Gov. Sisolak's Long-Term COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy

Aug 4, 2020

Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced that Nevada is entering a long-term COVID-19 mitigation strategy, instead of a phased approach. It will allow for individual counties to assess high-risk businesses and come up with a plan to address outbreaks.

During a press conference Monday, Sisolak said the goal is to place tighter restrictions only on high-risk areas. The statewide shutdown of businesses, like casinos, led to nearly a $1.2 billion budget deficit, something Sisolak wants to avoid running into again. 

"Shutting down public and economic activity throughout the state is not sustainable in the long-term," Sisolak said. "Hundreds of thousands of Nevadans lost their jobs. Businesses suffered and our fragile economy took a massive hit leading to negative impacts, felt from the state's budget all the way down to household budgets throughout Nevada."

For the mitigation strategy, counties will be required to meet three criteria each week. Every county needs to test more than 150 per 100,000 people in the county. Additionally, the case rate must be less than 200 per 100,000 people. The case rate is the number of positive cases reported over 30 days divided by the population of the county.

Lastly, counties must have a case rate lower than 50 per 100,000 people over a 14 day period, and the test positivity rate, or the percentage of people who test positive out of everyone tested, must be lower than 7 percent.

If counties don’t meet two of the criteria, they’re considered an elevated risk for the spread of COVID-19 and must undergo an assessment with the state.

COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage during a press conference with Governor Steve Sisolak on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 in the former Assembly chambers inside the Capital in Carson City.
Credit David Calvert / Nevada Independent

During the assessment, the county must determine where the spread is occurring and come up with a plan on how to curb it. The state’s COVID-19 Response Director, Caleb Cage, listed the restrictions that can be placed on counties.

“That may include, in areas of increased spread, lowering capacity across the board, and businesses are potentially returning to phase one recommendations, which may include restricting high-risk businesses to curbside and delivery only services, or further reductions of public gatherings," Cage said.

Sisolak said this targeted approach will allow businesses that are following safety precautions to remain open.

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