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KUNR Today: Nevada's COVID-19 Cases On The Rise, Housing Prices Soar Across Northern Nevada


Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, July 8.

New Daily COVID-19 Cases In Nevada Highest Since February
By The Associated Press

The COVID-19 positivity rate in Nevada has more than doubled over the last month to 7.9%, and the average number of new daily cases statewide has climbed to its highest level since February. Meanwhile, Nevada reported its second death from the COVID-19 delta variant, a Washoe County man in his 50s who had not been vaccinated. Nevada’s 14-day rolling average for new cases had dropped to 132 in early June. The positivity rate bottomed out at 3.3% June 9. The 377 new cases on average reported July 4 was the highest since 375 in February. That is also the last time the state’s positivity rate was as high as 8%.

‘Vax Nevada Days’ To Announce First Winners
By Isaac Hoops

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is set to announce the first winners of a state lottery aimed at driving up COVID-19 vaccination rates. Sisolak will announce the winners during an evening press conference at the College of Southern Nevada on Thursday.

The public health initiative will award $5 million in prizes to nearly two thousand Nevadans who have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The state will announce winners every Thursday until August 26th, when the grand prize of $1 million is awarded.

COVID-19 Vaccines Coming To Zoos?
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

COVID-19 vaccines aren’t just for humans, and they may soon be heading to a zoo near you. A company called Zoetis is donating 11,000 doses of its own COVID-19 vaccine to zoos around the U.S. They’re not the same as human vaccines, but they’re similar.

The Denver Zoo is one of nearly 70 locations across the U.S. that are getting those donated doses. Dr. Scott Larsen works in animal health there.

“Our great apes, our big cats, and then in general, our primates and carnivores will be the main groups we will be targeting initially for vaccination,” said Larsen. That’s because those are the groups he said we know are susceptible to the virus.

Larsen said similarly to human vaccines, it’ll be two doses over several weeks. He said they will be monitoring for any side effects and might give doses to other animals down the road.

Reno-Sparks Housing Prices Continue To Soar
By Paul Boger

Housing prices in the Truckee Meadows continue to climb ever higher. The newest data collected by the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors shows the median price for an existing family home was $530,000 dollars in June. That's nearly six percent more than May.

Home prices in Fernley have also seen remarkable growth in recent months, where the median price for an existing home is now closer to $360,000. Realtors say the recent increase in housing prices is associated with a lack of available inventory.

In June, 634 homes were placed on the market across the region. 633 were sold.

Sierra Nevada University Becoming Part Of UNR 'Family'
By Paul Boger

Sierra Nevada University's Board of Trustees has approved a deal that would fold the school into the University of Nevada, Reno. UNR officials announced the agreement with the Incline Village-based private university in an email on Wednesday.

While details regarding the integration of the two schools remain unclear, a UNR spokesperson says current SNU students will notice little change this coming academic year.

The agreement still needs approval from the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education in order to finalize the deal. In a separate email, SNU's president blamed declining enrollment numbers as the driving force behind the decision.

As a note of disclosure, the Board of Regents to the Nevada System of Higher Education owns the license to this station. 

UNR Med, Renown Finalize Partnership Deal
By Jacob Solis, The Nevada Independent

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine has finalized a deal to cement its partnership with Renown Health for the next fifty years.

The landmark deal promised to integrate UNR Med and Renown to increase teaching capacity and class sizes, expanding clinical research programs and bringing the school in line with other medical schoools nationwide with similar agreements.

Despite some concerns over the length of the deal, the Board of Regents approved the contract 12-1. Throughout the 10-month negotiation process, proponents of the integration, including UNR President Brian Sandoval, had characterized the agreement as transformative and historic.

It's a first of its kind in Nevada. It places the university's president on the Renown Board of Directors, and it preserves the school's status as a public, state-funded institution.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack To Visit Nevada
By Paul Boger

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to visit an elementary school in Southern Nevada Thursday. The visit is meant to promote the Biden Administration's American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion federal spending package.

The effort looks to reduce poverty by expanding access to child care, offering free community college tuition, and ensuring access to healthy and nutritious foods for children, among other measures.

Roughly 115,000 children in Nevada are living in poverty, according to a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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