Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: July 15-21

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Tuesday, July 21

7:08 p.m. | July 21, 2020

Three New COVID-19 Deaths In Washoe Co.
By Noah Glick

The Regional Incident Command is reporting three new deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday. That brings the total deaths from the virus countywide to 105.

Additionally, 84 more people have recovered, meaning more than 3,000 Washoe Co. residents have now recovered from COVID-19.

A total of 69 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus were reported Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases countywide to 4,242.

Countywide hospital capacity:

  • Short-term acute care beds: 60% occupied
  • Intensive Care Unit beds: 49% occupied
  • Ventilators: 16% in use

Nevada Cases Continue To Rise
By Noah Glick

The number of COVID-19 cases keeps its upward climb in Nevada, with 815 new cases reported Tuesday. The current 7-day average for the state is at 1,130 new cases daily, or 3.4%. On the week ending June 30, the 7-day average was 3.9%.

Nevada’s COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage says that 37,528 Nevadans have tested positive since the pandemic began. During his daily press briefing Tuesday, Cage said 28 more people were reported to have died statewide from the disease, which is the highest single-day total.

“It’s important to note that not all of these deaths occurred in one day. Typically, we see low numbers reported on Sunday and Monday, and an increase on Tuesday to account for this,” he said.

More than 37,500 Nevadans have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began. Nearly 1,100 are currently hospitalized across the state.

Statewide hospital capacity:

  • Hospital beds: 70% occupied
  • Intensive Care Unit beds: 69% occupied
  • Ventilators: 39% in use

Church blasts Nevada's 'litigation tactic' at Supreme Court
By The Associated Press

A rural church trying to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend Nevada’s 50-person cap on worship services is accusing Gov. Steve Sisolak of adding the church’s county to a list of those with elevated cases of COVID-19 as part of a “litigation tactic.”

Cavalry Chapel Dayton Valley east of Reno also argues that Sisolak should no longer be allowed to defend the attendance cap as a “temporary” emergency response.

Cavalry Chapel says the restrictions on churches have spanned nearly four months "with no end in sight.” It says Nevada's more lenient treatment of casinos and other businesses is a constitutional violation of religious freedom.

Vegas Casino Unions Drop MGM From Coronavirus Safety Lawsuit
By The Associated Press

Unions representing 65,000 Las Vegas-area casino workers have dropped two MGM Resorts International properties from a lawsuit accusing companies of skimping on coronavirus protective measures.

A Culinary Union executive called it a victory to drop legal proceedings against the owner of the Bellagio resort and the Signature Condominiums towers and begin “expedited arbitration” over safety requirements.

The union says 22 workers or dependent family members have died from COVID-19. MGM Resorts on Tuesday called the court filing “frivolous.” Culinary and bartenders unions didn't drop claims against Caesars Entertainment, operator of Harrah’s Las Vegas, over measures at a restaurant there.

Quad Counties Report One More COVID-19 Death
By Noah Glick

One more person has died from COVID-19 in the Quad County region that spans Carson City, and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties. The victim was a woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions.

Carson City Health and Human Services is also reporting seven new cases and three recoveries, bringing the total number of cases in the region to 532.

County breakdown:

  • Carson City: 260 total cases; 73 active cases; 180 recoveries; 7 deaths
  • Douglas County: 109 total cases; 31 active cases; 78 recoveries; 0 deaths
  • Lyon County: 161 total cases; 37 active cases; 122 recoveries; 2 deaths
  • Storey County: 2 total cases; 0 active cases; 2 recoveries; 0 deaths

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Monday, July 20

8:12 p.m. | July 20, 2020

Washoe County Records A High Number Of COVID-19 Recoveries
By Stephanie Serrano

The Regional Information Center reported 208 COVID-19 recoveries and 65 new cases in Washoe County. The large jump in recoveries is due to a data clean-up of coronavirus investigations performed by other jurisdictions, including the State of Nevada and Tribal partners.

