Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 7, 2022

Iowa news

Iowa starts 2022 with more than 20,000 new reported COVID cases, more than any week in 2021

Iowa has entered 2022 accumulating COVID-19 cases at a rate faster than it ever reached in 2021, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s weekly data released on Wednesday. The state reported 20,075 new cases over the previous week, the most since November 2020. That’s an average of 2,868 cases per day. Much of this wave has been fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant. The Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday omicron is the predominant strain in Iowa. (Des Moines Register)

State Hygienic Lab poised for expansion with $9.2 million CDC grant

The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa is nearing final approval for a $9.2 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund an additional biosafety level 3 lab at the facility. The new laboratory, which would be 100% funded by the federal grant, would enable additional health and safety testing for the state and its residents. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the lab has processed approximately 1.6 million COVID tests. It also serves as a reference lab in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (biological and chemical), and as a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Emergency Response Network, both of which require biosafety level 3 lab space. (Business Record)

Network upgrades support heath care growth in rural Iowa

To improve networking speed and capacity at state hospitals and clinics, the Iowa Communications Network engineered and implemented site upgrades to the Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program, a consortium that connects about 85 health facilities to a dedicated broadband fiber network. As part of the project, ICN, a state agency, installed new switches and migrated broadband services from a legacy platform to the new multiprotocol label switching network. It installed core equipment at 21 locations and aggregation at 23 sites, feeding 91 hospitals. (Government Computer News)

National news

Things seem grim now. But America’s COVID-19 situation could get better in 6-8 weeks.

Things might seem pretty grim on the pandemic front right now. The U.S. is only a few days into the third calendar year of the pandemic and nearly 500,000 new COVID-19 cases are being counted daily. The country hit another record high on Monday with 1,082,549 infections. So if it’s hard to find a glimmer of hope, you’re not alone. But Dr. Bob Wachter has a bit of hope to share. Wachter chairs the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and took to Twitter last week to share his thoughts and predictions on how the country “could be in good shape, maybe even great shape in six to eight weeks.” (Oregon Public Radio)

Mayo Clinic fires 700 employees, 1% of its workforce, for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

The Mayo Clinic has let 700 employees, or 1% of its workforce, go for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Mayo had told its 73,000 employees across all locations to receive at least one dose of vaccine by Monday and to not be overdue for their second. Only medical or religious exemptions were allowed, and most of these exemption requests were approved, the clinic said in a statement. Because many of the people who seek care at the Mayo Clinic have “serious or complex diseases,” the mandate was necessary, the clinic said, adding that after those ex-employees are vaccinated, they can apply for jobs. (New York Daily News)

Flu + coronavirus = flurona. What you need to know about coinfection

“Flurona.” The name conjures images of cheap cable horror flicks — think “Sharknado” — but flu-COVID dual infections are real. More cases are likely. And they’re not nearly as terrifying as flying sharks – especially for people who are vaccinated against one or both. Texas Children’s Hospital announced this week that tests confirmed a child was infected with influenza A and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The patient was not hospitalized and is recovering at home, the hospital said. No other details were given. (USA Today)

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