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KUNR Today: Nearly A Quarter Of Eligible Nevadans Fully Vaccinated, Nevada Statehouse To Reopen

An image of the Nevada statehouse.
Alexa Ard
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2021.

Nearly 40% Of Nevadans Over 16 Have Received First COVID-19 Shot
By Lucia Starbuck

Statewide, nearly 39% of Nevadans over the age of 16 have received their first COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 24% have completed their vaccination, but health officials are asking the public to remain vigilant, and to continue social distancing and mask wearing since Nevada is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The test positivity rate has increased since the start of the month from 4.2% to 5%. In Washoe County, that rate is 6.7%.

You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada here, along with the state’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.

FEMA Is Offering Financial Support To Assist With Pandemic-Related Funeral Costs
By Isaac Hoops

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering financial assistance for pandemic-related funeral costs. Expenses which arose after January of 2020 can be reimbursed up to $9,000 for each funeral.

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, applicants must provide a copy of the death certificate and funeral expenses. Currently, there is no deadline to apply. More information can be found on FEMA’s website.

Nevada Statehouse To Reopen To The Public In Limited Fashion
By The Associated Press

The Nevada statehouse will reopen Thursday after more than two months of being shuttered to the public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Visitors will be allowed to make appointments to attend hearings or meet with lawmakers, but will still be required to wear masks and either take a rapid test in the parking lot or prove they've been vaccinated. The announcement comes 11 weeks into the part-time Legislature’s 16-week biennial session, throughout which the normally bustling corridors of the statehouse have been almost empty. Legislative staff have also assembled metal detectors and bag scanners at the front entrance of the building.

Nevada Newspaper Tallies At Least 55 Inmate COVID-19 Deaths
By The Associated Press

A newspaper says at least 55 Nevada prison inmates have died after contracting COVID-19 during the pandemic that began more than a year ago. The Las Vegas Review-Journal compared records from coroners around the state with data provided March 29 by the Department of Corrections. It found the state Department of Health and Human Services tallied deaths of 53 inmates and three department employees, and was reviewing the prison system’s other two reported cases. Prison officials didn’t identify inmates who died after testing positive for the coronavirus, citing medical information confidentiality. The Review-Journal identified 39 by name. All were men.

$5 Million Awarded To Duck Valley Reservation For Housing Projects
By Isaac Hoops

A $5 million grant was awarded to the the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rate of homelessness compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

This grant will allow for the construction of ten new housing units on the reservation. Funding for the grant came from The American Rescue Plan of 2021, which was passed last month.

Biden Budget Boosts Conservation Spending
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The Biden administration recently unveiled its budget plan for managing the nation’s public lands, and it contains big funding boosts for conservation.

Biden’s budget triples funding for the cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells across the region. It would also pump millions of dollars into the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps. That group would put Americans to work restoring public lands, reforesting areas, and improving access to outdoor recreation.

Jesse Prentice-Dunn is with the environmental nonprofit Center for Western Priorities. He says Biden’s budget supports a goal known in conservation circles as “30 by 30.”

“Around the West, we’re really seeing the impact of climate change and the crunch of development. We’re losing a football field worth of natural area every 30 seconds, and so scientists tell us that, for the benefit of nature, for our communities, we need to protect 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.”

It’s important to note here that the budget plan is more like a wishlist to Congress. That body is in charge of allocating funds to agencies and often makes changes to the president’s budget plan before passing it.

California Lifts COVID-19 Limits On Indoor Worship Services
By The Associated Press

California has lifted its limits on indoor worship services in the face of U.S. Supreme Court and other rulings that struck down the coronavirus public health mandates. The state's Department of Public Health changed the guidelines Monday but said indoor gatherings still are “strongly discouraged." The state had faced several lawsuits that said the ban or limits on indoor worship violated the constitutional freedom of worship. In recent months, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several rulings barring enforcement of such restrictions.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
Isaac Hoops is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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