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KUNR Today: Large, Indoor Events Can Require COVID-19 Vaccine, Laxalt Files For U.S. Senate Run

A close up of a man getting a shot in his right arm by a woman in blue scrubs. The image is taken on the other side of plexiglass, so there is a slight reflection.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Hank Johnson with the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center was among the first to be vaccinated at the facility in Reno, Nev., on Dec. 16, 2020.

Here are the local morning news headlines for Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021.

COVID-19 Cases Ticking Down, But Metrics Still High In Nevada
By Lucia Starbuck

COVID-19 cases are ticking down statewide in Nevada, but the numbers remain high.

Nevada officials are reporting a two-week average of 960 daily COVID-19 cases. For comparison, that average was nearly 1,100 cases per day a week ago. They’re also reporting an average of 10 COVID-19-related deaths per day. More than 1,200 people are hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in Nevada.

Statewide, about 60% of Nevadans 12 and older have initiated COVID-19 vaccination, and about 49% have completed vaccination.

The Washoe County Health District reported two grim milestones Monday. Washoe County surpassed 700 COVID-19-related deaths in total, along with more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

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

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

Nevada Governor Announces Large, Indoor Events Can Require COVID-19 Vaccine
By Lucia Starbuck

Large, indoor event organizers in Nevada can require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Governor Steve Sisolak announced the new directiveduring his press conference Monday.

Sisolak gave organizers, who are planning on having over 4,000 attendees indoors, two potential routes to take. Organizers can require all attendees to wear masks indoors in counties with high transmission rates, or all attendees must show proof of vaccination. In this case, vaccinated attendees would be permitted to go maskless, partially vaccinated people would be required to wear a mask, and individuals who can’t provide proof of vaccination would not be permitted to attend. Children ages 2 and older who are too young to be vaccinated may attend but are required to wear a mask.

Sisolak said he’s still ironing out details for smaller venues.

Nevada State Board Of Health Could Require Vaccines For College Students
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada State Board of Health will hold an emergency meeting this week to discuss COVID-19 vaccine requirements for college students.

The agendacalls for the consideration of an emergency regulation to require all students to provide “proof of immunity to certain communicable diseases, including COVID-19.”

The meeting is Friday, just days before the start of the semester for colleges in Nevada. The board is accepting public comment on this matter.

Unvaccinated Nevada State Employees Required To Take Weekly COVID-19 Test
By Lucia Starbuck

Starting this week, all state employees in Nevada who are not fully vaccinated are required to get tested for COVID-19 weekly. Governor Steve Sisolak’s policy officially went into effect Sunday and requires unvaccinated state workers to submit their test results to human resources or a department supervisor.

For state government workplaces that exceed an employee vaccination rate of 70%, unvaccinated employees will no longer have to undergo weekly testing. State workers are eligible for paid administrative leave to receive the vaccine.

Masks are still required for all employees working in counties deemed to have high transmission levels.

Republican Adam Laxalt Files To Run For U.S. Senate In Nevada
By The Associated Press

Republican Adam Laxalt has filed to run for U.S. Senate in Nevada, setting the stage for what could be a decisive battle as both parties fight for control of Congress. Laxalt will aim to unseat Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who became the first Latina elected to the Senate in 2016. Laxalt, an ally of former President Donald Trump who’s part of a Nevada political dynasty, rose to prominence in 2014 after becoming the country’s youngest attorney general. He’s the grandson of former Nevada Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt. Democrats have won the past two Senate races in Nevada by fewer than five points.

California Drought Takes Toll On World’s Top Almond Producer
By The Associated Press

A deepening drought threatens California’s $6 billion almond industry, which produces about 80% of the world’s almonds. As water becomes scarce and expensive, some growers have stopped irrigating their orchards and plan to tear them out years earlier than planned. After decades of expansion in California’s agricultural Central Valley, almond production is expected to decline, which could lead to higher prices for consumers that have embraced the popular nut. As the drought drains reservoirs and forces restrictions on water use, critics say the thirsty crop isn’t sustainable at current levels in California, which is becoming hotter and drier because of climate change.

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.
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