While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for August 11


INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Marion County pandemic update. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County health officials will provide an update on the coronavirus pandemic this morning. The update is at 10:30 a.m. and we will livestream it on our website.

Right now, social gatherings are capped at 50 people; restaurants can operate at 50% capacity indoors, and they have to close by midnight; bars and nightclubs are closed until at least tomorrow; and gyms and entertainment facilities are operating at 25% capacity.

Hogsett held his State of the City Address last night. He announced $16 million in coronavirus relief funding for people who have been affected by the pandemic.

Football season in jeopardy. Reports from multiple outlets say the Big Ten will cancel its fall football season today. The reports say the conference has already voted to cancel their season over COVID-19 safety concerns. A formal announcement is expected today.

The Big Ten would be the second major conference to cancel football this year. The MAC, which includes Ball State, canceled their season Saturday. The PAC 12 conference could also announce soon.

Some sources say the Big Ten could move the football season to the spring.

Here’s what IU head coach Tom Allen said during a Zoom conference call on Monday in regards to the possibility of a spring season: “I really haven’t let my mind go there. I think it would create a lot of challenges. I would have a lot of concerns about that.”

Russia approves vaccine. Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the vaccine has proven efficient during tests, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus.

Many scientists have been skeptical and questioned the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people. However, Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well.

Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated.

Mask mandate violation complaints. Several local health departments tell us they are “overwhelmed” with calls and complaints about people violating the statewide mask mandate.

Health officials in Johnson, Shelby and Morgan Counties say they are barely able to keep up with all the calls they’re getting, and it’s taking time away from their regular health inspections.

Most of the reports involve people not wearing masks at stores, restaurants, and other places.

The statewide order does not give counties authority to issue fines or other penalties, so responding to a complaint normally means visiting a business to talk about what is expected under the order.

The Johnson County health director says her department is cracking down.

“We have made the decision that if we visit a facility more than one time on a complaint for noncompliance with wearing the masks, that we will close the facility until they can guarantee that everyone is wearing the masks as they should be,” Johnson County Health Director Betsy Swearingen said.

The health officials we spoke with are not asking residents to stop reporting mask violations.  They’re encouraging more people to follow the order so complaints aren’t as common.

Speedrome fined for violation. The Marion County Public Health Department issued a coronavirus safety violation against the Indianapolis Speedrome. The violation comes with a $1,000 fine.

It was issued after viewers sent us videos showing packed rows and few people wearing masks Saturday night.

On Friday, the Indianapolis Speedrome posted on Facebook telling fans to sit in every other row, but video shows no one enforcing social distancing guidelines.

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