Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|November 22, 2021

Iowa news

COVID-19’s quick Iowa comeback has health experts calling for small Thanksgiving gatherings

Just over a week before Thanksgiving, Dubuque County public health specialist Mary Rose Corrigan stared into a camera for a weekly PSA, and posed a rhetorical — but timely — question: Should people attend indoor, public events without masks or social distancing? Though delivered with a deliberate dose of Iowa nice, her answer for Dubuque residents was unmistakable: “Are you kidding me?” The number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa is again on the rise after a brief dip, as is the case in most neighboring states. (Des Moines Register)

Nursing home outbreaks remain level at 29, with slight decline in infections

There are 29 Iowa nursing homes with active COVID-19 outbreaks, and 269 infections associated with those outbreaks. That’s a slight decrease from last week, when there were 29 active nursing home outbreaks and 275 infections associated with them. On Nov. 2, there were 23 Iowa care facilities with outbreaks, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. At that time, there were 226 infections tied to those outbreaks. The newest nursing outbreaks are at Cerro Gordo County’s MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center; Floyd County’s Nora Springs Care Center; Mills County’s Glen Haven Village; Montgomery County’s Good Samaritan Home of Villisca; and Story County’s Accura Healthcare of Ames. The biggest outbreaks are at Iowa County’s English Valley Nursing Care Center, which has had 43 infections tied to the current outbreak; Hardin County’s Heritage Care Center, which has had 23 infections; and Osceola County’s Sibley Specialty Care, which has had 23 infections. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Iowa hospitals urge COVID-19 boosters, other precautions ahead of upcoming holidays

Coronavirus transmission rates are at their highest levels in every Iowa county, and after weeks of elevated COVID-19 hospitalizations, local health officials are encouraging people to take precautions ahead of this week’s Thanksgiving celebrations. In particular, officials with Corridor hospitals say the best step the public can take to keep serious illness and death at bay is to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. Regulators with both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster for everyone 18 and older who had the last of the two shots at least six months ago. (The Gazette)

National news

U.S. COVID-19 cases up 16% in one week

The nation’s seven-day average for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased this week, while deaths fell slightly, according to the CDC’s COVID data tracker weekly review published Nov. 19. The nation’s current seven-day case average is 88,482, a 16.1% increase from the previous week’s average. The current seven-day hospitalization average for Nov. 10-16 is 5,456, a 5.4% increase from the previous week’s average. About 228.2 million people — 68.7% of the total U.S. population — have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 195.6 million people, or 58.9 percent of the population, have received both doses. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Two signs a severe flu season might be ahead

Health officials say two factors might signal a severe flu season is in store for the U.S.: outbreaks at college campuses and a dominant strain associated with particularly bad flu seasons. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, at least 528 students have contracted the flu since Oct. 6, and CDC officials are investigating the outbreak. The campus’s flu positivity rate is 37%, compared with the country’s 0.3% flu positivity rate. About 77% of cases at the university so far have been in unvaccinated students. Flu outbreaks are hitting other college campuses as well, including the University of Florida in Gainesville and the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown. Overall influenza activity is still low in the U.S., though more than 90% of flu cases so far this year are the H3N2 strain. The strain is associated with more severe flu seasons. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

First known COVID-19 case was vendor at Wuhan market, scientist says

A scientist who has pored over public accounts of early COVID-19 cases in China has reported an influential World Health Organization inquiry had most likely gotten the early chronology of the pandemic wrong. The new analysis suggests that the first known patient sickened with the coronavirus was a vendor in a large Wuhan animal market, not an accountant who lived many miles from it. The report, published in the prestigious journal Science, will revive, though certainly not settle, the debate over whether the pandemic started with a spillover from wildlife sold at the market, a leak from a Wuhan virology lab or some other way. The search for the origins of the greatest public health catastrophe in a century has fueled geopolitical battles, with few new facts emerging in recent months to resolve the question. (The New York Times)

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