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Nevada Today

Nevada Today is a nonpartisan, independently owned and operated site dedicated to providing up-to-date news and smart analysis on the issues that impact Nevada's communities and businesses.

COVID-19HealthNews and informationThe Economy

COVID-19 Update: A New Chapter for Nevada’s Pandemic Response

Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, Caleb Cage, Mark Riddle, Nevada Health Response

COVID-19 is still spreading, though we’re finally sustaining a slowdown in new infections nationally and here in Nevada. And even though vaccinations continue at a slower pace, our earlier ramp-up in vaccinations is resulting in fewer hospitalizations and deaths.

Here’s the latest on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, across America and here at home.

Today’s Nevada COVID-19 check-up: Infection rates and caseloads remain low, hospitalizations and deaths remain very low, and vaccinations continue to inch higher.

According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s statewide COVID-19 infection rate appears stable at 0.84, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to another 84 new infections. Carson City (0.69), Lyon (0.71), Washoe (0.77), Clark (0.82), Douglas (0.83), Churchill (0.93), and White Pine (0.95) Counties all have infection rates under 1.00, while Elko (1.09), Humboldt (1.12), Nye (1.17), Lander (1.49!!!), and Lincoln (3.37!!!!!!) Counties are all suffering more rapid spread. Statewide, we’re seeing 7.7 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day. Washoe (2.7), Lyon (4.5), Churchill (5.2), Carson City (5.4), Douglas (7.6), Clark (8.7), Nye (10.1), Pershing (10.6), Humboldt (12.7), and White Pine (13.4) Counties are all reporting under 20 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day, while Elko County (23.8) remains over that benchmark.

According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard, Nevada’s 14-day test positivity average based on “new positives as a percentage of new test encounters” has slid further to 4.3%, which is the lowest we’ve seen in the last 11 months. And according to the Mayo Clinic, our statewide seven-day test positivity average clocks in at 4.86%, which is the lowest they’ve recorded our test positivity since mid-April. 

This week, COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low and stable. According to Nevada Health Response and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 data tracker, our hospitals are treating 207 confirmed COVID-19 patients and an additional 45 patients who probably have COVID-19, for a total of 252 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 5,570 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of mid-day today, and we continue to average four to five COVID-19 deaths per day.

According to the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker (as of 11:00 AM today), 2,824,590 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to Nevada, and 2,452,084 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and recorded. 1,374,266 patients have received at least one vaccine dose, meaning an estimated 44.6% of Nevadans (and more specifically, 56.2% of Nevada adults) have at least initiated the vaccination process, and 1,105,303 of these patients are now fully vaccinated, meaning an estimated 35.9% of Nevadans (and more specifically, 45.8% of Nevada adults) are fully vaccinated. (Editor’s Note: I got my second vaccine dose late last month, and I’ll post an update tomorrow on my impending fully vaccinated future! Also, here’s a heads-up that I probably won’t be posting a COVID-19 Update next week.)  

“In order for us to sustain this, we have to continue to invest in vaccinations.” 
– Caleb Cage, Nevada Health Response
Steve Sisolak, COVID-19
Photo provided by the Office of Governor Steve Sisolak

Since March 17, 2020, we’ve been tracking Nevada’s COVID-19 stats and our state government’s COVID-19 response efforts. We regularly hopped onto Governor Steve Sisolak’s (D) virtual briefings, and we eventually made it a habit to hop on the Nevada Health Response press calls to keep up with the state’s official response… And compare and contrast the official line to what we were seeing on the ground.

Today’s Nevada Health Response press call was our last. Now that state health officials have almost entirely handed off public health regulatory authority back to local offices, and now that the state is about to undergo a full and complete reopening for the first time next Tuesday for the first time since March 2020, we truly are entering a new era.

Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, Caleb Cage, Mark Riddle, Nevada Health Response
Screenshot by Andrew Davey

During his final briefing for the final press call, outgoing Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage said, “I want to thank Governor Sisolak for his leadership in making difficult decisions to protect our state.” The other officials on the call later proceeded to thank Cage for his service and wish him well in his return to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).

Going forward, Cage indicated that as long as Nevadans continue to line up for vaccinations, the state should remain in good shape after June 1: “We are optimistic right now. We see what we believe to be the effects of vaccinations in our state. […] In order for us to sustain this, we have to continue to invest in vaccinations.”

“Vaccinations are how we will end this.”
– Julia Peek, Nevada Health Response
Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine
Photo provided by the Office of Governor Steve Sisolak

This past Sunday, Nevada’s mobile vaccination units (MVU’s) completed their rural vaccine tour and administered over 7,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses across 63 stops. During today’s call, Nevada public health officials confirmed that the state will proceed with more “pop-up” sites and additional hyper-local outreach for vaccinations and testing instead of the mass testing sites and supersized vaccination centers that we had earlier in the pandemic.

Going forward, Nevada DHHS’ Deputy Administrator for Deputy Director for Public and Behavioral Health Julia Peek explained how the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the state to beef up our public health infrastructure, and she voiced confidence that our public health infrastructure will be able to handle the next phase of COVID-19 and future public health challenges. Nonetheless, she echoed Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith’s comments during yesterday’s White House COVID-19 Briefing that this pandemic has exposed some long-term health inequity challenges: “A much greater focus needs to be on equity and disparities when it comes to chronic disease.”

COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines, vaccine science, health care
Photo by Andrew Davey

Like Cage, Peek pointed to our current stats as hard evidence that Nevada’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy is working. She declared, “We are in a very good place right now. Vaccinations are primarily what we are pushing.” And as we’re about to reenter the brave old world of full reopenings and few health safety restrictions, Peek encouraged any remaining procrastinators to take advantage of easier COVID-19 vaccine access: “Vaccinations are how we will end this.”

If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check Immunize Nevada for more information on vaccine availability in your area, check Nevada Health Response for testing in your area, and check Nevada 211 for more health care resources. If you’re in need of additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square. And for goodness sake, please wear your masks and maintain social distancing when necessary.

The cover photo is a screenshot taken by me.

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Comments (1)

  1. […] Nevada may be experiencing a rebound in COVID-19 infections amidst Las Vegas’ latest and greatest grand reopening with few remaining health safety restrictions, America’s overall COVID-19 outlook remains the brightest we’ve seen since the early days of […]

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