The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand — April 1, 2020

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

Iowa news

US sending Iowa $1.25B for virus recovery

Iowa appears to be in line for $1.25 billion as its share of the federal $2 trillion coronavirus recovery package. The allocations are based on population, and Iowa’s share of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, local and tribal governments is the minimum allotment for states. The funds are expected to begin arriving within 30 days, according to information provided to states. The funding is in addition to the recovery checks of up to $1,200 that will be mailed to single taxpayers making an adjusted income of no more than $75,000 or up to $2,400 for married couples with incomes of less than $150,000. Those amounts will increase by $500 for each child. (MDJOnline.com)

Iowa farmers: ‘Keep calm and grow on’ amid coronavirus

There is a meme making its way around agricultural communities that shows the inside of a high-tech tractor cabin with this caption: “As the world prepares for social isolation, farmers prepare isolation pods for planting season.” The punchline is intended to highlight how farmers already find themselves to be socially distanced as part of their daily job responsibilities – and thus are supposedly better prepared for the practices recommended for limiting the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. News and World Report)

‘I can’t lock the state down:’ Gov. Kim Reynolds continues urging social distancing

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday said she doesn’t need to change messaging or implement further mitigation strategies to combat COVID-19 at this time, despite new evidence suggesting that people can be infected without showing symptoms. Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield told NPR in an interview Tuesday that a significant number of individuals who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic. That number, he said, could be as high as 25%. (KHQA-TV)

National news

Coronavirus exposes rural health care weaknesses

There are more than 21,000 hospital beds in North Carolina. About a third are vacant. Space is much tighter for beds in intensive care, where only 22% of the state’s 3,200 beds are currently empty. Although it is flu season, the vacancy rate is below the average because some hospitals have canceled elective procedures to free up space. Dr. Mark Holmes of UNC Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Public Health, who specializes in the rural health care system, says the pandemic is peeling off the bandage that many have raised concerns about for years. “What this epidemic really exposed is the fragility of the rural health care infrastructure,” he said. (WRAL.com)

Coronavirus strains rural hospitals ‘to the absolute limit’

Brad Huerta found himself vacuuming the halls of his rural Idaho hospital last week. As the CEO of Lost Rivers Medical Center, in Arco, Idaho, it’s not his normal job, nor is it normal for the maintenance staff to be directing traffic of patients coming in with symptoms outside, or having the emergency department doctors take on extra shifts to fill in as nurses. But rural hospitals trying to stay afloat in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic are a long way from normal. Often underfunded, understaffed and undersupplied, they’re now facing the looming impacts of COVID-19. (NBC News)

Coronavirus having less of an impact on lower-income, rural areas, report finds

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged in recent weeks but remain comparatively low in lower-income and rural areas, according to a new analysis from The Associated Press. Among more than 3,100 counties in the U.S., nearly 1,300 had no confirmed cases of COVID-19, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed. Of the counties without positive tests, 85 percent were in rural areas that generally saw less everyday contact between people, which could help transmit the virus. But counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 have had a higher proportion of people older than 60 — the most vulnerable to severe effects of the virus — and far fewer intensive-care beds should they fall sick, The Associated Press reported. (FOX Wilmington)