Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 11, 2022

Iowa news

Woodbury County’s 14-day positivity rate for COVID-19 tests drops from 24.2% to 15.1%, hospitalizations drop by 13 people

New COVID-19 cases in Woodbury County tumbled again last week, as the omicron variant seemed to wane, according to Siouxland District Health’s latest report. The county reported 410 new cases of the virus for the week beginning Jan. 31, less than half of the 914 new cases tallied the week before. Home tests are not included in the reports. Amid the omicron surge, the highest number of new cases, 2,412, was reported the week beginning Jan. 10. (Sioux City Journal)

Speakers decry mask, vaccine mandates at legislative hearing

A bill prohibiting Iowa businesses, schools and governments from dismissing employees based on their medical treatment status got a hearing Thursday that was, for the most part, about anything other than the proposal. Some physicians questioned the judgment of the medical establishment and “three-letter government agencies” that restrict the use of anti-parasite drug ivermectin and malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, for instance. Others said physicians and pharmacists are being forced to follow federal government dictates. Some said they’ve been threatened by medical societies for their comments and practices. However, House Study Bill 647 doesn’t address any of that. In fact, it doesn’t mention COVID-19. But the virus was, however, the impetus for his bill, Rep. Jon Jacobsen, R-Council Bluffs, said. While lobbyists for some medical groups were registered to oppose the bill — including the Iowa Hospital Association — consistent throughout the three hours of testimony Thursday was the philosophy expressed by Lee Merritt, an Onawa physician, that “government is not to make us safer, but to make us freer.” (The Gazette)

New reported COVID-19 cases drop by 44% as Iowa prepares to shutter tracking site

COVID-19 continued to decline across Iowa in the state Department of Public Health’s data release Wednesday, which is expected to be the last full update before the state’s dashboard is taken offline and the data is transferred to the health department’s main website. The number of people hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19 dropped to 617, the fewest since late November 2021. About half of those have COVID-19 as a primary diagnosis; it’s a complicating factor for those who have it as a secondary diagnosis. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Hospitals plead with Congress to tackle workforce shortages

The American Hospital Association is urging Congress to establish policies to combat workforce shortages facing healthcare facilities. In a statement submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Feb. 10, the group discussed the extent of workforce shortages, how hospitals and health systems are supporting their employees, and called on lawmakers to put policies in place to address workforce challenges. Amid the labor shortage, workforce costs for hospitals also have increased significantly because of the need to hire temporary contract staff, as well as recruitment and retention costs such as overtime pay, bonuses and other incentives. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

If 1 in 5 health care workers have quit, where have they gone?

A frequently cited statistic is that nearly 1 in 5 health care workers have quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t necessarily mean 1 in 5 health care workers left the health care industry altogether. When looking at the national numbers, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the overall health care workforce is only down 2.7% from February 2020. That number is mostly in nursing homes. When looking at just hospitals, the workforce is down 1.8% from February 2020. This means many people who quit their jobs are being hired in other health care jobs. Or as some leave, others are being hired. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

In unvaccinated pregnant women, COVID-19 can cause deadly harm to babies

Research published Thursday paints a startling picture of the destructive toll COVID-19 can take on pregnant women and their growing fetuses. The virus can attack and destroy the placenta, a vascular organ that serves as a fetus’s lifeline, leading to asphyxiation and stillbirth, according to the study in the journal Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. (NBC News)

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