Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: April 29 Through May 5

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Tuesday, May 5

8:18 p.m. | May 5, 2020
By Danna O'Connor

Washoe County Human Services Agency Contractor Tests Positive For COVID-19

A contractor with the Washoe County Human Services Agency working at The Kids Kottage shelter has tested positive for COVID-19.

The worker began experiencing symptoms over the weekend. He has not worked at the shelter since Thursday. He remained at home during the testing process.

The Kids Kottage Shelter provides temporary care for Washoe County's abused and neglected children.

No children or staff have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 at this time.

The Washoe County Health District is investigating the case.

Lakeside Health And Wellness Deaths Climb To 19

The number of novel coronavirus-related deaths at Lakeside Health and Wellness continue to climb.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the skilled nursing facility in South Reno has 86 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday.

The death toll includes 18 residents and one staff member. Forty-seven people have recovered.

The number of people who have died at Lakeside accounts for more than half the deaths in Washoe County.

On Monday, the state reported a total of 716 positive cases found in long-term care facilities. Fifty-seven people have died, including 55 residents and two staff members.

Health Officials Warn Against Cinco De Mayo Celebrations
By The Associated Press

Nevada health officials are reporting nearly 5,600 COVID-19 cases in the state and at least 267 deaths from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, health officials urged residents to avoid celebrating Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday with people outside their own household.
 

Officials fear gatherings will cause another spike in COVID-19 cases such as one they believe resulted from gatherings to celebrate Easter in April. Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick urged residents to be especially vigilant in practicing social distancing and to forgo family gatherings and traditional celebrations of the holiday.
 

In Washoe County, public health officials reported a total of 35 deaths and more than 1,000 positive cases Tuesday.

Fourth Of July Events Canceled Around Much Of Lake Tahoe

Truckee and North Lake Tahoe officials have canceled the annual Fourth of July fireworks shows in Donner Lake, Truckee and the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports, canceled events include the Fourth of July parade and the Firecracker Mile in Truckee.

Concerts at Commons Beach in Tahoe City and at Kings Beach will also be canceled through the Fourth of July.

Uncertainty around California's timeline to allow large public gatherings contributed to the decision.

The Incline Village/Crystal Bay Firework coalition last month canceled its July 4 fireworks show.

Sparks and South Lake Tahoe have not yet made an announcement regarding their events.

Casino Employees Demand Safety Protocols For Returning To Work
By The Associated Press

Casino workers across the country want their employers to provide them with protective equipment and adopt tough new cleaning and social distancing policies before the gambling halls reopen during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
 

Union leaders and workers from casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi, Tuesday called for all casino workers to be tested at the casinos' expense before returning to their jobs.
 

They laid out detailed health and safety protocols unique to each worker's job, including measures to protect not only dealers and cocktail servers, but also room cleaners and kitchen and laundry workers.
 

The American Gaming Association said it was studying the requests.

Nevada Dems Drop Fight Against Mail-in Primary
By The Associated Press

Democrats have dropped their effort to block the state's mail-in primary election on June 9.
 

Tuesday's move comes after Clark County agreed to provide more in-person polling places in Las Vegas.
 

Election officials also agreed to other changes intended to protect the rights of elderly and disadvantaged voters.
 

Lawyers for Nevada's Democratic Party were scheduled to argue in state court in Carson City for an injunction expanding the number of in-person polling places and mandating mailing of ballots to all registered voters.
 

The primary is scheduled to be conducted almost entirely by mail to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

California Governor Scolds Yuba, Sutter Counties
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has scolded two rural counties for allowing some businesses to reopen in defiance of his statewide coronavirus restrictions.
 

Yuba and Sutter counties allowed restaurants, hair salons and many other businesses to reopen Monday if they enforce physical distancing and other precautions.
 

Newsom said Tuesday that the counties' decision is a big mistake and putting the public at risk.
 

A Sutter County supervisor said he was irritated by Newsom's comments. He said the counties are following the guidance of their public health officer.
 

Newsom plans to modify the state's stay-at-home order later this week.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Monday, May 4

7:29 p.m. | May 4, 2020

UNR Developing Plans To Reopen Campus For Summer And Fall
By Stephanie Serrano

The Nevada System of Higher Education is working on different reopening models that include returning to some form of in-person instruction, campus housing and athletic events after July 1.

