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Sisolak Issues New “Stay at Home” Order and Extends Nevada’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Through April 30 (UPDATED)

This morning, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) issued an official “stay at home” order for Nevada effective tonight and continuing through at least April 30. As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies further, Sisolak explained this new order in a statement his office he released this morning, then at a press conference in Carson City this evening.

Then in Carson City, Sisolak made additional announcements: He’s activating the Nevada National Guard, requesting $6.25 million in state funding for COVID-19 medical relief efforts, and making additional steps to pursue additional aid from the federal government.

So where do we stand now?
COVID-19, coronavirus, Steve Sisolak
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, 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

Just this morning, the State of Nevada announced 166 new positively tested cases of COVID-19 and five more COVID-19 related deaths in Clark County. As of tonight, the state is reporting 1,279 positively tested COVID-19 patients and 32 deaths in Nevada.

While Nevada has occasionally gotten some national media attention for the wording of Governor Steve Sisolak’s orders to close non-essential businesses and advisories for residents to “Stay Home for Nevada”, we’ve otherwise felt lost amidst the growing disparity between states like California and New York that have “shelter in place” orders and states like Florida and Texas that have taken more scattershot approaches.

Moments ago, Sisolak essentially moved Nevada into alignment with California, New York, and the other states with stricter quarantine and social distancing rules with his new “stay at home” order. In addition, he extended the state’s emergency declaration and subsequent shutdown orders through April 30.

So what does this “stay at home” order mean for us?
Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, coronavirus
Gov. Steve Sisolak discusses measures to help the public with housing stability amid the COVID-19 public health crisis 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

To a large extent, this basically formalizes the advisories, directives, and guidance the state has issued for the past two weeks. You won’t be arrested or cited for driving to the grocery store or walking in your neighborhood (provided you remain at least six feet away from people you don’t live with).

However, people who continue to violate the quarantine and social distancing rules by throwing “corona parties”, opening restaurant dining rooms for “special dinner events”, keeping stores open despite the state listing such stores as “non-essential”, and/or crowding public spaces with large groups staying within six feet of each other will face citations, fines, and potentially even criminal charges if they continue to defy these orders.

You can read the State of Nevada’s new “stay at home” order here. Later in the day, Sisolak appeared at the Old State Capitol in Carson City to give a progress report on state relief efforts.

6:15 PM UPDATE: “We have to go to non-traditional sources. We need to go ‘outside the box’ for sources. We’re good at thinking ‘outside the box’.” 
– Governor Steve Sisolak, on how the state is trying to secure more medical equipment

Governor Sisolak gives update on COVID-19 in Nevada

Posted by Governor Steve Sisolak on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

In Carson City, Sisolak made a series of announcements, including that Nevada state labs are working on developing their own COVID-19 test kits. Sisolak emotionally proclaimed, “I believe every Nevadan who needs a test should get a test. I believe every medical professional who needs PPE [or personal protective equipment] should get PPE.” Then he added, “I’m not here to point fingers. […] I’m doing everything in my power to get the tests and the PPE we need.”

After subtly acknowledging (again) that President Donald Trump has been punishing Nevada alongside the other states Trump considers “non-essential” to his 2020 reelection campaign, Sisolak expressed hope that Trump will approve the emergency declaration application he submitted yesterday: “We submitted that 24 hours ago, so hopefully we’ll receive it very soon.” 

Photo by Andrew Davey

Sisolak also announced that he is activating the Nevada National Guard to aid in relief efforts, and to help expedite federal aid. And in the meantime, Sisolak is requesting $6.25 million in state emergency funding from the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee. He noted that as of today, as many as 20% of COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, and that 74% of hospitalized cases go to ICU and 44% of hospitalized patients need ventilators.

In response to questions on how Nevada will obtain more of the PPE that medical staff will need to treat more COVID-19 patients (while state officials continue to wait for Trump’s response for more federal aid), “We have to go to non-traditional sources. We need to go ‘outside the box’ for sources. We’re good at thinking ‘outside the box’.” Or in other words, Sisolak will continue to hope that former MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren will find a way to deliver the goods (literally).

“Step up for Nevada. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your [loved ones]. Please join us in ‘Staying Home for Nevada’.” 
– Governor Steve Sisolak
Photo by Andrew Davey

On his “stay at home” order that’s now making headlines, Sisolak basically admitted that he’s doing it now to get more Nevadans and more of the national media to take his call to “Stay Home for Nevada” more seriously. “This ‘stay at home’ directive strengthens the directive that’s been in place since March 17. […] People wanted us to do a ‘stay at home’ order, so that’s what we’re doing today,” Sisolak said. He then clarified, “This order still allows essential businesses to function, such as grocery stores and doctor visits, and driving to such essential businesses.”

And in response to questions (and complaints from the general public) on why the “stay at home” orders, social distancing rules, and business shutdowns are necessary, Sisolak chided the “young invincible” types who have minimized the severity of COVID-19. He proclaimed, “They might feel invincible, but they’re not. They can get it, and they can give it to their parents and grandparents. We can’t stop the spread without their help.”

Photo by Andrew Davey

And finally, Sisolak used tonight’s event to make one more round of public service announcements. In closing, he pleaded, “Step up for Nevada. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your [loved ones]. Please join us in ‘Staying Home for Nevada’ and practicing the protocols that we asked for: wash your hands, sanitize your hands, cough to your elbow, stay six feet away.”

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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