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KUNR Today: Washoe Co. Reports First Delta Variant Death, Vegas Casino Fined For COVID-19 Violations

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Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, July 2, 2021.

Washoe County Reports First COVID-19 Delta Variant Death
By Lucia Starbuck

Washoe County officials are reporting the county’s first death related to the Delta variant of COVID-19 Thursday. 

According to health officials, the Washoe County woman was in her 40s and didn’t have underlying health conditions. They also say the woman was unvaccinated, something she had in common with all of the other people hospitalized locally in relation to this variant. So far, there are 51 total cases of the Delta variant in Washoe County. 

The strain, which originated in India, is now the most common variant of COVID-19 spreading through Nevada, according to the Nevada State Public Health Lab. A majority of the Delta variant cases had symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, congestion, headache and other allergy-like symptoms. 

Health officials are encouraging residents to get vaccinated and get tested if needed. So far, nearly 5,700 people have died of COVID-19 in Nevada, with 685 of those deaths in Washoe County. 

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, or view the state and Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Rural Nevada Counties To Receive Nearly $4 Million In Grant Funding
By Jayden Perez

Rural governments across Nevada will receive nearly $4 million in grants aimed at improving communities. Governor Steve Sisolak announced 14 Community Development Block Grant awards Thursday. The money can be used for a wide range of activities, including infrastructure, affordable housing and economic development projects.

Carson City alone will receive more than $500,000 for six projects such as youth absentee reduction and veterans services. Another project in Fallon will fund construction to make streets and sidewalks more accessible for people with disabilities.

Reauthorization Of Violence Against Women Act Stalled In Congress
By Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

For the third year in a row, the Violence Against Women Act is stalled in Congress, and a provision that’s important to tribes in our region hangs in the balance.

Typically, tribal nations lack criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives who commit crimes on reservations. This latest reauthorization of VAWA includes a provision that would change that when it comes to domestic and sexual abusers, but the sweeping bill is held up in the U.S. Senate, where some Republicans oppose its restrictions on gun ownership for convicted domestic abusers.

Mary Katherine Nagle is an attorney with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. She said that measure is also critical for the protection of Native women, who on some reservations are murdered at 10 times the national average.

“What we’re gonna need are some of our Republican allies, our friends on the Republican side, to say ‘Safety for Native women is not a partisan issue,’ ” Nagle explained.

VAWA passed the U.S. House in March but has not yet been scheduled for a vote in the Senate. The bill would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass that chamber.

Las Vegas Casino Fined For Violating COVID-19 Mitigation Protocols
By Chanel Pulido, The Nevada Independent

A Las Vegas Casino has agreed to pay a $60,000 fine for violating Nevada’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Connecticut-based Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment agreed to settle with the state after several reality television celebrities — who were paid to promote the casino’s March 25 opening — were photographed not wearing masks or facial coverings, as required at the time.

At the time, the state’s gaming industry was operating under 50-percent capacity limitations, requiring social distancing on the gaming floor and requiring all customers and employees to wear facial coverings. The fine is the largest such citation against a single property.

Los Angeles-based Meruelo Group, which owns the Sahara Las Vegas and the Grand Sierra Resort, paid a combined $75,000 fine last September for multiple violations of the state’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

This story was originally written, produced and reported by Howard Stutz with The Nevada Independent.

Law Enforcement Increasing Patrol Presence To Crack Down On Speeding
By Jayden Perez

Law enforcement officials are planning to increase traffic patrols in order to crack down on speeding through Northern Nevada. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said it will work with other regional agencies to step up enforcement through the holiday weekend.

According to state data, speeding accounts for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities in Nevada. Extra patrols will remain until July 12.

The photo included in this web post is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
Jayden Perez is a former web producer and student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
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