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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: Back with a Vengeance

COVID-19 doesn’t care about the election results. COVID-19 doesn’t care that Thanksgiving is suddenly so close. COVID-19 doesn’t care that the cooler weather has us dreaming about winter travel.

Nope: COVID-19 continues to spread, continues to harm, and continues to kill.

It’s Monday, so let’s check up on Nevada’s COVID-19 stats.

While so many of us were losing our minds over the election night that continued until Saturday morning, our COVID-19 stats took another sharp turn for the worse. According to Covid Act Now Nevada’s statewide infection rate has soared further to 1.19, or every 100 COVID-19 infections leading to another 119 new infections. While Lyon (0.82) and Douglas (0.90) Counties’ infection rates remain relatively low and Nye’s (0.99) has recently dropped below 1.00, Carson City (1.01) and Clark (1.16), Elko (1.19), Washoe (1.24), and Churchill (1.60) Counties continue to get slammed by rapid spread.

According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, Nevada’s statewide cumulative test positivity rate has surged to 13% (according to the Indy’s calculation), and the seven-day average recently breached 25% to hit alarming highs that we hadn’t seen since August. Before anyone claims this is just because “we’re testing more”, keep in mind that while we’re seeing more testing now than two months ago, we’re still not reaching the level of testing we experienced during July. Also, it makes more sense to do more testing (than the current U.S. average) so we know more about how COVID-19 is spreading and what we need to do to stop its spread.

Just as we’re seeing with this latest nationwide explosion of new COVID-19 infections, our 1.2% average statewide daily case growth is the highest we’ve seen since July. Even worse, daily case growth recently hit all-time record highs in Carson City and Washoe, Churchill, Eureka, Elko, White Pine, and Nye Counties. So with all this said, it’s no surprise that this week’s Nevada Health Response county tracker has Carson City and Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Lincoln, Lyon, Nye, and Washoe Counties flagged for elevated risk. 

According to Nevada Health Response and the Nevada Hospital Association, Nevada now has a total of 891 (confirmed and suspected combined) COVID-19 hospitalizations, which is the highest we’ve seen since August. As of today, Nevada has suffered 1,852 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as we continue to average five to ten deaths per day. Nationally, the U.S. has suffered at least 243,000 COVID-19 deaths

“We are experiencing community-wide spread. There is no specific source of this. Whenever there is human-to-human spread, we expect more spread.” 
– Caleb Cage, Nevada Health Response
COVID-19, Steve Sisolak, Caleb Cage
Screenshot by Andrew Davey

Regardless of how equity markets are interpreting the recent news about Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s vaccine candidate, keep in mind that this and other vaccine candidates are not yet ready for broad public use. When asked about the Pfizer news during today’s Nevada Health Response press call, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Administrator for Public and Behavioral Health Julia Peek clarified that, “We should not expect distribution to the general public any time soon.”

Getting back to the state’s worsening stats, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage explained the main reason for this latest relapse: “We are experiencing community-wide spread. There is no specific source of this. Whenever there is human-to-human spread, we expect more spread.” Or in other words, this is happening because too many people have let their guards down.

COVID-19, Steve Sisolak, Caleb Cage
Screenshot by Andrew Davey

During today’s call, state officials declined to indicate whether Governor Steve Sisolak (D) has any plans to bolster the state’s health safety rules as the state’s COVID-19 stats worsen. Instead, Peek exclaimed, “We can take action,” as she encouraged Nevadans to take their own actions instead of waiting on the state government to issue new orders. 

In the meantime, though, Cage did promise that through the state’s COVID-19 task force, “We are pushing local governments to implement more enforcement and mitigation measures.” It remains to be seen what the task force will recommend for the counties on the watch list (see above) in the weeks ahead.

If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check with Nevada Health Response on testing in your area, and check with 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 from people outside your household.

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