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Study looks at how widespread the COVID-19 virus is in Clark County

Posted at 9:39 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 02:50:44-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Sunrise Health Graduate Medical Education Consortium, based at MountainView Hospital, recently helped with a public health surveillance study to better estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 in Clark County during August 2020.

The study included 319 people, who came into an outpatient medical setting in Las Vegas. SARS-CoV-2 testing (testing for the virus that is causing COVID-19) was offered to every single patient, visitor, relative, staff member and resident who visited the office. No one was denied testing and testing was completely voluntary. Participant ages ranged from 3 years old to 92 years old.

  • The study found that 3.76% of residents in Clark County are estimated to have been exposed to COVID-19 as of August 2020. Some of these people might have never experienced symptoms, and have just been exposed.
  • Only four persons (1.25%) has positive tests for an acute infection. Of these, only one (.31%) had very recent encounter and exposure.
  • Most people with positive tests had baseline medical problems. The most common comorbidities included hypertension, chronic lung disease, seasonal allergies, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Most common symptoms in people with the disease were respiratory. Cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste were the most common.

In a separate, unaffiliated study conducted in Reno in July 2020. The prevalence was estimated at 2.3%. In that study in Washoe County, 1,270 households from within 128 unique census blocks were used and 234 people agreed to provide blood samples for antibody testing. In contrast, the Sunrise Health GME study was done using a medical office as the site and revealed a 3.76 percent prevalence in Las Vegas during almost the same time period. This can be the difference between a more urban area with more visitors.

COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Dr. Hossein Alex Akhondi is one of the researchers and Sunrise Health GME Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. He says people should not use this data to dismiss the severity of the virus. "Sure it’s 3.76 but if we have not done the masks or social distance, or the isolation maybe it’s a whole lot higher than that."

Dr. Akhondi says people need to take the virus seriously. "Precautions still should be taken, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands and avoiding large crowds. This will help continue to keep our numbers down and keep our community and neighbors safe.”

This study is independent from the Southern Nevada Health District's data which now shows a decline in daily growth of cases, deaths and the amount of tests that come back positive.