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KUNR Today: Service Workers In Washoe Co. Now Vaccine Eligible, Nevada-Based ‘Real Water’ Recalled

A closeup of a pharmacist filling a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
A pharmacist with Renown Health prepares a syringe with a second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to administer to a health care worker at Renown's South Meadows drive-through vaccination site in Reno, Nev., on Jan. 8.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Mar. 19, 2021.

Washoe County Extends COVID-19 Vaccinations To Service Workers
By Paul Boger

Service industry workers are among the latest to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine in Washoe County. Health officials made the announcement Thursday.

Casino, hotel, bar and restaurant employees should see an email invitation through their employers. So far, more than 2,000 invitations have been sent to businesses over the last week. Business owners who did not receive an invitation can request one through the Regional Information Center's website.

Nevada COVID-19 Vaccinations Continue To Increase
By Paul Boger

Health officials in Nevada have administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations.

Roughly 11.5% of the state population is fully vaccinated, according to Nevada's COVID-19 Response online dashboard. The data also shows as many as one in five Nevadans have received at least the first dose of the vaccine; however, the numbers may underestimate how many people in the state are vaccinated due to delays in reporting.

The news comes as Nevada reported its 300,000th case of COVID-19 this week.

The Regional Transportation Commission has announced that it will offer free rides to and from vaccination sites starting Monday.

Statewide, health officials reported fewer than 300 new cases of the coronavirus and 10 additional deaths. That’s above Nevada’s two-week rolling average of new daily cases and deaths. To date, 5,157 Nevadans have died.

Assembly GOP Pushes For ‘Responsible’ Spending Of Federal COVID-19 Relief Money
By Paul Boger

Assembly Republicans are releasing a digital ad promoting what they call “responsible” and “appropriate” spending of Nevada's share of COVID-19 relief funds.

The roughly 2-minute ad will play ahead of digital videos beginning Monday. It features Republican Assemblyman Tom Roberts of Las Vegas calling on residents to make their voices heard on how lawmakers should spend the $4.5 billion in federal money.

In particular, the caucus is calling for one-time increases in healthcare and K-12 education spending. Assembly Republicans also want to refill the state's rainy day fund, which was depleted as a result of the economic fallout created by the pandemic.

Freedom Caucus Pushes Back On Gun Control Bill
By Paul Boger

Conservative lawmakers in Nevada are pushing back against a gun control bill that would increase penalties for people who carry a firearm on private property without the permission of the owner. 

The Freedom Caucus — a conservative offshoot of Assembly Republicans — condemned AB286 during a press conference outside the legislature Thursday. They say it criminalizes gun ownership and only creates problems for law-abiding citizens.

Caucus Leader Jim Wheeler of Minden says the measure could prohibit lawful gun owners from exercising their constitutional rights.

“Guys, that would be restaurants, bars, casinos, hotels, churches, theaters, malls ... This bill is draconian, we believe. We believe it's very much anti-Second Amendment.”

The measure also bans owning or selling so-called “ghost guns,” which are firearms that are often assembled at home that lack a serial number. Supporters say the measure could help prevent the sale of untraceable guns on the black market and could prevent shootings in public places. 

Nevada-Based ‘Real Water’ Recalled After Liver Illness
By The Associated Press

Health officials are warning people not to drink Las Vegas-based “Real Water” after linking it to liver illness in five hospitalized children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers, restaurants and retailers not to drink, cook with, sell or serve the product. Company President Brent Jones called for stores to stop selling the water “throughout the United States until the issue is resolved.” Real Water is marketed in boxy blue plastic bottles as mineral-rich, “alkalized’ and “infused with negative ions.” Jones did not address a lawsuit filed in state court on behalf of a family who says their son got sick from the water.

Unemployment Website Goes Offline Nightly For Updates
By Paul Boger

Nevada's unemployment website will go offline nightly, starting Thursday, to help speed up unemployment claims.

For the next week, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation says they are temporarily taking the state's unemployment insurance system offline nightly from 10:00 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Visitors will not be able to file claims or access the resource materials during those times.

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Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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