‘Tripledemic’ keeps hospitals busy as staff get sick too, Las Vegas Valley hospital says

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:53 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - As hospitals across the Las Vegas Valley remain busy with COVID-19, flu and RSV patients, one medical campus is speaking out about the impact of so many illnesses raging through communities: much-needed frontline workers are getting ill, too, at a time when they are critically needed to help.

According to Dr. Rod Buzzas, Chief Medical Officer of St. Rose Dominican Hospital Siena and St. Rose de Lima campuses, this winter, the number of sick doctors, nurses and medical staff can range from a handful to up to 25 per day. The hospital makes up for sick staff with a contingency plan to hire travel nurses.

“Unlike a lot of businesses or organizations, the hospital is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation. We can’t put up a sign saying ‘closed because of illness’,” Buzzas said.“The hospital is stretched. We have been for several weeks. We continue to see surges in our COVID numbers, along with increased numbers of flu and RSV patients,” he said.

Buzzas said many patients may have a wait in the emergency room for a bed, just like many of the hospitals across the Valley.

The Nevada Hospital Association reports that staffing across Southern Nevada remains at an “alert” level. Staffing for pediatric wards have been a challenge, as plenty of facilities have seen a surge of sick children, this winter, and bed use remains high.

Buzzas is one of many medical providers urging the community to be healthy, for the sake of frontline workers: stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands, wear a mask in public places, and get the flu and COVID-19 vaccine.

“Using these things to help protect ourselves some would just be prudent. People need to continue to think about others as well as themselves,” he said.

Buzzas also recommends those who are sick seek a hospital as a last resort, and consult their primary care doctor or an urgent care facility, first.