Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|August 19, 2022

Iowa news

Iowa COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations drop to lowest points in over a month

New reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations dropped in Iowa this week to their lowest points in more than a month, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa dropped by about 25% over the past seven days. That number now sits at 244 after briefly surging above 300 during the previous two weeks. Of those hospitalized patients, 27 required intensive care, also a decline from last week. There were fewer new reported cases in Iowa over the past week, as well: 4,921, or an average of about 703 new cases per day. That’s about 100 fewer new cases per day than in the week prior. (Des Moines Register)

Via Health Services to open 32-bed all-women memory care unit

Via Health Services, a family-owned skilled nursing company, is opening a 32-bed memory care unit this month at its existing south Des Moines facility. It will be the first women-only Alzheimer’s and dementia care unit in central Iowa. The unit will be licensed as a chronic confusion and dementing illness facility. The 14,000-square-foot unit will have 105 beds, including a long-term care and a skilled nursing unit. Via Health Services also owns and operates an 80-bed skilled nursing facility in Carlisle open to both men and women. (Business Record)

Few counties collect information on at-home COVID-19 tests. How does that impact pandemic tracking?

In the months since at-home testing options were made widely available, weekly surveillance data from the Iowa Department of Public Health has not captured those results. Instead, the report relies on data from health care providers, labs and county public health agencies. Some local public health agencies have offered the option for residents to report positive at-home test results, but with few Iowans volunteering that information in a limited number of counties, public health officials say the full picture of the pandemic has become murky. (Des Moines Register)

National news

FBI thwarts cyberattack at Omaha hospital

The FBI thwarted a cyberattack at David City, Nebraska-based Butler County Health Care Center after notifying them that their hospital was being targeted by a cybergroup. FBI agents in Omaha received a tip from investigators in Ireland who said six different co-ops in the Omaha FBI jurisdiction were being targeted by hackers, one of them being Butler County Health Care Center. The FBI then alerted the hospital’s IT director who pinpointed the compromised server in the hospital, took it offline before patient information was compromised and averted the attack. (Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report)

Updated COVID-19 boosters are coming in weeks

White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said the newly updated COVID-19 boosters will be available to teens and adults “in a few short weeks.” The new boosters target the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, as well as the original strain of the virus. BA.5 accounts for nearly 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration will determine how well the updated shots protect against the virus, Dr. Jha said, adding that he expects that they should “work much better at preventing infection transmission and serious illness” than the current boosters. (NBC News)

Outlook ‘deteriorating’ for nonprofit hospitals, Fitch says

Citing more-severe than expected macro headwinds, Fitch revised its sector outlook for nonprofit hospitals and health systems to “deteriorating.” Nonprofit hospitals have been hamstrung by labor and broader macro inflationary pressures that “are rendering the sector even more vulnerable to future stress.” Investment losses have also contributed to a rockier 2022 than anticipated, and operating metrics are down significantly compared to last year. Many nonprofit hospitals and health systems are expected to violate debt service coverage covenants this year, Fitch says. (Becker’s Hospital Review)


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