Public effort ‘less stringent’ as hospitals continue COVID-19, Nevada Hospital Association says


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Hospitals remain on the front lines in the COVID-19 pandemic, fighting the virus every day through staff shortages and new patient loads.

And the Nevada Health Association says the public — along with the public health system — could be doing a better job.

That’s the gist of a statement released Wednesday. As doctors and hospitals learn more about the virus and its various strains, “the public’s response to the unknown and public health’s mitigation efforts both become less stringent.”

The frustration is also expressed in another ominous way.

“As of Dec. 6, 2021, the 7-day rolling average of confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations remains at a level higher than the first wave’s peak number.”

“During the first wave, the state was effectively on lockdown and searching for the most effective mitigation methods. Today, we are open for business.”

There’s no suggestion from NHA that another lockdown is needed, but the implication hangs above the pandemic numbers.

Hospitalization numbers reported today. (Nevada Department of Health and Human Services)

Another interesting fact from NHA on Wednesday: 12% of the state’s hospital beds are in use by COVID-19 patients. Most are 49 years or older, and most are unvaccinated.

Vaccination rates are creeping higher, but creeping is the operative word.

When talk of “herd immunity” was all the rage early last year, officials set their sights on 60% vaccination of the population. We’re still not there, currently just over 53% statewide and 523.3% in Clark County.

When the pandemic began, the lockdown was aimed at “flattening the curve” to give hospitals a fighting chance to win against the virus. Now, a year and a half and two curves later, Nevada is struggling to control the Delta variant.

And the unknown is ahead again, as the omicron variant looms.

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