Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 11, 2023

Iowa news

XBB.1.5, the latest COVID-19 variant, will probably infect everyone. What you should know.

With a highly contagious coronavirus variant expected to hit Iowa in earnest in the coming weeks, infectious disease specialists and public health experts are urging Iowans to get the bivalent COVID-19 booster shot as soon as possible. Few of them have so far. The new COVID-19 offshoot of omicron, called XBB.1.5, has been dubbed by world health leaders as the most transmissible version of the virus yet and has emerged in the U.S. with a force. In just one month, from the last week of November to the last week of December, the subvariant rose from less than 1% of total estimated COVID-19 infections nationwide to 40%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Des Moines Register)

Health experts urge parents to continue taking extra precautions amid severe respiratory virus season

This respiratory virus season has been unusually severe, especially for kids. Wendy Woods, a medical officer at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, says the number of children hospitalized for RSV and the flu has dropped off considerably in the past month due to holiday school closures and severe weather keeping people inside. But she says she’s concerned about infection rates increasing again now that school is back in session. She encourages anyone who’s sick to stay home to prevent spreading the illness to vulnerable young children. Woods says it’s still not too late for Iowans and their children to get their annual flu shot. (Iowa Public Radio)

Medicaid advocates sue Iowa over lack of access to mental health care

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the state of Iowa brought on by a number of groups including Disability Rights Iowa. It claims the state is failing to provide mental health care for thousands of Medicaid eligible children. The filing comes as children in the country face unprecedented mental health challenges and the need for services reaching crisis levels. According to the lawsuit, Iowa is ranked 41st worst in the nation for number of children suffering from at least one major depressive episode in the last year. We spoke to the national health law program on this topic and experts there say there is a correlation between early childhood and adulthood. (KAAL)

National news

The tripledemic, post-holidays: Where things stand

In the second week of the new year, experts have their eyes on COVID-19 as respiratory syncytial virus and the flu continue to recede. After a brief level off in December, COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths and test positivity are all on the rise. An average of 47,500 people were hospitalized as of Jan. 8, marking an 18% increase from 14 days earlier, New admissions jumped 16% over a one-week period from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3. Deaths are also up 19% over the last two weeks, with the daily average at 509 deaths on Jan. 8. (National Public Radio)

Nearly half of health care ransomware attacks disrupt hospital services

Nearly half of ransomware attacks on health care organizations disrupted care delivery. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida analyzed 374 ransomware attacks on health care delivery organizations that occurred between 2016 and 2021. The researchers found that more than 44% of ransomware attacks on health care organizations hindered delivering health care to patients. And among those attacks, electronic systems went down 41.7% of the time, while care was canceled in 10.2% and ambulances were diverted in 4.3% of attacks. (Becker’s Health IT)

Nursing ranked most trusted profession for 22nd year in a row

The nursing profession continues to secure the highest assessment of ethics and honesty from Americans. The 79% of adults who say nurses have “very high” or “high” honesty and ethical standards is greater than any of the other 17 professions assessed, Gallup noted. Nurses have topped the list for honesty and ethics each year since the profession was added to the ratings in 1999 except for 2001, when firefighters outperformed them in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The top three most-trusted professions are in the health care field, with nurses leading the way and physicians and pharmacists following. (Gallup)

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