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Emergency rooms overwhelmed amid COVID surge

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Local emergency rooms are filling up once again, leaving doctors and patients overwhelmed.

Jon Carmichael gave 8 News Now insight into just how bad the wait times are. 

"We went there at 2 p.m. but didn't go back until midnight," said Carmichael about his 10 hour wait time inside a local emergency room on New Year's Eve. "It was jam-packed in there, I don't even think there were any empty seats."

Carmichael's mom has several underlying health conditions, and though she is fully vaccinated, she tested positive for COVID-19 around Christmas. Her oxygen levels started dropping, which forced Carmichael to rush his mom to the nearest emergency room. 

"I was just sitting in my car outside of the waiting room and just seeing all this activity was crazy," he said.

Carmichael shared a picture of three ambulances waiting to unload their patients. 

"I certainly didn't realize COVID would be this bad again until I saw it firsthand," he said.

Though nurses were coming into the waiting room to take his mom's vitals, she didn't get a bed until 2 am the next day, 12 hours after she walked in. 

Dr. Marc Jeser is an emergency room director at Summerlin Hospital and said this is the new reality for emergency rooms for now. 

"The other day I was there, six patients within six minutes with COVID symptoms came in," Dr. Jeser said. "All the hospitals are probably 15% plus capacity,"

He said Summerlin Hospital has around 450 beds. 

The usual trauma and other illnesses are piling up on top of the nearly 60 COVID patients he is seeing on a daily basis.

"Omicron is so easily transmissible, it is everywhere in the community, families are coming in, mom, dad and two kids all COVID positive, they went to a party," he said. 

This is just another reality of COVID-19 not going anywhere anytime soon as we near two years into this pandemic. Dr. Jeser said that if you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and quarantine unless your symptoms get worse. 

He did emphasize although they are busier than before, the situation isn't as critical because the omicron variant is mild.