Currently, there are 1,096 active cases and 2,975 recoveries. The death toll remains 102. Statewide 36,713 people have tested positive since the start of the pandemic with 648 deaths.

Elko And Quad-Counties Report New Cases
By KUNR Staff

Carson City Health and Human Services reported 12 new COVID-19 cases in the Quad-Counties, which stretch across Carson City, along with Storey, Douglas and Lyon counties. There is a total of 138 active cases. The death toll remains at eight.

There will be a drive-thru coronavirus testing site for asymptomatic residents on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Carson High School on a first-come, first-served basis.

In Elko County, health officials reported 34 new positive cases since Friday, along with 50 recoveries.

Judge Rules Nevada Gig Workers Should Get Stopped Benefits
By The Associated Press

A Nevada judge says the state unemployment benefits office has to begin paying pandemic relief benefits to out-of-work gig and independent workers who haven't completely stopped working and were cut off from receiving payments. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the judge in Reno ruled Monday that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments should resume for those people next week.
 

An attorney representing nine plaintiffs said nearly 30,000 people could be affected by the judge's order. They had payments start and then stop — leaving them without the $600 a week Congress promised, plus state payments. Together, those benefits total between $800 and $1,000 a week.

Nevada Creates New Online Tool For Distance Learning
By Stephanie Serrano

The Nevada Department of Education has recently launched a website called the Nevada Digital Learning Collaborative. The site connects educators, students and families with virtual tools to tackle distance learning and teaching. The site offers both virtual instructional materials and professional development amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevada To Invest $30 Million Into Rent Assistance Relief
By Stephanie Serrano

Nevada residents who may be facing evictions due to financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can start applying for rent assistance. The State of Nevada is investing $30 million into a CARES Housing Assistance Program. According to the state, the funds will be directly paid to individual landlords and property managers. Residents applying must meet a list of requirements, including proof of job loss or work hour reductions.

Applications can be submitted here and we’ve got a detailed interview about this new program here.

A New Bill Could Help Nevada Public Libraries
By Stephanie Serrano

Nevada Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is co-sponsoring a bill that would help libraries nationwide recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Library Stabilization Fund Act would provide $2 billion in federal funding for public libraries. Nevada would see $10 million and $45 million would be granted to Native American tribes and Native Hawaiians.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Sunday, July 19

5:28 p.m. | July 19, 2020

Sisolak Delays Second Special Session Citing Health Concerns
By Paul Boger

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said he does not plan to immediately call a second special session to address social and criminal justice reform among other issues.

Sisolak made the announcement in a statement released Sunday afternoon citing concerns over safety in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Sisolak previously said he planned to call a special session to address several issues that he felt “cannot and should not wait until the regularly scheduled 2021 legislative session.” Those issues include social and criminal justice reform as well as shoring up access to the state’s unemployment system and social safety nets.

Sisolak said he will issue the proclamation once he feels lawmakers have done enough leg work to ensure the second session will run in a “thorough, organized and efficient” manner.

Lawmakers have been in Carson City for the better part of the last two weeks in order to address the state’s $1.2 billion budget shortfall. That session was closed to the public as part of an effort to limit the spread of the disease. However, one person did test positive for COVID-19 during the first week.

Active Cases Reach New High In Washoe County
By Noah Glick

After setting a new record high Saturday of active cases of COVID-19, Washoe Co. set another high Sunday.

The Regional Information Center reported 1,239 cases active countywide, after more than 50 new cases were reported Sunday.

County officials also report one more person has died from the virus, a man in his 70s. 102 people in Washoe County have died from COVID-19.

Current Hospital Capacity:

  • Short-Term Acute Care Beds: 75% occupied
  • Intensive Care Unit Beds: 55% occupied
  • Ventilators: 14% in use

Five New Cases, Six New Recoveries Across ‘Quad County’ Region
By Noah Glick

Carson City Health and Human Services reported an additional five new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday, with six new recoveries.

