COVID-19 continues to spread across Nevada and America more slowly, but due to the more voracious pace of America’s COVID-19 epidemic last year the nation now mourns the loss of at least 500,000 people to this disease. But now that federal, state, and local health authorities are finally reaching the same page on COVID-19 prevention, there’s growing hope that we won’t lose another 500,000 Americans to this disease in the next year.
Today’s COVID-19 check-up: So far, we’re looking much better. Still, there’s plenty of room for further improvement.
According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s statewide COVID-19 infection has slipped further to 0.74, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to another 74 new infections. Nye (0.61), Lyon (0.63), Humboldt (0.66), Douglas (0.67), Washoe (0.70), Churchill (0.73), Clark (0.74), Carson City (0.75), Elko (0.80), Lander (0.86), Lincoln (0.97), and White Pine (0.98) Counties all have infection rates under 1.00, which indicates slower spread throughout the state. Lander (2.6), Lyon (4.2), Humboldt (5.1), Douglas (6.4), Storey (6.9), Washoe (7.6), Carson City (8.2), Churchill (10.3), Nye (11.1), Pershing (12.7), Clark (12.9), and Elko (19.5) Counties are all reporting under 20 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day, while Mineral (22.2) and White Pine (35.8) Counties are over that benchmark.
According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate has slipped to 20.9% (according to the Indy’s calculation of “new positives as a percent of new people tested each day”), and our seven-day average is well below 20% and the lowest we’ve seen since last October. Nonetheless, these figures remain well above the World Health Organization’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening.
— @NVHealthResponse (@NVHealthRespon1) February 22, 2021
According to the Nevada Hospital Association, our hospitals are treating 497 confirmed COVID-19 patients and an additional 83 patients who probably have COVID-19, for a total of 580 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalized patients. This amounts to 12% of Nevada’s total number of patients in our hospitals. As of this morning, Nevada’s hospitals are reporting overall occupancy rates at 69% of staffed beds, 62% of adult ICU beds, and 30% of ventilators being used. As of this morning, hospitalizations throughout the state were at the lowest levels we’ve seen since last October.
Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 4,882 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of mid-day today. (And as mentioned in the introduction, the overall U.S. COVID-19 death toll has likely surpassed 500,000.) So far this week, we’re averaging under 25 daily deaths. According to the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, 646,450 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to Nevada. And according to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard, 556,556 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and recorded to Nevada WebIZ, including 385,201 first doses and 171,355 second doses. As of this morning, an estimated 12.23% of Nevadans have initiated the vaccination process, and an estimated 5.44% of Nevadans are fully vaccinated.
“The vaccines that were delayed due to the weather are now being delivered to our partners, along with our regularly scheduled doses.”
– Candice McDaniel, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
For everyone whose vaccine appointment got delayed due to the recent Texas blizzard, Candice McDaniel, Health Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Child, Family, and Community Wellness at Nevada DHHS, had some good news to announce during today’s Nevada Health Response press call: “The vaccines that were delayed due to the weather are now being delivered to our partners, along with our regularly scheduled doses.” McDaniel also announced that workers at vaccination centers will “work overtime” this week to process anyone whose vaccine appointments got delayed last week.
Ashleigh Faulstich, an epidemiologist with the state’s Office of Public Health Investigations and Epidemiology, had some additional good news for Nevadans who still need to be tested: Nevadans who provide a cell number will get a SMS text message when their test results are ready. Those who test positive will get a verification code to alert NV Covid Trace app and other exposure notification systems. This new feature will be available in all counties but Clark, while Clark County will have its own version of this system run through the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD).
Speaking of testing, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage acknowledged that fewer Nevadans have been tested lately. He also admitted that state and local health authorities have had to divert limited resources from testing and contact tracing to vaccine distribution and administration, just as most other states have had to do. Tomorrow we’ll have a new status update on where the American Rescue Plan stands in Congress: This is President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill that includes $46 billion to boost testing programs and $14 billion for Biden’s national vaccination strategy.
But in the meantime, Cage sought to reassure Nevadans that despite the recent drop in testing, “The trendline over the last 14 days has definitely been one of decline,” for test positivity and growth of new infections.
If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check Nevada Health Response on testing in your area, check Immunize Nevada for more information on vaccine availability 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 from people outside your household.
The cover photo is a screenshot taken by me.