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COVID-19 Update: Mixed Stats

Last night, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) admitted, “This is our new normal,” as he promised a new COVID-19 mitigation strategy that will come online next week. So as we await this new and more enforcement heavy COVID-19 strategy, let’s take another look at the stats and better understand what the state’s new mitigation strategy will soon be up against.

So where do we stand today?
Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, coronavirus
Gov. Steve Sisolak discusses measures to help the public with housing stability amid the COVID-19 public health crisis next to State Treasurer Zach Conine, from left, and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, right, at a press conference at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas, Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Pool) @rookie__rae

Looking through the new data Nevada Health Response has posted, our COVID-19 stats still look awfully grim. Our one-day test positivity rate has jumped back to 18.1%, well over triple the WHO’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening. This, in turn, has Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate (9.99%) right on the brink of breaching the WHO’s 10% recommended maximum test positivity rate for any possibility of safe reopening.

After Nevada experienced our deadliest stretch of COVID-19 since mid-May with 90 deaths in seven days, Nevada’s official overall COVID-19 death toll has since hit 759 with 20 more COVID-19 related deaths recorded today. And after a brief dip in confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations, Nevada now has a combined total of 1,147 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients in our hospitals, just barely below the July 23 record high of 1,160 total confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations.

With the new data factored into its model, Covid Act Now has Nevada’s infection rate coming down a little more, to 1.06, and our daily new cases still averages 32.8 per 100,000. According to Worldometers, the U.S. has suffered just over 4.45 million COVID-19 infections (overall) and just over 151,000 deaths.

So what’s changing?
Photo by Andrew Davey

Last night, Governor Steve Sisolak declared, “One of my main goals has been to create a system of long-term mitigation programs. […] No more phases: In an effort to create more predictability, we’re moving away from phases.” What on earth does that mean? 

During today’s Nevada Health Response press call, Julia Peek reiterated Sisolak’s explanation from last night that beginning next week, the state will shift from broad industry-wide closures to targeted closures of businesses that are still not complying with state rules. She promised that further details will come in the days ahead.

COVID-19, coronavirus
Photo by Andrew Davey

Peek also promised that changes are coming to the state’s contact tracing system, including the collection and dissemination of more specific data that state officials hope will help everyone better understand where new COVID-19 infections are happening and how the disease continues to spread. But with Congress still stuck in its stalemate over future federal funding for states’ and municipalities’ contact tracing programs, it remains to be seen how much more Nevada can improve upon the 8% contact tracing rate that Covid Act Now estimates.

If you’re in need of medical treatment, contact your primary health care provider first. If you fear you can’t afford treatment from a hospital or doctor’s office, check with the Southern Nevada Health DistrictWashoe County Health DistrictCarson City Health and Human Services, or the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for resources in your area. For 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.

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