Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 17, 2023

Iowa news

Iowa COVID-19 infection rate increases at least 5%

The number of weekly reported COVID-19 infections in the state increased for the second straight week, continuing the reversal of a downward trend in cases that had marked the start of the year. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services has reported 1,626 new infections in the past week among people not previously infected. That is a 7% increase from last week’s report. The state also noted 2,255 total positive tests, a 5% increase. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Eastern Iowa Health Center offers Saturday vaccine clinics, free transportation

Starting Feb. 18, Eastern Iowa Health Center in Cedar Rapids will offer eight Saturday clinics for people interested in receiving free COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. The clinics are part of an effort to encourage people to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. Another way Eastern Iowa Health Center is easing access to full vaccinations is through transportation. The center is partnering with the Neighborhood Transportation Service to offer transportation services during clinic times. the service will pick people up at their homes for free for their appointments. (Corridor Business)

Study recommends Iowa break down barriers to telehealth

Iowa has opportunities for improvement in telehealth, according to a new report from the Reason Foundation. Although the COVID-19 pandemic hastened changes in care delivery, promoting telehealth, many states still need to make comprehensive updates to their telehealth laws, the report concludes. Most federal and state level emergency actions were only temporary. The report said states can focus on four areas of innovation. They can ensure patients can access all forms of telehealth, launch a telehealth relationship by any mode, access virtual care from providers in other states and see many kinds of providers over telehealth. (The DeWitt Observer)

National news

Do masks slow virus spread? Researchers want more evidence

Three years into the pandemic and hundreds of studies later, evidence is still lacking as to what extent masks may slow the spread of respiratory viruses such as flu or COVID-19. Researchers said the findings underscore the need for more studies to definitively understand masking’s benefits and are not intended to be a case against the practice. Researchers examined 78 studies assessing the use of various mask types among more than 610,000 people in various settings in low-, middle- and high-income countries. Although some studies occurred during the 2009 H1N1 influenza and COVID-19 pandemics, many were conducted during flu seasons. (Cochrane Library)

Is the U.S. prepared for a possible bird flu pandemic? What we know.

As health officials continue to track and manage one of the largest bird flu outbreaks in recorded history, the virus is beginning to spill over into mammals – including humans. While human infections are still few and far between, health experts say it only takes one perfect combination of mutations for the virus to cause widespread transmission among the human population. Will avian influenza be the next human pandemic, and is the world ready? Here’s what we know. (Des Moines Register)

Analyzing Amazon’s health care growth strategy: How the tech giant is shaping the future of the industry

Amazon is continuing its push into the health care space by investing in health care startups and making acquisitions in the primary care space. But looking closer at the investments shows that the tech giant’s new business lines primarily focus on consumer health, diagnostics and therapeutics and remote monitoring. Amazon’s health care initiatives focus on consumer and employee health. For example, the company launched Amazon Care in 2019. The program offered employees telemedicine and in-person health care services. (CB Insights)

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