That brings the total number of active cases in the area to 145. Eight people have died in the region that comprises Carson City, and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

County Breakdown:

  • Carson City: 249 total cases, 78 active cases, 165 recoveries, 6 deaths
  • Douglas County: 104 total cases, 31 active cases, 73 recoveries, 0 deaths
  • Lyon County: 158 total cases, 36 active cases, 120 recoveries, 2 deaths
  • Storey County: 2 total cases, 0 active cases, 2 recoveries, 0 deaths

Tests Reveal Coronavirus In Yosemite National Park's Sewage
By The Associated Press

No employee or resident has tested positive at Yosemite National Park's health clinic, and no visitors have reported being sick since the park began reopening last month, but tests of the park's raw sewage have confirmed the presence of the virus.

Dozens of people are believed to have been infected.

The public health officer for Mariposa County, who is overseeing coronavirus testing in the Yosemite area, said the emergence of the coronavirus will not likely lead to policy changes because the park is already following local and state restrictions.

Eric Sergienko, the county’s public health officer, said he believes the confirmed presence of the virus in Yosemite will make people more vigilant.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Saturday, July 18

6:22 p.m. | July 18, 2020

Washoe Co. Sees New High In Active COVID-19 Cases
By Noah Glick

The Regional Information Center reported 1,219 Washoe County residents who are currently positive for the novel coronavirus, marking the highest number of active cases the county has seen since the pandemic began.

But, 46 people also recovered, and county officials said hospitalizations are at the lowest point since June 23.

Overall, 4,054 Washoe County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, after more than 100 confirmed positive tests were reported Saturday. So far, 101 people have died countywide.

Residents interested in getting a test can fill out a risk assessment and schedule an appointment.

Current county hospital capacity:

  • Short-term, acute care beds: 73% occupied
  • Intensive care unit beds: 62% occupied
  • Ventilators: 15% in use

Nine New Deaths, Nearly 1,200 New Cases Of COVID-19 In Nevada
By Noah Glick

34,477 Nevadans have contracted the novel coronavirus, after the state reported more than 1,100 new positive cases Saturday.

State officials also reported an additional nine deaths, bringing the total statewide to 646. According to the COVID-19 tracker from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, that number could grow to more than 700 by next week.

Hispanic residents remain the most impacted by the virus. Latinos make up 35% of confirmed cases statewide, but 29% of the state’s population.

Lake Tahoe Man First COVID-19 Death In El Dorado County
By Noah Glick

El Dorado Co. reported Saturday the first death from COVID-19 in the county.

The victim was a man who was more than 65 years old and lived in the Lake Tahoe region. Officials are not releasing any other information at this time.

In a statement, County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said, “Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends during this very difficult time.”

Minor Uptick In Cases, Recoveries Across ‘Quad County’
By Noah Glick

Carson City Health and Human Services is reporting an additional seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday, with six new recoveries across the “Quad County” area of Carson City, and Douglas, Lyon and Storey Counties.

Currently, 146 cases are active across the region.

County Breakdown:

  • Carson City: 248 total cases; 78 active cases; 164 recoveries; 6 deaths
  • Douglas County: 102 total cases; 32 active cases; 70 recoveries; 0 deaths
  • Lyon County: 156 total cases; 36 active cases; 118 recoveries; 2 deaths
  • Storey County: 2 total cases; 0 active cases; 2 recoveries; 0 deaths

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Friday, July 17

6:52 p.m. | July 17, 2020

Feds Deem Washoe County A 'Yellow Zone' For Coronavirus Infections
By Bree Zender

The White House Task Force documents published Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity said Washoe County is a “Yellow Zone” for coronavirus infection, meaning its COVID-19 test positivity rate is between five and 10 percent.

The county’s Regional Information Center said Friday it plans to “support and implement” the federal recommendations associated with the “yellow zone” classification, which include limiting gatherings to 25 people or fewer and asking residents to limit their public interactions by 50 percent.

