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KUNR Today: Nevada Climbs To 13.5% COVID-19 Test Positivity Rate, Jet Crashes Near Truckee

An image of two people in HAZMAT suits holding a COVID-19 test.
Lucia Starbuck
This Is Reno
The Washoe County Health District began utilizing the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center parking lot as a COVID-19 testing site on April 11, 2020, in Reno, Nev.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

Nevada COVID-19 Metrics Continue Upward Surge
By Lucia Starbuck

COVID-19 metrics are continuing to increase in Nevada. Health officials reported an average of nearly 800 COVID-19 cases per day over the last two weeks. There haven’t been this many daily cases since early February.

Clark County is driving a majority of the state’s cases and hospitalizations. There are more than 1,000 Nevadans hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. That’s more than double the number of hospitalizations at the beginning of the month.

The test positivity rate has climbed to 13.5%. Most counties are flagged for elevated disease transmission. That includes Washoe County, where health officials are reporting an average of more than 60 daily cases over the last week, which is nearly three times higher than what was reported at the beginning of the month.

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.

Judge Refuses To Block Digging At Lithium Mine On NV-OR Line
By The Associated Press

A federal judge has denied environmentalists' request for a court order temporarily blocking the government from digging trenches for archaeological surveys at a lithium mine planned near the Nevada-Oregon line. The proposed Thacker Pass mine is home to the biggest known U.S. deposit of lithium. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du said in a ruling late Friday in Reno that four conservation groups failed to prove the trenches across one-quarter acre would cause irreparable harm to sage grouse habitat. She plans to decide later this week whether a Nevada tribe can seek a similar injunction based on claims the digging would disturb sacred burial grounds.

Jet Fuel Shortage Impacting Travel, Firefighting Across The West
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The U.S. is facing a jet fuel shortage this summer. It’s causing long delays at airports in our region and some stress for firefighting services.

When air travel ground to a halt last year because of the pandemic, companies stopped producing as much jet fuel. Fuel delivery services also scaled back their operations. But as the nation continues to bounce back and more people travel by air, demand for jet fuel is soaring. And, there aren’t enough truck delivery drivers to keep up with demand.

That’s creating the shortage, especially at smaller, more out-of-the-way airports in the West. There are reports of day-long delays for passengers in Montana. Political leaders in Nevada warn it could impact cargo delivery planes in Reno.

It’s also putting aerial firefighting services such as Montana’s Neptune Aviation on alert.

“The airports are trying to work together and let each other know, ‘yes, we have adequate fuel, send people here,’ or waving people off if there is inadequate fuel at a certain location," said spokesperson Kevin Condit.

That said, the U.S. Forest Service says the shortage hasn’t had a widespread impact on firefighting efforts so far.

Former Nevada 'Sundown Town' Stands By Siren Amid Reckoning
By The Associated Press

Efforts to silence a century-old siren that blares every night in Minden, Nevada, are sparking debates over how to confront the region's history of racism and violence. The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California associates the siren with a historic "sundown ordinance" that once made it illegal for them to be in public after nightfall. Residents of the mostly white town defend it as a tradition that marks time and honors first responders. After state lawmakers banned the siren, the Washoe Tribe's chairman and Minden town manager agreed to move the siren to 5 p.m. but the compromise left many tribal members unsatisfied.

FAA: Twin-Engine Jet Crashes Near Tahoe-Area Golf Course
By The Associated Press

Authorities say a twin-engine jet crash near a golf course in the Lake Tahoe area ignited a wildfire that was quickly contained before threatening the town of Truckee, California. Authorities did not immediately say how many people were aboard the Bombardier CL 600, the aircraft owner or its flight plan. The Federal Aviation Administration says it crashed at 1:18 p.m. Monday while the pilot was attempting to land at nearby Truckee-Tahoe Airport. The CL 600 is a multi-seat business jet with twin engines mounted on the rear fuselage and a distinctive T-shaped tail. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Washoe Health Officials Issue Violation Notices To Six Food Operators
By KUNR Staff

The Washoe County Health District has issued cease and desist orders to six food operators for violating food operation and safety regulations. All six were operating temporary, pop-up locations along busy streets, as opposed to food trucks, brick-and-mortar locations, or temporary food operations with permits.

The items they were selling included sliced and whole fruit, tacos, beverages, and shaved ice.

The violations included poor hand washing, food contamination, and improper storage, among other issues. The health district says eating food that isn’t properly handled or stored can lead to foodborne illnesses such as e-coli, salmonella, and listeria.

You can find the latest inspection results for all food establishments with permits in Washoe County on the Washoe Eats app.

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