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Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: April 22-28

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.
Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Tuesday, April 28

9:21 p.m. | April 28, 2020
By Danna O'Connor

Statewide Death Toll Is Now 225, Washoe Co. Death Toll Is 29

The state of Nevada is reporting a total of 225 COVID-19-related deaths as of Tuesday, along with more than 4,800 cases statewide. In Washoe County, health officials reported one new COVID-19-related death there of a female in her 40s with underlying health conditions. This is the 29th death related to the illness in Washoe.

In addition, Washoe Co. is reporting 19 additional recoveries, 14 additional positive cases and an overall decrease of active cases.

Nevada Doctors, Dentists May Resume Necessary Procedures
By The Associated Press

Nevada doctors and dentists may soon resume medical and dental procedures that are considered necessary but were delayed because of the coronavirus. Gov. Steve Sisolak released a statement Tuesday night announcing that the Nevada Hospital Association will phase-in procedures while trying to minimize the risk of transmitting the coronavirus to patients and healthcare workers and maintain enough capacity in hospitals to handle any increase in COVID-19 cases. 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 prevent acute infections or the progression of chronic disease.

Nevada Employment Director Resigns
By The Associated Press

The director of the Nevada employment agency that has been deluged by record claims due to COVID-19 has tendered her resignation. The Reno Gazette Journal reports, Tiffany Tyler-Garner, director of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, will leave the agency this week after about a year on the job. She'll be replaced by Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Exchange, who will step in as interim director for the agency, according to the state. The department has struggled in recent weeks due to a host of challenges with the system. That includes overwhelmed phone lines and a bogged down website that processes unemployment insurance claims. More than 350,000 people in Nevada have filed initial unemployment claims since mid-March when the mandatory shutdown of nonessential businesses went into effect. That's more than any year in the state’s history.

California Gov. Considers Reopening Strategy
By The Associated Press

California Governor Gavin Newsom is considering a strategy for reopening business in a state divided between rural areas with small numbers of coronavirus cases and urban areas struggling with still-rising death tolls. The LA Times reports, Newsom's plan doesn't provide a guaranteed timeline for reopening, but it did say the current public health indicators such as hospitalizations and testing capacity look promising. Currently, California is still in the first stage which is underscored by the state's efforts to provide economic safety nets for low-wage workers who may otherwise work while they're sick. When the state moves to the second phase, Newsom says select businesses will then start to reopen. Those would be deemed “lower risk” and include more curbside options for retail locations, manufacturing sites and small businesses with few in-person customers. That stage may also give schools the option of offering summer school programs or starting the new school year a month or so earlier.

Casinos Plan Reopening Strategies
By The Associated Press

Things are likely to be much different for gamblers returning to U.S. casinos whenever they reopen. Casino executives are making plans to keep employees and guests safe from the coronavirus once the all-clear is given to resume operations. They're considering having everyone wear masks, turning off some slot machines to keep players apart and installing plexiglass barriers in places. Slot machines and kiosks will be cleaned more frequently. One Las Vegas casino plans to hand out plastic sticks with which guests can press elevator buttons. Most of the plans are still being finalized and need the approval of state authorities.

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Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Monday, April 27

6:48 p.m. | April 27, 2020
By Stephanie Serrano

Washoe County Announces One New COVID-19 Related Death

Washoe County health officials are reporting a new novel coronavirus-related death identified as a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions. There is a total of 28 deaths in the county as of Monday.

Health officials say there are 16 new COVID-19 cases as of Monday, pushing the area's total to 820.

The Regional Information Center says there are 13 additional recoveries from the disease with 514 active cases.

Additionally, more than 4,700 people have tested positive for the virus statewide.

COVID-19 Testing Capability Expected To Expand In Washoe County

Washoe County health officials are planning to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities in the future.

Right now, the department’s future plan consists of collecting up to 1,000 samples a day and, if needed, collecting up to 5,000 samples through the drive-thru testing post.

Health officials say they will run into limitations with obtaining testing kits and with the number of tests the state lab may run per day. Currently, the lab is testing 500 samples a day.

