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Staffing crisis at area hospitals continues

An increasing number of sick employees and a continuing rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations have extended a staffing crisis at Southern Nevada hospitals for a second week, and there’s no indication that the current wave of the disease has peaked, the Nevada Hospital Association said Wednesday.

“The NHA continues to work with state government officials to scope the problem and seek solutions that can be immediately implemented,” the trade group said in its weekly COVID-19 update. “In the meantime, hospitals continue to rely on overtime, team nursing, and other mitigation steps, realizing that these short-term solutions are not sustainable between the increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations coupled with the most challenging staff sick call rates.”

The group also said ICU capacity in Southern Nevada has been increased to “warning” status — one step below crisis mode in the group’s five-tier threat assessment rating system — as the highly contagious omicron variant of the new coronavirus continues to spread.

Pahrump numbers

The latest update on Pahrump’s COVID-19 metrics from Jan. 10 showed 4,731 total cases since the virus was first detected here in March 2020. The seven-day total of new cases from Jan. 3 through Jan. 10 was 103.

Fatalities have generally stayed flat while other metrics have climbed sharply in recent weeks, with most passing the levels seen during the peak of last winter’s surge.

The omicron variant is extremely transmissible but is less likely to cause serious illness than previous variants, public health experts say.

But the extreme rise in cases has nonetheless strained local hospitals, especially as people swarm emergency rooms looking for COVID-19 tests or for minor health problems.

State and county health agencies often redistribute daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.

State numbers

Here are the figures reported on Wednesday for Nevada, reported by the Department of Health and Human Services.

■ 5,913 new cases and 23 new deaths over the preceding day, bringing totals to 536,257 cases and 8,584 deaths.

■ 14-day moving averages stood at 3,730 daily new cases and five deaths per day.

■ 14-day test positivity rate of 30.5 percent, an increase of 2.0 percentage points from Tuesday.

■ 1,626 people currently hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.

■ Rate of eligible Nevadans 5 and older who are fully vaccinated: 55.06 percent.

■ 14-day moving average of COVID-19 tests conducted in Nevada: 14,129, over 3,000 more per day than this time last month.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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