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KUNR Today: COVID-19 Restrictions Eased In Nevada, Reno Aces Continue Diamondbacks Affiliation

A screenshot from Governor Sisolak's YouTube page.
Gov. Steve Sisolak delivers an update on COVID-19 restrictions during a virtual press conference, Feb. 11, 2021.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

Sisolak Ends Nevada’s COVID 'Pause,' Gradually Ease Restrictions
By Paul Boger

Governor Steve Sisolak says Nevada will, once again, begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions starting next week. He announced the end to the months-long 'pause' on lifting any restrictions during a press conference on Thursday.

Under the new plan, the state will begin to lift capacity limits for most businesses in the state to at least 35% starting Monday. It then calls for another increase to 50% capacity in mid-March.

Sisolak also pledged to give counties more authority to enact their own COVID-19 mitigation rules starting May 1.

“This is a collaboration that we’re reviewing with the local health districts to ensure that they’re ready at that time, in order to do that, to accomplish it. It’s in everyone’s best interest that we get this over to the local jurisdictions.”

Certain provisions, including the state’s mask mandate and social distancing requirements, will remain in place for the foreseeable future. High-risk venues, such as strip clubs, nightclubs, day clubs and brothels, are expected to remain closed until May.

Nevada Continues To See COVID-19 Numbers Trend Downward
By Paul Boger

Health officials in Nevada reported 55 COVID-19-related deaths as the state continues to see an overall downward trend in COVID-19 metrics.

Nevada's two-week rolling average of new daily cases has seen a steady decline over the past month and a half. Late last year, the state was tracking an average of nearly 2,300 new cases of the coronavirus every day. Now, it's adding just over 600.

The state's test positivity rate has also experienced a decline over the past month, dropping to 14.4%. There are now fewer than 900 people in the state currently being hospitalized for COVID-19.

States Ease Restrictions As COVID-19 Variants Spread
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Nationwide, states are rolling back regulations to allow larger crowd sizes, more open schools and fewer mask requirements. That’s just as true in the Mountain West; however, this is happening as new strains of the virus are on the move.

“Now is not the time to let the guard down,” said Melissa Marx, an epidemiologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She said some new strains are easier to spread, and it’s natural for a virus to mutate this way to survive. That means we can’t relax just yet.

“All the states around the U.S. should reconsider rescinding mask mandates and consider whether more infections and more deaths are worth the gain that they might get by opening up too quickly,” Marx said.

Marx said she’s already started wearing double masks to protect herself and others, something the CDC now recommends.

California's COVID-19 Death Toll Edges Past New York
By The Associated Press

California has edged past New York in the grim statistic of the number of deaths due to COVID-19. Johns Hopkins University data reported Thursday shows California’s death toll has reached 45,496, surpassing New York’s toll of 45,312. The development comes as coronavirus trends are showing improvement in California. State Department of Public Health data shows the most recent seven-day test positivity rate has fallen to 4.8% and the daily number of new positive cases is under 8,400, down from well over 53,000 in December. California, however, is grappling with vaccine shortages that are crippling efforts to inoculate substantial numbers of people.

Aces To Continue Affiliation With Diamondbacks
By Paul Boger

The Reno Aces have inked a new deal to extend the team's affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks for another 10 years.

The deal was announced in a press release Thursday.

The Aces have played in Northern Nevada since 2009. They serve as Arizona's Triple-A team, a final training ground before players are deemed ready for the pros.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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