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KUNR Today: COVID impacting access to other healthcare, Truckee extends short-term rental moratorium

An image of an emergency room entrance
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.

Charity promising $11M in grants to rural Nevada hospitals
By The Associated Press

A charity that funds programs to expand access to emergency medical care for people in remote areas says it will make grants to upgrade technology at 10 rural Nevada hospitals. The Helmsley Charitable Trust announced Tuesday that it will provide about $11 million to buy diagnostic and radiology equipment like CT scanners and X-ray devices. Grants will go to facilities in Boulder City, Caliente, Ely, Gardnerville, Henderson, Incline Village, Lovelock, Mesquite, Pahrump and Yerington. A Helmsley trustee says people's healthcare outcomes shouldn't depend on their ZIP code. The trust has provided grants to programs in seven other states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana.

Poll: Many Western households unable to get care because of COVID-19
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

COVID-19 and the related economic problems have made it tougher to get proper healthcare. In 12% of Mountain West households, someone was unable to get health care for a serious issue in the last few months, according to a new poll by NPR and Harvard. That's in line with national trends.

John Packham is with the University of Nevada, Reno's medical school. He says there are direct consequences when patients can't get access to medical services.

"Delayed care often means that patients are presenting with greater acuity, or need, when they do present, either in an outpatient setting, or worse, in an ER or hospital inpatient setting," he said.

Packham isn't surprised by the findings. Many Western residents lost income due to the pandemic, which could be making it harder for them to pay out-of-pocket expenses. The findings are the latest in a series of studies looking at COVID's impact on households across America.

Covered California begins open enrollment period for 2022
By The Associated Press

Covered California has begun its open enrollment period for 2022. Covered California sells individual health insurance plans to people who can't get coverage through their job. Some people are eligible for deep discounts on their monthly premiums. Even families earning more than $100,000 per year are eligible for assistance. Twelve insurance companies will sell plans on Covered California for 2022. People will have various options depending on where they live. Covered California says everyone will have at least two choices. Open enrollment will run through the end of January. More than 1.6 million people purchased health plans through Covered California in 2021.

Truckee extends moratorium on new short-term rentals to June
By The Associated Press

The Truckee Town Council has voted unanimously to extend a moratorium on new short-term rental certificates until at least June 15. Last month, the council enacted a 45-day moratorium on new rentals in response to an increasing shortage of affordable housing for local workers. The Sierra Sun reports the extension approved last week allow the town to continue studying different types of short-term rental properties north of Lake Tahoe. It also allows for a review of how they’re handled in other communities in Nevada, Colorado, California, New Mexico and Washington. Truckee currently has about 1,200 short-term rental permits.

Redistricting in Nevada: Uneven population growth foreshadows significant shifts as lawmakers approach redistricting
By Tabitha Mueller and Sean Golonka, The Nevada Independent

As state lawmakers embark on the process of redistricting, they face the task of creating districts that ensure equal representation for residents.

Since Nevada’s congressional and legislative districts were last redrawn in 2011, the state’s population has changed drastically. From 2010 to 2020, Nevada’s population increased by more than 400,000 people, fueled by a surge of Latinos and other racial and ethnic minorities in Washoe and Clark counties.

But that growth was uneven from district to district. For example, Assembly District 26 in Northern Nevada saw roughly 24% growth, while some state senate and assembly districts in and around Las Vegas have experienced growth closer to 60%.

All of this underscores the need to keep balanced populations and racial equity in mind.

Read the full story at thenevadaindependent.com.

US says oil, gas sales damage climate — but won't stop them
By The Associated Press

The Interior Department is preparing to offer oil and gas lease sales on large tracts of public land despite concluding that burning fossil fuels from those parcels could carry huge costs and contribute to climate change. Burning oil, natural gas and coal from federally owned lands accounts for about 20% of energy-related U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But officials with the Biden administration’s Bureau of Land Management say in newly released planning documents that they can't accurately determine the climate impacts from upcoming oil and gas lease sales in western states. Officials proposed delaying sales of some tracts in Wyoming, Colorado and other states over concerns drilling could harm wildlife.

Tabitha Mueller arrived at The Nevada Independent to work as an intern in 2019 after working as a freelance contributor for This is Reno. She is fascinated by storytelling, place and the intersection of narrative and data analysis.
Sean Golonka joined The Nevada Independent after working as a contributor for Boston University News Service and a columnist for The Daily Free Press. Sean also worked as a producer for BUTV10's award-winning professional sports talk show Offsides.
Bert is KUNR’s senior correspondent. He covers stories that resonate across Nevada and the region, with a focus on environment, political extremism and Indigenous communities.
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