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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.

2020 ElectionCOVID-19HealthNews and informationThe Economy

Sisolak Is Still “Exploring All Options” on Addressing COVID-19 Resurgence

Last week, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) tested positive for COVID-19. During a press call today, Sisolak maintained that he’s only been suffering a mild case. Yet when asked about what he will do about the state’s worsening COVID-19 outbreak, he just repeated, “My administration is currently exploring all available options for mitigation.”

Here’s our COVID-19 check-up. Surprise (but not really), our stats still look very bad.

Since our Monday report, Nevada’s COVID-19 stats remain incredibly troubling. According to Covid Act Now, our statewide infection rate remains very high at 1.18, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to another 118 new infections. Though Lyon County (0.86), Douglas County (0.92) and Carson City (0.98) continue to show slower spread, Elko (1.09), White Pine (1.10), Churchill (1.16), Clark (1.16), Nye (1.18), Washoe (1.19), Humboldt (1.20), and Lincoln (1.72) Counties continue to suffer rapid spread. Statewide case growth now stands at an average daily rate of 1.5%, and all of Nevada’s 17 counties are reporting more than ten new cases per 100,000 daily.

According to the Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate has inched even higher to 13.9% (according to the Indy’s calculation), and the seven-day test positivity average remains above 30%. This is far higher than the WHO’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening.

According to the Nevada Hospital Association, our hospitals are treating a total of 1,246 (confirmed and suspected combined) COVID-19 patients. That amounts to 23% of Nevada’s total number of hospitalized patients, and this is an all-time record high of COVID-19 patients in Nevada hospitals. Overall hospital capacity now stands at 81% of staffed beds, adult ICU occupancy now stands at 62%, and 34% of Nevada’s ventilators are in use. Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 1,947 confirmed COVID-19 deaths following state health authorities reporting 27 additional COVID-19 deaths yesterday.

“My administration is currently exploring all available options for mitigation.” 
– Governor Steve Sisolak, on Nevada’s worsening COVID-19 stats
COVID-19, Steve Sisolak
Photo provided by the Office of Governor Steve Sisolak

Moments ago, Governor Steve Sisolak spoke with reporters for the first time since his COVID-19 diagnosis. Sisolak repeated, “I am doing well, with only minor head congestion.” He then added, “I am not currently taking oxygen or any other [breathing assistance devices]. I’ve been in isolation and working remotely from my office in Carson City.”

Sisolak later stated that as long as his mild symptoms continue to fade away and he begins to test negative for (active) COVID-19, he will emerge from isolation next week. Also, Sisolak promised that he will make an announcement next week on whether he will reimpose stricter health safety rules after California, Washington, New Mexico, and New Jersey have all rolled back their respective reopening plans. 

Sisolak didn’t provide any details on what he and his team are considering, instead just saying, “My administration is currently exploring all available options for mitigation. […] We will have many more details to share soon.”

“It’s a difficult situation in trying to protect our economy and our jobs. I don’t want to shut down the entire economy if I can avoid it.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
Steve Sisolak
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

In the Nevada Hospital Association’s write-up of its latest COVID-19 stats, they flat-out declared, “Current strategies are not successfully minimizing the spread of serious disease.” When asked about this blunt assessment, Sisolak pushed back and insisted, “I have faith in the citizens of the State of Nevada,” when it comes to his current “Stay at Home 2.0” advisory.

In a harrowing nod to the extremely harsh reality that the continuing absence of sufficient federal government aid is forcing state and local authorities, businesses, and workers to make a sort of Sophie’s Choice on COVID-19 risk, Sisolak declared, “It’s a difficult situation in trying to protect our economy and our jobs. I don’t want to shut down the entire economy if I can avoid it.”

Steve Sisolak, Nevada Legislature
Photo provided by the Office of Governor Steve Sisolak

Just moments after President-elect Joe Biden warned at his own virtual event that his administration will be “behind by weeks or months” if outgoing President Donald Trump continues to refuse to allow for an orderly White House transition, Sisolak urged Nevadans to stop the “culture war” over COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Or as Sisolak put it, “The election is over. We’ve got to get by that. We’ve got to keep people healthy until a vaccine becomes available next year.”

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.

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