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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.

COVID-19HealthNews and informationThe Economy

Sisolak: “We Need to Do More” on COVID-19

Governor Steve Sisolak (D) issued no new directives or orders during his COVID-19 press conference earlier this evening. However, Sisolak indicated that he may finally take further action if Nevada’s COVID-19 stats do not turn around in the next 14 days.

Basically, Sisolak said, “We need to do more,” as we wait to see whether state and local authorities do more to stop further spread of COVID-19.

Today’s COVID-19 check-up: Yep, it’s still bad.
COVID-19, Steve Sisolak, Caleb Cage
Screenshot by Andrew Davey

Our COVID-19 stats still look incredibly bad. According to Covid Act Now Nevada’s statewide infection rate remains alarmingly high at 1.18, or every 100 COVID-19 infections leading to another 118 new infections. While Lyon (0.81) and Douglas (0.84) Counties’ infection rates remain relatively low and Carson City’s (0.92) has recently dropped below 1.00, Nye (1.06), Clark (1.14), Elko (1.18), Washoe (1.25), White Pine (1.26), and Churchill (1.55) Counties are being overwhelmed by rapid spread.

According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, Nevada’s statewide cumulative test positivity rate inched even higher to 13.1% (according to the Indy’s calculation), and the seven-day average remains well above 25%. Keep in mind that this is far above the WHO’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening.

According to Nevada Health Response and the Nevada Hospital Association, we now have 898 total (confirmed and suspected combined) COVID-19 hospitalizations. Overall COVID-19 hospitalizations and counts of COVID-19 patients in hospitals’ ICU wings are near record highs in Clark County, and are hitting new record highs in Northern Nevada. Nevada has thus far suffered 1,859 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and we continue to average at least five COVID-19 deaths per day.

“We must act right now to keep our economy open.” 
– Governor Steve Sisolak
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

Those who have followed along with our COVID-19 reporting and other local journalists’ reporting know that while Nevada’s COVID-19 outbreak may not be as severe as some other states’ outbreaks, it’s nonetheless reached the public health equivalent of a five-alarm fire. And yet, during tonight’s press conference in Carson City, Governor Steve Sisolak once more called for voluntary action: This time, “Stay at Home 2.0”.

As Sisolak put it, “We don’t have much time to act to avoid a dangerous surge that could harm our hospitals. […] We must act right now to keep our economy open.” However when asked later in the program about the ongoing health safety violations and rising infections since casino resorts began to reopen in June, Sisolak merely asked tourists to wear masks while also asking them to continue to travel here.

That’s a different message than the one Sisolak gave to Nevada residents. For the next 14 days, Sisolak advised, “If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out.” And in explaining why he’s not taking further regulatory action now, Sisolak said, “We know more now. We believe we can stop the spread of COVID-19 without closing major sectors of our economy.”

“I don’t know what restrictions we’re going to have to put in place, but they’re going to be severe. They’re going to be hard. They’re going to be things people won’t want to do.” 
– 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

Basically, Sisolak warned Nevadans that he may finally take further regulatory action just before Thanksgiving weekend if the state’s COVID-19 stats don’t improve in the next two weeks. And when pressed what the state will do amidst the ongoing business violations and Clark County School District’s new proposal to begin its in-person reopening process next month, Sisolak said that he wants more municipal authorities to do more enforcement, and that he still hopes more Nevada students can eventually go back to school in-person.

When pressed on what he plans to do if not enough residents, businesses, and visitors abide by his latest request for voluntary compliance, Sisolak replied, “I don’t know what restrictions we’re going to have to put in place, but they’re going to be severe. They’re going to be hard. They’re going to be things people won’t want to do.”

Steve Sisolak
Photo by Andrew Davey

And yet, here we are, and here Sisolak is again. Even as he expressed frustration with the increasingly polarized and partisan divide over public health that’s already vexing President-elect Joe Biden as much as it is Sisolak and local public health authorities, Sisolak is attempting one more voluntary call for action in a last-ditch effort to avoid another round of mandates. Or as Sisolak responded to ongoing far-right opposition to face covering and social distancing guidelines, “Give it a break. Can you please just give it a break for two weeks?”

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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