Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 14, 2022

Iowa news

Inside a daughter’s fear, doubt and heartbreaking choices as her father battles serious COVID-19

Jennifer Harrison says a prayer behind the wheel of her cousin’s pickup truck, a desperate attempt to find calm as she makes the long drive to the hospital. Again. What day is it? Monday? Thursday? No, Wednesday. It’s Wednesday. COVID-19 makes an enemy of time, she’s learned, collapsing the past, present and future in on themselves to create the perpetual purgatory of “right now.” The orange notebook in her backpack reminds her of the specifics: It’s Day 28 since her dad, Rodney Eurom, was barely able to tie his robe and shuffle into old gym shoes before an ambulance arrived at his Le Grand home. Already dehydrated and weak from fighting a stomach bug for days, Jennifer noticed a new slowness in his speech, like he couldn’t catch his breath. Go to the hospital, Jennifer pleaded. Right now. (Des Moines Register)

As data reporting halts, outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes continue to climb

The number of Iowa nursing home residents and workers infected by a currently active COVID-19 outbreak rose by 43% in the past two weeks to almost 2,200. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there are 114 Iowa nursing homes in outbreak status this week, which is equal to roughly 1 in 4 Iowa care facilities. The number of homes in outbreak status has risen 33% from the 86 reported by IDPH two weeks ago. There are now 2,197 infections associated with the 114 active outbreaks. Statewide, only 33% of nursing home workers have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

COVID-19 is still an emergency in Iowa

It’s year two of the novel coronavirus, which sent this country spiraling into a pandemic. And in recent news, Gov. Kim Reynolds has declared COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency. Instead, she announced COVID-19 is something that has become part of the state’s normal daily business and should be treated similarly to the flu and other infectious diseases, starting Feb. 15. And, in some respects, she’s right. COVID-19 has become part of people’s daily lives and it will for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, COVID infection rates are still rising and straining emergency departments. What’s more, the impact the pandemic has had on people’s mental health has been staggering. (The Gazette)


National news

Omicron subvariant’s spread stalls in U.S.

Early research from the U.K. offers new insights into the omicron subvariant’s spread relative to the original strain. As of Feb. 7, England had confirmed 7,194 cases of BA.2, according to a Feb. 11. A preliminary analysis of contract-tracing data for these cases suggests the subvariant’s mean serial interval — or the average time from symptom onset of an initial case to symptom onset of their identified contacts — is about half a day shorter than BA.1. This figure sat at 3.27 days for BA.2, compared to 3.72 days for BA.1. For context, the mean serial interval for delta was 4.09 days. The serial interval suggests the time between primary and secondary infections is shorter, which could contribute to the increased growth rate of BA.2. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Skirmish between Biden and red states over Medicaid leaves enrollees in the balance

When Republican-led states balked at expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s administration tossed them a carrot — allowing several to charge monthly premiums to newly eligible enrollees. Republicans pushed for the fees to give Medicaid recipients “skin in the game” — the idea they would value their coverage more — and to make the government program resemble employer-based insurance. But with studies showing the fees led to fewer low-income adults signing up for coverage and fewer reenrolling, the Biden administration is moving to eliminate them. It will force Arkansas and Montana to phase out premiums by the end of 2022. Federal health officials have indicated they may do the same in six other states allowed to charge premiums — Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. (Biz News Post)

Federal vaccination mandate begins for health care workers in 24 states

Health care facilities in 24 states faced their first deadline Feb. 14 to comply with the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Per CMS, 24 states covered by the Jan. 13 Supreme Court decision to uphold the agency’s mandate must ensure staff have received at least one shot, have a pending request for an exemption, have been granted a qualifying exemption or have been identified as having a temporary delay as recommended by the CDC. They also must ensure their employees are fully vaccinated by March 15. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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