In a hybrid approach, officials said students could experience a mix of remote and in-person lessons. Other safety measures include reducing class sizes and using masks on campus.

As for athletics, the university is working with the Mountain West Conference for guidance.

NSHE institutions are also evaluating risk mitigation options for residential housing and dining.

As a note of disclosure, the license to KUNR is owned by the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

COVID-19 Impacts On Wildfire Season
By Stephanie Serrano

The Regional Information Center’s Adam Mayberry wants to remind community members that May is wildfire preparation month. He is urging residents to avoid activities that could start an outdoor fire, like target shooting and off-roading.

Mayberry said the COVID-19 pandemic could raise some challenges if a wildfire were to cause evacuations and require emergency shelters.

El Dorado County To Expand Community COVID-19 Testing
By Stephanie Serrano

Residents in El Dorado County may schedule an appointment to be tested for COVID-19.

According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, testing will take place in South Lake Tahoe and Shingle Springs for the next two months.

The testing sites are being opened after California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to add more than 80 sites focused on underserved communities. Each site has the capacity to test 123 people each day.

For those interested in scheduling an appointment to be tested for the virus, visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123.

California Hospital Facing Financial Barriers Due To COVID-19
By The Associated Press

California hospitals say they have suffered as much as $14 billion in losses by postponing elective surgeries and other procedures to clear space in anticipation of a flood of coronavirus patients that never occurred.
 

The California Hospital Association on Monday asked state lawmakers to immediately approve $1 billion in financial aid.
 

The request came as California expects to exhaust its record budget reserves and cut programs to pay for its extraordinary response to the pandemic.
 

The head of the California Medical Association says medical practices have lost more than half their revenue, and says many as 15% of practices could close their doors.

California To Move Forward With Reopening Phase Two
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state will move into the second phase of his reopening plan as early as Friday, allowing lower-risk workplaces to resume operations with modifications to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
 

The plan outlined on Monday includes a range of retailers that would be permitted to reopen, including clothing stores, sporting goods and florists.
 

It did not immediately include dine-in eating at restaurants and reopening of offices, which were in previously stated phase two plans.
 

Newsom says a key consideration for entering phase two is the ability for health authorities to test and conduct contact tracing of infections.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Sunday, May 3

8:22 p.m. | May 3, 2020

By Michelle Billman 

Washoe Co. Reports 28 New Cases Sunday

The Regional Information Center is reporting 28 new positive COVID-19 cases in Washoe County Sunday and 19 additional recoveries. The number of total cases in Washoe is approaching 1,000 and the death toll remains at 33. 

Roughly 50 people are hospitalized and roughly 70 have been released from the hospital. More than 550 cases are still active. 

In the Quad County region, one new positive case was reported Sunday in Lyon County. That region covers Carson City, along with Lyon, Douglas and Storey Counties, where there have been a total of just over 100 cases and one death from the illness.

Statewide, more than 260 people have died from COVID-19 and more than 5,400 people have tested positive.

New Project Provides Virtual Gathering Space For Aging Adults

A new initiative called The Hello Project is creating a virtual community gathering place twice a week specifically to help aging adults cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renown Health, the Washoe County Health District and Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities are partnering together to engage with aging adults online in order to discuss information with experts or to connect them with others. The goal is to foster social connections during a time of physical isolation.

The project was initially started before the pandemic to address the suicide rate in Washoe County, which is nearly four times the national average for people 85 and older. Also, the rate of death due to suicide among those aged 65 to 84 years in Washoe County is more than double the national average.

Former Head Epidemiologist In Washoe Co. Lambasts District Health Officer During Pandemic

The former head of epidemiology for the Washoe County Health District wrote a scathing letter to the state Board of Health over the weekend expressing his concerns about the top leader of the health district. In that letter, Dr. Randall Todd said that the District Health Officer Kevin Dick is unqualified for his position and that he has not been transparent with the media about public health data during the pandemic.

Todd said he was forced by Dick to resign during a private meeting in April and his last day will be this week. The letter did not provide further details on why Todd was told to resign. 

Dick shared a statement with various local media outlets, including the Reno Gazette Journal, saying that he “must make decisions based on what is best for our community and the organization.” He declined to provide any details about why he asked Todd to resign. Dick’s statement did refer to his own 34 years of experience in public health.

