COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus don’t care that we’ve entered the winter holiday season. This virus doesn’t care about our desire to travel to a cool ski slope and/or a warm beach. This virus doesn’t care about our desire to catch up with family and friends over cups of hot cocoa.
Nope, COVID-19 remains a very real and very serious threat. Here’s your weekly update on how high our threat level has reached.
This week’s COVID-19 check-up: A few signs of improvement, but don’t get too excited just yet
We’ll have to wait a little longer to see whether enough Nevadans heeded prior warnings about the danger of Thanksgiving weekend parties. But in the meantime, according to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s overall infection rate has slipped a little to 1.13, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to another 113 new infections. While Lincoln (0.72), White Pine (0.75), Nye (0.86), and Churchill (0.97) Counties have managed to get their respective infection rates under 1, Humboldt (1.06), Washoe (1.07), Clark (1.13), Lander (1.13), Elko (1.18), Lyon (1.24), Mineral (1.24), and Douglas (1.47) Counties, along with Carson City (1.59), are suffering more rapid spread.
All 17 of Nevada’s counties now report over 10 new cases per 100,000 per day, only Eureka County (14.1) has daily new caseloads of under 20 per 100,000, and both Clark (66.6) and Washoe (83.3) Counties have daily new caseloads of over 50 per 100,000. According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate has hit a new record high of 15.5% (according to the Indy’s calculation), and our seven-day average is back over 35% after briefly dropping to 30% late last week.
According to the Nevada Hospital Association, Nevada hospitals are treating 1,405 confirmed COVID-19 patients and an additional 140 patients who probably have COVID-19, for a total of 1,545 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalized patients. This amounts to 30% of Nevada’s total number of patients in our hospitals, and we’re currently looking at hospital occupancy rates of 76% of Nevada’s staffed beds, 65% of adult ICU beds, 36% of ventilators being used.
Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 2,144 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and we’re now averaging 15-20 deaths per day following this latest rise in infections. And as of this week, Storey County is the only county that has not been flagged by state officials for heightened risk of infection.
“If you don’t have the opportunity to telecommute, wear a mask and social distance.”
– Julia Peek, Nevada Health Response
— @NVHealthResponse (@NVHealthRespon1) November 29, 2020
When asked by reporters about Thanksgiving travel during today’s Nevada Health Response press call, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Administrator for Public and Behavioral Health, and Community Health Services, Julia Peek stated, “We don’t have formal recommendations,” on travelers returning to Nevada this week. However, she recommended that everyone continue to adhere to the current “statewide pause” rules and guidelines, particularly when it comes to limiting close contact with people outside one’s household: “If you don’t have the opportunity to telecommute, wear a mask and social distance.”
As he has done following prior potential “super-spreader events”, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage cautioned that state health officials will probably need about two weeks to determine whether Thanksgiving weekend activities have worsened Nevada’s COVID-19 outbreak, though he suspected that we will eventually see more signs of still rampant community spread. Like Peek, Cage stressed, “We continue to urge Nevadans to follow all mitigation measures.”
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.