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Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: April 1-7

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Tuesday, April 7

9:07 p.m. | April 7, 2020 
By Danna O'Connor

Fifth COVID-19 Death Announced In Washoe Co.

The Regional Information Center reported a fifth COVID-19 related death in Washoe County on Tuesday.

Health officials said the woman was in her 50’s and the health district is working to determine if there were underlying health conditions.

Overall, on Tuesday there were 28 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Washoe County, bringing the total to 309.

Statewide, there are more than 2,000 positive cases and more than 70 deaths related to COVID-19.

Quad Counties Reports Three New Positive Cases

The Quad-County Emergency Operations Center is reporting three new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Quad County region.

This brings the total number of cases in that area to 25. That includes 8 recoveries and 17 cases that are still active.

The new cases are:

  • A female Carson City resident in her 40’s
  • A male Carson City resident in his 20’s
  • A female Douglas County resident in her 30’s

All three are self-isolating and in stable condition.

The Quad County region includes Carson City, and Douglas, Lyon and Storey Counties.

This update has been changed to provide accurate numbers for total cases and active cases in the Quad Counties. KUNR made these changes after receiving a corrected press release from the Quad-County Emergency Operations Center.

Local Tribes Receiving Housing Funds From Federal COVID-19 Aid

Nevada U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen are announcing over $4.5 million in grants to help support housing for Native American communities.

The Democratic senators said that the funding will ensure that Nevada's tribal communities receive the resources they need during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Tribes across the state will share in the grants. The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony will get over $382,000 and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe will receive over $500,000.

The funding will come from the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or (CARES) Act.

NSHE Will Allow Students Facing Financial Hardships To Register For Upcoming Courses

The Nevada System of Higher Education is giving a break to students facing financial hardships because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Board of Regents voted to suspend certain provisions related to delinquent accounts through September 30.

This will allow students with a delinquent account to register for courses for the summer and fall terms.

Previously, those with a delinquent account could not register at any college or get their transcripts or diploma.

Students who register for the fall 2020 semester will need to pay the balance or have a payment plan in place by the beginning of the semester.

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

Nevada Lacking Critical Testing Kit Components
By The Associated Press

Governor Steve Sisolak says Nevada has received some parts from the federal government to make more test kits for the coronavirus but the state still does not have anywhere near the supplies needed to test widely. Amid a nationwide shortage of test kits, the U.S. government has told Nevada its three pending requests for more kits are on an “indefinite backlog,” according to state officials. Sisolak says the state received 3,000 kits of chemicals and 4,000 swabs from the U.S. government, which state health labs are adding to other supplies to assemble test kits, but it’s not enough. With tests in short supply, the state has asked doctors to prioritize testing for those hospitalized with symptoms of the virus, along with those who work in health care or public safety, or people who were in group settings like schools, shelters and institutions where the virus could spread more quickly. Nevada, which has a population of over 3 million, has tested fewer than 19,000 people for the coronavirus through either government or commercial labs. So far, more than 2,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nevada and more than 70 people have died.

Vehicle Emissions Are Down In Nevada, Arizona
By The Associated Press

Motorists in Nevada and Arizona are following the states’ stay-at-home orders, and that appears to be decreasing the effects vehicle emissions have on the environment. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered nonessential businesses to close on March 20 and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey implemented his stay-at-home order on March 31. The Clark County Department of Environment reports a 33% decrease in small particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide from March 17-23 compared with the week before. In Arizona, officials have reported a 37% decrease in nitrogen oxides for the same time period. Particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are pollutants that contribute to smog and poor air quality. They are emitted from the transportation sector, including cars, trucks, commercial aircraft and railroads. More study is required to determine how much the reduced vehicle traffic is contributing to better air quality, environmental officials said.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Tuesday, April 7

11:34 a.m. | April 7, 2020 

Nevada Tribes Are Stepping Up COVID-19 Enforcement
By The Associated Press

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council has decided to close tribal lands to all non-tribal members and non-residents of the Hungry Valley Reservation to combat the spread of COVID-19. The council is prohibiting any outdoor recreation such as hiking, off-roading in vehicles or dog walking to anyone who is not a tribal citizen or resident. Chairman Arlan Melendez says violators will be prosecuted with a fine or potential jail time for repeat offenders. The closure comes after the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s mandated curfew that requires members to stay in their home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. through April 30th. Unless members and residents are making essential trips during the curfew they could be fined $500. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s curfew runs indefinitely with $100 fines.

