Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 9, 2023

Iowa news

Lee County schedules special election for funding EMS

Lee County voters will have a say in how they want to fund the county’s recently expanded emergency medical services. The Board of Supervisors scheduled a special election for March 7, when voters will decide if they want to pay more in property taxes to help fund the county’s EMS. (Iowa Public Radio)

Iowa nurse’s heroism during Afghanistan evacuation earns her military’s top flight award

In the hours following a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Katie Lunning stayed focused on the task at hand. In August 2021, Lunning was a member of a critical care air transport team, a highly specialized three-person medical unit that cares for severely injured or critically ill patients while transporting them to higher levels of medical care. Her team was tasked with transporting 27 Afghan civilians and U.S. military members injured in the bombing, including five patients on life support. Without any time to stabilize those patients on the ground, Lunning and her team worked tirelessly to keep those patients alive during the 8-hour flight to Germany on Aug. 26, 2021. Ultimately, all but one survived — a young Afghan refugee who needed a blood transfusion mid-flight. (Des Moines Register)

Two UnityPoint hospitals begin telemedicine program to help physicians overnight

UnityPoint says two of its hospitals in Des Moines will start using a telemedicine program to help physicians during overnight hours. Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Iowa Lutheran will start using a video telemedicine system to help its doctors between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. The program will mainly support internal medicine hospitalists, and comes as hospitals statewide are facing staffing shortages and hospitalizations for respiratory virus infections remain high. (Iowa Public Radio)

National news

XBB.1.5, a more contagious variant, now accounts for more than 40% of COVID-19 cases

The latest COVID-19 variant to sweep across the country, XBB.1.5, doesn’t appear to cause more serious disease than its predecessors. But it appears to be about five times more contagious than an earlier omicron variant, which was five times more contagious than the original virus. As of Dec. 31, XBB.1.5 accounted for more than 40% of cases in the U.S., up from about 1% less than a month earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, vaccines remain effective at preventing severe disease and death and the antiviral Paxlovid, given in the first few days after infection, dramatically reduces progression to hospitalization. (Des Moines Register)

New guidelines for treating childhood obesity include medicines and surgery for first time

For the first time in 15 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines for treating childhood obesity, emphasizing a need for early and intensive treatment. The guidance comes as childhood obesity rates have continued to rise over the past decade and a half, increasing from 17% to 20%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the 1980s, obesity rates have tripled in children and quadrupled in adolescents. The pandemic made matters worse. One CDC report found that the rate of weight gain nearly doubled in 2020, compared with pre-pandemic years. (NBC News)

People of color are dying at much higher rates than what COVID-19 data suggests

It’s not always easy to identify a COVID-19 death. If someone dies at home, if they have symptoms not typically associated with the disease or if they die when local health systems are overwhelmed, their death certificate might say “heart disease” or “natural causes” when COVID-19 is at fault. New research shows such inaccuracies are more likely for Americans who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native. The true toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on many communities of color is worse than previously known. (Des Moines Register)

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