LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas-area hospitals are adding beds and staff to accommodate an increasing number of COVID-19 patients, officials said.
Hospital occupancy was not high enough to require activation a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan developed in April to use the Las Vegas Convention Center for up to 900 patients, Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Acute-care hospitals in Clark County added 441 staffed beds as of Thursday, according to data from the Nevada Hospital Association. Another 49 were added in other parts of the state.
Dan McBride, chief medical officer for the Valley Health System, said medical facilities in the region are not in danger of being overrun. Valley Health operates six hospitals.
But McBride told the Review-Journal that conditions can change quickly.
University Medical Center added 87 beds in under-utilized space, hospital chief executive Mason VanHouweling said.
The intensive care unit at the state’s only public hospital was 95% occupied as of Wednesday, with about one in three of those patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
VanHouweling told the Review-Journal that overall occupancy at UMC was 76%, or slightly higher than during peak flu season periods in the fall and winter.
Almost nine in 10 intensive care unit beds in the Las Vegas region were occupied last week, according hospital association data.
State health officials report that 35,765 people have tested positive for the virus statewide and at least 647 have died.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
In other developments:
— Prison officials say 69 of 99 inmates from Nevada who are held at a private prison in Arizona have tested positive for COVID-19. A Nevada Department of Corrections statement said none of the inmates at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, showed symptoms of illness when they were tested July 8. Results were received a week later. Eloy is between Phoenix and Tucson. The prison is run by CoreCivic, a for-profit correctional company. Dr. Michael Minev, Nevada prisons medical chief, said the Nevada inmates are housed in one unit, apart from offenders from other states, with offenders who tested positive in cells separate from those who tested negative. Tests are scheduled again July 28.