INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana will not expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to those 60-64 this week due to winter weather that delayed vaccine shipments and forced clinics to reschedule appointments. The state reported that it hoped to expand eligibility next week.

“More than 43,000 vaccine appointments were impacted by the weather this week,” Lindsay Weaver, the chief medical officer of the health department, said. “Once the vaccine deliveries get back on schedule, our plan is to open eligibility up to Hoosiers aged 60 to 65. We will see how the weather continues to impact our shipments but hopefully we will be able to expand as soon as sometime next week.”

Nearly 100,000 Hoosiers were vaccinated in the last seven days, Kris Box, the state health commissioner said, with over 834,000 Hoosiers receiving one shot of the two-dose vaccine. Of that, 356,000 Hoosiers were fully vaccinated.

Box shared the “positive news” of Indiana’s declining positivity rate – down to 4.7% from last week’s 6.2% – and declining hospitalizations but advised people to remain steadfast in their COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“We continue to move in the right direction but please, please continue to wear your mask, stay socially distant and stay home when you’re sick and get tested,” Box said. “We do continue to see Hoosiers lose their lives to this disease.”

A review of death data found that 660 deaths weren’t attributed to long-term care facilities, which bore the brunt of COVID-19 deaths. The 659 residents and one staffer come from 273 facilities and range from April of 2020 to January.

“It appears most facilities misreported one or two deaths but 32 facilities appear to have misreported six to 10 (deaths),” Box said.

Jacob Sipe, the executive director of the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority, reported that Indiana had received around $448 million in emergency rental assistance and utility assistance for Hoosiers impacted by COVID-19.

The last round of funding, $49 million, provided assistance to over 25,000 Hoosiers, Snipe said.

“Any renter household in Indiana that needs assistance and is not currently receiving it from another source should consider applying for this program,” Sipe said.

Six municipalities – Elkhart County, Hamilton County, Lake County, St. Joseph County, Marion County and the City of Fort Wayne – are managing their own rental assistance programs and will be excluded from the state program.

Elkhart County received $6.2 million for their own rental assistance program and will not be covered by the statewide program.

Sipe said the program is waiting for further guidance from the federal government before opening applications.

Renters can learn more at indianahousingnow.org and homeowners can visit 877gethope.org. Both parties may call 211 for further assistance.

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