Nevada To Receive Ventilators From California
By The Associated Press

Five hundred ventilators on loan from California will be deployed to four states, including Nevada, and two U.S. territories as they battle the coronavirus. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to lend the ventilators on Monday to the national stockpile even as the state hunts for more of its own supplies. Vice President Mike Pence says the ventilators will be sent to Nevada, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Newsom suggested some of the ventilators may go to hard-hit New York. But he said the federal government should decide where they were needed most.

California Governor Projects To See State COVID-19 Peak In May
By The Associated Press

Gov. Gavin Newsom is sticking to a mid-May projection of when the COVID-19 outbreak will reach its peak in California. While confirmed cases and deaths are rising in California, the rates of hospitalizations and intensive-care placements — a key indicator of resources the state needs — have been increasing more slowly. Newsom said they rose less than 5% over the weekend. A new analysis by researchers at the University of Washington shows California will hit its peak of COVID-19 deaths on April 17. Newsom isn't changing his forecast for the state but he and the researchers agree things will worsen if people stop social distancing.

Sports Betting Put On Pause
By The Associated Press

The slot machines were turned off and the sportsbooks were dark inside the glittering casinos that line the Las Vegas Strip. On what would have been the biggest Monday of the year for bookies, not a dollar changed hands. No big national championship game bets, no wagers on Tiger Woods to win the Masters. No sports means no action, even for the most hardcore gamblers. About the only thing degenerate sports bettors could do was go online and find a Russian table tennis match to put their money on.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Monday, April 6

3:28 p.m. | April 6, 2020 
By Stephanie Serrano

Washoe County Sees 17 New Identified COVID-19 Cases

The COVID-19 Regional Information Center is reporting 17 new novel coronavirus cases in Washoe County, reaching a total of 281 identified cases in the county with 30 recoveries and 21 hospitalizations.

Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick said the drive-thru COVID-19 testing post is operating Monday and they are expecting to take 200 new samples.

Health district officials are continuing to advise residents to wear makeshift cloth masks while practicing social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Health Officials Find Alternative Patient Housing in Washoe County

Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick projects that the state will hit a peak of cases between late April and late May. Officials are looking at additional places to house patients as the county combats the spread of COVID-19.

During a media availability, Dick said the health district is working with two models, one which projects that the county’s COVID-19 cases will peak on May 23.

Dick said he is foreseeing a later peak in the county rather than an earlier peak. He also noted that newly identified cases decreased as of Friday, from 45 down to 16, 19 and now 17. Dick said that could be the result of effective social distancing but will continue to monitor the numbers.

Health district officials are continuing to work with hospitals to build alternative patient housing. Officials are working to get supplies and equipment in order to transform the Reno-Sparks Convention Center into an alternative care site. Dick said the facility would likely have a special section for patients who are recovering from COVID-19.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Sunday, April 5

3:25 p.m. | April 5, 2020 
By Noah Glick

COVID-19 Cases In Nevada Creep Upward

The number of confirmed COVID-19 continues to rise in Nevada. According to the latest numbers from the state, Nevada has seen 1,836 confirmed positive cases, with 46 deaths.

In Washoe County, 264 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, and four people have died. Additionally, 29 people have since recovered in Washoe County.

Douglas County To Cite Violaters Of Stay At Home Order

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office announced Sunday it will be issuing citations to youth who violate the Gov. Sisolak’s Stay at Home Order by staying out after curfew. Citations will also be given to parents who allow their children to do so.

Curfew in the county is 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

“We cannot express enough the need for everyone to stay at home right now to limit exposure,” Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley said in a statement.

The Sheriff’s Office says it has seen an increase in youth activity away from the home.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Saturday, April 4

9:00 p.m. | April 4, 2020 
By Noah Glick

Nevada, Washoe Co. Join Others Urging Face Coverings In Public

The state of Nevada and Washoe County are joining with other local governments across the region urging people to wear face coverings when in public.

