I-Team: Frustration over lack of tests in Southern Nevada mount


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Southern Nevada Health District said there are now at least 16 cases of the coronavirus in Clark County. One was confirmed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 15 others are presumptive positive.

The I-Team spoke with two health officials today about the current situation.

More testing means more cases will be discovered. As we’ve reported, there is currently a shortage of tests.

We learned the Health District’s lab is at capacity. A medical investigator told us he is hearing from some local hospitals and physicians there is also a shortage of swabs and viral transport media, like the tubes used once the test is collected.

People are being turned away for testing if they don’t meet certain criteria, like recent travel to an area with many cases, if they didn’t have contact with someone who was confirmed as a positive and if they don’t have a fever and respiratory issues.

The SNHD reported having 1,000 tests right now for a population of about 2 million. Also to be considered is the estimated 3.5 million tourists here in January alone.

The Health District also said 223 tests have been completed, with some patients having been tested more than once.

The district is working to get more equipment for its lab.

Gov. Steve Sisolak said yesterday his office requested 20,000 tests from the CDC. He and the Health District do not know when those tests will arrive.

The I-Team asked SNHD medical investigator Dr. Vit Kraushaar how frustrating it is that there aren’t enough tests in our region. Kraushaar replied:

“I think it certainly hampers our ability to do what we need to do as we are having a difficult time assessing how many cases we actually have. I know there are a lot of people in Southern Nevada Health District, in our lab and the federal government who are working on rapidly expanding this. That’s something we have some control of. We don’t have as much control as we’d like.”

If you want a test, you are urged to call your primary care physician first or the Health District hotline at 702-759-INFO. The hotline runs until 7 p.m. The director of community health told us they are working on making the hotline 24/7.

We also heard that taking measures to cancel events, close buffets and change behaviors, like skipping a handshake, can make a drastic difference in a few weeks.

Inevitably, we are going to see a spike in cases.

Even though everyday life is disturbed, local health officials are trying to reduce the numbers of people who will catch coronavirus.

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