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KUNR Today: COVID-19 Hospitalizations And Deaths High In Washoe Co., New Nonstop Flights From Reno

Two signs, outdoors. There is a slight fisheye distortion. One blue sign reads, “Washoe County Administration, Health District, Building B,” with an arrow pointing to the right. A yellow sign reads, “Washoe County Health District Testing,” with an arrow p
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Washoe County Health District in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 17, 2021.

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

COVID-19 Cases Decreasing, But Hospitalizations And Deaths Still High In Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County Health District is reporting an average of about 200 cases per day over the last week. That’s down 100 cases per day compared to the middle of the month.

“It appears that we may have peaked and we are coming down off of that peak, and I certainly hope that that will continue,” Health District Officer Kevin Dick said.

But Dick added that hospitals are still strained.

“After someone initially contracts COVID-19, we know that it gets worse over time if they have a severe case. The hospitalizations are a number that’s going to be lagging behind the peak that we experienced, as we go down the other side,” Dick said.

COVID-19-related deaths are still being reported in high numbers. About 10% of all deaths due to the virus in Washoe County occurred this month alone. 70% of eligible Washoe County residents have received one dose of the vaccine while nearly 65% are fully vaccinated.

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.

Eldorado National Forest Partially Reopening
By Noah Glick

While the Caldor Fire near Lake Tahoe continues to burn, forest officials are reopening portions of the Eldorado National Forest. A new, smaller closure takes effect Thursday and will last through the end of March.

Updated Eldorado National Forest Closure Order by KUNR Reno Public Radio on Scribd

The areas that are reopening will still be open for day use only, due to continued fire risk. Overnight camping is temporarily prohibited and a full fire ban remains in effect. That means all open flames are prohibited, including wood, charcoal and gas fires.

California Governor Signs Laws Aimed At Homeless Crisis
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed seven new laws aimed at addressing the state's homeless crisis as the nation’s wealthiest and most populous state struggles to keep people off the streets. Newsom signed the laws Wednesday at an event in Los Angeles. The laws will help implement the $12 billion in new homelessness spending the state authorized in its budget for the next two years. That includes $2 billion for a program to fund local government homeless services. A law Newsom signed Wednesday creates a new governing body to review local governments' plans for how to spend that money. Newsom said it will take years to see results from the state's homelessness spending.

Education, Public Health Officials Testify On School Challenges To Congress
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Schools across the country are struggling with staff shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks. A public health professor told members of a House subcommittee that he wanted school districts to require all adults to be vaccinated. Another witness, Las Vegas-area Superintendent Jesus Jara, said the pandemic has exacerbated staff shortages at schools.

“I’ve got principals that are substituting classrooms, that are serving foods, just to try to keep our kids engaged, our children in classrooms,” Jara said.

Among the witnesses invited by Republicans to testify was a freelance journalist who has written critically about school mask mandates.

Last week, more than 200,000 U.S. children contracted COVID-19.

Nevada Schools To Receive $8 Million For Classroom Resources
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Education announcedthe money came through a collaboration with a nonprofit crowdfunding website.

DonorsChoose will provide individual Nevada educators with up to $800 for projects related to pandemic recovery. This includes promoting a safe in-person learning environment, access to technology for distance learning and emotional support for students and families.

New Nonstop Flights From Reno To Small Western Cities Coming Next Month
By Noah Glick

ExpressJet Airlines announced it's rebooting its "aha!" airline brand and will offer eight nonstop flights from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

The company prioritized cities not currently served by nonstop flights. The new destinations are listed below.

  • Bakersfield, Cali.
  • Ontario, Cali.
  • Eureka/Arcata, Cali.
  • Fresno/Yosemite, Cali.
  • Medford/Ashland, Ore.
  • Eugene/Springfield, Ore.
  • Redmond/Bend, Ore.
  • Pasco/Tri-Cities, Wash.

The first new flights begin in late October.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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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