Professional, FDA-regulated personal protective equipment, such as N95 masks, should still be left for health care professionals. Instead, officials suggest alternative face coverings, using cloth or other breathable materials.

It is unclear at this time whether alternative face coverings can help avoid contracting COVID-19, but it can help reduce the spread of the virus from infected individuals, who might not show symptoms.

Nevada Health Response offers advice on how to make your own face covering.

Guidance on Improvised Facial Coverings by KUNR Reno Public Radio on Scribd

Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Warns Of Insurance-Related Fraud

Officials behind Nevada’s health insurance exchange are warning people of insurance-related scams claiming to sell low-cost COVID-19 health coverage.

Many of the scammers operate outside of Nevada, according to the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.

“The websites of fraudulent actors may look legitimate, but it only takes one call to the wrong person to make a bad situation worse for Nevada families,” Executive Director Heather Korbulic said in a statement Saturday.

“Buying unnecessary insurance or insurance that does not cover essential benefits like a qualified health plan is the last thing Nevada families should have to worry about right now,” she added.

Officials said all insurance plans on the Exchange will cover COVID-19 related care, and that there is no need to purchase additional care.

Last month, the Exchange announced a special enrollment period to help people get health insurance coverage during this pandemic. That runs through April 15.

Sparks Announces Residential Video Inspections

The city of Sparks announced Saturday it is now doing video residential inspections.

“The Building Department here at the city of Sparks are asking contractors and homeowners to use Skype to initiate these video inspection programs,” said building official Mark Meranda, in a video posted to the city's Facebook page.

It works like this. You call your inspector in the morning and set up a time to connect via Skype on a smartphone. The inspector will then guide you through the process.

Meranda says it’s important to have some key tools ready before connecting, including a tape measure and step ladder.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Saturday, April 4

2:30 p.m. | April 4, 2020 
By Noah Glick

Washoe County Confirms 16 Additional COVID-19 Cases

Washoe County announced an additional 16 cases of COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the cumulative total in the county to 245.

The number of deaths in the county remained steady at 4. 26 people so far have recovered.

The county is joining other governments across the region in recommending cloth face coverings when going into public.

Elko Co. Announces First COVID-19 Death

Elko County announced Saturday the first reported death in the county from COVID-19. Officials say the individual was female, in her late 50s and had underlying medical issues.

The county has reported a total of eight cases up to this point, with three recoveries.

Officials urge any residents who experience mild symptoms to either call the county’s hotline at 775-777-2507 or email covid19@elkocountynv.net.

Two New COVID-19 Cases In 'Quad County' Region

Two more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the ‘Quad County’ region that includes Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

One case is a female Carson City resident in her 70s. The other is a female Lyon County resident in her 30s.

The Quad County area has reported a total of 20 cases so far, with 2 recoveries up to this point.

FEMA Approves Nevada's Major Disaster Declaration

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Saturday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved his request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the state.

“I am grateful to the President and federal government for their help, which will aid Nevada in responding and recovering effectively and efficiently from this disaster,” Sisolak said on Twitter.

The 41-page request was made Tuesday, and serves as a signal that this disaster is “beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond,” according to FEMA. The approval means additional federal assistance programs will be available to Nevadans, including funds for emergency and permanent work.

Humboldt County COVID-19 Cases Up To 11

Humboldt County officials Saturday announced two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 11.

The individuals are a man in his 50s and a woman in her 20s who both had close contact with a person with the virus.

“If every person were to practice strict social distancing, hand washing, and cleaning of items handled by others, then it’s likely that no one else would become infected,” said Charles Stringham, Humboldt Co. Health Officer. “It’s that simple.”

Douglas County Develops COVID-19 Guidelines For Rental Properties

Douglas County is urging travelers and short-term rental owners to halt renting properties to any nonessential travelers at this time.

In a memo sent Wednesday, the county said “Short-term rentals should be limited to people working or visiting for essential healthcare and infrastructure operations only.”