Todd’s letter states that Dick does not have the education or experience to serve in his current role effectively, though Dick does meet the minimum requirements of the job, according to the RGJ. Todd told the paper that even as the head of epidemiology, he has been excluded from some discussions related to the pandemic response for weeks now. Todd also mentioned he is entertaining the possibility of retaining legal counsel to prevent Dick from smearing his professional reputation. 

In multiple press conferences, Dick did not provide immediate answers to some questions related to COVID-19 data. He did state in a recent press conference that it will be difficult to fill the position for the head of epidemiology during the pandemic. 

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Saturday, May 2

6:33 p.m. | May 2, 2020

By Michelle Billman 

28 New Cases Reported Saturday In Washoe Co., Six in Quad Counties

The Regional Information Center is reporting 28 additional COVID-19 cases Saturday, along with 20 new recoveries. There have been 33 deaths from the illness in the county and 48 people are hospitalized now. The total number of cases in Washoe County is 949.

As of April 30, Washoe County is reporting that short-term, acute-care hospital beds are at 57 percent capacity, 49 percent of intensive Care Unit beds are occupied, and more than 1/5 of ventilators are in use. Nearly 10,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the county.

The Quad County area is reporting six new positive cases and three additional recoveries. Four of those new cases are in Lyon County, one is in Douglas County, and one is in Carson City. The total number of cases in that region is 102, with 48 active cases and one death. 

An online dashboard updated by the state of Nevada reports that statewide, 257 Nevadans have died from the illness and more than 5,300 have tested positive.

Nevada Unemployment Benefits Being Extended

The Associated Press

Unemployment benefits are being extended for a second 13 weeks in Nevada, where a wave of workers idled by casino and business closures in response to the coronavirus outbreak has spiked the state jobless figure to almost 20%. 

The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said Friday extended benefits provide 13 additional weeks of payments to people who exhaust regular state unemployment and pandemic emergency benefits. 

The total number of idled workers filing for benefits since shutdowns began is about 390,000, or more than one in four workers who had  jobs in Nevada in February.

Some Nevadans Continue Protesting, Demanding Nevada Reopen

Nevadans from across the state protested at the governor's mansion in Carson City Saturday, demanding that Governor Steve Sisolak reopen Nevada for all businesses.

KRNV-TV is reporting that the protest was organized by a group called Operation Nevada, which also organized two other similar protests last month. 

On Thursday, Sisolak announced his plan to extend the stay-at-home order through May 15. Sisolak said he wants to see a downward trend of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for two straight weeks before starting to reopen the state’s economy.

Renown Health Will Resume Some Surgeries 

Renown Health in Reno will resume medically necessary surgeries starting May 11. The hospital is following instructions from Governor Steve Sisolak and the state Medical Advisory Team to adopt a phased-in approach to resume limited medical and surgical procedures. 

Procedures classified as "elective-optional" have been postponed since mid-March to preserve critical resources and slow the spread of COVID-19. Renown officials explained in a press release that they can resume some services due to the flattening of the COVID-19 surge curve and the low transmission rate in the community. They added that many patients have had to put their care plans on hold, which can impact quality of life. 

In order to start these procedures again, Renown is requiring that all team members and patients entering its facilities be screened for COVID-19, wear a cloth mask, and abide by tightened visitor restrictions, along with additional prevention measures, such as the use of personal protective equipment by healthcare workers and extra disinfection in high-traffic areas. 

New Nevada Education Committee Developing Reopening Plan For Schools

The Associated Press

A newly formed state Department of Education committee has been tasked with helping develop a plan and guidelines for Nevada's school districts and charter schools to reopen for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

State Superintendent Jhone Ebert said the committee includes health officials, school district superintendents and safety experts. Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada schools in March to close because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Sisolak has directed that schools continue operations during the current school year by providing distance learning to students. Ebert said that raises challenges including access to technology, teacher training and quality instructional materials.

 

Pool, Spa Reopening Timeline Remains Unknown

The Washoe County Health District will not be opening pools or spas until further notice. The district will also not be scheduling inspections. Once Governor Steve Sisolak lifts the ban on pools and spas caused by COVID-19, the district will provide guidance on opening. It's not clear yet if pools will open this summer, according to district officials, who say it'll depend on the governor's directive being lifted. 

