LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Dr. Joe Corcoran is the chief medical officer for HCA Health Care, Far West, overseeing clinical operations at Mountain View, Southern Hills, Sunrise and Sunrise Children’s hospitals.

He said he is very concerned over the recent uptick in cases and says the delta variant, which had accounted for about a third of new cases, is popping up in nearly half the cases in just the last two weeks.

Virus Outbreak Variant

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. 

He said he expects a growth rate in new cases similar to what Nevada saw last summer, but not as steep as we saw in January and February of this year.

He said that’s thanks in part to the vaccination rate, and those who are vaccinated and do get sick will likely only have minor to moderate symptoms and can recover at home. But he said 90% of the patients admitted to his hospitals are unvaccinated and 30% are being admitted to ICU, versus 22% with the original COVID-19 virus.

He said if you are unvaccinated, you should be concerned with not only being infected, but with the severity of the illness this variant brings with it.

He doesn’t think his ICUs will have any problem handling the influx of patients and he encourages the unvaccinated to stay outdoors when they are with people and those people should be loved ones whose health status isn’t a mystery.

If you are going to the Las Vegas Strip and unvaccinated, do so at your own risk, he said. He said this has always been about decision making and risk tolerance, but he adds fortunately the most vulnerable are vaccinated and protected.

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