LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Southern Nevadans seeking routine or non-urgent medical care will likely experience longer wait times at University Medical Center locations, which are bogged down with COVID-19 patients amid a recent surge.
UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling issued the advisement in a public statement on Monday.
Southern Nevada has recorded a rapidly-increasing number of new daily cases of the virus as the omicron variant — thought to be at least 20 times more contagious than other variants — spreads and more people have gathered and traveled during the holiday season, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.
Statewide, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported at least 1,006 confirmed and suspected hospitalizations from COVID-19 on Monday.
"In the interest of maintaining complete transparency with our patients, UMC would like to make community members aware that people visiting the ER or Quick Care locations for non-urgent, routine medical needs may experience increased wait times," Van Houweling wrote. "As always, our team will provide immediate care to all patients with emergent medical needs."
Community members can help health care workers deal with this surge of COVID-19 patients by "avoiding unnecessary ER and Quick Care visits for non-urgent medical needs," Van Houweling stated.
People with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptons don't normally require medical treatment to recover from the virus, he added, unless they are at risk of developing severe illness. Otherwise, people who test positive for the virus should isolate at home, monitor their symptoms, and seek medical care if their condition worsens, he said.
"Please rest assured that UMC remains fully prepared to meet the health care needs of our community," Van Houweling stated. "We have planned for this scenario, and we have the staffing, supplies and bed space needed to ensure our patients receive the high-quality care they deserve in the safest possible clinical environment.”