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As Nevada ICU beds fill, Dr. Fauci warns of 'tough decisions' ahead

Posted at 12:02 AM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 18:31:43-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The top infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warns that Nevada is one of eight states that may have to start turning some patients away because of how many ICU beds are being taken.

Johns Hopkins says that half of the country is fully vaccinated, with Nevada sitting at about 53%.

Dr. Fauci maintains that vaccination is the number one way to lower COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“The more circulation of virus you have, the more breakthrough infections you will see,” he said.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 80 percent of the country’s ICU beds are in use. About 27% of those are COVID-19 patients.

And numbers like those might cause some moving around in hospitals.

“They might slow down on elective procedures, so then those anesthesiologists and those care providers can then come and help make some of the other rooms ICU rooms and take care of those patients,” said Dr. Daliah Wachs, a family medicine physician.

Nevada was one of eight states, along with Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Kentucky, that had more than 90 percent of their ICU beds occupied over the weekend. Dr. Daliah attributes some of that stress to an ongoing nursing shortage.

“Some don’t like the mandates, some don’t like the hours, some don’t like the pay, some don’t like how they’re treated. And they’re exhausted,” she said.

Currently, numbers are high at our hospitals. But the more people that get vaccinated, the more quickly we will dig ourselves out of this.

“You would not only see unvaccinated people who are vaccinated now protected, but the people who were originally vaccinated would not have as many breakthrough infections. So that’s the reason why we continue to urge people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Fauci.

Sunrise Hospital usually has 25 beds for medical ICU--now it is up to 60. Though it has not had to turn anyone away.

A doctor at Henderson Hospital says his facility also has not had to turn anyone away.