Nevada hospitals are dealing with what a health official called a “tsunami” of COVID cases due to the rapid spread of the Omicron version, with cases and positivity rates reaching epidemic highs in the state.
According to the Associated Press, Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said, “We are in an extremely contagious phase that is far beyond what we have seen before.” Dick called it a “tsunami… a tremendous surge”.
Officials said this week that the number of hospitalizations in the state remains a problem, with many healthcare workers contracting the highly transmissible version, causing staff at many hospitals in and around Las Vegas to second the worst “crisis”. “Living in the category. straight week.
“While, fortunately, we are hearing a lot about how serious the omicron is – and thankfully it doesn’t seem to be – and many healthy people are recovering, giving us the opportunity to help the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Those are the ones that are most at risk from Omicron. And it’s highly permeable,” Dick said.
“Almost all the cases we’re experiencing in our community are omicrons,” Dick told reporters in Reno on Wednesday. “That’s why we’re seeing a dramatic, almost vertical increase in our case curve day by day.”
Nearly 1 in 3 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 outside the home are testing positive, health officials said on Wednesday, apparently because the less-serious but more-contagious Omicron variant fuels that virus. which is spreading faster than ever before.
Washoe County’s seven-day moving average of 744 new daily cases is 1.5 times the county’s previous peak in November 2020, he said.
The seven-day moving average for confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in southern Nevada now exceeds 1,190 for the first time since January 2021, the Nevada Hospital Association said on Wednesday.
“There is no indication that hospitalization is peaking and COVID-19 hospital demand is projected to increase over the next several weeks,” it said in its weekly update.
Northern Nevada, which historically lags behind the South by about two weeks. COVID-19 hospitalizations are seeing a slight increase, rising by more than 70 per cent in the past two weeks – from 50 on December 28 to 86 on Monday.
The hospital association said there is strong evidence that people are experiencing re-infection of COVID-19 in less than four months, including some vaccinated individuals.
“This re-infection rate may contribute to the challenge of long-term hospital staffing if this becomes the omicron norm,” it said.
Schools in Clark County announced a “break” of five days starting Friday with no classes for students, the day before and after the three-day Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend.
In Reno, district officials acknowledged that if absenteeism doesn’t ease teacher shortages, they may eventually have to return to distance learning at some schools.
The lack of test availability combined with the large numbers of people testing home in recent weeks has made it difficult to estimate true testing rates beyond sites operated by local health districts or other providers such as pharmacies that report statistics to the state. it happens.
But the statewide positivity rate has tripled since December – steadily rising from 9.4 per cent on December 28 to 30.5 per cent by Tuesday on a span of 14 days. In Clark County it was 33.4 percent on Tuesday.
The highest positivity rate recorded across the state during the last peak surge was 20.4 per cent on January 13, 2021.
Till mid-February last year, the statewide positivity rate had fallen into single digits and remained below 6 per cent from mid-March to June. It jumped to 10.1 percent on July 13 and remained around 10 percent for the rest of the year before dramatically starting. There was an increase of 21.4 percent the previous week from 10.2 percent on December 29.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.