Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|May 17, 2021

Iowa news

Des Moines lifts COVID-related mask mandate

Des Moines has lifted its mandate that people wear masks when in public. Mayor Frank Cownie had instituted the mandate in late August in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Cownie urged people who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID to continue wearing masks. (Business Record)

More than one-third of Iowa’s state-employed caregivers still refusing COVID-19 vaccine

As state officials continue to encourage Iowans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, more than a third of the workers at state-run care facilities continue to refuse the vaccine. Recently released data from the Iowa Department of Human Services shows that as of May 7, 36% of state employees at the six DHS-run care facilities are still refusing the vaccine. That’s the same percentage that was reported in April and, in some of the facilities, refusals are increasing. For example, at the Boys State Training School in Eldora, a residential facility for troubled youth, there are 180 employees. As of May 7, 82 of the workers had declined the vaccine, which is two more refusals than were counted on April 16, and six more than were counted in early March. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Editorial: An uncertain future

For years, Iowa lawmakers have dickered over how to fund the state’s mental health system. Senate Republicans and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds are proposing a plan that would shift funding from the property tax rolls to state coffers. The governor has said this change would lead to a more sustainable system, greater equity statewide and better care. It’s not clear whether the plan will pass muster with House Republicans. But local budget and mental health officials tell us this: The new funding proposal would mean more money for mental health. (Quad City Times)

National news

Converge: All together now

COVID-19 has forever changed health care and consequently has led to a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth. We saw telehealth usage skyrocket in 2020, with Amwell’s research showing that 22% of consumers and 80% of physicians had a virtual visit last year, up from 8% and 22%, respectively, in 2019. With that demand has come the need to scale. According to McKinsey, providers have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients by telehealth than they did before. It’s not just the demand and awareness that has accelerated; it’s the use cases too. From specialty care to at-home monitoring of patients, episodic to longitudinal care and everything in between, telehealth has been called upon to enable much more than just on-demand urgent care visits. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Some aren’t ready to give up masks despite new CDC guidance

With COVID-19 cases on the decline after more than 580,000 deaths and with more than a third of the U.S. population fully vaccinated, millions are deciding whether to continue wearing face masks, which were both a shield against infection and a point of heated political debate over the last year. People have myriad reasons for deciding to stop, or continuing to wear, a mask. Many are ready to put aside the sadness, isolation and wariness of the pandemic. Ditching face masks is a visible, liberating way to move ahead. Yet others are still worried about new virus variants and the off-chance they might contract the virus and pass it along to others, though the risks of both are greatly reduced for those who are fully vaccinated. (Modern Healthcare)

723 epidemiologists on when and how the U.S. can fully return to normal

Covid-19 cases are decreasing in the U.S., and masks are no longer required everywhere, but the pandemic is not over — and won’t be until younger children also can be vaccinated, epidemiologists say. The true end of the pandemic — when it becomes safer to return to most activities without precautions — will arrive when at least 70% of Americans of all ages are vaccinated. Adolescents just began receiving vaccines, and those for children younger than 12 are not yet approved. (The New York Times)

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