Today’s NewStand — April 23

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.

Iowa news

University of Iowa hospital employees to don masks under shields to prevent coronavirus spread

As its coronavirus inpatient needs continue to expand and more employees test positive for COVID-19, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Tuesday issued new personal protective equipment guidance and asked for more community help — in the form of donated cloth masks. UIHC workers who have face-to-face contact with patients are now expected to wear medical-grade face masks under their face shields “as an added level of prevention for asymptomatic spread.” The updated UIHC guidance follows recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The Gazette)

Iowa launches $26M coronavirus testing program, with online surveys, drive-through test sites

Iowa will nearly triple its ability to test for coronavirus infections, with the addition of an online screening system and drive-through testing sites, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday. Iowa has hired a group of private companies to set up the new system, including a website, TestIowa.com, which launched Tuesday. The state has agreed to pay up to $26 million in federal money for the effort, according to a contract released Tuesday. Reynolds’ spokesman said each test will cost $48.14. (The Des Moines Register)

Guest column: Support our health care heroes

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide. As a nation and in Iowa, we have witnessed the impact on families, communities and our way of life. At MercyOne, one of Iowa’s largest health care systems with more than 20,000 colleagues and 420 care locations, we are also experiencing unprecedented challenges. While we prepare to meet the needs of an increasing number of COVID-19 patients, the health care industry has been required to eliminate elective services as a result of this pandemic, which is more than 50% of our regular business. We have repositioned our facilities and teams to serve as a public health system to defeat COVID-19. All of this, however, has not changed our commitment to serving the needs and improving the health of our communities. (The Courier)

National news

Rural hospitals are facing financial ruin and furloughing staff during the coronavirus pandemic

Williamson Memorial Hospital was more than the place where Carole Steele had surgery on her elbow. It was more than the place that treated her husband Samuel when his severe allergies make it hard for him to breathe. One doctor there was her grandniece’s godfather. Another was a trusted friend. Now, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital will close its doors Tuesday after serving the community for more than 100 years. The only hospital in the coal mining community of Mingo County, West Virginia, Williamson Memorial filed bankruptcy last year. (CNN)

The problem with heroizing health care workers like me

Lionizing slogans — “Health Care Heroes,” “Thank you for risking your life for us,” “Salute our brave soldiers” — are becoming popular at a time when conditions for health care workers are worsening by the day. When our society’s appreciation for health care workers swells into a kind of hero-worship, it becomes too easy to avoid confronting the structural failures that have been exposed by this pandemic. (The New Republic)

New COVID-19 risk assessment could help rural mitigation strategies

The absence of widespread testing for the novel coronavirus may cause rural counties to appear “statistically invisible,” as the true numbers of cases remain unavailable, a new research report says. The missing data could put rural counties at risk of lowering their guard while the epidemic spreads across the country, according to the report issued by Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach. Rural counties with towns of 5,000 to 10,000 residents may be especially at risk, the report says. (The Daily Yonder)