Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|May 20, 2022

Iowa news

CDC warns of rising COVID-19 risk in Iowa

For the first time in two months, an Iowa county has a high level of community risk for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poweshiek County has that distinction, because of a combination of its infection and hospitalization rates that the CDC uses to characterize the threat of infection. It recommends people wear masks indoors in public places when the threat is high. Eight other counties have the designation of medium risk, mostly in northern Iowa: Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clay, Dickinson, Floyd, Howard, Johnson and Palo Alto. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Federal law mandates Iowans’ firing, while state law provides jobless benefits

Two Iowa health care workers fired for violating a federal law requiring them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 have been awarded jobless benefits because of a state law that ensures such workers can still collect unemployment. In one case, a judge noted that while the worker could have kept her job by simply claiming a medical or religious exemption, doing so would have forced her to be untruthful. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Cedar Rapids hospitals require universal masking as COVID-19 activity increases

After scaling back some requirements a month ago, both Cedar Rapids hospitals have recently implemented universal masking rules in its facilities as COVID-19 activity continues to increase locally. Starting last week, UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids required masks in all areas for all patients, visitors and staff “due to increases in COVID-19 positivity rates, confirmed cases and high community transmission levels.” Last month, certain mask policies had been relaxed at hospitals and clinics within certain UnityPoint Health systems in Eastern Iowa, including Cedar Rapids. (The Gazette)

National news

New insights into long COVID-19

A major new study has yielded some striking findings about long COVID-19 and its serious impact. Researchers analyzed the largest database of private health insurance claims in the U.S. The study found that 78,252 patients were diagnosed with the medical diagnostic code for long COVID-19 from October 2021 through January 2022. The number was huge, given the study covered only the first four months after the diagnostic code — U09.9 — was introduced. (The New York Times)

New clue about why COVID-19 is deadlier for men: Estrogen may play a protective role

It’s one of the pandemic’s prolonged mysteries: Why have men died of COVID-19 at higher rates than women? COVID-19’s fatality rate for men was 1.7 times higher, on average, than the rate for women across 38 countries, a 2020 study found. More recent research from Harvard University found that although men represented 49% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., they accounted for 55% of COVID-19 deaths from April 2020 through May 2021. A new study lends further support to a leading theory about the discrepancy: Estrogen may offer some protection against severe COVID-19. (NBC News)

Experts warn of a COVID-19 wave that is ‘almost like omicron’

The increasing prevalence of “unbelievably transmissible” COVID-19 omicron subvariants has experts concerned about a potential new wave of cases that may go partly undetected as people turn to home tests instead of lab tests. The omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 accounted for nearly 48% of new cases for the week ending May 14, according to data from the CDC. As of May 11, the nation’s seven-day case average was 84,778, a 30.7% increase from the previous week’s average, while hospitalizations were also up by 17.5%, the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker weekly review shows. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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