September 21, 2020
The Sunrise Health Graduate Medical Educate Consortium, based at MountainView Hospital, recently helped with a public health surveillance study to better estimate the prevalence of COVID–19 in Clark County during August 2020.
The study included 319 people, who came in to an outpatient medical setting in Las Vegas. SARS-CoV–2 testing (testing for the virus that is causing COVID–19) was offered to every single patient, visitor, relative, staff member and resident who visited the office. No one was denied testing and testing was completely voluntary. Participant ages ranged from 3 years old to 92 years old.
- True number of exposures in Clark County is not very high. The study found that 3.76 percent of residents in Clark County are estimated to have been exposed to COVID-19 as of August 2020. Some of these people might have never experienced symptoms, and have just been exposed.
- True number of acute infections are even less. Only four persons (1.25%) has positive tests for an acute infection. Of these, only one (.31%) had very recent encounter and exposure.
- Most people with positive tests had baseline medical problems. The most common comorbidities included hypertension, chronic lung disease, seasonal allergies, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- Most common symptoms in people with the disease were respiratory. Cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste were the most common.
In a separate, unaffiliated study conducted in Reno, NV, in July 2020. The prevalence was estimated at 2.3 percent. In that study in Washoe County, 1,270 households from within 128 unique census blocks were used and 234 people agreed to provide blood samples for antibody testing. In contrast, the Sunrise Health GME study was done using a medical office as the site and revealed a 3.76 percent prevalence in Las Vegas during almost the same time period. This can be the difference between a more urban area with more visitors.
“The results do not mean that we should let our guard down,” said Dr. Hossein Alex Akhondi, one of the investigators and Sunrise Health GME Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. “Precautions still should be taken, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands and avoiding large crowds. This will help continue to keep our numbers down and keep our community and neighbors safe.”