The full COVID-19 report for Jan. 17-23 appears below.
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The COVID-19 Kraken variant has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in Clark County, according to an analysis by the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) released on Wednesday.
About 45% of the 112 cases sequenced in the past 30 days involved the Kraken variant.
The Kraken variant — XBB.1.5 — first appeared in the genetic sequencing of cases in Clark County last week. It has been circulating in the U.S. for months, and is blamed for a recent wave of cases in Singapore.
Last week, the Kraken variant was found in 28.9% of all cases in the county, showing how quickly it has risen to the dominant variant here.
The Kraken variant is unusually contagious, according to recent reports, but might be no more dangerous than variants that have already run their course. Vaccines that are already available should help.
COVID-19 trends are swinging in opposite directions in Clark County as hospitalizations are increasing while new cases are on the decline.
Reports from the state and the county show that hospitalizations increased by 36 patients over the past week, growing from 190 to 226 in Clark County. But the average number of cases per day went down by more than 30%.
The 14-day moving average (per 100,000 population) shows cases declining by 30.6% in Clark County, and 29.7% statewide.
And the number of deaths involving patients who had COVID-19 continues to rise, with 36 deaths added in Clark County and 41 statewide. Total deaths in Clark County for the pandemic are now at 9,284. Statewide, the total is 11,875. Deaths are sometimes reported weeks — or even months — after they actually occur.
As new COVID-19 variants have emerged, fewer people are getting seriously ill. But people with underlying health conditions are still at risk and should avoid exposure. Vaccines that are available can safeguard against serious illness due to the new variants, and people are urged to stay current with their vaccinations.
For the first time in nine weeks, hospitals operating without an overload of cases due to RSV, flu and COVID-19. The Nevada Hospital Association’s (NHA) weekly report says hospital services “are stabilized, re-established, or not impacted.”
The wave of RSV cases that began in November is on the decline and pediatric wards around the state are now at 69% occupancy. Pediatric intensive care units are at 92% occupancy after nine weeks at 98% or higher, NHA said.
Overall, hospitals are 71% full across the state, with 11% of emergency room visits due to COVID-19 symptoms.
NHA said hospitals still have a shortage of nurses — but the decline in hospital occupancy rates has reduced the staffing emergency.
Wastewater surveillance reports updated through Jan. 13 showed small increases in virus DNA in sewer samples taken at three sites in the valley and in Boulder City. Wastewater surveillance can give an advance warning that the virus is spreading as people shed virus DNA before they ever feel sick. But increases at monitoring sites in Boulder City, Clark County and two Henderson sites did not appear to be unusually high.
If you have symptoms, get tested and avoid spreading the virus to others. If you haven’t been vaccinated, go to the Southern Nevada Health District’s website for information on getting a shot, or updating your immunity by getting a booster.
- New daily confirmed cases (14-day moving average, per 100,000 population) 104 — down from 150 the previous week. (-30.6%)
- Total cases: 617,005*
- Deaths: 36 since last week (total: 9,284)
- Hospitalizations: 226 (up 36 from the previous week)
*-A difference in case counts exists between SNHD and the state. By SNHD’s current count, Clark County has had 597,341 cases as of this week.
- New daily confirmed cases (14-day moving average, per 100,000 population) 132 — down from 188 the previous week. (-29.7%)
- Total cases: 814,197
- Deaths: 41 since last week (total: 11,875)
- Hospitalizations: 248 (up 29 from the previous week)
The county’s COVID-19 community level moved to “medium” on Thursday, Dec. 1, after staying at “low” since Aug. 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.