Moments ago, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) addressed the latest challenge facing state and local public health agencies: “COVID Fatigue”. With President Donald Trump and his allies pretending that COVID-19 is no longer a problem, Sisolak used his event today to remind Nevadans that COVID-19 remains a serious health problem, and that Nevadans can do something about it.
Surprise, here’s another Nevada COVID-19 check-up.
Our average COVID-19 daily case growth has ticked up a bit to 0.8%, and both the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker show that the actual daily new caseload is the highest we’ve seen since August. According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s statewide infection rate remains high at 1.11, or every 100 COVID-19 infections leading to another 111 new infections. To break that down some more, while Douglas (0.96) and Lyon (0.92) Counties are out of the 1.00+ danger zone, Nye (1.15), Elko (1.14), Clark (1.11), and Washoe (1.08) Counties along with Carson City (1.05) continue to suffer more rapid spreading of COVID-19.
While the seven-day test positivity average remains off last week’s 20%+ high, it’s still over triple the WHO’s recommended 5% benchmark for safe reopening, and the cumulative test positivity rate continues to creep higher at 11.9%. And before anyone claims this spike is solely due to more people being tested, we’re still testing fewer people on average than during the July and August “summer surge”. (Also, as we discussed earlier, we actually need more testing and contact tracing for a more sustainable economic recovery.)
Combined confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations ticked upward again, now sitting at 504, though Covid Act Now assesses that Nevada hospitals (including their ICU’s) still have enough capacity to handle more patients. And while the average daily death rate remains below our “summer surge” peaks, Nevada public health officials did record another 13 COVID-19 related deaths today, bringing the total COVID-19 death count to 1,727. As we’re repeatedly noted here, the death count tends to be a lagging indicator, so there’s no guarantee that the death rate remains this low if the infection rate stays this high.
“We all feel ‘COVID Fatigue’, and it results in riskier behavior and complacency. We can not let that happen.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
Governor Steve Sisolak (D) made no announcement of changes to the state’s COVID-19 health safety rules during his press conference today, but he did address the above stats. Harkening back to President Donald Trump’s initial assertion that the U.S. only needed 15 days to slow the virus’ spread, Sisolak said, “COVID-19 wasn’t supposed to last this long. We all feel ‘COVID Fatigue’, and it results in riskier behavior and complacency. We can not let that happen.” Sisolak then added, “You need to do your part. Wear a face covering. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands.”
Sisolak then unloaded some more on Trump’s ongoing COVID-19 denialism: “The behavior of certain officials at the highest level of our government run contrary to the public health experts, create a sense that the pandemic is over, are rounding the corner, or that masks don’t work.” He continued, “We need to stay united. The enemy is the disease, not each other.”
And even though Sisolak did not announce any new health safety measures today, he used today’s press conference as an opportunity to promote more compliance of the current rules: “We are not helpless. You have the power to change this trajectory.” He then added, “If I had a dial in my office to turn this virus back, I’d use it, but I don’t have that dial. Nevadans control the dial in their willingness to adapt and adopt public health protocols.”
“You can still have Halloween, but you need to celebrate safely.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
At his press conference, Sisolak did take a few questions from reporters. Perhaps most notable was his disappointment over virtual/distance learning, though Sisolak continued to insist that more schools will reopen for in-person classes only when state and local health officials are confident that those schools can safely reopen.
And on the big question of what to do for Halloween weekend, Sisolak stated, “You can still have Halloween, but you need to celebrate safely.” Sisolak then suggested virtual parties in lieu of traditional parties and trick-or-treat events, and he again called on Nevadans to stick to the rules and avoid large crowds.
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 District, Washoe County Health District, Carson 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.