Today’s NewsStand — Nov. 16, 2020

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

Iowa news

Iowa issues emergency request for coronavirus contact tracing help

State public health officials have released an emergency request for a vendor to aid in contact tracing as Iowa grapples with a major surge of new COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. The Iowa Department of Public Health on Monday announced a request-for-proposal process “due to the exponential increase in case volume.” Proposals from interested vendors are due by the end of the day Tuesday. Officials will announce the results on Friday. (The Gazette)

Living and dying with COVID-19 in Iowa

In the past few weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa has skyrocketed. Over the last few days, we’ve averaged around 10,000 tests administered statewide with nearly half of them coming back positive. Hospitals are being stretched to the limit and so are doctors, nurses and other caregivers. We are very close to another grim milestone. As of today, 1,991 Iowans have died. (Iowa Public Radio)

Iowa’s severe COVID-19 outbreak brings experimental drug to state

Iowa will be among the first states in the country to receive an experimental drug to fight COVID-19. MercyOne Medical Center confirmed it is receiving information on how to administer bamlanivimab — a drug cleared for emergency use last week by the FDA. MercyOne Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ravi Vemuri said Iowa will receive access to the medication because it has one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. (KCCI)

 

National news

Covid-19 vaccine candidate 94.5 percent effective, Moderna says

Biotech company Moderna said today that early analysis from its phase 3 trial shows its CoVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing the infection, offering hope of a second breakthrough in as many weeks. The news comes a week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said early analysis showed its vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective. (NBC News)

‘Our neighbors, our family members’: Small-town hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 deaths

In North Texas, Moore County Hospital District CEO Jeff Turner is managing more than his small rural hospital can handle. The Dumas hospital has space and staff for 11 coronavirus patients, but only three who are really sick and need intensive care. When they need lifesaving therapies Turner’s hospital can’t provide, his staff tries to find open beds at larger hospitals in Amarillo, about 50 miles to the south. When those hospitals are full, his staff scours for space, first in Midland, Wichita Falls and Lubbock, then in Dallas, Denver, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City – even Kansas City, Missouri, more than 500 miles away. (USA Today)

COVID-19 hits rural nursing homes, which are among those least equipped to fight it

Covid-19 deaths among vulnerable nursing-home residents are surging again, with the virus increasingly spreading to rural facilities that are struggling with staff shortages and other challenges. Nursing homes reported more than 1,900 resident deaths from COVID-19 in the last week of October, as well as more than 32,000 confirmed and suspected cases among staff and residents, according to newly released federal data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. Those nationwide totals at the facilities were the highest since early August, when states including Texas and Florida were seeing increases. (The Wall Street Journal)