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Staffers at VA hospital in North Las Vegas under home quarantine

Updated March 9, 2020 - 6:15 pm

Several members of the medical staff at the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas are under home quarantine after exposure to a patient there who tested positive for the new coronavirus, a hospital spokesman confirmed late Monday.

The patient, who became the first reported case in Nevada, tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, according to the Southern Nevada Health District, which announced the case on Thursday.

The hospital has “used infectious disease protocols to keep the patient in isolation since his arrival at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center and throughout his stay,” spokesman Chuck Ramey said. “However, out of an abundance of caution and after consultation with the Southern Nevada Health District, some staff members who attended to the patient and may have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 prior to testing and the presumptive positive finding were placed in self-quarantine” by hospital leadership.

Ramey declined to say how many staff members were under home quarantine. A source familiar with the situation said it was at least four.

A list of the quarantined individuals was provided to the Southern Nevada Health District “so they could contact each individual, assess their risk of exposure, and provide follow-on instructions.”

The VA patient remains in serious condition at the hospital, health district spokesman Jennifer Sizemore said in a statement Monday afternoon.

There currently are two reported cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness that causes the virus, in Clark County and two in Washoe County in Northern Nevada, bringing the total to four. These cases are presumed to be positive pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sizemore said that the test for the virus is highly accurate, and due to the volume of testing, confirmation by the CDC may be delayed.

Health district officials initially thought that confirmation of the first Nevada case, announced Thursday, would take 24 to 48 hours.

Staff writer Blake Apgar contributed to this report.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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