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KUNR Today: Washoe Co. Reports UK Variant Uptick, Elko Ends Emergency Declaration

An image of a sign that says "Welcome to Elko" surrounded by fast food signs.
Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Mar. 26, 2021.

Nevada Reports Highest Daily Case Count In Weeks
By Paul Boger

Despite an overall downward trend, health officials in Nevada reported the highest number of new daily cases in weeks.

Health officials reported more than 400 new cases of the virus Thursday. That's significantly higher than the state's two-week rolling average of new daily cases, which fell below 200 for the first time since last summer.

The reason for the discrepancy is due to the redistribution of the daily data after they're reported. The revised information is considered a better indicator of the pandemic's trends.

Nevada's 14-day moving test positivity rate has also continued its downward trajectory with only 4.5% of all coronavirus tests coming back positive.

Current estimates suggest as many as one-quarter of all Nevadans have received at least the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Health officials also reported 12 additional COVID-19 deaths Thursday. This brings the total to 5,215 Nevadans who have died since the start of the pandemic.

31 New Washoe County Cases Of COVID-19 Variant; New Total 45
By The Associated Press

Washoe County health officials have identified 31 new cases of the COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom since they first confirmed more than a dozen in the Reno-Sparks area about two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the overall positivity rate for the Reno-Sparks area inched back up above 5%. The statewide positivity rate has remained below that level for six consecutive days. The initial 14 cases of the variant confirmed in Washoe County March 13 were tied to a celebration of life ceremony attended by 60-80 people. Many of the new ones have been tied to a youth volleyball tournament.

California To Expand Vaccine Eligibility To Anyone Over 16
By The Associated Press

California is expanding coronavirus vaccine eligibility to anyone 50 and over next week and to anyone 16 and over on April 15. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in the first half of April and more than 3 million a week in the second half of the month. That’s a big jump from the roughly 1.8 million doses a week the state is currently getting. The move comes as some California counties have veered away from the state’s vaccine eligibility criteria by opening up the shots for people who don't meet current criteria.

Elko Ends COVID-19 Emergency Declaration
By KUNR Staff

Elko city leaders have voted to end the city's COVID-19 emergency declaration.

As reportedby the Elko Daily Free Press, the decision from the Elko City Council comes just a few days after the emergency declaration's one-year anniversary.

Despite the decision, the entirety of the state remains under Gov. Steve Sisolak's coronavirus mitigation plans.

Elko County’s coronavirus test positivity rate is at 6.3%, which is higher than the state average of 4.5%.

Nevada Adds Jobs, Slowly
By Paul Boger

Nevada’s unemployment rate continued to fall in February, as the state added 2,400 jobs.

The jobless rate is now down to 8.3%, with nearly 153,000 fewer people working than in February 2020. The problem seems to be in the Las Vegas reporting area where more than 145,000 jobs have been lost in the last year. Reno, in comparison, lost 6,700 jobs.

Despite the slight improvement in the state's unemployment numbers, February marked the tenth straight month of job growth. The biggest gains were in food services and construction in Southern Nevada.

Nevada Casinos Get More Gamblers, But Revenues Still Lag
By The Associated Press

Nevada casinos are getting more gamblers back a year after the coronavirus pandemic began, but house winnings on the Las Vegas Strip still lagged in February. That's according to a key state Gaming Control Board report showing February casino winnings and revenues nearly flat statewide compared to January and down nearly 26% from February of 2020. A board analyst noted the Las Vegas Strip accounted for nearly 92% of the statewide decrease in monthly casino winnings. McCarran International Airport said Thursday that international passenger traffic was down nearly 95% in February compared with the same month a year ago.

Tahoe Lodge Sells For Millions
By Paul Boger

A lakefront property on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore has sold for $31 million.

The newly constructed property known as McKinney Lodge is on about two acres and has 225 feet of shoreline, including a deep water pier.

The 8,000 square-foot lodge features six bedrooms and six bathrooms, with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.

Burning Man Alternative Not Happening In Black Rock Desert
By KUNR Staff

It appears Everywhen, a wannabe alternative to Burning Man, will not be calling the Black Rock Desert home.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reportsthe Bureau of Land Management denied organizers of the would-be desert arts festival a permit to hold their inaugural event this summer.

Event organizers say their effort to obtain a permit was ultimately fruitless because the BLM favored the long-established Burning Man Project.

It remains unclear whether Burning Man will be held this year after it was canceled in 2020.

Organizers for the Everywhen Festival say they are still looking to host a much smaller event in another undetermined location.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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