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Oxygen supplies struggle to keep up with demand in Las Vegas as ‘tripledemic' continues to surge

KLAS Las Vegas 12/7/2022 Victoria Saha
Oxygen supplies struggle to keep up with demand in Las Vegas as ‘tripledemic' continues to surge © Provided by KLAS Las Vegas Oxygen supplies struggle to keep up with demand in Las Vegas as ‘tripledemic' continues to surge

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The surge of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus has recently been called the “tripledemic”; with the rise in respiratory illnesses, doctors are using oxygen to treat their patients. 

Necessary supplies have been limited in many places, however, including Las Vegas. 

“Maybe 70 percent of the items are gone as soon as we order them,” Senior Buyer at CPAP Store Las Vegas Marina Berberyan said.

Berberyan said the tripledemic is not allowing the store’s oxygen supplies to stay on its shelves for too long. 

“About three to four weeks ago, we were sold out. We placed an order [we] received about two weeks ago and it was sold out again,” Berberyan said. 

Berberyan said they are seeing an average of 40 customers per day compared to their normal 15 customers. 

As RSV cases impact local hospitals, nebulizers are a particularly hot product. 

“They are either on backorder, and once they are available we order in large quantities so we can keep up with supply and demand,” Berberyan said. 

But keeping up is hard when you get large orders, according to on-site respiratory therapist Scott Cochran.

“Not just patients, but we have had companies calling us, doctors calling us asking questions wanting to buy in mass quantity,” Cochran said. 

Last week, a company out of Los Angeles requested 1,000 aerosol masks which needed to be plugged into a nebulizer. 

Not only does CPAP Store have to deal with local demand, but Cochran said they have tourists who come to Las Vegas and try to leave with oxygen supplies that may not be available in other countries. 

“In the past, they would buy one machine, now they ask for two,” Cochran said.

Cochran said they do not give out any oxygen concentrators or nebulizers without a prescription which ensures only those who need them will get it. 

However, international tourists only need a copy of their passports to get oxygen supplies at other stores.

When CPAP Store is short on a device, the staff keeps patients on a waiting list. Patients get a call as soon as an order arrives. 

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