Las Vegas COVID-19 Cases Increasing, Respiratory Ailments Striking Kids

Posted on: November 18, 2022, 04:48h. 

Last updated on: November 18, 2022, 12:48h.

The increase in COVID-19 cases has stabilized after a worrisome jump reported last week in Clark County, including Las Vegas, Nevada, health officials revealed.

Sunrise Children’s Hospital
A sign for Sunrise Children’s Hospital, above. The Las Vegas hospital is seeing record numbers of pediatric patients. (Image: Sunrise)

The most recent report released Wednesday said cases edged up 5.6% in Clark County over seven days compared to the prior seven-day period. The latest data show there are 1,406 new COVID cases in Clark County, according to Wednesday’s report from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

The increase for all of Nevada reported this week is 11% compared to the seven-day periods. There are 1,843 new cases statewide, Wednesday’s report said. In last week’s report, Clark County saw a much larger 42% increase in COVID numbers compared to those released the prior week.

When commenting on the ailment, Dr. Christopher Choi, a Las Vegas internist, told KTNV, a local TV station, that BQ.1 and BQ 1.1 are among the new strains of COVID seen in Nevada. The symptoms are “a lot more aggressive,” he added.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Nevada has seen 11,600 deaths from COVID. Some 9,058 of these were in Clark County, according to this week’s data.

Flu and other respiratory ailments are also becoming a concern in Nevada, with some patients in Nevada needing to be hospitalized as a result of infection.

“The hospitalization rates for influenza have increased from 30 patients last week to 40 patients this week. ICU admissions remained stable, increasing only one point week over week,” the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA) reported this week.

At Risk

Pediatric hospital beds in the state are now at 110% capacity in Nevada due to the surge in flu and other respiratory ailments in the state.

The state’s pediatric ICU units are currently full, KLAS, a local TV station, said. The NHA said this week that pediatric capacity at the state’s hospitals is “strained.” That may lead doctors to place pediatric patients in empty hospital beds for adult patients.

An increase in rhinoviruses/enteroviruses and RSV, also known as a respiratory syncytial virus, is to blame for the increase in childhood hospitalizations. RSV leads to cold-like symptoms, but more serious cases can result in breathing challenges.

Dr. Steven Merta, chief medical officer at Las Vegas’s Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, said the respiratory ailments lead to a record number of pediatric patients.

Sunrise Children’s Hospital is experiencing record volumes in our pediatric patients and most of them are admitted are with a respiratory illness and some of them have different viruses at the same time,” Merta told KVVU, a local TV station.

“Children’s Medical Center at Summerlin Hospital is continuing to see a high volume of patients in both the pediatric ER and being admitted to our pediatric unit for RSV and other respiratory medical issues,” echoed Gretchen Papez, a Summerlin Hospital Medical Center spokesperson, in a statement this week to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Vegas Crowd Concerns

As more big-name concerts resume in Vegas, there is a new focus and concern about COVID exposure.

Adele will start her Las Vegas residency Friday at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Earlier this week, Ticketmaster and StubHub said that proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test may be required for all attendees, KSNV, another local TV station, reported.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reported recently that in September, Las Vegas was within 4% of its 2019 visitor numbers.

During the height of the pandemic, Las Vegas casinos were shuttered, and performances were canceled or postponed. As vaccines and boosters became available, the number of tourists and other visitors to Las Vegas increased. Volume remains lower than before the pandemic.