District Health Officer Kevin Dick is urging residents who are experiencing a tougher allergy season this year to seek a COVID-19 risk assessment test.

Washoe County Sees An Uptick Of COVID-19 Cases From Easter Weekend

Washoe County health officials are encouraging residents to continue social distancing after an uptick of COVID-19 cases from the Easter weekend.

Heather Kerwin, manager of epidemiology for the Washoe County Health District, said the department saw case numbers increase after the holiday weekend.

During case tracing investigations, many people admitted they attended Easter gatherings.

Kerwin said that with the warmer weather starting, the department is expecting an uptick in cases. Officials are urging residents to practice social distancing and to wear masks when they are out in public.

Health Officials Want To Increase Contact Tracing
By Anh Gray

Contact tracing is a public health surveillance tool that’s already being used to track and manage the spread of communicable diseases, like tuberculosis and STDs. State and local public health officials want to increase contact tracing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Contact tracing involves health officials locating people who may have come into contact with an infectious person to let them know they may have been exposed. The goal is to provide guidance on how they can take precautions to stem the spread of the disease.

Heather Kerwin is an epidemiologist with the Washoe County Health District. She said the process begins with getting details of when an infected person starts feeling ill.

“We do know that they actually shed an enormous amount of virus right before they start feeling sick. So we walk back from the onset day, with their symptoms, we go back at least 48 hours and figure out who they may have come in contact with those two days prior to even experiencing symptoms. And that's where we start our contact tracing,” Kerwin explained.

District Health Officer Kevin Dick said there are currently five case tracers working alongside a team, which includes two epidemiologists, 15 disease investigators and a few other staff members. He said that more help will be needed as the state further expands contact tracing as a strategy to mitigate COVID-19. At a virtual press conference, Dick explained that the head of epidemiology will no longer be working at the district starting next week, and hiring a replacement will be a challenge.

The Nevada National Guard will be assisting with contact tracing. It’s unclear at the moment how many contact tracers will be needed in Washoe or statewide.

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

Nevada Joins The Western States Pact In An Effort To Combat COVID-19
By Stephanie Serrano

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has joined California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington in a Western States Pact. The group of state governors will work together on a shared vision to modify stay-at-home orders and efforts to fight COVID-19.

The pact’s foundation surrounds three principals: The first is an agreement that residents’ health comes first. Second, decisions will be guided by science, not politics. Third, they agree to work together.

Couples Can Get Married In Las Vegas Again
By The Associated Press

Las Vegas returned to the wedding business Monday nearly six weeks after the Clark County Marriage License Bureau was closed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. County Clerk Lynn Goya said staff members at the license office now have masks, gloves and no-touch thermometers. Couples need to complete license applications online before arriving. The development came on a day that state health officials reported nearly 4,700 residents have tested positive for the COVID-19 respiratory illness, and at least 206 have died.

California To Ease Restrictions On Stay-At-Home Order
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state may be just weeks away from "meaningful changes" to its stay-at-home order that took effect March 19. But he warned Monday that progress will be jeopardized if people crowd beaches as they did in some places over the warm spring weekend. It's one of his most optimistic timelines yet for easing coronavirus-related restrictions, though he didn't give a firm date. It comes as local governments seek their own changes, with some rural counties seeking to ease restrictions and those in the San Francisco Bay Area extending them through the end of May.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Sunday, April 26

8:42 p.m. | April 26, 2020

Washoe Co. Reports Two Health District Employees, One Sheriff's Deputy Test Positive

By Paul Boger

Washoe County Health officials are reporting 13 new cases of the novel coronavirus, including two county health district employees.


Officials with the Regional Information Center (RIC) say a case contact investigation shows no members of the public came into contact with the novel coronavirus, but other county employees may have incidentally been exposed to the disease.


According to the release, those who tested positive are currently self-isolating, and efforts are underway to ensure all employees are able to safely return to work. 


In the Sheriff's Office, a detention deputy has tested positive for COVID-19, making that case the fourth person in the office to contract the virus. 