The county reported 56 new COVID-19 cases and 51 recoveries Friday.

The death toll remains at 101, and there are currently 1,162 active cases known in the county. In county hospitals, 66 percent of the county's intensive care unit beds are occupied.

Total Number Of Positive Cases In Quad-Counties Surpasses 500
By KUNR Staff

The total number of positive cases in the Quad-Counties has surpassed 500, with seven new cases reported Friday. They include five Carson City residents, one Lyon County resident, and one Douglas County resident. The region also includes Storey County and now has 145 active cases.

Culinary Union Calls For Worker Protections, Says 22 Culinary and Bartenders Union Members Have Died From COVID-19
By Bree Zender

Members of the Culinary Union, which represents casino and hospitality workers in Nevada, are calling upon Governor Steve Sisolak to act in order to better protect workers.

According to a union press release, 22 members of the Culinary and Bartenders Union have died from the effects of COVID-19. The union said 352 members, their spouses and dependents have been hospitalized after contracting the virus.

The union said it would like to see daily cleaning of guest rooms, and mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work, and regular testing while working.

Sisolak’s office did not respond to KUNR’s immediate request for comment.

Nevada’s Record Unemployment Rate Eases By 10 Percent In June
By Bree Zender

After a couple of months of maintaining the highest unemployment rate in the nation, June's data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Nevada saw the biggest decrease in its unemployment numbers in the U.S.

Back in May, Nevada had 25.3 percent unemployment as the state was at the very beginning stages of opening up the economy. The rate dropped by more than 10 to 15 percent unemployment.

In April, Nevada topped the list of states with the highest unemployment rate at just over 30 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

UNR Plans To Host Some Small In-Person Classes In Fall
By Bree Zender

The University of Nevada, Reno submitted plans to the Nevada System of Higher Education Thursday that include a hybrid model of in-person and online models for the fall semester.

Classes of more than 35 students will only be offered online to accommodate for social distancing for in-person classes. The plan explained having larger classrooms available will ease the processes of social distancing. UNR officials said students can also take the same classes online if, for whatever reason, they cannot learn in-person.

However, university officials said UNR is prepared to scale back classes to only online if there is a significant outbreak of the virus. In addition, the university is publishing cases of COVID-19 on campus on its website.

As a note of disclosure, the Nevada System of Higher Education holds the license to this station, and KUNR is located on the UNR campus.

Water Parks, Casino Pools Less Compliant With COVID-19 Restrictions In Nevada
By Bree Zender

Nevada health officials said water parks and casino pools have some of the lowest compliance rates for statewide pandemic-related social distancing and face covering orders.

State COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage said Friday that water parks have a compliance rate of 40 percent, while casino pools have 54 percent compliance.

“The mask directive still applies,” Cage said. “If you’re not actively moving into the pool or moving into the water area, you need to be wearing a mask because although it may be uncomfortable or something you don’t like, [it’s] helping to stop the spread of the pandemic.”

Eighty-six percent of all businesses in Northern Nevada have been compliant with the orders, with 82 percent across Nevada, according to the state.

The state added 1,380 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing its total amount to 33,294 since the start of the pandemic.

Calif. Governor Announces Strict School Reopening Guidelines
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out strict criteria for school reopenings on Friday.
 

The rules make it unlikely that the vast majority of districts will have classroom instruction in the fall as the coronavirus pandemic surges.
 

They include a mandate that students above 2nd grade and all staff wear masks in school.
 

Newsom's new guidance mandates that public schools in California counties that are on a monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections cannot hold in-person classes and will have to meet strict criteria for reopening.

California Unemployment Rate in June Drops Slightly To 14.9 Percent
By The Associated Press

California added a record 558,000 jobs in June as many more businesses reopened.
 

That's according to data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. The agency said much of the growth was from restaurants and bars.
 

But those are among the businesses affected by new closure orders in July that are expected to bring big job losses in next month's unemployment report.
 

