Health News Roundup

Extreme temperatures pose special risk to people with chronic illness, and more in this week’s roundup

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It’s not just heat stroke. Extreme temperatures pose special risk to people with chronic illness (and that’s a lot of us)
Isabella Cueto, STAT, July 19
Extreme heat holds special risk for people with chronic diseases – an enormous group that has only been made larger by COVID-19. Heat can push more people into emergency rooms or set off flare-ups in a vast array of chronic conditions. Many people don’t realize how vulnerable they are, researchers say. Part of that falls to the messengers who have not clearly communicated the harms associated with heat, or proffered solutions.

Why did the state suspend a Norwich dental clinic dedicated to those with disabilities?
Matt Grahn, Norwich Bulletin, July 19
The suspension of a state dental clinic’s free services means local families will need to travel an hour or more to get dental care for severely disabled family members. While the Department of Developmental Services is seeking better staffing for the center, there is no set time for reopening, contributing to a lack of care for severely disabled people in eastern Connecticut.

‘One way or another, COVID will get you:’ Uninfected yet greatly affected
Patrick Raycraft, Connecticut Health I-Team, July 19
Cheshire resident Romy Norwood hasn’t been infected with COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean she and others like her haven’t been affected by the pandemic. Norwood, a business owner in Meriden, has experienced mental fatigue, a loss of clients, and fears for the well-being of her family.

Connecticut sees rise in mental health hotline calls with new 988 number
Stephen Underwood, Hartford Courant, July 20
As the new mental health hotline number 988 rolls out across the country, it’s already having an effect in Connecticut, where calls to the state’s crisis contact team were up 50% over the past weekend. Connecticut has been seen as a model because of its established mobile crisis systems, but some say the state needs to continue to focus on reducing emergency room visits for mental health crises.
Related: The 988 helpline exists in an America full of broken systems – of course it’s flawed, Molly Longman, Refinery29, July 19

As overdose deaths exploded during the pandemic, racial disparities widened, CDC report shows
Andrew Joseph, STAT, July 19
As U.S. overdose deaths soared to devastating new heights in the first year of the pandemic, racial disparities widened sharply, with rates spiking much more among Black people and American Indians and Alaska Natives than among white people, according to a new report. The CDC had already released data showing the overall jump in overdose deaths in 2020, but the new report drills into differences by race and ethnicity that vary by age group.