Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 28, 2022

Iowa news

Return to Mary Greeley finds exhausted staff

A year ago, the Des Moines Register began publishing “Inside COVID’s Siege,” a seven-part series by Iowa Columnist Courtney Crowder and photojournalist Zach Boyden-Holmes that took readers inside Mary Greeley after Iowa’s first big surge of COVID hospitalizations and deaths. They returned in early January to document the pandemic’s toll as another surge of COVID patients taxes the staff. Their report will publish this weekend. They again witnessed doctors and nurses committed to providing medically sound, heartfelt care. But this time they also saw a staff even more exhausted and thinned by burnout as they cared for the hospital’s highest number of COVID patients yet, some of whom have lashed out angrily at the staff as they tried to help them survive a disease they deny. (Des Moines Register)

Survey shows COVID-19’s effects on rural health

If there is a lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be that mental health could be an even bigger issue than physical health. A survey of people in small towns and rural areas indicated that one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic was on the mental health of farmers and their neighbors. “One of the true lasting impacts long-term may be untreated mental health issues,” says David Peters, a rural sociologist at Iowa State University who helped conduct a survey of rural residents in early 2021. (AgUpdate)

Iowa nursing homes wrestle with a COVID-19 resurgence that is less severe but still dangerous

The number of Iowa nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks has more than doubled in the past two weeks, to 76 in an update provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The department defines a nursing home outbreak as three or more residents testing positive within 14 days. In the first year of the pandemic, the number of concurrent outbreaks spiked as high as 139 out of the state’s approximately 440 nursing homes. (Des Moines Register)

National news

What to know about BA.2, the newest COVID-19 omicron variant

As coronavirus case numbers in the U.S. show early signs of tapering, scientists are keeping a watchful eye on a newly identified version of the omicron variant, nicknamed “stealth omicron,” that is driving new outbreaks in parts of Europe. The culprit is a “subvariant” of the omicron variant, which means it’s closely related to omicron but has some different mutations. Known officially as BA.2, the subtype has small variations that set it apart from the original omicron strain but not enough for it to be considered an entirely new lineage. (NBC News)

Robot performs first laparoscopic surgery without human help

A robot has performed laparoscopic surgery on the soft tissue of a pig without the guiding hand of a human — a significant step in robotics toward fully automated surgery on humans. The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot was designed by a team of Johns Hopkins University researchers. (Science Daily)

Moderna’s omicron booster won’t be ready before summer

Moderna plans to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine booster by the summer, the company’s chief medical officer said Thursday — a time frame that means the targeted vaccine may not be available to the public until the second half of the year. Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said the company is thinking ahead to the second half of 2022 when omicron may still be circulating widely. (NBC News)

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