Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Roxanne Strike|
|April 20, 2022

Iowa news

Iowa hospitals offer incentives, programs to fill staff vacancies

Some rural hospitals in Iowa were forced to temporarily shut down departments because there were not enough staff. Incentives to hire more employees include sign-on bonuses of as much as $25,000. The need is great because with fewer people working, that means longer wait times for people who want to see a doctor in rural areas. Southwestern Community College has a three-year nursing program and they hope to help with recruitment, too. They are starting a new partnership with the University of Iowa so students who graduate from their program can take classes online for another year and get a full bachelor’s degree. (KCCI)

New coronavirus infections continue to rise in Iowa

COVID-19 activity in Iowa is on the rise, according to new coronavirus data from the state public health department released Wednesday. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 1,063 new infections in the past seven days, an increase from the 900 new cases reported last week. That’s compared to the 930 cases reported the week before, and the 478 new cases reported three weeks ago. Totals are still far below the Jan. 19 peak, when 38,500 new cases were reported for the week. (The Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Masking requirements relax at certain UnityPoint hospitals

Starting this week, masks now are optional for most patients, visitors and fully vaccinated staff members at UnityPoint Health hospitals in Eastern Iowa. Health system officials announced a revision of mask policies at hospitals and associated clinics at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital in Waterloo and UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital in Dubuque. However, masks still are recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are immunocompromised or otherwise desire to wear a mask. (The Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National news

Immunocompromised during COVID-19: How people can lower their risk

Experts say that while immunocompromised individuals do remain at a greater risk of COVID-19, the landscape looks much different than it did even a year ago, with a number of tools available to provide the extra protection they need. Now, options including additional vaccine doses and boosters, preventative monoclonal antibodies injections and antiviral drugs may help some immunocompromised people take steps toward resuming a more normal life. The tools immunocompromised patients now have at their disposal, while not as effective as when given to those with healthy immune systems, can still allow them to feel more comfortable, said Dr. Bob Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. (NBC News)

Lessons about COVID-19 to be learned from HIV treatments

HIV and SARS-CoV-2 are completely different viruses. They spread and make people sick in completely different ways. But in 2020, when COVID-19 started to spread, Stephanie Brooks-Wiggins says, it felt familiar. What’s familiar to Brooks-Wiggins is the optimistic refrain from federal officials, as scientific breakthroughs give society more ways to combat the spread of a virus: “We have the tools. There are now effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, tests you can do at home in minutes, and high quality masks, they point out, with the implication that the virus is practically beaten. (National Public Radio)

HHS to revoke healthcare worker ‘conscience’ rule

HHS is planning to change a “conscience” rule, enacted during the Trump administration, that allows healthcare workers to refuse service that conflicts with their moral or religious beliefs. The “conscience” rule was finalized in 2019 but never implemented as it was blocked by federal courts. It would have allowed healthcare workers to refuse to provide services such as abortions, gender-affirming care and contraception if they didn’t morally or religiously agree with it. A spokesperson for HHS said, “HHS has made clear through the unified regulatory agenda that we are in the rulemaking process.” The move could be proposed as soon as the end of April. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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