I-Team: Detailed hospital COVID-19 numbers accidentally released

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Most hospitals in Southern Nevada remain tightlipped about COVID-19 numbers, supplies and staffing.

They do update the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA), which releases very limited information. Recently, it appears a mistake was made, though, and details for one day were accidentally released.

With the lack of transparency about COVID-19, this information may help us understand more about the pandemic in our region.

In an April 3 interview with Gov. Steve Sisolak, the I-Team asked if he thought the hospitals needed to be more transparent, to which he replied:

“I want to be as transparent as possible. I would encourage them to do the same thing.”

But five months later, information from hospitals in Nevada is limited.

The NHA provides aggregate numbers, one graph and one page, breaking the data down by county. For example, on Sept. 9, hospital beds in Clark County were 74% full.

But for Sept. 3, detailed information about hospital capacity, staffing and supplies for each hospital was accidentally published on the Nevada Hospital Association website.

For staffed beds occupied:

  • Henderson Hospital: 104%, along with 93% of ventilators in use
  • St. Rose de Lima Hospital: 100%
  • St. Rose Siena Hospital: 98%
  • MountainView Hospital: 97%

Sunrise Hospital was at the top of the list for COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit with 41. They are followed by UMC with 31 and Valley Hospital with 14.

Sunrise reported the most confirmed cases with 72.

The list also reveals more about patient ages. Henderson Hospital reports 15 pediatric patients with COVID-19. Sunrise reports 2.

Other findings include:

  • Henderson Hospital reports a staffing shortage
  • Centennial Hills reports a shortage of two medications
  • UMC says surgical sterile gowns and sterile exam gloves are becoming increasingly harder to obtain.

A handful of hospitals report patients in overflow locations. Several also report holding patients who are medically cleared because there’s no other place to safely discharge them.

Finally, there is the cumulative COVID-19 patient deaths reported for each facility. Sunrise Hospital reports the highest number with 143, followed by 104 at MountainView and 95 at St. Rose Siena.

The I-Team asked a spokeswoman for the NHA why this information is not normally available to the public. She wrote in an email:

“This information was posted in error … We are pleased that the data provided by the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA) on behalf of our member hospitals continues to guide decisions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and aid in reopening Nevada. We look forward to continuing to provide this valuable information to further assist with key decisions. The NHA is not a public or state agency.”

Later Thursday night, the NHA sent an additional, expanded statement, which reads:

The Nevada Hospital Association, on behalf of Nevada hospitals, has been integral in helping to better understand the impact of COVID-19 in Nevada’s hospitals by providing data to local, regional and state partners and the White House’s COVID-19 Task Force. The work that Nevada hospitals have done, and continue to do in response to the COVID-19 epidemic has been remarkable, as they have saved and continue to save lives. 

Due to the complexity of facility data, we only release aggregate data to the public. Last week, data by individual hospital was posted to our website in error that could be misinterpreted without the full context of the clinical landscape.”

Nevada Hospital Association

The I-Team reached out to the hospitals mentioned in this report. Some point out the numbers are different now, and there has been a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center and MountainView Hospital issued a joint statement, saying:

Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center and MountainView Hospital are proud of the commitment and dedication of our healthcare heroes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like all hospitals, we have learned so much during this extraordinary and challenging pandemic. COVID-19 is a new, ever evolving and extremely complicated illness. It is unfortunate the data mistakenly disclosed recently by the Nevada Hospital Association is a snapshot of one point in time and does not tell the full story. For example, the numbers do not reflect the level of illness, underlying health conditions or overall mix of patient cases at our hospitals. 

Currently, we are pleased with the trends we are seeing at our hospitals:

– A dramatic decrease of patients with COVID-19 when compared to the peak in July;

– The number of deaths from COVID-19 are decreasing; and

– More patients have recovered from COVID-19 and are being discharged back to home.

We are also confident in our large inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) at our hospitals that are not necessarily reflected in the Association report. We remain proactive in our preventive measures that follow regulatory agency protocols.

While the trends show an overall downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases at our hospitals, this pandemic is by no means coming to an end. It is important for Nevadans to continue to wear a mask, practice safe social distancing, and wash our hands. Our hospitals will continue maintaining our vigilance in being prepared and, regardless of the patient volume, have proactive surge plans in place ready to address future needs.

Our number one priority remains the safety our colleagues and our patients. As always, we are confident that our hospitals are a safe place to work and receive care.”

Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center and MountainView Hospital

A UMC spokesman sent us the following data regarding the hospital’s current situation:

Our ICU team members are currently caring for 23 COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 patients represent 26 percent of our overall ICU population. UMC’s overall ICU occupancy currently stands at slightly above 80 percent, representing a significant decrease from the peak of the pandemic. In addition, UMC’s overall inpatient occupancy is 68 percent.

The information related to PPE is also out of date. Our team has procured an ample supply of sterile surgical gowns and sterile exam gloves. While these gowns and gloves were somewhat challenging to source in the past, we never experienced critical shortages and we now have several months worth of these items at UMC. Overall, UMC continues to have a strong supply of PPE, with our world-class team members working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our hospital remains fully stocked.”

UMC spokesman

As we have reported, though, there is a concern about whether there will be another increase after Labor Day weekend.

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