Local healthcare workers share concerns, message to the public as COVID-19 surges

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As coronavirus hospitalizations continue to climb in Nevada, those on the frontlines are bracing for the worst — and they have a message for all of us.

Some local doctors and nurses are now seeing the largest number of COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic. The data shows an alarming trend: COVID hospitalizations have been rising over the past couple months, and the seven-day moving average is clearly increasing. 

Healthcare workers say they are feeling the pressure.

“We’re really doing the best we can,” said Dr. Marc Jeser, ER medical director at Summerlin Hospital.

It is a fierce fight on the frontlines, as healthcare workers continue their battle against the coronavirus. The latest numbers from the Nevada Hospital Association show there are just under 1,200 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide. 

Jeser says he is seeing this first-hand.

“Some of them are extremely sick,” he shared. “As of a few months ago, we almost had no COVID patients in the ICU, and now we have multiple.” 

Jeser says doctors and nurses are starting to get overwhelmed, so they are leaning on one another:

“We all have each other’s backs. When somebody is down, we help pick them up. When somebody is depressed, we talk to them.”

And with flu season and holiday gatherings added to the mix, there is concern about the capacity of Nevada’s healthcare system.

“I expect to be busy every day,” Jeser said. “We foresee it being a bumpy winter.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving this year. 

One worry that local doctors have is that asymptomatic people coming back to Las Vegas could infect our most vulnerable — further filling hospitals.

“At this time, we need to think of our elderly population, those with comorbid conditions who are particularly at risk of the severe complications of COVID-19,” said Dr. Christopher Voscopoulos, ICU medical director at Southern Hills Hospital.

While there are challenges ahead, Jeser says he is prepared.

“This is our forte,” he said. “We are here to help people. We are here to save lives.”

Healthcare workers who spoke to 8 News Now say they have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) right now, so that is good news. They are also encouraging Nevadans to continue practicing the basics, including mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.

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