Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|July 18, 2022

Iowa news

COVID-19 cases jump 30% in Iowa; hospitalizations up

The state’s COVID-19 infection rate increased significantly last week when there were 5,187 new confirmed cases, a 30% jump from the week prior, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The increase snapped a two-month streak in which new cases hovered near the 4,000-per-week mark. It was the most cases recorded in one week in the state this summer and is more than 10 times the infection rate of the lull of late March. But the latest rate is one-tenth that of the January peak. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Last-Dollar Scholarship deadline approaching Aug. 1

The application period for the Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship closes Monday, Aug. 1. The scholarship program provides recent high school graduates and adult learners with funding for higher education costs that aren’t covered by other federal and state grants or scholarships. Scholarship recipients can choose from qualifying high-demand programs of study such as those in information technology and health care. Iowa community colleges or accredited private colleges in Iowa that offer qualified programs of study are eligible institutions. All applications must be submitted by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. (Business Record)

11 Iowa nursing homes have closed in recent months

Nearly a dozen nursing homes in Iowa have closed since late last year, largely because of financial stress from inflation, supply chain issues and workforce shortages, the leader of a statewide health care organization said. Although many businesses and industries are facing those same pressures, Brent Willett, president and CEO of the Iowa Health Care Association, said nursing homes cannot respond to those pressures in the same way other businesses can. (Voice of Alexandria)

National news

Is it time to update the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’?

As the highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant spreads nationwide and the federal government is encouraging booster shots for eligible adults, some experts are questioning whether it’s time to update the definition of “fully vaccinated.” COVID-19 cases have increased 16% over the past two weeks, while hospitalizations have jumped 19%. The increases come as BA.5 accounts for an estimated 65% of U.S. cases. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

The omicron subvariant dominating U.S. COVID-19 cases is more vaccine-resistant

The BA.5 omicron subvariant, which is now the most prevalent coronavirus strain in the U.S., is four times more resistant to COVID-19 vaccines, according to a new study. The strain, which is considered “hypercontagious,” according to the Mayo Clinic, is more defiant against messenger RNA vaccines, which include Pfizer and Moderna. The BA.5 strain represented 65% of cases from July 3 to 9, according to CDC data. It is contributing to increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units nationwide. But vaccines still provide much better protection than going without the safeguards. (Iowa Public Radio)

As U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations climb, a chronic nursing shortage is worsening

American hospitals are once again filling up with coronavirus patients — but not with nurses to care for them. The nation’s chronic shortage of registered nurses is as bad in some parts of the country as it has ever been, and it is showing signs of getting worse. Hospitalizations have risen steadily in recent weeks, and the daily average number of people in hospitals who are infected with the coronavirus now exceeds 39,000, the highest it has been since the waning days of the first omicron surge in early March. The rise is being driven largely by BA.5, a rapidly spreading omicron subvariant that is the best yet at evading some antibodies from previous infections or vaccines. (The New York Times)

Become a hospital advocate. Sign up for IHA Action Alerts.

Click here