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As COVID positivity rates climb, some Las Vegas families struggle to find medicine

Posted at 11:08 PM, Jan 06, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — This is the new reality: first there was a shortage of tests, now some people cannot find medicine to help ease their COVID symptoms.

The issue is hitting hard for one grandmother whose grandson caught the virus.

“Right now, it’s kind of like the toilet paper shortage — now we’re in the medicine shortage,” said Cyndi Koester, whose grandson has COVID.

She made several stops around town and was greeted with desolate aisles.

“The shelves were empty,” she said. “Everything — there was no Motrin, no Tylenol for children. And then I looked in the adult section, and that was empty.”

Others in the valley say the medical advances made in the past couple of years have given them more comfort.

“No, I’m not as worried about it as I might have been last year or when COVID first hit,” said Mary Rendina, who lives in Las Vegas.

But that does not mean she wants to get sick.

“If you’re sick, stay home,” she said. “Do us all a favor.”

With omicron spreading fast, positivity rates in Nevada have risen, too. It now stands at 21.1 percent. Compare that to just a month ago, when it was at 7.4 percent.

“The home testing — I am sure you want to add another big chunk of change there,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ng, of Ng Family Medicine. “And I’m sure we’re well over 35 percent positive.”

There is a potential silver lining in all of this, though.

“You know, everyone is sort of getting it. I’m interested in finding out whether those antibodies will hang out longer than the delta antibodies, so I don’t know,” said Dr. Ng. “Everything is still in the unknown part, in terms of how long the immunity will last.”

Many shortages during the pandemic were caused by panic-buying — something that one family hopes does not happen this time around.

“I know everybody’s scared and the numbers are higher, but let’s not forget there’s still people out there who need the medicine,” said Koester. “So, let’s be kind and respectful.”

Medicines such as Nyquil, DayQuil, and Tylenol do help to relieve symptoms, mainly congestion and headache.