergency powers legislation.

Captured via Facebook Live

Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer encouraged high schools to shift to remote learning for two weeks in an effort to slow the state’s surge in COVID-19 cases. However, students in Berrien County will continue to learn in-person.

Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten said she and other health officials believe the benefits of in-person learning outweigh the current risks.

 

“We really are not seeing school settings as being the driver of transmission amongst our youth,” Britten said.

 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill that will give health care providers additional protections from COVID-19 liability lawsuits is on its way to the governor’s desk. Some trial lawyers worry the bill will limit Hoosiers from seeking legal action for their loved ones.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

One of the biggest debates of the COVID-19 pandemic has been when and how to open school buildings without putting more people at risk of infection, and a recent study finds a smaller than expected relationship between in-person schooling and the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana communities.

Indiana Department of Health

For the first time in over two months, no WVPE listener counties are in the “blue” on the state’s color-coded COVID-19 tracking map.

Photo courtesy of Regina Scott

Businesses in St. Joseph County can still be fined up to $250 dollars for failing to enforce mask-wearing among employees. The County Council voted to keep the enforcement measure in place until the health department’s mask order expires on May 27. 

Alex Paul, WTIU/WFIU News

Pharmacists are often the first, and in some cases, the only health care providers in rural Indiana communities.

Combatting misinformation and hesitancy regarding COVID-19 vaccines has been one of their greatest challenges, and the FDA’s decision Tuesday to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could make that work even harder.

Trevor Thain is the President of Topeka Pharmacy in northern Indiana. He serves a rural community with fewer than 1,500 residents.  

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Despite more than 1.4 million Hoosiers fully vaccinated, the state is seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. That’s because the state is in a race against more infectious variants. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana surpassed 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday. After weeks of declining cases, the state is seeing a slow uptick.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana Department of Health announced Tuesday it is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after national guidance to do so. The state is working to supply vaccination sites with other vaccines. 

BCHD

Following a federal recommendation, the Berrien County Health Department has announced it will pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. A J&J clinic scheduled for Thursday will use the Moderna vaccine instead, with a second-dose clinic scheduled for May 13. 

(You can read more in the release below.)

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana House lawmakers debated a ban on so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports Monday.

CDC Chief Urges Michigan To 'Close Things Down' Amid Spike

Apr 12, 2021
Courtesy of the Governor's Office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Michigan should “close things down” to help address surging coronavirus infections. Dr. Rochelle Walensky's statement Monday comes as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instead urges people to voluntarily restrict certain activities. Whitmer wants the federal government to send additional doses to the state, but the administration of President Joe Biden has stuck with allocating proportionally by population. Walensky says shutting things down would help flatten the curve.

(Rebecca Green/WBOI)

The Elkhart County Health Department has announced several opportunities to get the COVID-19 vaccine over the next month:

Whitmer Vows To Keep Pushing For More COVID-19 Vaccines

Apr 12, 2021
Courtesy of the Governor's Office

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to keep pushing the White House for more COVID-19 vaccines as the state experiences a spike in cases. The Democrat on Sunday told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that she plans to work with the White House but wants to do everything she can to get additional vaccine doses. President Joe Biden has said Washington will give Michigan more federal resources to support vaccinations and testing but not additional vaccines.

Provided by Jessie Wong

Andrea Maltese laughs as she remembers the build up to the pandemic. At the time, she just wanted to get it over with, and was sure it wouldn't last long.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana Department of Health reported 76 additional confirmed deaths over the last week. That brings the state’s total to 12,743 confirmed deaths. The state also reported nearly 7,800 new cases in the last week, the most reported in a single week since mid-February.

The University of Notre Dame opened its first on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinic Thursday, and in addition to doctors and nurses, some students are helping administer vaccines. 

Carol Mullaney, director of the university’s COVID Response Unit, said students who are certified as EMTs and certified to deliver injections have been working alongside other medical staff and volunteers. 

 

“They really enjoy working with each other, and then the staff just so enjoy working with them," Mullaney said. "They remind us on a daily basis why we’re here.”

(Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as long as a virus is circulating from person to person, it’s bound to mutate into new strains over time. However, if viral transmission slows down or stops, so does the process that leads to new variants. 

23.7% Of Hoosiers Fully Vaccinated

Apr 8, 2021
JUSTIN HICKS/WVPE

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials say nearly a quarter of Indiana residents age 16 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Indiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard showed Wednesday that a total of 1,291,190 Hoosiers — or 23.7% of Indiana’s residents who are at least 16 — have been fully vaccinated. Another 1,827,696 first doses of vaccine have been administered statewide. State officials made all state residents age 16 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on March 31.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's health director says the state is focusing on getting more people vaccinated, not imposing new restrictions on the economy, despite a wave of COVID-19 cases. Elizabeth Hertel notes that indoor high school sports, a source of infections, are wrapping up soon, and spring sports are outdoors. All teen athletes must be regularly tested. Michigan lately has been No. 1 in the U.S. for new COVID-19 cases. The health department says about 37% of residents 16 and older has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Indiana Department of Health

The Indiana Department of Health’s color-coded COVID-19 tracking map shows fewer counties in the least serious “blue” category for the second week in a row.

All WVPE listener counties are now in the “yellow” category this week, except for LaGrange and Pulaski County. They’re still in the blue, which indicates the lowest spread of the virus.

 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Indiana Republican lawmakers to change the way local health officials are allowed to do their jobs during a public emergency.

Gov. Whitmer Gets First COVID-19 Vaccination Dose

Apr 6, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has gotten her first COVID-19 vaccine shot, touting it as the most effective way to protect people and to return Michigan to normalcy. The 49-year-old governor was vaccinated at Ford Field in Detroit alongside her 19-year-old daughter, a day after eligibility expanded to everyone ages 16 and older. Whitmer is urging parents to ensure their high school- and college-age kids are inoculated, too. Michigan is facing the country’s highest rate of new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

Elkhart County’s extended face mask order went into effect Tuesday. On Monday, the Elkhart County Commissioners voted to rescind their enforcement of the mandate as it applies to businesses.

The Commissioners put an ordinance into effect late last year that originally included a monetary fine system for businesses that violated the health department’s COVID-19 orders.

 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Legislation headed to the governor’s desk would allow lawmakers to call themselves into special session during a public emergency, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

BCHD

As vaccine eligibility expands to Michiganders age 16 and over this week, officials from the Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland say they’ll still be prioritizing residents at highest risk of contracting the virus.

 

(Read the joint release from the health department and Lakeland below.)

Elkhart Co. Extends Face Mask Mandate

Apr 5, 2021

The Elkhart Co. Health Officer has extended the county's face mask mandate through May 14th. 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Indiana Department of Health reported 50 additional confirmed deaths over the last week. That brings the state’s total to 12,667 confirmed deaths. The state also reported nearly 6,900 new cases in the last week.

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