Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|December 17, 2021

Iowa news

Waterloo hospitals get help from traveling nurses sent by state

With the delta variant surging and omicron spreading, local hospitals are getting much-needed help with persistent staffing issues from an Iowa program providing traveling nurses across the state. “Hospitals are in a staffing crisis,” said Jennifer Nutt of the Iowa Hospital Association. “The staffing shortages have been terrible for a while now. The current (coronavirus) surge will also have an impact.” State officials are in the process of hiring 100 temporary nurses and respiratory therapists to help alleviate those shortages at 17 facilities that provide higher levels of care. (The Courier)

In telehealth boom, can rehab go virtual?

For the first time since the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Iowa in March 2020, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has reopened its outpatient cardiac rehabilitation lab to patients. Though activity resumed at the Iowa River Landing clinic location Nov. 15, patients will still have the option to complete their rehabilitation following a cardiovascular event virtually — and not in-person at the clinic. The pandemic sparked an explosion in telehealth services across the country, and home-based rehabilitation care was among many types of patient services that have had to pivot during the unprecedented times. (The Gazette)

Cedar Rapids hospitals temporarily postpone elective surgeries

Throughout the last few weeks, Mercy Cedar Rapids and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital have seen a marked increase in patients with COVID-19 who require inpatient care. This has placed increasing strain on both hospitals’ capacity and staffing. As a result, and in order to maintain capacity to care for all, St. Luke’s and Mercy have made the joint decision to temporarily postpone elective, non-urgent surgeries. (KGAN-TV)

National news

Universal coronavirus vaccines urgently needed, NIH leaders say

More research is needed to understand the global “coronaviral universe” and use that information to develop vaccines that are broadly protective against coronaviruses, three leaders from the National Institutes of Health wrote in an op-ed published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Collaborative international research efforts involving extensive viral sequencing of various bat species will be required to fully characterize the coronavirus ecosystem, according to the physician leaders. Researchers should also gain insights into the natural history and pathogenesis of coronaviruses by studying those that have become endemic. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

A tantalizing clue to why omicron is spreading so quickly

Omicron is spreading lightning fast. In the U.S., the percentage of cases caused by this new coronavirus variant jumped seven times in just a week, from 0.4% of the total cases sequenced to 2.9%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. In a household, the risk of spreading the omicron variant to another member is three times higher than it is with the delta variant, U.K. health officials estimated Friday. And delta, as you may know, is considered highly transmissible. Why is omicron such a superspreading variant? (Iowa Public Radio)

Only 55% of U.S. nursing home residents have received booster shots

Only a little more than half of nursing home residents in the U.S. have received a coronavirus booster shot, according to federal officials, even as infections continue to occur among residents and employees and the highly contagious omicron variant spreads nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 55% of residents had received a vaccine booster as of the end of last week. In states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, the figure is less than 40%. (The New York Times)

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