Violators of this policy are subject to a $5,000 civil penalty.

Sierra Storms Coming This Weekend, CHP Urges People To Stay Off Roads

As if you didn’t need another reason to stay home, the California Highway Patrol is urging people to stay home as a snowstorm moves through the region.

KCRA in Sacramento reports that CHP is gearing up for a storm system and that roads should be left open for essential workers only.

According to the National Weather Service, a pair of storms are expected this weekend, which will cause travel issues above 5,500 feet. An avalanche watch has also been issued for the greater Lake Tahoe area from Sunday morning through Monday afternoon.

Nye County Commission Chair Urges People To 'Stay Home For Nye'

In a newly-released public service announcement, Nye County Commission Chair John Koenig urges all residents to not only stay home for Nevada, but to ‘Stay Home for Nye.’


With a population of 43,705, Nye County has reported 7 cases of COVID-19. That includes 5 in Pahrump, 1 in Amargosa Valley and 1 in Beatty.

NSHE Regent And Education Advocate Dies

Nevada System of Higher Education Regent Sam Lieberman died yesterday morning.

He was 58 years old. No other details were immediately available, according to the Nevada Independent.

Lieberman was elected to the Board of Regents in 2015, representing Clark County in District 5.

He had also served as the chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Friday, April 3

8:00 p.m. | April 3, 2020 
By Bree Zender

35 At Willow Springs Center Sickened With COVID-19

The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health said Friday evening it is investigating the child behavioral health hospital Willow Springs Center in Reno after youth and staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The agency said 24 youth and 11 staff have tested positive, and others are awaiting results of COVID-19 tests.

Willow Springs Center CEO Andrew Herod said, “The health and wellness of our patients and staff are of utmost importance and we are taking this matter seriously and cooperating with the State during their review of our facility."

Measures are in place to prevent further exposure, according to the Division.

45 New Cases In Washoe Co. Friday

As of Friday afternoon, Washoe County now has 229 cases of COVID-19, up from 184 on Thursday. The County has had four of its residents die from the disease.

It’s Unclear When California Legislature Will Reconvene
By The Associated Press

A leader of the California Senate says the Legislature will not reconvene on April 13. Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego said Friday that guidance from the governor and public health officials have made it clear returning on April 13th is not feasible. The Legislature recessed on March 16th shortly after approving a $1 billion spending package to address the COVID-19 outbreak. It is believed to be the first unscheduled work stoppage for the Legislature in 158 years. It's unclear when the Legislature will reconvene. The only thing the constitution requires they do this year is pass an operating budget by June 15. If they don't, lawmakers won't get paid.

California Testing Delays Have Ripple Effects
By The Associated Press

California is ramping up testing for coronavirus even as a backlog of nearly 60,000 pending tests grows. Lags in getting results can be as long as 12 days, which delays treatment and isolation of the sick. It also leaves an incomplete picture of how widespread the outbreak is in the state. The state has reported that results of nearly two-thirds of the 90,000 tests administered are still pending. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the backlog is part of a broader national problem.

4:11 p.m. | April 3, 2020
By Bree Zender

Southern Nevada COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 40

The novel coronavirus is continuing to spread throughout Nevada and the Sierra.

The biggest outbreak, as of midday Friday, is in Clark County, which has reported 1,279 cases and 39 deaths due to COVID-19.

Eastern Sierra Counties Recommend Wearing Face Masks, Coverings

In an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mono, Alpine and Placer Counties in California’s Sierra Nevada are now recommending their residents wear face masks and coverings when out in public.

Mono County, home to Mammoth Lakes, is recommending cloth homemade face masks specifically. Alpine County said it is recommending 100% cotton, two-ply face coverings, but bandanas and neck gaiters are also acceptable. Placer County also recommends handmade face covers, scarves and bandanas.

The counties are not recommending the public to wear surgical or N95 masks, which are in limited supply nationwide. The counties said those masks need to go to medical professionals.

Nev. Governor Asks State Agencies To Review Budget Due To Lost Tax Revenue

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has asked state agencies to review budgets and make recommendations for reductions Friday afternoon.