The Board of Health has approved deferment of fees up to 60 days after the directive that non-essential business is lifted, though the board has not decided to waive permit fees for 2020 at this time. 

 

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Friday, May 1

7:32 p.m. | May 1, 2020

Washoe County Reports Three COVID-19-Related Deaths On Friday
By Bree Zender

Washoe County health officials reported a spike in the number of reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, along with three deaths related to the disease.

Of those who died included a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions, a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions, and a woman in her 60s, whose case is being looked into to see if she had any underlying conditions.

In addition, data released today by the county breaks down workplaces of those who are have tested positive:

  • Casino/Hospitality: 11
  • Construction: 44
  • Food/Beverage: 13
  • Healthcare: 133
  • Other: 382
  • Unemployed: 98
  • Retired: 46
  • Warehouse/Manufacturing: 68

County officials note it's not certain that any of these individuals contracted the virus while on the job.

In the Quad Counties, health officials reported four new COVID-19 cases and four additional recoveries Friday. Of the four new cases, two are in Carson City, one is in Douglas County, and one is in Lyon County. The total number of cases in that region is now 96, with one death and 50 recoveries. Forty-five cases are still active. The Quad Counties include Carson City, along with Storey, Lyon and Douglas Counties.

Anyone Who Goes Out In Public In Mono County Must Cover Their Faces
By Bree Zender

Everyone who goes out in public in Mono County will now be required to wear a face covering.

County health officials said in a release Friday afternoon that as California begins reopening bit by bit, face coverings, along with social distancing and frequent handwashing, will be able to help prevent the spread of infection while returning to a somewhat normal life.

In Washoe County, health officials said they are not currently ordering face coverings. However, discussions are happening surrounding the subject within the City of Reno, according to Mayor Hillary Schieve.

“You have to be careful because you don’t want people running out there and buying the N95 masks that our front line so desperately needs,” Schieve said. “So you have to message it really carefully.”

Nationwide, health care workers are facing a shortage of N95 masks, which provides protection against airborne particles. At the moment in Reno, face coverings are "strongly encouraged."

4:21 p.m. | May 1, 2020

Washoe County Reported 48 More COVID-19 Cases — Its Highest Jump Yet
By Bree Zender

Washoe County has reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, marking the county’s highest jump in its number of cases.

According to county health officials, the jump isn’t because of an increase in testing, as there have actually been fewer tests administered.

Washoe County Senior Epidemiologist Heather Kerwin said many of these cases were a result of Easter family gatherings and have only recently been tested. The disease can feel like allergies or a cold for a week, Kerwin said, and then it can worsen the following week.

Health officials told reporters at a virtual press conference Friday that despite easing of restrictions, county residents need to remain vigilant in social distancing and wearing face coverings.

At a grocery store Kerwin visited this week, “Very few people were wearing masks,” she said. “People who refuse to wear a mask or just don’t wear a mask in public, it’s a proxy for how seriously or not seriously people are taking this.”

County Health Officer Kevin Dick agreed. “Now is not the time to relax,” Dick said.

The county reported two additional deaths on Friday due to the effects of COVID-19. They include a woman in her 60s, who may or may not have had underlying health conditions, and a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions. This brings the total number of known COVID-19-related deaths in the county to 32.

Eleven additional people have recovered in the county, and 48 remain hospitalized. 546 cases remain active.

Statewide Death Toll In Nevada Slows
By The Associated Press

The number of people in Nevada who have tested positive for the coronavirus topped 5,200 as state officials reported 245 deaths from the pandemic.
 

Officials reported Friday that almost 44,000 people have been tested statewide and the number of new deaths has slowed.
 

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday announced he may allow the reopening in mid-May of many businesses deemed non-essential, and more outdoor spaces. But the governor says bars, casinos and shopping malls would likely stay shuttered.
 

Sisolak says he'll move into a first phase of reopening the state economy after data shows 14 days of declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Thursday, April 30

8:28 p.m. | April 30, 2020
By Noah Glick

Sisolak Turns To Counties For Input On Reopening Nevada Economy

Nev. Gov. Steve Sisolak says the state is planning for its first phase of reopening its shuttered economy. But, there are some checkpoints he wants to see the state meet first.

