Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
Iowa hospitals are receiving their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine Monday. The state is expected to receive 172,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the month, state officials have said. Those doses will come in weekly waves, starting this week. But the vaccine will not be available to most Iowans immediately. Iowa will prioritize nursing home residents and health care workers as it distributes its initial supply of vaccines. The state will place a portion of its initial vaccine allocation at six health care sites in major metropolitan areas of the state. (Des Moines Register)
Top leaders of Sioux City’s two hospitals have issued an open letter to local employers, urging them to require their employees and customers to wear masks to stop the community spread of COVID-19. The letter, signed by Beth Hughes, MercyOne’s western Iowa region president, and Leah Glasgo, interim president of UnityPoint Health-Sioux City, noted that both hospitals are experiencing “the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic.” (Sioux City Journal)
Exhaustion. Physical and emotional exhaustion. That’s what Iowa’s front-line health care workers are feeling as COVID-19 rages through the state nine months into the pandemic. Front-line health care workers have been dealing with the pandemic since it reached Iowa in March. Almost nine months later, COVID-19 surged through Iowa at a rate never before seen. Cases quadrupled their previous high, and hospitalizations tripled their previous highest mark, in May. That unprecedented surge has left Iowa hospitals reeling. And the workers on the front lines are feeling the impact deeply. And the refrain from those workers is consistent: they are physically and emotionally exhausted. (Quad City Times)
Rural communities will have a particular challenge in distributing the vaccine, as officials and health care workers will have to quickly cobble together communications networks across large areas while contending with faltering and underfunded public health systems. On top of all that, distrust of medical advice is rampant — much of it shared, sown and re-emphasized by President Donald Trump, who has many supporters in rural areas. So, beyond their work to mitigate the country’s worst health disaster in modern history, health care workers in many of these regions are also having to combat bad information and encourage their patients to get the shot once it’s available. (NBC News)
The first shot was given in the American mass vaccination campaign on Monday morning, opening a new chapter in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more people in the United States than in any other country. Shortly after 9 am Monday, the first vaccination took place in Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens. The pandemic has scarred New York State profoundly, leaving more than 35,000 people dead and severely weakening the economy. (New York Times)
It’s a make-or-break week for Covid-19 relief on Capitol Hill as the U.S. death toll from the virus nears 300,000. Congressional leaders have set a deadline of midnight Friday to pass legislation to keep the government funded, and they say a Covid-19 aid package should be attached to it. But it’s not clear that they can reach a deal in time. (NBC News)