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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: Holding Steady

COVID-19 continues to spread. Nationally, federal public health officials remain alarmed by the recent resurgence in infections and hospitalizations. But here in Nevada, our stats appear to hold steady. Might we be “plateauing”?

Also: Get ready, because vaccine eligibility expands to all Nevadans aged 16 and up beginning next Monday. Here’s the latest on the state of the pandemic, nationally and here at home.

Today’s Nevada COVID-19 check-up: Infection rates and new daily caseloads mostly stabilize and remain low.

According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s statewide COVID-19 infection rate holds steady at 0.88, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to another 88 new infections. Nye (0.72), Clark (0.81), Lyon (0.83), Churchill (0.86), Douglas (0.88), Elko (0.89), Carson City (0.90), and Humboldt (0.99) Counties all have infection rates under 1.00, while Washoe (1.05), Lincoln (1.11!), White Pine (1.23!!!), and Lander (2.11!!!!!) Counties are all suffering more rapid spread. Statewide, we’re seeing 9.3 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day. Nye (1.5), Humboldt (2.5), Churchill (5.2), Lyon (7.5), White Pine (7.5), Elko (7.8), Clark (8.7), Washoe (9.5), Storey (10.4), Carson City (12.8), and Douglas (15.2) Counties are all reporting under 20 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day.

According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate holds steady at 20.5% (according to the Indy’s calculation of “new positives as a percent of new people tested each day”), and our seven-day average once again hovers slightly above 10%. Still, these figures remain above the World Health Organization’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening

As of this morning, hospitalizations remain stable and low. According to Nevada Health Response, our hospitals are treating 217 confirmed COVID-19 patients and an additional 56 patients who probably have COVID-19, for a total of 273 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 5,249 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of mid-day today. So far we’re averaging about eight deaths per day, which is only slightly above the record low death rate we hit earlier this month.

According to the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker (as of 11:45 AM today), 1,704,450 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to Nevada, and 1,348,526 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and recorded. 853,774 first doses have been administered thus far, meaning an estimated 27.7% of Nevadans have at least initiated the vaccination process, and 492,187 second doses have been administered, meaning an estimated 16% of Nevadans are fully vaccinated.

“It’s up to us. It’s up to all of us to be part of the solution.” 
– CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
Joe Biden, White House, White House COVID-19 Response Team, COVID-19
Screenshot by Andrew Davey

During this morning’s White House COVID-19 Briefing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reiterated her message from Monday about the danger of allowing more rampant spread of COVID-19 while federal, state, and local public health officials are still working to expand vaccine access. As Walensky said, “This is a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic. As we witness this increase in cases, we can’t afford to let our guard down.”

However, Walensky sought to balance Monday’s “impending doom” comments with a more upbeat call to action today: “We have reasons to be hopeful, as we know more about how to defeat this virus.” As Walensky promised a doubling+ of the number of federal retail pharmacy vaccination clinics and the deployment of more mobile vaccination units as more American Rescue Plan programs come online, Walensky urged Americans to stick with the proven best practices to prevent COVID-19 transmission as we await more vaccinations: “It’s up to us. It’s up to all of us to be part of the solution.”

Joe Biden, White House, White House COVID-19 Response Team, COVID-19
Screenshot by Andrew Davey

In response to the social media and pundit uproar over Walensky’s comments on Monday, White House Senior COVID-19 Advisor Andy Slavitt praised Walensky’s consistency in warning against the growing spring travel trend: “Three times a week for the last ten weeks, Dr. Walensky has made the same point: Wear masks, avoid crowds, socially distance, and don’t travel unless you absolutely have to.” Slavitt then added, “The people who are in violation of that are choosing to violate that. It’s not the only factor in case growth, but it is an important factor.”

While they and Biden administration Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci hailed the recent news showing that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been 90% effective in preventing new infections among vaccinated frontline health care workers in a “real-world study”, and that America is now vaccinating enough people (about 2.8 million per day) to theoretically reach every American adult by July 4, they nonetheless urged Americans not to let excuses of “COVID fatigue” throw into doubt what may be a critical turning point in the state of the pandemic.

“When you have a chance to get the vaccine, take your shot.” 
– Governor Steve Sisolak, during yesterday’s press conference
Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine
Photo provided by the Office of Governor Steve Sisolak

During yesterday’s press conference announcing a final two-month extension of Nevada’s residential eviction moratorium and the initial launch of American Rescue Plan backed housing aid programs, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) rebuffed calls to follow the lead of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) and Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R) in ending public mask mandates. For Sisolak, Nevada’s statewide mask mandate is about preventing another spike in infections while still allowing more tourists to return: “This will be the safest, healthiest place to come visit. We have no intention of lifting the mask mandate. We have no plans to lift the mask mandate in the foreseeable future.”

On vaccinations, Sisolak reminded Nevadans that eligibility expands to everyone aged 16 and over starting next Monday: “When you have a chance to get the vaccine, take your shot.” Yet during today’s Nevada Health Response press call, Nevada DHHS Health Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Child, Family, and Community Wellness Candice McDaniel reminded everyone to remain calm and patient as public health officials work to deliver more vaccine doses and increase capacity to administer more vaccine doses: “Nevada’s doses are increasing incrementally, but Nevadans will need to be patient in scheduling appointments.”

Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine
Photo provided by the Office of Governor Steve Sisolak

Also on that call, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage suggested that the latest hospitalization data are “indicative of another plateau”. And as federal and local public health labs continue to monitor the spread of the newer COVID-19 variants, Cage said that state officials continue to monitor potential spread of these new variants, and he urged all Nevadans to continue the basic prevention measures (like masks and social distancing) and prepare to get vaccinated once eligibility expands next week.

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 from people outside your household.

The cover photo is a screenshot taken by me.

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