In a press conference Thursday, Sisolak said he wants to see a few things before being able to enter Phase 1 of reopening the state’s commercial and recreation sectors.

“First, consistent and sustainable downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and a decrease in the trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations over a 14-day period,” Sisolak said.

In addition, Sisolak said he wants to make sure hospitals won’t be overloaded, there’s more testing capacity and added protections for vulnerable populations.

He also announced the formation of a committee that will help counties come up with individual plans for how to tackle any potential surges of COVID-19. His office will be taking input from this group to inform future directives as well.

The state’s stay-at-home order will be in place through May 15. Sisolak says more businesses could open before then, as long as Nevadans continue social distancing practices.

One-Quarter Of Nevada’s Workforce Unemployed

Nevada’s job market has so far been one of the hardest hit in the country. And according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, the state now has 25% of its workforce unemployed.

That’s a 1,852% change from pre-virus levels.

The report suggests that millions more are out of work and just haven't been able to submit claims to overburdened unemployment systems.

Nevada is one of just six states with unemployment reaching at least 25% of the workforce. For the week ending April 25, 393,061 Nevadans have submitted initial claims for unemployment.

Sen. Cortez Masto Calls For Expanded ACA Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
By Bree Zender

As Congress works to piece together another stimulus bill in response to health and economic concerns stemming from the spread of the novel coronavirus, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is pushing for an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

At a Facebook town hall Thursday with the progressive group, Battle Born Progress, Cortez Masto said immigrants should be included in this next package, especially when it comes to health care.

“There’s a lot of people in our community right now who don’t have health care. And if we can expand the Affordable Care Act and give them more opportunities to get that health care and help them with the subsidies we should be doing that,” Cortez Masto said.

This comes hours after her staff announced the senator’s endorsement of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden. Cortez Masto has been listed by several news organizations as a possible vice presidential pick for a Biden ticket.

California Beaches, State Parks To Close Friday
By The Associated Press

A memo sent to California police chiefs says Gov. Gavin Newsom will order all beaches and state parks closed starting Friday to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The California Police Chiefs Association sent the bulletin to its members Wednesday evening. Association President Eric Nunez said it was sent to give chiefs time to plan ahead of Newsom's expected announcement Thursday.

Most state parks already are closed and many communities have shut their beaches. But some of those open in Ventura and Orange counties attracted large crowds last weekend, drawing Newsom's ire. He called them an example of "what not to do" if the state wants to continue its progress in fighting the virus.

Rural California County Bucks Newsom’s Stay-Home Orders
By The Associated Press

Rural Modoc County in the far northeastern part of Northern California plans to reopen schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county's only movie theater on Friday. It would be the first in California to ease out of stay-home orders mandated by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

County Supervisor Ned Coe says the county across the border from Oregon has zero confirmed COVID-19 cases. He said the plan asks businesses to make sure customers remain six feet apart. It also requires residents who are 65 or older or have underlying health conditions to continue to stay home.

‘Quad Counties’ Region Continues Downward Trajectory of COVID-19 Cases

Officials from the Quad-County Emergency Operations Center are reporting two new positive COVID-19 cases, but five new recoveries. That’s the second day in a row where new recoveries outnumber new cases and deaths.

The latest numbers for the Quad County area:

  • Carson City: 45 total cases; 22 active cases; 22 recoveries; 1 death
  • Douglas County: 19 total cases; 7 active cases; 12 recoveries; 0 deaths
  • Lyon County: 28 total cases; 16 active cases; 12 recoveries; 0 deaths
  • Storey County: 0 total cases; 0 active cases; 0 recoveries; 0 deaths

2:49 p.m. | April 30, 2020
By Noah Glick

Nevada’s Stay-At-Home Order Extended Through May 15

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he’ll lift some COVID-19-related restrictions starting Friday, but the state’s stay-at-home directive isn’t one of them.

Sisolak announced Wednesday he is extending the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15, requiring people to stay at home, except for essential needs. The order bars any gatherings of ten or more people and any in-person dining.

“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to extend the stay-at-home order a little bit, because we just have not reached exactly where we want to get on the downward trajectory,” Sisolak said in an appearance on ABC News on Wednesday.

Sisolak has said he wants to see a downward trend of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for two straight weeks before starting to reopen the state’s economy.

