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KUNR Today: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Down In Nevada, UNR To Hold Virtual Commencement (Again)

An image of Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nev.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nev.

Here are the morning news headlines for Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Declining In Nevada
By Lucia Starbuck

Last Thursday, the number of people hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 dipped below 1,000 patients for the first time since mid-November, according to the Nevada Hospital Association. And the number of hospitalizations has remained steady.

New daily cases are also declining statewide. An average of more than 700 new daily cases have been reported over the last two weeks.

Health officials are saying transmission is still high, with the test positivity rate at 15.5% statewide. They want to see that rate below 10% and closer to 5%.

In Washoe County, there were 71 cases reported Monday, with no new deaths.

For more information, you can find Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard here, and Washoe County’s here.

WCHD To Begin Vaccinating Community Support Frontline Staff
By Olivia Ali

The Washoe County Health District is beginning COVID-19 vaccinations of community support frontline staff in the coming weeks. According to a spokesman, community frontline staff can receive their vaccines now that the final groups of educators have been vaccinated.

According to the health district, this group includes court staff, social service workers and workers who support food, shelter and other necessities of life for groups and individuals in need.

Nevada Lawmakers Approve Use Of 2020 Federal Relief Package
By The Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers unanimously passed spending plans for $633 million worth of federal coronavirus relief dollars passed by Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump in December 2020. The appropriations approved Monday pertained to already-passed federal funding and will not draw from the general fund that state lawmakers oversee and use to finance state services and projects. Lawmakers approved $125 million for Nevada's rental assistance program, $50 million for a relief fund for small business and $477 million for K-12 schools. The appropriations apply to the budget year ending in June 2021 and are separate from the Legislature's planning process for the upcoming two years.

Republican Cox Opens Run For Governor With Ad Hitting Rival
By The Associated Press

Republican John Cox has formally opened his second campaign for California governor with a TV ad attacking his leading GOP rival while promising to work for lower housing costs and new jobs. The 30-second ad airing statewide marks an official kickoff to Cox’s entry into the race, after finishing behind Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2018. The ad faults rival candidate and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer for a soured real-estate deal at city hall during his tenure. Cox won 38% of the vote in his 2018 campaign against Newsom, when he highlighted the state’s high cost of living.

Mountain West Republicans Look To Block Haaland's Interior Nomination
By Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland is poised to become our nation’s first Indigenous cabinet secretary, but some of our region’s Congressional leaders are pushing back.

House Republicans from Montana and Colorado signed onto a letter urging President Biden to withdraw her nomination, and Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana says he will vote against her confirmation, citing her past support of progressive climate change policies.

Ta’jin Perez is with the non-partisan advocacy group Western Native Voice. He said that’s disappointing to many of Daine’s Indigenous constituents.

"I think that Senator Daines, while trying to woo the Native vote, forgets once he’s in Washington the importance of having a strong relationship between tribes and the federal government," he said.

Efforts to block Haaland’s confirmation could draw out the process, but will likely fail. Her Senate confirmation hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled.

UNR To Hold Virtual Spring Commencement Ceremony In May
By Olivia Ali

In an email to spring 2021 graduates, the University of Nevada, Reno announced that spring commencement would be held virtually.

This marks the third commencement ceremony at UNR to not be held in-person due to the pandemic. The virtual ceremony for all colleges will take place on Friday, May 14.

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.
Olivia Ali is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in journalism and minoring in history. She is also the editor-in-chief of The Nevada Sagebrush. Prior to working at KUNR, she interned at the Reno Gazette Journal as a reporting intern and at the Sacramento SPCA as a digital marketing analyst intern through the Dow Jones News Fund. After she graduates, she hopes to work in audience engagement or digital media. Outside of journalism, Olivia loves to travel, learn as much as she can and watch reality television when she gets a spare moment.