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The opioid epidemic is considered the deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history. The Trump Administration recently declared a public health emergency to deal with the epidemic. In Nevada, opioid overdoses were the leading cause of drug-related deaths in 2015. According to the National Vital Statistics System, 619 Nevadans died of a drug overdose that year and 68% of those deaths were from opioids.In this series, Reno Public Radio’s health reporter Anh Gray tours a treatment facility, and talks with substance abuse experts, patients and others to get the scope of the problem and explore some solutions.

KUNR Today: Nevada Reaches $45M Opioid Settlement, Over 15% Of Washoe Co. Fully Vaccinated For COVID

An image of Governor Steve Sisolak getting his vaccine.
Courtesy of Gov. Sisolak's Office
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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak received his COVID-19 vaccination in a Las Vegas-area supermarket, March 11, 2021.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Mar. 23, 2021.

Nevada Announces $45M Settlement With McKinsey Over Opioids
By The Associated Press

Nevada has struck a $45 million settlement deal with global consulting firm McKinsey & Company for its role in advising opioid makers how to sell more prescription painkillers amid a national overdose crisis. The western state struck a deal after sitting out a multi-state settlement announced earlier this year. The hard bargaining has allowed it to win a settlement that’s three and a half times larger than the average settlement with the other states. McKinsey said the deal reached with Nevada is “consistent with the commitment we made in February to be part of the solution to the opioid epidemic,” and it “believes its past work was lawful.”

Over 15% of Washoe’s Population Fully Vaccinated
By Lucia Starbuck

Over one million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Nevada. That means, more than 22% of the state’s population has received their first dose and more than 12% are fully vaccinated.

This comes as the state has reported, on average, about 200 daily cases of COVID-19 over the last two weeks, along with four deaths per day.

In Washoe County during that same time period, there have been an average of 40 daily cases.

Nearly 22% of Washoe’s population has received their first shot of the vaccine and over 15% are fully vaccinated.

Nevadans over the age of 16 with underlying health conditions are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more about signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine in Nevada here.

You can also find Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard here, and Washoe County’s here.

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

Free Vaccines Are Available To All Who Qualify In Nevada, Regardless Of Immigration Status
By Isaac Hoops

The Governor's Office for New Americans is assuring Nevadans that vaccines are available to all who are eligible regardless of immigration status.

State officials said in a statement that “the virus does not care about immigration status and in a public health crisis, neither should we.”

To receive a vaccine, all Nevadans are required to show a form of identification. This information will be entered into the state’s immunization system. However, the state says it has strict privacy laws in place which withhold this information from the federal government.

Last month the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not be present on or near vaccination sites.

Vaccine enrollment will open to all Nevadans age 16 and up on April 5th, and will be free of charge to all.

More Counties OK California's Centralized Vaccine Plan
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to centralize vaccine delivery, tracking and appointment making is taking shape. Ten county and city health jurisdictions have signed on and more than half are using the state's online portal to allow people to make vaccination appointments. Newsom said when he announced the change in January that he wanted a seamless system to tell him where doses are, who has received them and who needs to get them. Under the state plan, counties can’t reallocate vaccines without state approval. They must follow state criteria on eligibility and opening appointments to vulnerable communities. Blue Shield is expected to take full administrative control on March 31st.

Las Vegas Sees Weekend Crowds Arrive For Basketball, Spring
By The Associated Press

Crowds in Las Vegas during the weekend stirred talk Monday about a coronavirus pandemic recovery arriving along with college basketball fans, spring breakers and pool partiers. Alan Feldman of the International Gaming Institute at UNLV said Monday there's clearly untapped demand for tourists to return. But he says there is still a need to be careful that COVID-19 infection rates don’t spike. Scenes of people packing the resort-lined Las Vegas Strip, the downtown Fremont Street casino pedestrian mall and McCarran International Airport provided stark contrast from eerily deserted places during COVID-19 shutdowns of 2020.

Increase In The Number Of Unlicensed Residential Health Care Facility Complaints
By Isaac Hoops

There has been an increase in the number of complaints regarding unlicensed residential health care facilities in Nevada.

The state’s Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance has received complaints for 26 unlicensed facilities this year. In 2020, there were a total of 68 complaints received and investigated, and in 2019 that number was 62.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging those who have experienced inadequate living situations or treatment conditions to report these issues.

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