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Clark County officials say they have added 150 beds for quarantine

Updated April 9, 2020 - 5:46 pm

Clark County has added more than 150 new beds in makeshift isolation wards to relieve the capacity for hospitals should they be inundated by cases of COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

“They’re in contract today, up and ready to go,” County Commission Chairwoman Kirkpatrick said at a news briefing at the county’s government center on efforts to respond to the pandemic. “We said that we would work toward the goal of 500 (additional beds) … We are working hard to prepare and to be ready.”

Kirkpatrick and other county officials said the added beds include 114 in units provided by Well Care Services for people who need to be in isolation and under the care of medical professionals. The county has secured 39 beds at CrossRoads of Southern Nevada for the same purpose.

At the Salvation Army shelter, 32 beds have been added for people on the streets who are over 65 and have underlying medical conditions.

The Southern Nevada Health District also plans to open a 40-bed isolation facility in the parking lot outside its headquarters in the next few weeks, and the city of Las Vegas and Clark County are expected to open the Cashman Isolation-Quarantine Complex in the parking lot of Cashman field as soon as Tuesday.

At Cashman, around-the-clock care will be available for hundreds of homeless individuals in isolation or quarantine, who otherwise would have to be hospitalized.

It’s good timing, according to University Medical Center CEO Mason VanHouweling, who said the models he and his staff are seeing suggest the outbreak will reach its “peak” on April 17, potentially creating a shortage of beds in intensive care units. He also said it was likely there would be another resurgence of the virus in the fall.

He also highlighted these statistics: The 4,542 hospital beds valleywide are currently at 65 percent occupancy; 79 percent of the 609 ICU beds in Clark County are currently occupied; and 51 percent of the county’s 681 ventilators are already being utilized.

Also speaking at the briefing was Southern Nevada Health District Chief Health Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen, who said the district is working to increase its COVID-19 testing capacity. He also urged people who don’t feel seriously ill to use telehealth services if possible and to call their doctor before going to the office. He also said everyone should wear face masks in public to curtail spread of the virus.

John Steinbeck, Clark County fire chief and emergency manager, said that while the department has received personal protective equipment donations has “gotten a little bit better, we still have a lot of shortages” and are “facing a lot of the same challenges.”

The Nevada National Guard, which this week deployed 100 Guardsmen to Northern and Southern Nevada, said their presence in Clark County would be to help with logistics and transportation, or assisting at drive-through COVID-19 testing stations.

“We are here as a force multiplier, and anything we can do to protect the citizens of Nevada,” said Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the adjutant general. “I promise you, the Guard is always ready.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

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