Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 19, 2022

Iowa news

Omicron surge leaves no segment of Iowa unscathed

Hospital officials warn their facilities are about to be overrun with severely sick — and mostly unvaccinated — COVID-19 patients. As of Friday, nearly 1,000 COVID-19-positive people were in Iowa hospitals, a high not seen since the pandemic’s first winter. Only this time, unlike the depths of the November 2020 surge, there are more patients with non-COVID-19 ailments and fewer health care workers as burnout erodes the workforce. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa House lawmakers seek to boost mental health workforce, psychiatric beds

Iowa would add nearly four dozen new beds at its state-run mental health institutions and would expand programs aimed at attracting mental health workers under a series of proposals House Republicans began advancing. Republicans say their mental health package would help Iowa add more services for those who need mental health treatment, some of whom are ending up in jails and emergency rooms statewide. (The Hawk Eye)

Board of Regents approve $9.2 million addition to State Hygienic Lab

Demand for COVID-19 testing has forced staff at the State Hygienic Lab in Iowa City to use what had been conference space to accommodate their work to process tests, which is why the lab sought — and received approval from the Iowa Board of Regents last week — for an addition. The lab has processed about 1.6 million COVID-19 tests since early 2020, and with the variants that have emerged since, demand continues to skyrocket. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Nearly 1 million pediatric COVID-19 cases reported last week

Nearly 1 million cases of COVID-19 were reported among children in the United States last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday. The pediatric case count ending the week of Jan. 13 — 981,488 — reflects a 69% increase from the previous week’s 580,247 cases. The new case count is likely an underestimate of the true number of pediatric cases, the AAP said, because many kids are either tested at home with rapid tests that are never reported to health officials, or not tested at all because of the shortage of tests. (NBC News)

Preventable hospitalizations of unvaccinated cost $13.8 billion in second half of 2021

Americans who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 are costing the U.S. health care system and insurers billions of dollars in preventable costs, according to a new study. Between June and November 2021, the estimated cost of preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations among unvaccinated adults in the U.S. totaled $13.8 billion, according to the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker. The tracker based that estimate on more than 690,000 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations of unvaccinated adults. Multiple sources estimate that the average hospitalization cost per COVID-19 patient is about $20,000. In Iowa, of the 923 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, 72.6% are not fully immunized, according to the Iowa Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard. (Benefits Pro)

Americans can now order four free at-home coronavirus tests

The Biden administration’s new website allowing people to order up to four free at-home coronavirus tests quietly went live on Tuesday — a day in advance of its formal launch — and demand already appeared to be significant. A combined total of more than one million visitors were on the home page and the ordering page of covidtests.gov at one point Tuesday evening — more than 40 times as many as were on the government site with the next highest traffic, the U.S. Postal Service’s package-tracking page, according to analytics.usa.gov, which monitors traffic on participating federal websites. (The New York Times)

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