On Wednesday, the Nevada Hospitals Association urged residents not to visit emergency rooms, except in cases of real emergencies, especially in northern Nevada, where the rise in COVID-19 cases continues to double that in the Las Vegas area.
“Many hospital emergency departments in northern Nevada are able to admit patients,” said Pat Kelly, president and CEO of the Nevada Hospital Association.
Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick said the average 30-day number of new cases per 100,000 residents in the Reno Sparks area has quadrupled in the Reno Sparks area over the past six weeks, from 354 in early August to 1,621 now.
The state is 951. In Clark County, including Las Vegas, it is 720, and in the rest of the state outside of Carson City, Washa and Clark counties it is 1501.
State health officials said Wednesday that the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide stood at 1,090 on Monday. They stayed below 500 from March to June and reached 1000 in late July, after peaking at 2636 on December 15.
In Washu County, they peaked at 349 in December and fell to 29 July 26 and have since climbed to 199, the state state said Wednesday.
Dick said it reminds him of last fall, when “we climbed to the peak of our climb at the end of November.” According to him, the staffing of hospitals now may be even worse than it was then.
“There’s just so much burnout,” he told reporters Wednesday.
“I can tell you in the health department and in our medical community that it was ruthless. We’re overwhelmed here. We cannot keep up with disease investigations and contact tracing, ”he said.
Test positive, the rate of the number of people testing positive for COVID-19, dropped to 11.5% statewide after rising to 16.4% in mid-August and 8.9% in the Las Vegas area.
The rate remained high: 20% on Wednesday in Reno and the surrounding area and almost 26% in Elko County. The goal of the World Health Organization is to ease restrictions on coronavirus by 5% or less.
Dick reiterated his weekly call for more than one-third of Nevada residents who have resisted getting vaccinated against the virus to do so for the good of everyone.
About 63.5% of eligible Nevada residents have received at least one vaccination, and 53.7% are fully vaccinated.
On Wednesday, the hospital association urged Nevada residents to get vaccinated, wear a mask, not get tested for COVID-19 in the emergency room, and use emergency room or their primary healthcare provider as an alternative to emergency departments. Residents should only go to emergency departments if they are “in critical condition,” Kelly said.
Dick said that despite growing evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, he is seeing more and more false information on social media about potential harm. He has heard “absurd” stories about death and other harm from vaccines.
“I can assure you that hospitals are not filling up because people are having reactions to the COVID-19 vaccination. Hospitals are filling up because people are not getting vaccinated, they are contracting COVID-19 and are spreading COVID-19 in our country.” said Dick.
He said the Nevada Hospital Association urging residents to “do their part to avoid overcrowding in hospitals” is a sign of how dire the situation is.
In other viral developments, former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval – now president of the University of Nevada at Reno – announced in a campus email that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Sandoval said he had been previously vaccinated and had “mild symptoms” of the disease. He said he would work from home for 10 days.
Governor Steve Sisolak signed a mandate approved last week that requires civil servants in hospitals and prisons to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1 or face administrative leave or transfer.
In Nevada, about 12,000 inmates in 17 prisons, more than 4,500 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and 49 have died. Meanwhile, the vaccination rate of prison officials lags behind the statewide vaccination rate by about 10%. In July, prison authorities said about 42% of staff had received vaccines – a percentage that the chief called “terrible”.
Correctional officials warned the Health Council last week that a vaccination requirement would lead to massive layoffs and staff shortages.