The state's unemployment rate is 14.9 percent, which is better than the record 16.4 percent in April and May, but still higher than at the height of the Great Recession a decade ago.
 

In June, the leisure and hospitality industries added 292,000 jobs, the most of any sector. With schools closed, education lost about 36,000 jobs.

Local History Project Asks Public For Materials That Show Life In A Pandemic
By Bree Zender

The Shared History Program at the University of Nevada, Reno is asking members of the public to submit materials, both physical and digital, that represent “daily and exceptional moments” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is planning to incorporate these materials into a digital exhibit later this year and organizers are anticipating an in-person exhibit for the fall of 2021.

The deadline to submit the materials is September 1. To submit materials, email sharedhistory@unr.edu.

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

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Thursday, July 16

7:03 p.m. | July 16, 2020

Nevada Reports 1,447 New Cases, A Daily Record
By Michelle Billman

State health officials in Nevada reported 1,447 new positive COVID-19 cases Thursday, a new daily record. The state’s COVID-19 online dashboard also included six new deaths, bringing the death toll to 626. Overall, Nevada has reported nearly 32,000 cases of the virus.

During a press briefing Thursday, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage reiterated that health officials were anticipating a spike in cases during the two weeks after the Fourth of July since people like to gather together for that holiday.

Statewide, hospital occupancy rates are 77 percent while intensive care units are at 84 percent occupancy. About 40 percent of ventilators across the state are in use for all patients. Nevada has ten COVID-19 patients from out-of-state in its ICUs.

Nevada Listed As A ‘Red Zone’ In White House Document
By Michelle Billman

Nevada is listed as a "red zone" on a White House document from Tuesday about COVID-19 response and recovery information. The designation is for testing positivity because more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people have been reported recently in Nevada, indicating a rate above 10 percent. The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom, first reported on the document that was prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force but not publicized.

In the week leading up to the report, Nevada had 173 new cases per 100,000 people, while the national average was 119.

Looking at specific localities, Clark County is in the "red zone" while Washoe, Elko, Nye, Lyon and Churchill counties, along with Carson City, are in the "yellow zone" based on multiple conditions. The report includes recommendations for public officials including limiting social gatherings to 10 or fewer, closing bars and gyms, and requiring weekly testing of all workers in assisted living and long-term care facilities.

Washoe County Death Toll Surpasses 100
By Danna O’Connor

The Regional Information Center reported two additional COVID-19-related deaths in Washoe County Thursday, pushing the total number to 101.

The deaths reported include a female in her 80s and a female in her 20s, both with underlying health conditions. Additionally, there are 85 new COVID-19 cases in Washoe County with 75 recoveries.

Quad-Counties Total Case Count Nears 500
By Michelle Billman

The Quad-Counties reported 15 new positive cases Thursday, bringing the region’s total number of cases to nearly 500. Close to 150 of those cases remain active and the new ones include ten Carson City residents and five Lyon County residents. The region also includes Douglas and Storey Counties.

At Least 123 Visitors To Nevada Tested Positive For Virus
By The Associated Press

State health data shows at least 123 visitors to Nevada tested positive for the coronavirus while visiting the state in recent weeks or shortly after returning home. Department of Health and Human Services data shows 16 visitors tested positive for the virus in Nevada the week its casinos reopened in early June.
 

Since then, Californians have accounted for 46% of the visitors to Nevada who tested positive for the virus while in the state or shortly after returning home. Arizonans accounted for 17% of those cases, followed by Texans, who made up about 10%.

Inter-Tribal Council Hosts Testing Event In Sparks
By KUNR Staff

The Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada is hosting a COVID-19 community testing event open to urban Indians and the public. It takes place Friday, July 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 680 Greenbrae Drive in Sparks. The Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada is a nonprofit in Reno serving Native people in Nevada.

The Regional Transportation Commission Installs Mask Dispensers On Buses
By Michelle Billman

The Regional Transportation Commission, or RTC, announced this week that it has finished installing mask dispensers on its buses so that transit passengers can access free masks when boarding.