The governor said the state is experiencing a drop in revenue due to the shutdown of non-essential businesses, in order to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.

Instead, he said, future budget reductions will prioritize the state's resources toward its COVID-19 response.

Sisolak said he is confident that the state can make it through this period, saying "Nevadans have overcome many obstacles in recent years."

Renown Parking Garage To Be Turned Into COVID-19 Care Area

In order to accommodate the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases, Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno is converting its parking garage on Mill Street into a temporary patient care area.

Renown officials said this setup will allow caregivers to remain on the hospital campus, and access a lab, pharmacy and imaging services. It also gives patients a way to receive additional care if they need it.

The structure is expected to include flooring, electric infrastructure, water, technology and wall partitions. It should be filled with beds and basic patient care support equipment. Hospital officials said construction will begin “shortly.”

Novel Coronavirus Updates: Thursday, April 2

10:19 p.m. | April 2, 2020
By Paul Boger and Anh Gray

Nevada Getting More PPE

Nevada is receiving personal protective equipment, or PPE, from the federal stockpile.

In a statement Thursday, Congressman Mark Amodei announced that Nevada will be receiving PPEs from the Strategic National Stockpile.

The PPEs the state will be receiving include gowns, gloves, surgical masks, and the much needed N95 masks which have been in high demand by health workers nationwide, and in Nevada.

The state will be receiving nearly 150,000 surgical masks, but just 65,000 of the N95s — which are the ones that offer better filtration of airborne particles — will be part of the allocation. About 30,000 face shields will be included in the shipments.

How the PPEs will be distributed to state health facilities will be up to Governor Steve Sisolak’s administration.

The state has already received shipments over the last several days and is expecting the rest over several more.

This update was provided with support from the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Novel Coronavirus Continues To Spread In Nevada And California

The Washoe Regional Information Center is reporting 21 more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county's total number of cases to 184.

At the same time, health officials say 26 individuals have, so far, recovered from the disease.

In Carson City, health officials are reporting that a man in his 80's has contracted the novel coronavirus. It brings the Quad-Counties total to nine.

Some communities in rural Nevada are also reporting multiple cases. The latest data said there are now seven confirmed cases in Humboldt County and five in Elko County. There are no reported cases in Eureka, Lander, Pershing, Churchill, Mineral or Storey Counties.

In all, more than 1,400 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19.

38 people have died statewide.

In California, more than 11,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus with more than 240 deaths statewide, according to an LA Times tracker.

In the Eastern Sierra, there are multiple cases confirmed in Placer, Nevada, El Dorado, Mono and Inyo counties.

Plumas and Alpine are reporting one case each. There are no reported cases in Lassen or Sierra.

Mayor Schieve Asks Reno Residents To Start Wearing Masks

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve is asking residents to start wearing masks if they have to go out in public.

Schieve's request is not mandatory and health officials seemed divided on whether the public-at-large should wear facial protection when the country is facing a shortage of personal protection equipment.

She also clarified that any N-95 masks and filters be reserved for medical professionals and first responders.

"I want to take every precaution that we possibly can," Schieve told reporters Thursday. "I know that people might say, 'Hey, that mayor is crazy,' but I would much rather be crazy and protect our citizens the best that we can."

Schieve made the request during a press call with reporters Thursday.

The mayor also urged people who are making homemade masks to contact her office.

Nevada Casino Operators Will Continue To Pay Employees

Two of the major casino operators in Southern Nevada — Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts — will continue paying their employees into May despite a nationwide shutdown of the legal gambling industry.

As the Nevada Independent reports, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson wrote an op-ed in the New York Post saying he will continue to pay his company's employees as though they were still working, even making up for lost tips.

He's called on fellow business executives to follow his lead for as long as they can to lessen the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Wynn Resorts announced it would continue paying all of its 15,000 salaried employees through mid-May.

California’s Governor Pushes For Sales Tax Relief For Small Businesses

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he's proposing an economic relief package that will allow small businesses in his state to keep up to $50,000 in sales tax for a year.

The proposal would function as a state loan to small businesses, many of which have been forced to close during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a press conference, Newsom told reporters the state needs to support the businesses that employ roughly 49% of California's private-sector workers.