The office says they're working with county health officials to determine who may have come into contact with the employee, and they say they're prepared to take any additional steps deemed appropriate by the district. 


There are now 804 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Washoe County.


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


The RIC says 21 people recovered from the disease over the weekend, dropping the number of active cases in the county from 520 to 512.


The Quad County Emergency Operations Center reported zero new cases, Sunday, with three additional recoveries there as well. The Quad Counties include Carson City, along with Lyon, Douglas and Storey Counties. 


Officially, more than 4,600 people have, so far, tested positive for the virus stateside. 206 people have died.


Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Saturday, April 25

8:05 p.m. | April 25, 2020

Two More COVID-19 Deaths In Washoe County, More Than 4,500 Cases Statewide

By Paul Boger

Health officials in Washoe County are reporting two additional COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the area's total to 27 on Saturday.

The Regional Information Center says the two men, one in his 80s and the other in his 50s, both had underlying health conditions.

In total, 791 people in Washoe County have so far contracted the disease, which is 36 more cases than Friday.

The Quad County region is reporting seven new positive cases Saturday. One is in Douglas County, three are in Carson City, and three are in Lyon County. The new Lyon County cases include one resident under the age of 18. There continue to be no reports of positive cases in Storey County.

The official count stands at more than 4,500 confirmed cases and 206 coronavirus-related deaths in Nevada.

In California, officials say there are more than 42,000 confirmed cases of the disease and more than 1,600 deaths statewide, according to a Los Angeles Times tracker.

As for the Eastern Sierra, officials in Inyo County are reporting their first COVID-19 related death. 

At this point, Lasson and Sierra counties are among the only places in the state not reporting a case. 


Demonstrators Protest Sisolak’s Stay-At-Home Order For Second Week


In downtown Reno on Saturday, hundreds of people gathered to protest Governor Steve Sisolak’s sweeping efforts to contain the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.


According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the latest “Reopen Nevada” rally was held in open defiance of executive orders to prevent public gatherings and to encourage social distancing statewide.

About 250 people showed up for the event, according to a police estimate.

The demonstration also underscored the widening political divide related to how elected officials are choosing to combat the pandemic.


Event organizers have started an online petition demanding that Nevada businesses and schools be reopened. So far, roughly 1,200 people have signed the document.


California Restaurants Could Earn Money Serving Meals To Elderly

By The Associated Press

California Governor Gavin Newsom says restaurants can draw in taxpayer money if they're willing to feed millions of seniors during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Newsom announced the program during a press conference Friday.

He says the restaurants will have to offer meals with fresh fruit, vegetables and non-sugary drinks. 

According to Newsom, the federal government will pay for 75 percent of the program while the state and local governments cover the rest. 

California has been under a mandatory stay-at-home order since mid-march. 

The restaurant industry is among the hardest-hit by the economic fallout associated with the coronavirus. 





7:05 p.m. | April 24, 2020

By Bree Zender

Three COVID-19 Deaths Reported In Washoe Friday, While Nevada’s Death Toll Surpasses 200

The COVID-19 death toll in Nevada has surpassed 200 people. This includes three people who died from the effects of the disease in Washoe County, according to a Friday afternoon release from the Regional Information Center.

Among the dead in Washoe County is a teenage male with underlying health conditions, as well as two women also with underlying health conditions, one in her seventies and another in her nineties. 

In Nevada, 4,398 people have tested positive for the disease and 203 people have died, according to state data.


UNR Adjusts Recruitment Amid Pandemic

By The Associated Press

The University of Nevada, Reno has attempted to make the college selection process easier for students and their families by hosting live virtual tours, waiving deposits and extending course registration deadlines. 

University officials say the deadline to commit was extended from May 1 to June 1. The campus is closed and the $250 registration fee to secure a spot is waived for families experiencing a financial hardship. 

The university will not require the ACT and SAT test scores for students unable to take them because of school closures.


Vegas Mayor Reiterates Call For Reopening The City

By The Associated Press

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman doubled down Friday on her call for casino closures and business restrictions to be lifted. 

