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KUNR Today: COVID-19 Rising In Nevada, Washoe Co. Safe Camp Facing Staff Shortage

A photo of a row of tents provided by Washoe County for homeless residents.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio

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

Local Fire Updates, Including Beckwourth Complex And Dexter Fires

By KUNR Staff

The Beckwourth Complex Fire has grown to nearly 93,000 acres, with 46% containment as of this morning.

Evacuations have been lifted in Washoe County for the Fire. That's according to Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue. Officials urge residents in Rancho Haven to continue to be vigilant and prepared to evacuate. Additionally, officials are urging residents to regularly check their local sheriff office's Facebook page for the latest and most up-to-date information on evacuations.

Washoe County >>
Lassen County >>
Plumas County >>

Because of the fire, the U.S. Postal Service has suspended service at the Doyle, Herlong, Milford, and Chilcoot Post Offices effective immediately. Doyle, Herlong, and Milford customers can mail items,or pick up parcels at the Susanville Post Office. Chilcoot customers can mail items pick up parcels at the Loyalton Post Office.

Elsewhere, Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue reported strong air support helped to suppress a fire on Duck Hill north of Carson City Monday.

The fire was started by a vehicle fire and burned 1.9 acres.

And in Mono County, a lightning-caused blaze has burned an estimated 1,000 acres in the Bald Mountain area north of Owen's River Road, east of Highway 395. Fire restrictions remain in effect for the Inyo National Forest and Bishop Bureau of Land Management.

Beckwourth Complex Fire Incident Page >>
Dexter Fire Incident Page >>

Nevada’s COVID-19 Cases And Hospitalizations Rise As Fewer People Get Vaccinated Daily
By Lucia Starbuck

COVID-19 metrics are increasing in Nevada, while fewer residents get vaccinated per day.

Officials are reporting an average of 461 cases per day over the last two weeks, and 690 Nevadans are hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Metrics haven’t been this high since mid-February. Clark County, where roughly 45% of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated, is driving most of the data.

In Northern Nevada, Carson City and Washoe County lead the state in shots per capita, with more than 55% of eligible residents fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations are not increasing in these regions as they are in Clark County.

Nearly 5,000 Nevadans are vaccinated per day, which is 20,000 fewer shots administered per day than the peak in mid-April.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, or view the state and Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards.

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

Washoe County’s Safe Camp Pilot Program Facing Excessive Heat And Staffing Shortage
By Lucia Starbuck

Washoe County’s safe camp pilot program launched nearly a month ago and is facing issues due to the heat and a lack of staffing.

The program, which allows people to sleep outdoors in a safe and controlled environment, is located at the Nevada CARES Campus in Reno. The program’s biggest issue? Staffing, including case managers. The Community Homelessness Advisory Board chair and councilmember Neoma Jardon said this can be seen everywhere.

“There is not a business you can go by that doesn’t have a 'Help Wanted' sign hanging out there, and we are not immune to that," Jardon said. "Finding individuals that have it in their hearts to want to do this work, this critically important work, we’re finding it quite difficult.”

Along with staffing, the program has been up against the excessive heat, according to Washoe County Special Projects Manager Dana Searcy.

“Cooling is a tremendous issue outside when we’re camping,” Searcy said.

Staff have erected a shaded tent with misters to keep people cool during the heat. Right now, there are more than 30 people sleeping in county-provided tents, and so far, one person has transitioned into housing.

Information on housing and shelter resources in Washoe County can be found here and in Reno here. Information on rental assistance in Nevada can be found here.

Cortez Masto Reports Raising Almost $2.8M In Recent Months
By The Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto reported raising almost $2.8 million over the past three months as she gears up to run for reelection next year. The Democrat’s campaign said Monday that she ended June with $6.58 million in her campaign account. Her campaign says of the $2.8 million she took in from April through June, 95% of the donations were contributions of $100 or less. The senator released her latest fundraising numbers ahead of Thursday’s deadline to file a quarterly campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission. Cortez Masto is the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate. She was elected in 2016.

Nevada Changing To New-Look, Higher-Security DMV Cards
By The Associated Press

Nevada driver’s licenses and identification cards are getting a new look and upgraded security features. The state Department of Motor Vehicles began rolling out the new cards Monday in Las Vegas and starts Wednesday at the Reno office. Officials say by next month, all 18 DMV offices around the state should be offering the new cards. They represent the first redesign since 2008. DMV chief Julie Butler says the cards have enhanced security features to help protect against identity theft and aid law enforcement agencies. The DMV says Nevada currently has more than 2.2 million licensed drivers.

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