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KUNR Today: COVID cases decrease in Washoe Co., California shares plan for scaled back water tunnel

A group of people standing together hold signs that read "no tunnel," "build the tunnel, kill the Delta," and I love Delta farms."
Rich Pedroncelli, File
/
AP
Demonstrators rallied at the Capitol to protest a plan announced by Gov. Jerry Brown to build a giant twin tunnel system to move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California, Wednesday July 25, 2012.

Read or listen to news headlines for Thursday, July 28, 2022.

COVID-19 cases decreasing in Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

COVID-19 cases are decreasing in Washoe County and the community transmission level has dropped from high to medium. There have been about 126 daily COVID-19 cases over the last week, not including at-home tests, which aren’t counted. That’s down roughly 100 cases per day compared to mid-July.

“With a medium community transmission level, it means that we still need to evaluate personal risks in activities and to protect our vulnerable population and immunocompromised population, and this group especially, still need to be extra careful in crowded indoor settings with layered proactive measures,” said Dr. Nancy Diao.

Diao is the division director of Epidemiology and Public Health Preparedness at the Washoe County Health District. Diao also said omicron BA.5 is the most dominant strain right now. It’s more contagious than previous variants, but there’s no obvious increase in severity.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, COVID-19 testing, or view the state COVID-19 dashboard.

California outlines plan for scaled back giant water tunnel
By The Associated Press

California officials have released their latest plan to reroute water from the wetter north to the drier south through a giant underground tunnel. The proposal made public Wednesday puts the Newsom administration's stamp on an infrastructure project that's been talked about for decades. The Department of Water Resources' plan, released Wednesday, outlines possible harmful effects from the project on people, fish, farms and the environment. State water officials say the project is badly needed to modernize the state's infrastructure in the face of climate change. But critics say it will hurt communities in northern areas of the state that rely on that water.

43% of parents with young kids don’t plan to get them a COVID-19 vaccine
By Kaleb Roedel, Mountain West News Bureau

A new report reveals 43% of parents with young children don’t plan to get them vaccinated against COVID-19. There are roughly 19 million children under age 5 in the country. But, since COVID-19 shots were authorized for children in that age group in June, less than 3% have received at least one dose. Lunna Lopes is the lead author of the Kaiser Family Foundation report and said parents are reluctant for a variety of reasons.

“A lot of parents actually see the vaccine as a bigger risk to their young child’s health compared to getting infected with coronavirus,” Lopes said.

More than half of parents surveyed are in that camp, and about a quarter of them want to “wait and see” how it affects other children first. Colorado has the nation’s seventh-highest share of young kids who’ve received the vaccine at 5.6%. New Mexico, ranked 28th, is at just under 2.5%. Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming are each at about 1%.

Still just one probable monkeypox case in Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

There is still just one probable case of monkeypox in Washoe County according to health district officials. The 20-year-old man is still in isolation and recovering. Monkeypox is transmitted through close person-to-person contact and through touching contaminated items, such as clothing, bedding, towels and utensils.

Symptoms can include a rash that looks like pimples or blisters, fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. One population that’s currently at risk is men who have sex with men.

The Washoe County Health District has 60 doses of the vaccine for monkeypox, but they’re only available to close contacts of confirmed cases and lab personnel who are handling the specimens. If you have been identified as a close contact, the health district will reach out to you about how to get vaccinated.

Find more information about monkeypox in Washoe County here.

Nevada Medicaid awarded nearly $1.6 million to develop dental health infrastructure
By Shelby Herbert

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Nevada Medicaid nearly $1.6 million dollars to create programs aimed at developing dental health service infrastructure. According to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, all 17 counties in the state suffer from some type of health care shortage designation, which includes dental health, due to the very high ratio of population to providers.

In urban areas, poverty is a significant factor because many providers don’t accept Medicaid. In rural areas, extended travel time to access treatment is another factor in this designation. Over a four-year period, the grant is intended to expand the number of providers who can offer services. The program will also develop, recruit and retain a dental workforce in Nevada, including a pipeline to train high school students in dental assistance.

WCSD Board of Trustees approves contract for two electric school buses with state grant
By Jose Davila IV 

The Washoe County School District is getting two electric buses thanks to a state grant. This week, the school district’s board of trustees unanimously approved moving forward with a pilot program to start using the electric school buses. The district can now finalize the $1.2 million agreement, and request proposals for installing two charging stations.

Trustees asked about the expense of the new buses versus the diesel ones. The answer: more than two times the cost upfront, but with far cheaper annual maintenance and fuel costs. The grant agreement will also cover specific training for district mechanics and the installation of the charging stations. District officials expect the buses to arrive in eight to nine months.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Budget airline Allegiant cuts profit outlook on rising costs
By The Associated Press

Shares of Allegiant Air’s parent company are falling after the company cut its prediction for second-quarter profit. Allegiant Travel Co. said after the market closed Monday that it expects to report earnings of 62 cents per share. That's far below the $1.36 per share that analysts were expecting.

Allegiant is hitting the same headwinds facing bigger airlines — costs have jumped for jet fuel and other expenses. The travel rebound is even making Allegiant planes guzzle more jet fuel. The airline is blaming full flights, which make planes heavier, for some of the increase in its fuel spending.

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