LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The I-Team has been digging deeper to find out what’s unfolding inside hospitals in Southern Nevada as COVID-19 numbers increase.
This is especially important since Nevada has been identified as a “red zone” for the virus in the United States.
Getting information from hospitals is a challenge, as they release few details or specifics. The numbers that are released show hospitals are close to reaching capacity, but they are not full.
Insiders say that’s because they’re adding space.
We asked Gov. Steve Sisolak if he thought hospitals need to be more transparent during an interview on April 3. He replied:
“I want to be as transparent as we possibly can. I would encourage them to do the same thing.”
Three and a half months later, hospitals in Southern Nevada continue to provide vague answers. They refer reporters to the Nevada Hospital Association, which provides an overall picture.
For example, as of July 21, the Association reports 708 licensed ICU beds in Clark County, with 526 occupied.
The State of Nevada provides similar information. But there is currently no breakdown by hospital available to the public.
So, the I-Team tried getting the information.
Out of seven hospital groups we reached out to, UMC is the only one to provide a number on capacity, stating the ICU is more than 90% full.
Other hospitals provided limited information, but here’s what we have learned:
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides patient numbers on its website for the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center. As of Wednesday, it reports a total of 358 cases, 121 right now, and seven deaths from the virus.
Within the Valley Health System’s six hospitals, a spokeswoman says about 20% of patients hospitalized are confirmed to have COVID-19.
Sunrise Hospital and MountainView Hospital are postponing adult elective surgeries to free up inpatient beds.
Most hospitals report they have surge plans in place, meaning an emergency response for a major increase in demand.
All hospitals in Southern Nevada say they are restricting visitors.
The question is, why are hospitals providing such limited information? Who or how does that help?
The I-Team reached out to the Nevada Hospital Association for an interview and did not receive a response. We can tell you more insiders are reaching out to us , and we continue to dig for information.