"So often we take them for granted in the best of times. Right now, they have been devastated,” Newsom said.

The proposal would likely have a significant impact on the state's more than $200 billion state budget.

Most of the state's revenue comes from sales and income taxes.

No Martial Law In Nevada

Nevada National Guard officials said rumors that the state is under martial law are unfounded.

During a Thursday morning briefing on Facebook Live, Brigadier General Mike Hanifan said the guard’s recent activation was to support the state's response to COVID-19, not to take over law enforcement duty.

"We are not the first state to activate elements of our National Guard. As of today, over 20,000 of our national guardsmen around the nation have been activated to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. None of those 20,000 guardsmen in other states are involved in anything remotely resembling martial law."

Hanifan said about 100 of Nevada's 4,300 guard members were activated by Governor Steve Sisolak Wednesday.

Those individuals will focus on providing support in medical, security, food service and logistics.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Governor Sisolak said the guard's role is to reinforce and strengthen public requests he's made since mid-March.

4:32 p.m. | April 2, 2020
By Paul Boger

Number Of COVID-19 Cases Continues To Grow

More than 1,400 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19, according to new numbers released by the state on its online dashboard Thursday.

That includes a new case in Carson City. Health officials said a man in his 80's is self-isolating and in stable condition. It brings the Quad-Counties total to nine.

There are also 21 new cases in Washoe Co., for a total of 184 cases there.

Some communities in rural Nevada are also reporting multiple cases. The latest data says there are now seven confirmed cases in Humboldt County and five in Elko County. There are no reported cases in Eureka, Lander, Pershing, Churchill, Mineral or Storey Counties.

So far, health officials said 38 people have died as a result of the disease statewide.

In California, more than 10,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus with 236 deaths statewide, according to an LA Times tracker.

In the Eastern Sierra, there are multiple cases confirmed in Placer, Nevada, El Dorado, Mono and Inyo counties. Plumas and Alpine are reporting one case each. There are no reported cases in Lassen or Sierra.

State Of Nevada Flooded With Unemployment Applications

U.S. labor data show more than 71,400 people filed for unemployment in Nevada last week.

That pushes the number of jobless claims since mid-March when casinos and other businesses closed due to the coronavirus beyond 164,000.

State officials and Governor Steve Sisolak's office did not immediately comment Thursday about the second week of stunning jobless figures.

The governor did acknowledge problems with the current system and said that telephone applicants are getting busy signals during a press conference Wednesday.

He said the state unemployment office is adding people, expanding hours and working around the clock “non-stop" to handle the flood of unemployment applications.

Mining Employee In Humboldt Co. Positive For COVID-19

Officials at a mine where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 said they are taking steps to protect other workers from the disease.

In a statement, officials with Nevada Gold Mines said they were alerted to a positive case of COVID-19 at its Turquoise Ridge underground mine early this week.

They also said they’ve taken actions meant to prevent further spread of the disease.

The measures include limiting the number of employees on-site, reducing the number of employees allowed to ride company transport at a given time and encouraging other social distancing protocols.

“Their goal is to stay in business and stay up and running,” said Captain Sean Wilkin with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. “From the conversations we’ve had, they’re taking appropriate precautions at their businesses to protect their employees and to keep the health of their employees at the forefront of their operations.”

Mines across the state are still operating as they are considered an essential business under Governor Steve Sisolak’s “Stay at Home” order.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Wednesday, April 1

10:58 p.m. | April 1, 2020 
By Noah Glick

Sisolak Activates National Guard

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has officially activated the Nevada National Guard to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

During a press conference Wednesday in Carson City, Sisolak said the Guard will be able to provide additional support in logistics, transportation and communication, among other areas.

“From delivering critical medical equipment and supplies to providing labor force and the massive logistical operations needed to get resources from point A to point B, no one is better than our National Guard,” Sisolak said.

Sisolak said the move also opens up federal money to help the state purchase personal protective equipment and other needs during the pandemic.

