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KUNR Today: Nev. getting millions for COVID-19 monoclonal treatments, UNR basketball game canceled

A photograph of the Lawlor Events Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, taken at night.
University of Nevada, Reno

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.

Nevada, Las Vegas chart jumps in key COVID-19 measurements
By The Associated Press

Health officials in Nevada are charting jumps in key coronavirus measurements, including more than 3,800 new cases of COVID-19 in Clark County during the last week. The Las Vegas area surpassed 6,400 deaths attributed to the coronavirus since the pandemic began, or 77% of the more than 8,300 people who’ve died statewide.

The Southern Nevada Health District on Tuesday reported 974 new cases and 15 deaths in Clark County since Monday. State health officials on Monday also confirmed three new cases of the fast-spreading omicron variant — including two in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County. That’s five omicron cases in Nevada since the first one was detected last week.

Nevada getting federal dollars for COVID-19 monoclonal treatments
By Gustavo Sagrero

Through the American Rescue Plan Act, Nevada will receive about $21 million from the Feds to fund medical programs around the state.

Those tens of millions of dollars are split up between two parts. The larger sum, a little more than $19.5 million, will go to increase access for COVID-19 monoclonal treatments, which can help people fight the virus.

While the treatment is already free, the cost to administer it can get pretty high. The extra funding is meant to help people find it easier to access treatment.

Nearly $2 million will also be given to the Division of Child and Family Services to support six more beds for children that need a high level of care — including those suffering mental health problems due to the pandemic.

California says health care workers must get booster shots
By The Associated Press

California will require health care workers to have coronavirus booster shots to ensure hospitals are prepared for a surge in cases as the more-transmissible omicron variant spreads. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the move Tuesday and plans to provide more details Wednesday.

COVID-related hospitalizations have been rising slowly in California, although it’s faring better than many other states. Early studies say a booster shot offers the best chance at preventing infection but even without an extra dose, vaccination should offer strong protection against serious illness. Some 70% of Californians have been fully vaccinated but that still leaves roughly 12 million people who haven’t been.

Biden administration moves to expand solar power on US land
By The Associated Press

U.S. officials have approved two solar projects in California and are opening public lands in other Western states to potential solar development. The moves are part of the Biden administration’s effort to counter climate change by shifting from fossil fuels.

The company proposing the projects east of Los Angeles say combined they would generate enough power for about 132,000 homes. Also Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management published a call to nominate land for development within “solar energy zones” in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Democratic President Joe Biden’s promotion of renewable wind and solar power marks a shift from Republican President Donald Trump’s emphasis on coal, oil and gas.

Census data shows surge in population across region
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Idaho was the fastest-growing state in the nation between April of 2020 and July of 2021, where the population there rose by nearly 3%. Utah, Montana, Arizona and Nevada weren’t far behind; they all cracked the top ten list for fastest-growing states.

Even Wyoming, which has long struggled with population declines, added nearly 2,000 new residents according to census estimates.

But this boom comes as the West struggles with growing water shortages and an affordable housing crisis. Some towns have seen median home prices jump by more than one-third over the past year, including Missoula, Mont. During a meeting about housing affordability there this month, County Commissioner Josh Slotnick said his town was booming because of all the open spaces and outdoor recreation opportunities.

“These places make living here wonderful. And the reason why we’re in this crisis, I believe, is because so many people want to live here,” Slotnick said.

All in all, the region added about 351,000 new residents since April 2020, with about 39,000 new residents added in Nevada.

Group wants national monument status for southern Nevada’s Spirit Mountain
By Gustavo Sagrero

There’s an effort underway for Spirit Mountain, also known as Avi Kwa Ame, to become a national monument. The group called Honor Spirit Mountain said Avi Kwa Ame is central to the creation stories of Indigenous communities. They’re hoping to build off of the momentum Biden created with his Protect America the Beautiful initiative.

Currently, the mountain is listed on the national register of historic places. A national monument declaration would work to further protect the region from development or any other disruption to the historical and ecological significance.

Nevada basketball game canceled due to COVID-19 protocols
By Gustavo Sagrero

Tuesday’s scheduled basketball game between the Nevada Wolf Pack and Grand Canyon University was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols followed by GCU.

Many college basketball games nationwide have been canceled over the past few days, due to COVID-19 concerns.

GCU ranks amongst the highest in the Western Athletic league with a record of 10-2 and is still slated to play Chicago State on Dec. 30. UNR’s next game is against San Jose State on Dec. 29.

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