Some rural Iowa hospitals will not survive the COVID-19 outbreak, industry leaders said Wednesday. That dire warning came as the Iowa Hospital Association revealed projections that show the state’s 118 hospitals, collectively, could lose as much as $2.17 billion in revenue by the end of this year.
Voters in one Iowa county of 9,000 cast their ballots the same way people purchase a Big Mac: in the drivethrough. The Bloomfield Fire Department, the usual polling location for Bloomfield, served all of Davis County’s eight sites this year. Cars could pull into the emptied equipment bays — where the firetrucks normally sit — and drivers could vote behind the wheel and then pull forward to exit. All across Iowa, COVID-19 precautions changed the 2020 primary with a huge vote-by-mail push and other steps like curbside or drive-through options happening Tuesday. Rural counties, with fewer options for buildings, got creative.
Iowa hospitals received $190.3 million in CARES Act relief fund payments in April and were expecting as much as $360 million more in a second round of federal relief aid, interviews and documents shared with IowaWatch show. Part of a special national collaboration, “Slammed: Rural Health Care and COVID-19”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared an Iowa hand sanitizer company of making misleading claims about its product’s ability to “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.” Prefense LLC, of Muscatine, faced an April 23 FDA complaint that made the company the nation’s first manufacturer to get an FDA warning letter claiming the firm marketed a hand sanitizer with unproven COVID-19-related claims.
ByGunnar Davis, Daria Mather, Tanner Krueger, Ann Haakonson and Jonathan Facio, Simpson College |
Paige Marsh went through five interviews before getting a job offer from a national insurance company, headquartered in Des Moines, back in January. “I have been in touch with the company every month since I signed my offer letter,” Marsh, a senior business administration major at Wartburg College, said. “And then I just got the call about the company freezing all new hires until 2021.”
She will continue to search for work in the meantime. College students, like Marsh, who are ready to hit the job market, now find positions hard to find or internships have been postponed or canceled. The jump to the “real world” is typically full of anxiety and uncertainty for seniors — and this year is no different with COVID-19 unsettling the job market.
An Iowa-based hand sanitizer manufacturer the Food and Drug Administration cited in April for saying its products could “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19” says the federal agency is wrong. An attorney for Prefense LLC, of Muscatine, also said the company told the FDA that before the agency announced its April 23 complaint against the firm on April 27, and that the FDA hasn’t acknowledged that response.
Steve Cook walked into the locker room. The 24-year veteran head baseball coach for Coe College in Cedar Rapids sensed the tension in the air. He was about to tell his athletes their season was cancelled.
“Over 24 years, you’re always going to have a meeting at the end of the year. There’s always going to be a senior class and memories and emotions to work through, but this one was especially hard,” Cook said.
On March 12, college athletics got a jolt: NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement cancelling all winter and spring championships due to the coronavirus pandemic. Division III athletes and coaches across Iowa waited to see what would happen with the 2020 season, workouts and recruiting.
In the days following, the American Rivers Conferences (A-R-C), Midwest Conference and St.
University of Northern Iowa professor Anelia Dimitrova expected the coronavirus would cause a two-week spring break extension – not a swift end to campus life and the beginning of teaching online. She thought it was odd, she said, when one of her students noted in March that their last class before spring break could be their last meeting in person.
ByAndrea May Sahouri, The Des Moines Register, and Suzanne Behnke, IowaWatch |
There would be no large, family birthday celebration for Jing Htun’s 7-year-old son, thanks to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. But she made sure there would be cake. Htun picked one up from the Hy-Vee bakery on Euclid Avenue on the morning of March 23, her son’s birthday. The cake was nothing elaborate, she said, just enough to put a smile on his face. She made her way to the checkout line.
COVID-19 turned life upside-down for Iowa’s 100,000-plus full-time university and college students as a month ago classes moved online. Some struggle to care for loved ones with weakened immune systems, and others can’t find WiFi access to earn the semester’s credits. Still others pay their rent without their low-wage job or worry about an upcoming graduation and job search. “In some ways this virus is like 9/11, where it will impact society and how things are done because of it,” said Kealan Graham, 26, who is pursuing a master’s in elementary education and is home in Greater Des Moines. “I hope this helps people realize how important paid sick leave is, how important health care is, and how important every job is to the function of society.”
The new normal: Uncertainty, disruption and adapting.