Governor Addresses Unemployment Backlog

During Wednesday’s press conference, a visibly frustrated Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said the state hasn’t invested where it needed to in previous years, and that’s leading to some shortages in key areas, like the state’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. That agency is tasked with processing the unemployment claims that come in every week.

“Nevada has not funded our infrastructure, I’m just going to say it, as well as it should have been funded in past years,” Sisolak said. “We’ve got a small group at DETR that are dealing with this and if you can imagine the onset of 100,000 claims a week being filed.”

Sisolak said some of the issues are around people forgetting passwords from previous periods of unemployment. He urges all Nevadans to practice patience during this time, as DETR is working “around the clock” to process the influx of claims.

Sisolak Signs Directive To Expand Medical Workforce

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that he’s signed an emergency directive that will allow additional health care workers to join the workforce as the state fights the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This directive will allow certain doctors, nurses, EMTs and even medical students to go to work right now caring for COVID-19 patients,” Sisolak said. “It will allow people who have retired to come back into practice without leaping over hurdles. It will also allow professionals from other states to come here to help. It allows people with medical training from other countries to work alongside us as we fight this disease.”

Sisolak said if the directive can help bring even one more nurse or doctor to help the state, it will make a difference.

Nevadans Who Don’t ‘Stay At Home’ Will Not Be Subject To Penalties

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said if Nevadans choose to ignore his latest “Stay at Home” order, they won’t face fines or penalties — at least yet.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Sisolak said that law enforcement is already under a huge strain and adding enforcement for this directive would place an undue burden on them, but the governor did not rule out the possibility of fines in the future.

“We’re asking our citizens to cooperate. The idea of this entire issue is not to fine people and to give them misdemeanors and give them [a] record,” he said. “I’m begging and encouraging. You’ve seen it before: I’ve had to ask and then I’ve had to direct. I am asking people to stay home for Nevada.”

Sisolak said he’s already asked law enforcement officers to help make sure non-essential businesses are closed and that public gatherings are fewer than ten people.

A Fourth Death Announced In Washoe Co.

A fourth death related to COVID-19 has been reported in Washoe County.

The county health district announced the death Wednesday and said it is a man in his 40’s with underlying health conditions.

There were also 20 new cases in Washoe and five new recoveries. Here are the county’s latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 163
  • Deaths: 4
  • Recoveries: 18
  • Active cases: 141

Washoe County School District Starts Distance Learning

Distance learning began for students across the Washoe County School District Wednesday.

Interim Superintendent Kristen McNeill said so far, the district has delivered 50,000 learning packets to students across three dozen sites. Any students who don’t have the materials yet will not be penalized.

“I’d like to remind our families that all of these printed materials, the identical materials, are available on our website at www.washoeschools.net,” McNeill said. “We encourage our families who do have Internet access to download these pages if possible.”

McNeill said the district and community are working to deliver more packets to keep up with demand.

“We will continue to deliver these packets of school materials until every student that needs one has one,” she said.

Schools are now closed through April 30, following Governor Sisolak’s “Stay at Home” directive.

Homelessness And Housing Updates For Washoe Co.

The Washoe County Health District said it is providing multiple housing options for people who have COVID-19 symptoms but can’t safely isolate at home.

Nevada State Senator Julia Ratti provided the update Wednesday and said there are two housing options: general and supportive. Workers have recently begun setting up temporary trailers for general housing.

“These are general housing units, which would be available to individuals who can successfully isolate on their own and don’t have appropriate housing to do so,” Ratti said.

Ratti said that could be homeless individuals or college students who might live with a grandparent. She said she expects to have 35-40 beds of general housing available soon, with a total capacity of 300 at full buildout.

Supportive housing is taking place at the homeless shelter on Record Street in Reno. Ratti said it's for people who need support in order to safely isolate.

“This contract includes three meals per day and support from a case manager and an advanced practice registered nurse,” Ratti said.

Ratti said there are 43 beds of supportive housing within 20 units. The Washoe County Human Services Department will be in charge of determining housing placements.

