Week in Review: September 17

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Hospitals In Dire Spot Due To COVID, Fargo Health Care Exec Urges

An executive at the largest health care system in North Dakota said Tuesday that its hospitals in Fargo alone could use up to 300 more nurses to handle COVID-19 cases and is bumping up incentives to try and fill the void. “We really are in crisis,” said Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Health vice president and medical officer in Fargo. The state Department of Health reported Tuesday that 514 of the 2,712 active cases in the state are in Cass County, which includes the Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota, metropolitan area of nearly 250,000 people. Hospitals across the region are filling up with both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, Griffin said, and Fargo Sanford is about two to three weeks from reaching its peak hospitalization capacity. Via WCCO

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Biden: 2.8M People Signed Up for ObamaCare In Special Period

More than 2.8 million people enrolled in ObamaCare coverage during a special sign-up period this year, bringing the total number of people enrolled under the health law to a record 12.2 million, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. The Biden administration opened the special sign-up period upon taking office early this year, arguing that people needed an extra opportunity to sign up for health insurance given the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic. Enrollment closed on Aug. 15. Via The Hill

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The pandemic marks another grim milestone: 1 in 500 Americans have died of COVID-19

The goal of testing, mask-wearing, keeping six feet apart and limiting gatherings was to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus until a vaccine could stamp it out. The vaccines came but not enough people have been immunized, and the triumph of science waned as mass death and disease remain. The result: As the nation’s covid death toll exceeded 663,000 this week, it meant roughly 1 in every 500 Americans had succumbed to the disease caused by the coronavirus. Via Washington Post

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Mayo Clinic News

Understanding the delta variant, vaccines and breakthrough cases in Minnesota

On Friday, Sept. 10, alone, the state reported 2,050 new infections and nearly 700 hospitalizations. There were also 18 more deaths. “Vaccination against the delta variant still remains highly effective,” Dr. John O’Horo, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert, said during a recent news conference. “Even though there are reports of breakthrough cases, they tend to be far less severe and far less frequent.” O’Horo added that states with higher rates of vaccination have not been hit as hard by the delta strain as those with lower rates. Via Post-Bulletin

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Delta variant danger zones: COVID-19 forecast map shows where hotspots could be 2 weeks from now

The Mayo Clinic has put together an interactive map that charts COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S. for the prior 60 days—and forecasts where the hotspots will be two weeks out. Mayo is quick to note that their forecast isn’t a firm prediction, and things can change based on external factors like personal behavior (vaccination rates and whether people adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing), however, their predictions are based on 500 individual simulations in order to be as accurate as possible. Via Fast Company

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How Common Is Long COVID?

Self-reported symptoms of the disease persisted for 1 to 2 months after initial diagnosis in up to 13% of patients; 4.5% experienced symptoms beyond 2 months, and 2.6% for 3 months or longer, according to mobile app data from U.K., U.S., and Swedish populations. However, many of these patients may not realize the hidden symptoms, noted David H. Jiang, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, whose group published the review in JACC: Basic to Translational Science. Via MedPage Today

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Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.