Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Pandemic roundup: Small-town Ky. mayor urges unvaxed to stay home to help hospital; Idaho's pain affects Washington

Here's a roundup of recent news about the pandemic and immunization efforts: 

Only one in four of the nation's 15,600 nursing homes are confident they can stay in business in the coming months, according to a recent survey, Mariel Padilla reports for The 19th. Such closures could be especially devastating in rural areas, where other resources are hard to find. Read more here.

In a Facebook video, the mayor of Corbin, Ky. (pop. 21,000), urged locals to get vaccinated, and asked the unvaccinated to stay home so they don't get infected and overwhelm the town's regional hospital. Baptist Health Corbin has had to contact facilities as far away as Pittsburgh to find intensive care unit beds for patients. Over half the patients at the 273-bed hospital have Covid-19. Read more here.

Idaho's hospitals are so overwhelmed with Covid patients that they are rationing care, but many locals remain skeptical of vaccines. Read more here. That is affecting Washington state, where the governor has implemented tough pandemic-control measures, is already strained from in-state patients. Some that has fostered resentment among many hospital workers in Washington. Read more here.

Vaccine misinformation isn't just coming from Russian bots and rightwing forums. It also frequently comes from "wellness" influencers on social media who exhort followers to eschew "chemicals" and embrace a more "natural" lifestyle. Read more here.

What is ivermectin, and how did people get the idea it can treat Covid-19? Read more here.

Coronavirus cases are nearing record levels in West Virginia. Seven months ago the state had one of the best vaccination rates in the country, but since then vaccination levels have dropped off. Now the state has an over-18 vaccination rate of 48%, the lowest of any state, leaving its residents more vulnerable to the Delta variant. Soaring coronavirus infections illustrate the challenges facing it and other states with low vaccination rates. Read more herehere and here.

A hospital CEO in rural North Carolina has become known for blunt Facebook posts defending the coronavirus vaccination and criticizing misinformation, conspiracy theories and the politicization of the pandemic. Read more here.

Though a rural Texas county has one of the state's highest vaccination rates, they're still struggling to reach herd immunity. That's because nearby counties have very low vaccination rates, highlighting the need for higher vaccination rates across the board. Read more here.

A hospital in rural Georgia is overwhelmed with Covid patients, so county leaders came up with a creative solution: they negotiated an agreement where county employees will help out at the hospital when they're not doing work for the county. A number of law-enforcement personnel and firefighters have expressed interest. Read more here.

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