While schools can close campuses because of the omicron spike, hospitals have no such luxury.
With staffs already stretched thin after nearly two years of combating the pandemic, hospitals now face a crush of patients as the highly contagious variant sweeps through Nevada.
"This is a wave, like many of the waves we've seen with COVID, except this wave has been worse in terms of patient volumes and numbers than we have ever seen in the past,” said Dr. Cole Sondrup, emergency department medical director for Southern Hills Hospital.
“More people are getting sick with omicron than have gotten sick in any of the other ways with any of the other variants."
He said that while COVID is a respiratory disease, patients are arriving with a variety of symptoms.
“We're seeing a lot of people who come in because they're weak and dizzy, who are later testing positive for COVID,” Sondrup told State of Nevada. “The people who are very sick are mostly the unvaccinated and the elderly.”
Even as the Nevada Hospital Association declared a staffing shortage at some facilities, Sondrup said his hospital is "getting by," and "the people that I interact with, still have a very positive attitude."
"Every day we hear new recommendations and new expert advice that maybe there's an end in sight, and I think that provides a little bit of hope for all of us," Sondrup said. "Unfortunately, there are a lot of things happening right now that make it very difficult to be a healthcare worker."
The doctor offered some general advice on navigating the omicron surge:
Dr. Cole Sondrup, emergency department medical director, Southern Hills Hospital
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