Sisolak Asks Trump For Major Disaster Declaration For Nevada

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is formally asking President Donald Trump for a major disaster declaration for the state of Nevada. The move would open up additional federal dollars to help fight the impacts of the novel coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 public health crisis in Nevada is of such severity and scale that the effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state, local and tribal governments, and supplementary federal assistance is needed to save lives, protect public health, and help Nevada recover from the incomprehensible economic impacts that have resulted from this global pandemic,” Sisolak said in a statement.

Governor Sisolak signed a declaration of emergency on March 12, one day before President Trump declared a national emergency over COVID-19.

Nevada Researchers Exploring Saliva Testing For COVID-19

Researchers behind one of the world’s largest population health studies are now looking to increase the availability of a new type of COVID-19 test.

Joseph Grzymski is the principal investigator for the Healthy Nevada Project, a study that collected DNA samples from 50,000 Nevadans, using saliva.

He said, currently, testing for COVID-19 requires a swab of the nasal cavity, which can only be done in person, by medical professionals.

“And so, we are researching the possibility that there is enough virus in saliva that we can use saliva collection at home to assess those that are symptomatic and asymptomatic in our community,” he said.

The group recently conducted a survey of 14,000 Healthy Nevada participants to learn more about recent travel and behaviors of people, so they can better track the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community.

12:28 p.m. | April 1, 2020 
By Noah Glick

Sisolak Issues ‘Stay At Home’ Directive

Governor Steve Sisolak officially issued a “Stay at Home” directive for Nevadans beginning midnight and lasting through April 30.

The directive extends the non-essential business, gaming and school closures.

Essential employees will still be working, but they should follow all hand washing and social distancing guidelines.

Sisolak will be holding a press conference at 5 p.m. Wednesday to provide updates on COVID-19.

Latest Case And Death Counts In Nevada

Thirty-one Nevadans Have Died Of COVID-19.

According to the latest numbers from the state, the total number of cases is 1,279 statewide. More than 11,500 people have received negative test results, according to state data.

In Washoe County, three people have died from the disease so far.

Latest COVID-19 Case Counts In Rural Counties

While most cases of COVID-19 in Nevada are in Clark or Washoe Counties, rural areas are seeing the disease’s impact, too.

Nye County reported the fourth positive case in Pahrump Wednesday morning, bringing the total cases in the county to six. There is also one case in Amargosa and one in Beatty.

White Pine County has one reported case of the virus. In a statement Sunday, the county’s Office of Public Health urged residents to practice personal hygiene and preventive measures, saying, “It is here, folks. It is time to step up. Your actions will determine the course of this battle for days and weeks to come.”

In Elko County, five positive cases have been reported up to this point, with two having recovered.

A new case was also reported in Lyon County Wednesday morning, bringing the total there to two cases. Carson City also has eight cases and Douglas County has six.

And in Humboldt County, five cases of COVID-19 have been reported. According to a statement released by the county Tuesday, Humboldt County Health Officer Charles Stringham said, “People at high risk, including people over 60, people with underlying health conditions, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women, should shelter in place now.”

Firearm Extension In Nevada

Nevadans with concealed firearm permits are getting an extension to renew.

All 17 elected sheriffs in the state agreed that any concealed firearm permit that expires on or after March 12 will be valid through July 15. The 120-day extension is meant to be a temporary measure until the proper administrative requirements can be done.

This extension is only valid within Nevada borders.

Get Caught Up:

  • March 31 | Nevada Updates
    • Washoe Co. COVID-19 Cases Reach 143
    • Sisolak Issues Travel Advisory For Visitors, Residents To Self-quarantine
    • Three COVID-19 Cases Confirmed For Local First Responders
    • Reno Business License Renewal Deadline Extended

For continued updates on the coronavirus in Nevada, visit our updates and resourcespage.

Danna has been with KUNR Public Radio since 1995. She started as a weekend announcer, then full time jazz host and in 2008 became the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition.
Anh Gray is a former contributing editor at KUNR Public Radio.
Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Stephanie Serrano (she/her/ella) is an award-winning multimedia bilingual journalist based in Reno, Nevada. Her reporting is powered by character-driven stories and is rooted in sound-rich audio. Her storytelling works to share the experiences of unserved communities in regards to education, race, affordable housing and sports.
Bree Zender is a former host and reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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