25 New COVID-19 Cases in Washoe County, 11 New Recoveries

Washoe County is seeing a bit of a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases.

Officials are reporting 25 new cases of the virus in Washoe County, with 11 new recoveries. There are currently a total of 511 active cases in the county, down slightly from its peak of 520 on April 25.

Countywide, there have been 873 total cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths.

Across the state, 4,998 Nevadans have contracted the virus, and 237 people have died.

‘Quad Counties’ See Downward Trend In COVID-19 Cases

The Quad Counties region, which spans across Carson City, as well as Douglas, Lyon and Storey Counties, announced three new recoveries from COVID-19 and no new cases.

That represents a “dropping of the curve,” as the number of new recoveries exceeds the number of new cases and new deaths.

The latest ‘Quad Counties’ numbers are below:

  • Carson City: 37 total cases; 20 active cases; 16 recoveries; 1 death
  • Douglas County: 19 total cases; 9 active cases; 10 recoveries; 0 deaths
  • Lyon County: 26 total cases; 21 active cases; 5 recoveries; 0 deaths
  • Storey County: 0 total cases; 0 active cases; 0 recoveries; 0 deaths

Reno Fire Department Urges Caution Ahead Of Wildfire Season

As more people head to public lands to get outside during the COVID-19 pandemic, fire officials are urging residents to do their part to prevent wildfires.

The Reno Fire Department and regional fire partners are urging residents to do their part to prevent human-caused fires on public lands, as firefighters are being used more to keep Nevadans safe during the pandemic.

“It takes a team effort to battle wildfires, and we want everyone to be a part of this team,” Reno Fire Marshal Tray Palmer said in a statement.

Officials are asking residents to follow the following tips to help prevent wildfires on public lands:

  • More people may be recreating on public lands during this time of social distancing. Be aware of local public safety area closures, and be careful with anything that could start a fire.
  • Maintain your mechanical equipment. Many human-caused wildfires occur near roadways, posing considerable public safety threats. Carry a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
  • If towing a boat or trailer, ensure your safety chains are properly secure and not dragging on the ground.
  • Never park your vehicle over dead and drying vegetation and avoid driving through tall grass. Your vehicle can ignite the fuels and start a fire.
  • When camping on public lands, check to make sure campfires are allowed. Never leave your campfire unattended, and avoid burning trash which can produce uncontrollable embers. Ensure your campfire is out before leaving or turning in for the night. If your campfire is hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
  • If target shooting, make sure it is allowed where you plan on shooting. Currently target shooting is not allowed within the City of Reno limits unless at an approved range. Exploding targets and tracer ammunition are prohibited for use on all public lands in Washoe County.

Douglas County Commissioners To Governor Sisolak: Open Up Nevada, Cautiously

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners delivered a note to Steve Sisolak’s capital office in Carson City, urging him to stick with his original goal of reopening Nevada Friday.

Douglas County Commissioners deliver their letter to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Carson City office.
Credit Douglas County

“The economic impact of your directives are devastating the economy of Douglas County along with the rest of Nevada. According to your Office of Economic Development, between 21.5% and 24.1% of Douglas County businesses are closed,” the letter states.

Sisolak has since extended his stay-at-home order through May 15.

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Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Wednesday, April 29

7:17 p.m. | April 29, 2020

Novel Coronavirus Recoveries Outpace New Cases In Washoe County
By Paul Boger

Health officials are reporting a man in his 70's is the latest COVID-19-related death in Washoe County, pushing the area's total to 30.

So far, 848 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state's second-most populated county. That's 14 more than the day before.

At the same time, the number of recoveries also continues to climb.

The Regional Information Center said more than 20 people have recovered from the disease since Tuesday, dropping the number of active cases to 497.

That's the third straight day recoveries have outpaced new cases.

Officially, nearly 4,900 people have tested positive for the virus stateside and 230 people have died.

Washoe County May Have Past Peak Of COVID-19 Cases, But Still Under Threat
By Paul Boger

Washoe County Health officials said they're ramping up novel coronavirus testing efforts, even as the peak of local COVID-19 cases has likely already passed.

Data released by the Washoe County Health District shows the average daily number of COVID-19 cases likely peaked around April 15 and for the past several days, recoveries have outpaced new cases of the disease.

But Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick warns the area isn't out of danger yet.

“The top of that curve is really kind of the 50-yard line for us as we’re working to get back down on the other side," he said during a press call Wednesday.

Dick said the district is also working to significantly increase its testing capacity, including plans to begin performing up to 1,800 tests a day.

The county will also begin to expand testing to individuals in long-term care facilities, other health care facilities, first responders and other vulnerable populations, even if they don't show symptoms of COVID-19.

Sisolak To Extend Stay-At-Home Order, To Unveil Reopening Plan Thursday
By Noah Glick

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said casinos likely won’t open right away, as the state begins to reopen its economy.

In an appearance with ABC News, Sisolak defended his decision to keep gaming establishments closed for public safety during the pandemic. This comes as Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has been advocating for reopening the Strip.

“It’s not something as simple as flipping a switch and suddenly everybody’s going to come back to Las Vegas,” Sisolak said. “We’ve got to work on the travel part of this, that’s one of the reasons we joined with the other states, getting people to come here.”

Nevada and Colorado joined the Western States Pact, a regional effort to reopen state economies, on Monday.

Sisolak said Nevada’s stay-at-home order will extend, although he didn’t say for how long.

Sisolak is scheduled to address the state Thursday night when he will present a roadmap to reopening Nevada’s economy.

GOP Lawmakers Urge Sisolak To Reopen
By Paul Boger

Nevada Assembly Republicans are calling on Governor Steve Sisolak to begin taking steps to reopen the state's economy.

In a letter to Sisolak Wednesday, members of the Assembly Republican Caucus argued the state can find a way to protect the health and safety of residents while reopening the economy in a substantial way.

Republican lawmakers warned that many businesses are at risk of closing permanently if steps are not taken to safely and systematically re-open all businesses.

The letter also requested that Sisolak temporarily transfer state employees to help file unemployment claims and restructure the state's reopening task force by adding a bipartisan group of lawmakers, health care officials and business leaders.

Sisolak is expected to announce his “roadmap to recovery” plan Thursday.

Sisolak Loosens Restrictions On Elective Medical Procedures
By The Associated Press

Doctors and dentists in Nevada may soon resume medical and dental procedures that are considered necessary but were delayed because of the coronavirus.
 

Governor Steve Sisolak announced in a statement released this week that the Nevada Hospital Association can once again phase-in procedures.
 

Speaking during a press call, Washoe District Health Officer Kevin Dick told reporters hospitals can perform the elective procedures “as long as they're managing that situation and working with us to be able to change course if we have any increase that we're seeing that causes concerns about hospital capacity in the future,” he said.
 

Sisolak's office said the state Department of Health and Human Services will release a memo to dentists describing a way to phase in dental services that help with acute infections or the progression of chronic disease.

Nevada Casinos Have Worst Month In 22 Years
By The Associated Press

Casinos in Nevada brought in roughly $618 million in March, a drop of almost 40 percent from the year before.
 

The mid-March closure of casinos statewide had the predictable effect of halting a three-month streak of house winnings in excess of $1 billion. That cost the state about half its usual amount in gaming taxes, regulators reported Wednesday.
 

All of that combines to make March the worst month for Nevada casinos in 22 years. April's figures are expected to be much lower with gambling halls shut down the entire month.

California Food Program Quickly Running Out Of Money
By The Associated Press

A California program meant to deliver meals to vulnerable seniors during the pandemic may already be out of money.
 

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a first-in-the-nation plan to use taxpayer money to pay restaurants to assemble healthy meals for seniors. But government documents show money needed to support it could run out in less than two weeks.
 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will only fund the program through May 10 unless the state is granted an extension. It isn't clear how many cities and counties would be delivering meals by the time the funds dry up.
 

The state will review the program before deciding whether to seek an extension, but one state agency says there is no guarantee the extension will come through.

Get Caught Up:

  • April 28 | Regional Updates
    • Statewide Death Toll Is Now 225, Washoe Co. Death Toll Is 29
    • Nevada Doctors, Dentists May Resume Necessary Procedures
    • Nevada Employment Director Resigns
    • California Gov. Considers Reopening Strategy
    • Casinos Plan Reopening Strategies

For continued updates on the novel coronavirus in Nevada, visit our updates and resources page.