LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas-based doctor is using his platform to sound the alarm over what he describes as a spike in coronavirus patients.
Dr. Kamran Khan works with emergency room patients as a hospitalist at MountainView Hospital, but to his fans he is known as Lazarus. Across his social media accounts, Khan can reach more than 140,000 people, the majority on Instagram.
In a now-deleted post Sunday, Khan used his platform to urge younger people to get vaccinated.
“No beds available,” he wrote. “Just admitting COVID patients nonstop right now from the hallways.” The post, along with others referencing his work in the hospital, were deleted Monday night.
“There’s patients that are lining up in the hallways right now, coughing, coming in, and most of these patients right now are unvaccinated,” Khan said during a break in his shift Monday. “The emergency room is flooding in with COVID patients every day.”
A hospital spokesperson said Khan was speaking about patients who have already been admitted into the emergency room, but they are waiting for a hospital bed. She added the common denominator among them is the majority are unvaccinated.
Nevada’s COVID-19 test positivity rate increased Friday for the first time since Aug. 8, reversing a string of declines heading into the Labor Day holiday weekend. The increase — a rise from 12.2% to 12.3% — came despite Clark County holding steady at 10.8%. Data from Saturday and Sunday, usually released Mondays, was unavailable due to the federal holiday.
Nevada continues to be labeled a place with high COVID-19 transmission and Clark County remains “an area of concern,” according to an updated White House report. The county was first labeled a “sustained hot spot” on July 5.
The Nevada Hospital Association’s most-recent report published last Monday showed the southern part of the state under a watch for the number of COVID patients in the hospital and in their intensive care units.
The number of hospitalizations as of Friday was 1,133 confirmed/suspected cases. Hospitals reported 278 of those patients were in ICUs units, and 185 were on ventilators. To give some perspective, the state set a record high for hospitalized patients on Dec. 13, 2020, with 2,025 cases.
But COVID patients may be staying in the hospital longer due to the Delta variant, doctors advise. A recent study found the Delta variant was twice as likely to send a person to the hospital than the original Alpha strain, the one from Wuhan, China.
“This large national study found a higher hospital admission or emergency care attendance risk for patients with COVID-19 infected with the delta variant compared with the alpha variant,” researchers wrote in the study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. “Results suggest that outbreaks of the delta variant in unvaccinated populations might lead to a greater burden on health-care services than the alpha variant.”
“They actually just called me right now to see two more patients who are in the hallways of the emergency room, so I’m actually headed there after this conversation with you,” Khan said.
In addition, Khan said the average age of the patients he is seeing is declining.
“I’m actually seeing a lot of younger people who are getting sicker this time around,” he said. “I think that the waves we had last year, it was a little bit more predictable who was actually getting worse — and the age demographic that I saw at the time was close to 60s, 70s, but I’m seeing patients who are more in their 30s and 40s.”
Hospital statistics for the end of August show three hospitals in the Las Vegas valley are at or above 100 percent capacity for intensive care patients, data from the I-Team shows. The figures come from the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project, which crunches numbers hospitals report to the federal government.
Henderson Hospital, Desert Springs Hospital and Sunrise Medical Center all reported treating more ICU patients than they had space for as of the end of August, the data showed. Centennial Hills Hospital reported its hospital bed occupancy above 100%. Mountainview Hospital reported 96% of its ICU beds full.
Nevada Hospital Association does not report specific hospital data, but hospitals are required to release the numbers to the federal government.
Medical professionals emphasize that busy hospitals are not a reason for staying away. If you are sick, seek treatment.
Here’s a look at the information from the University of Minnesota data:
- Centennial Hills Hospital: 97% of ICU beds occupied, 103% of all hospital beds occupied
- Desert Springs Hospital: 104% of ICU beds occupied, 66% of all hospital beds occupied
- Henderson Hospital: 100% ICU beds occupied, 90% all hospital beds occupied
- MountainView Hospital: 90% of ICU beds occupied, 96% of all hospital beds occupied
- Sunrise Hospital: 103% of ICU beds occupied, 91% of hospital beds occupied
The best advice from Khan, get vaccinated.
“I’m not a preacher,” he said. “I’m not telling you to do something that you don’t want to do. I’m just basing it off what I see.”
A hospital spokesperson said MountainView is seeing younger patients, but older patients continue to make up a good portion of their COVID admissions.
New data released Friday from the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) showed COVID-19 deaths among the unvaccinated are happening 70 times more often than deaths among the vaccinated.