By SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press
RENO, Nevada (AP) – Staffing levels at Las Vegas area hospitals remain in worst ‘crisis’ category for second week in a row as Nevada’s COVID-19 positivity test rate reaches new heights and schools scramble to respond to the state’s worst coronavirus wave to date.
Nearly one in three people testing for COVID-19 outside the home is positive as the seemingly less severe but more contagious omicron variant fuels the virus which is spreading faster than ever, officials said on Wednesday. health.
“We are in an extremely transmissive phase that is beyond anything we have seen before,” said Kevin Dick, Washoe County health district manager, who called it a “tsunami… a huge surge”.
“Almost all of the cases that we are currently experiencing in our community are omicron,” Dick told reporters Wednesday in Reno. “That’s why we’re seeing a dramatic, almost vertical, increase in our day-to-day case curve. “
Washoe County’s seven-day moving average of 744 new daily cases is 1.5 times higher than the county’s previous peak in November 2020, he said.
“While luckily we hear a lot about the fact that omicron isn’t that bad – and luckily it doesn’t appear to be – and that many healthy people are recovering, we need to be concerned about the the elderly and those with underlying health problems. They are the most at risk for omicron. And it’s highly transmissible, ”Dick said.
The seven-day moving average for confirmed hospitalizations for COVID-19 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 hospitalizations have peaked and an increase in demand for COVID-19 hospitals is expected for the next few weeks,” he said in his weekly update.
Northern Nevada, which has historically been about two weeks behind the south. continues to see a modest increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19, increasing by more than 70% in the past two weeks – from 50 on December 28 to 86 on Monday.
The hospital association said there is anecdotal evidence that people experience re-infection with COVID-19 in less than four months, including some people who have been vaccinated.
“This rate of reinfection may contribute to a prolonged problem with hospital staffing if this becomes the omicron standard,” he said.
Clark County Schools have announced a five-day “break” from Friday without classes for students the day before and the day before the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend.
In Reno, district officials acknowledged that they may eventually have to revert to distance education in some schools if the teacher shortage caused by absences does not end.
Lack of availability of tests combined with the large number of people who have had home tests in recent weeks makes it difficult to estimate actual testing rates beyond those at sites run by local health districts or others. providers such as pharmacies that report statistics to the government.
But the statewide positivity rate has tripled since December – from 9.4% on December 28 to 30.5% on Tuesday, based on a 14-day lag. In Clark County, it was 33.4% on Tuesday.
The highest positivity rate recorded statewide during the previous peak was 20.4% on January 13, 2021.
By mid-February last year, the statewide positivity rate had fallen to single digits and remained below 6% from mid-March to June. It jumped to 10.1% on July 13 and remained around 10% for most of the rest of the year before starting the dramatic and steady increase of 10.2% on December 29 to 21.4% on January 5, last week.
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