KUNR Today: Washoe Co. COVID-19 Test Positivity Nears 20%, UNR Reports First Case Of Fall Semester | KUNR

KUNR Today: Washoe Co. COVID-19 Test Positivity Nears 20%, UNR Reports First Case Of Fall Semester

Aug 26, 2021

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

UNR Reports First Confirmed COVID-19 Case Since Fall Semester Started
By Noah Glick

The University of Nevada, Reno has announced its first positive case of COVID-19 since the fall semester started Monday.

Last week, 64 students, faculty and staff tested positive for COVID-19, and the student health center saw a 7.1% test positivity rate, according to the university’s own data. In May of 2020, the World Health Organization recommended a test positivity rate of 5% for at least two weeks before reopening.

Masks are required on campus in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. Students who wish to enroll in classes in the spring semester must have proof of vaccination, but the more than 20,000 people on campus now are not required to be vaccinated.

As a note of disclosure, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents owns the license to this station.

Washoe County’s COVID-19 Test Positivity Rate At Highest Level Since December
By Paul Boger

The latest data from the state shows that, on average, 19.8% of all coronavirus tests performed over the last two weeks in Washoe County have come back positive. Test positivity is used to measure the spread of the coronavirus in a community.

Dr. Reka Danko, who is with the Washoe County Health District, said hospital wards are becoming overrun with COVID-19 patients, such as they were a year ago.

“Except the difference now [is] we do have a vaccine option, but the patients that are in the hospital are predominately, and I would say approaching 100%, unvaccinated status,” Danko said.

In Washoe County, roughly 60% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, which is the second-highest rate in the state behind Carson City.

View the state and Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards, or learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada.

Elko Hospital Pleads For Vaccinations In Open Letter
By KUNR Staff

Hospital officials in northeastern Nevada are pleading with residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as cases in the area continue to climb.

Administrators and nursing staff at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital made the request in an open letter published in the Elko Daily Free Press Tuesday. It states that increased COVID-19 hospitalizations have put an unsustainable strain on the 75-bed hospital.

The letter goes on to say most of the people admitted in recent weeks are under the age of 50, and all of them are unvaccinated.

According to state data, Elko County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Nevada, with less than a third of eligible residents fully vaccinated.

Nevada Rejects $26B Multistate Opioid Pact, To Seek Own Deal
By The Associated Press

Nevada has joined a small number of states rejecting a $26 billion multistate settlement reached last month with an opioid drug maker and distributors, and will seek separate compensation for what state Attorney General Aaron Ford calls the tragedy of the opioid crisis.
 

Most states have signed on to the deal. But Ford characterized the $282 million that Nevada would receive from three U.S. drug distribution companies and drug maker Johnson & Johnson as inadequate for local jurisdictions to address the damage done. He reported that the 484 opioid-related deaths in Nevada in 2020 represented a 40% increase from 2019.

U.S. Department Of Justice Orders Review Of Nevada Judges Immigration Ruling
By Paul Boger

The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing a decision by a federal judge in Nevada, which declares a section of U.S. immigration law unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Reno-based District Court Judge Miranda Du decided last week that the law making it a felony to re-enter the United States following deportation violates the Constitution’s equal rights protections.

In her ruling, she argues the law was originally designed to stop immigration from Mexico nearly a century ago. The Justice Department’s review will help determine whether it will appeal Du’s decision to the 9th Circuit.

While other federal courts have ruled on aspects of the law, no other judge has found it unconstitutional. The plaintiff in the Nevada case, Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez, was indicted in 2019 under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and was deported twice before.

Washoe County Commission Gives Approval For New Development
By Paul Boger

The Washoe County Commission has given tentative approval for a new subdivision in the Red Rock area, north of Reno.

Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a planning map submitted by Lifestyle Homes for phase one of its “Silver Hills” community. The first phase would include the construction of more than 350 homes.

In July, planning commissioners denied the company’s map over concerns that it does not comply with the county’s master plan; however, that ruling was overturned. Developers estimate the subdivision would contain as many as 1,700 homes when fully built.

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Expansion Blocked By Appeals Court
By The Associated Press

A California appeals court has blocked the expansion of Lake Tahoe’s famed Squaw Valley ski resort. A three-justice panel says the plan fails to adequately address potential harm to air and water quality, as well as increased noise levels and traffic in the area.
 

It granted parts of two appeals brought by Sierra Watch on Tuesday over the planned development at the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It reversed a state judge’s 2018 ruling and ordered the lower court to issue a new ruling specifying additional actions the resort must take to ensure the expansion complies with the California Environmental Quality Act.