The Nevada Hospital Association, Nevada Rural Hospital Partners and the Nevada State Medical Association have issued the following statement urging Nevadans to stay vigilant to help limit the spread of COVID-19 during a time when infections and hospitalizations are on the rise across the nation and here in the Silver State. With cold weather, flu season and the holidays approaching, it is critical for Nevadans to recommit to these important public safety measures for their own health, the safety of health care workers and the wellbeing of the people around them.

Nevada’s hospitals have treated more than 30,000 COVID-19 patients and counting. The current rise in infections is a serious reminder of this pandemic’s strength and longevity. While many have expressed “COVID fatigue,” unfortunately infection isn’t going away any time soon. As we approach the end of 2020, we are encouraging everyone to help decrease the risk for spreading illness and infection, be it coronavirus or flu.

Hospitals and health care workers are managing high volumes of seriously ill patients straining the treatment capacity of our health care delivery system. During this time of year, hospitals experience an influx of patients including those experiencing heart attack, stroke, diabetes and respiratory infections, to name a few. Add to that COVID-19 patients who are highly contagious and need a different type of care. Everyone has a duty to act responsibly to limit the spread of infection so we do not overwhelm our health care system.

As our hospitals and health care heroes continue to battle this deadly and dangerous virus, we strongly encourage all Nevadans to be careful, responsible and practice safe behaviors to protect themselves and others. Ensure your own safety by staying committed to social distancing and wearing a mask – this will also help us protect each other as well as those diligently caring for those in the hospital. After spending the better part of the year dealing with the pandemic and economic consequences, and with the holiday season approaching, we recognize that there is a temptation to get complacent. Please resist that urge. It is vital for everyone to continue taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, hospitals have required staff, patients, and visitors to follow clearly defined safety protocols including mask-wearing, temperature checks upon facility entry, and modified visitation policies. We ask all Nevadans to practice similar precautions:

• Wear a mask, for your safety and that of others
• Maintain at least six feet of distance from other people
• Avoid crowds
• Stay at home as much as possible
• Wash your hands frequently

While a few Nevada hospitals have restored some levels of visitation, most have had to limit visitation capacity and hours as part of our COVID-19 response. We appreciate the public’s cooperation and patience with these limitations and encourage people to check with your local hospital’s modified visitation guidelines.

In recent weeks, we have seen COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations trending upwards nationwide. If the trend continues in Nevada, it will place a greater strain on hospital team members including doctors, nurses, therapists and custodians, and food service and support staff who have bravely worked to help patients. Surges in infections and hospitalizations increases their risk for exposure to illness.

So please, do your part to stay safe and healthy and to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the flu this winter. This will help prevent more illness and hospitalizations. Join us in supporting our courageous health care team members as they continue the care for patients who have become ill during the pandemic.