Local hospitals share concerns, implore Nevadans to remain vigilant as COVID-19 cases rise

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Right now, hospital capacity remains at a secure level in Southern Nevada. With that said, though, health officials are urging Nevadans not to relax on practicing COVID-19 prevention measures.

UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling says while we are not currently in a surge, we are definitely headed that way based on current positivity rates.

Hospitals are asking the community to step up their safety protocols to avoid a rollback on restrictions.

Currently, 82% of hospital beds in Southern Nevada are occupied. Nearly 15% of those are confirmed COVID patients.

Intensive care units are 66% occupied, with nearly 35% of patients being COVID positive.

Although hospital capacity is stable, Van Houweling says the way the high positivity rate is trending is serious.

“We’re not at our peaks that we saw in April and July, July Fourth weekend,” he said. “We’re just trying to avoid that and get really ahead of this. We’re in good shape, but that can quickly change.”

Van Houweling attributes much of the surge to non-compliance, including people not wearing masks properly and not washing their hands or sanitizing frequently.

The CEO thinks getting the positivity rate under control in two weeks will only be attainable if everyone does their part.

“It’s going to be a huge task, and we need everybody to participate, so that’s all we’re asking,” he implored. “Let’s flatten this right now and get ahead of it, so we don’t have to roll back our economy in Las Vegas. We just cannot afford to do that.”

Van Houweling adds that Northern Nevada is experiencing a higher hospitalization rate than its southern counterpart. The hospitals in our region are capable of assisting with COVID-19 patients if needed.

UMC plans to open a new testing site soon. It will be a drive-thru located at Texas Station.

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