Today’s NewsStand — Nov. 12, 2020

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

Iowa news

Gov. Kim Reynolds requires Iowans to wear masks at large gatherings to thwart spread of the coronavirus
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that she will require masks at many public gatherings as new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to set records.

Reynolds, who has long resisted calls from health professionals to issue a statewide mask mandate, pointed to the rising community spread in the state, where the number of cases has begun to put a strain on the hospital system.

“You can still eat in a restaurant. You can still go to a movie and work out at the gym —and in many states you can’t do that,” Reynolds said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “Iowa is open for business, and we intend to keep it that way. That’s why it’s time for these additional mitigation measures, but it will take all of us doing everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and keep it at a manageable level that we can live with.”  (Des Moines Register)

U of Iowa Hospital CEO tells patients to have a backup as local hospital fills
The CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City recommended that patients have a backup plan in case their local hospital reaches capacity due to COVID-19 patients, according to We Are Iowa.

Suresh Gunasekaran said UI Hospitals & Clinics hasn’t reached capacity yet, but the state saw record hospitalizations as of Nov. 8. According to Nov. 10 data, 1,034 Iowans are in the hospital with COVID-19. The state’s bed capacity is 9,423. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Beloved Fort Dodge service for adults with disabilities closes doors permanently
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken yet another community staple.  This time, it was the Fort Dodge community’s loss, as the Friendship Haven Schmoker Adult Day Program is closing their doors for good.

The Schmoker Adult Day Program, which existed to provide a structured social activities and a place to socialize for adults with developmental disabilities, had been shut down since March because of COVID-19.

In June, similar programs across the state of Iowa reopened, but Schmoker remained closed because of the burden the pandemic had placed on their facility, which also operates a long term care facility for senior centers.

Families say the recent news to close for good blindsided them, as they all hoped they could make it out on the other side of the pandemic. (We Are Iowa)

National news

Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody drug gets FDA emergency approval
The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody drug, the agency said Nov. 9. The drug, called bamlanivimab, is authorized for use in COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate disease. Specifically, the drug is authorized for patients 12 years and older and for populations at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

The FDA said the drug was shown to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits for high risk patients within 28 days after treatments. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

New data drills down on comorbidities with highest COVID-19 risks
Sanford Health’s analysis of the around 44,000 COVID-19 patients it has treated revealed some patterns that have helped the health system get ahead of the virus.

Many of the patients who have a harder time fending off COVID-19 also battle underlying chronic conditions, the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based system found. While that has been corroborated by other providers and researchers, new data from FAIR Health show which comorbidities present the most risk to COVID-19 patients. The findings could help risk-stratify patients—particularly as COVID-19 cases are on the rise—and prioritize interventions and vaccination distribution, providers said. (Modern Healthcare)

Making telemedicine more human
Laura Cooley, senior director of education and outreach at the Academy of Communication in Healthcare, has seen how the patient experience is being transformed by technology firsthand.

When she went to schedule her annual women’s health exam, she found a digital platform that could help her find a clinician that fit her needs, took her insurance, and had the calendar dates she wanted. It also let her see reports of other patients’ experiences and book online.

“So, I was very happy to quickly and easily find someone, find a calendar appointment, schedule that and enter all my information. It was an excellent patient experience from a technology perspective,” Cooley said during the Patient Experience Summit, put on by the Cleveland Clinic and HIMSS. (Mobihealth News)