RTC received 1,500 masks for transit employees and 6,000 masks for passengers from federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and FEMA. The organization is reporting a nearly 100 percent compliance rate among passengers in a recent analysis and according to a statement, “there have been no COVID-19 cases reported among transit passengers or transit drivers in Washoe County.”

Pop Warner, Youth Football Programs Cancel 2020 Season
By Michelle Billman

Sagebrush Pop Warner and Sierra Youth Football League have jointly announced that they have canceled their 2020 seasons. The organizations host youth football and cheerleading programs in Northern Nevada. In a statement on Facebook, organizers explained that the decision was necessary due to the pandemic. Additionally, they said the programs are run in multiple counties in both Nevada and California, so it would be too difficult to follow various social distancing guidelines across all of those areas.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Wednesday, July 15

7:19 p.m. | July 15, 2020

Nevada COVID-19 Cases Surpass 30,000
By Jayden Perez

The State of Nevada reported 849 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total of confirmed cases to more than 30,000. The death toll statewide is 618, according to the state’s online dashboard.

Washoe County Reports One COVID-19-Related Death, 94 New Cases
By Jayden Perez

Washoe County reported 94 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, along with 50 new recoveries. There are now more than 1,100 active cases and more than 3,800 total cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County. One new death has been reported, bringing the death toll to 99.

Quad Counties And Elko Report More New Cases
By KUNR Staff

Carson City Health and Human Services reported five new positive cases of COVID-19 and 16 additional recoveries Wednesday. The new cases include three Douglas County residents, one Lyon County resident, and one Carson City resident. The region also includes Storey County and now has 133 active cases.

In Elko County, health officials reported 13 new positive cases and no new recoveries. There are now more than 150 active cases there.

Some Las Vegas Casinos Limit Smoking At Table Games
By The Associated Press

Several Las Vegas casinos are limiting smoking to keep patrons from removing the protective face masks they are required to wear. The Las Vegas Sands Corporation updated its policy in mid-June to ask that table game players and spectators do not smoke or vape in its Venetian and Palazzo resorts.
 

Wynn Resorts has designated any table games without a plexiglass barrier as non-smoking areas inside its Wynn and Encore casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Meanwhile, Tuesday Nevada reported a new record of 1,104 new cases of COVID-19 in one day. Overall, over 30,000 people have tested positive for the virus and 618 have died.

Washoe County Health District Update
By Jayden Perez

Washoe County held a media briefing Wednesday to discuss the current COVID-19 response. While health officials say hospital bed capacity is not a problem currently, one doctor shared how she is seeing the severity of cases increase.

Dr. Reka Danko, a hospitalist at Carson Tahoe Health, said that she has seen an increase in patients seeking care in the emergency room and urgent care settings for cough and fever-like symptoms.

“As far as practicing in the hospital, we do see a higher severity of cases and wide-ranging complications, anywhere from organ failure to requiring dialysis,” Danko explained.

Kevin Dick, the Washoe County district health officer, also noted that there has been a high rate of people not arriving at their scheduled COVID-19 tests, which has made it difficult for those who need tests to receive them. During the briefing, he referenced a local study released earlier this month by the health district and the University of Nevada, Reno.

The study suggested that the actual number of active COVID-19 cases might be as high as five times the current number, but they just haven’t been confirmed. However, the health district has hired additional staff over the last two weeks for case investigation and contact tracing efforts.

Get Caught Up:

  • July 14 | Regional Updates
    • State Leaders Urge Continued Vigilance Against COVID-19
    • Two More COVID-19 Deaths, Dozens Of Recoveries In Washoe Co.
    • Coronavirus Case Closes Nevada Jobless Call Center In Las Vegas
    • Nevada Hospitals Change COVID-19 Reporting
    • Quad Counties Report 14 New COVID-19 Cases, Five Recoveries

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