Iowa

Courtesy of Steven Abdo

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Long term care facilities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of the coronavirus deaths in Iowa have been residents at these facilities. To try to keep residents safe, most have been closed to visitors since March. Steven Abdo, a nurse aide at Oaknoll Retirement Residence in Iowa City for four years, explains what it’s like to work with residents who don’t know when they can see their families again.

Grinnell Regional Medical Center

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Hospitals across the Midwest have adjusted policies for the coronavirus crisis -- including limiting patient visitors. That can be especially hard when a patient is near death, and friends and relatives want to share a final goodbye. Dr. Lauren Graham speaks about those emotional moments at Grinnell Regional Medical Center in Iowa.

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

States are considering how, and when, to reopen their economies. But the process looks different across the country, and there's a considerable variety even in the Midwest. Side Effects Public Media’s Brittani Howell spoke with Indiana Public Broadcasting’s statehouse reporter Brandon Smith, KBIA health reporter Sebastián Martínez Valdivia and Iowa Public Radio health reporter Natalie Krebs about how their states have reacted so far, and what they might do going forward.

Michael Leland / Side Effects Public Media

Many of America’s rural counties have just a handful of COVID-19 cases. And health experts say that may be giving residents a false sense of security. Now, outbreaks at food processing plants could shake that complacency.

Lindsey Reed / Oaknoll Retirement Residence

The elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. The country’s first big outbreak was at a nursing home in Washington state, and more recently nursing homes and senior living facilities in places like Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have had experienced dozens of cases -- and deaths. Now, these places are facing a lot of pressure to keep residents safe -- and occupied. 

Lindsey Moon / Side Effects Public Media

Iowa is among the states with the fewest COVID-19 cases, but it still has over 175 confirmed cases and the total increases every day. The state’s hospitals, large and small, face a common problem as they get ready for a possible spike in patients: finding enough equipment.

leo2014/Pixabay (CC0)

As the U.S. economy has slowed due to the coronavirus threat, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment only weeks after an especially robust job market. These numbers are significantly worse than previous downturns, even in the aftermath of the 2008 market crash. Meanwhile, in the Midwest, hospitals and healthcare workers prepared for a spike in cases by scrambling for masks, ventilators and other equipment.

Here’s more news from the Midwest: 

DarkoStojanovic / Pixabay CCO

Nationwide, supplies of personal protective equipment, including masks, N95 respirators and gowns,  are in short supply. Hospitals are soliciting donations and some people are crafting supplies themselves. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as a last resort masks should be reused or providers could use scarves. 

Here’s more from the Midwest:

Photo by slavoljubovski / Pixabay CC0

With states such as Indiana and Michigan adding “stay-at-home” orders on Monday, millions of Americans are significantly restricting their lifestyles to slow the coronavirus. Nationwide, there are over 40,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including the head of a large Indiana hospital chain, and the spread doesn’t appear to be slowing.

jackmac34 / pixabay CCO

The coronavirus death toll in Europe has overtaken China's. Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to send mixed signals: Yesterday, President Trump announced the Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment for COVID-19, shortly after the agency said that was not the case. In the Midwest, case counts continue to rise, as experts say community spread is happening.

Pages