Goodman drew condemnation this week when she called for Nevada to reopen and offered the residents of Las Vegas as a “control group” to test the lifting of restrictions. She said Friday that Las Vegas should be “at the forefront of America’s reopening.” 

Her comments came as more than 500 vehicles joined a Friday afternoon protest drive down the Las Vegas Strip calling for an end to coronavirus-related closures.


Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Friday, April 24

3:24 p.m. | April 24, 2020

By Bree Zender
Washoe County Teen Dies From COVID-19

The Washoe County Regional Information Center says two more people have died from the effects of COVID-19. 


This includes a teenage male with underlying health conditions, as well as a woman in her nineties, also with underlying health conditions.

The use of ventilators, intensive care unit beds, as well as short-term, acute-care beds, has risen slightly in the past week. Sixty percent of the short-term, acute-care beds are occupied, as well as 54 percent of ICU beds. Ventilator use is at 27 percent.


Twenty-four county residents have now died from the effects of COVID-19. 755 people have been infected, 241 of which have recovered since testing positive in the county. 42 people are currently hospitalized.


Quad Counties Now Testing 1,800 People Without COVID-19 Symptoms 

ByBree Zender

Health officials in the Quad Counties—Carson City, Douglas, Storey and Lyon Counties—are expanding COVID-19 testing to those who aren't experiencing symptoms.


The testing is intended to provide data for Quad County leaders to make decisions in the future.


The testing is limited to only about 1,800 county residents, according to the officials. This test is not the microbial test, which tests if the patient has been exposed to the virus, but will test for currently infected individuals.

The testing expansion is expected to start the week of May 4.


Quad County residents who are interested can call 775-782-9090 starting on Monday, April 27.

Hot Weekend During Pandemic Means More Limited Recreation

By Bree Zender

The National Weather Service Station in Reno said Friday there is going to be a warming and drying trend starting Friday. That’s expected to increase river flow and fire danger over the weekend.


The Regional Information Center for Washoe County said that because of the fast, cold flow of the Truckee River through the region, along with social distancing guidelines, officials are advising residents to avoid the river at this time. At an online town hall on Friday, officials said to avoid outdoor activities close to others, especially ones that could potentially cause wildfires, like target shooting.

“My concern is we [will] have disastrous fire on top of a disastrous pandemic,” said Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Chief Charlie Moore. “So if you are going, [remember] to carry a shovel, have a cell phone, perhaps have a fire extinguisher, and have some water. And be prepared that if a fire should start, you would take some immediate action and call us.” 

Moore said the district has already responded to area fires this season.

Temperatures are expected to rise to the low-to-mid eighties in the Reno-Sparks area, and in the mid-sixties near Lake Tahoe over the weekend.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Thursday, April 23

7:26 p.m. | April 23, 2020

By Paul Boger

Washoe County Sees First Decline In Number Of Active Cases

Health officials in Washoe County said a woman in her 100s is the 22nd person to die from COVID-19 there.

The latest numbers from the Regional Information Center on Thursday show 736 people have so far contracted the disease. That’s 26 more cases than on Wednesday.

Health officials are also reporting 29 additional recoveries. It’s the first daily drop in the number of active cases since the onset of the outbreak last month.

As for the Quad Counties area, health officials are confirming four additional cases of the novel coronavirus. This brings the total number of cases to 72, with 25 recoveries and one death. Forty-six cases remain active. That area includes Carson City, along with Storey, Lyon and Douglas Counties.

The statewide totals now stand at more than 4,200 confirmed cases and 195 deaths related to COVID-19.

Disproportionate Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Patients In Washoe County Identify As Hispanic
By Bree Zender

Racial and ethnic breakdowns of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Washoe County show a disproportionate number of infections in the area’s Hispanic community.

Washoe County officials said that they’ve previously avoided releasing the data partially because it’s not required for residents to report their race and ethnicity when seeking care. Since that disclosure is optional, the data doesn’t completely capture everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the county.

Of the people who have reported, 48 percent identified as Hispanic.

That’s disproportionate to the number of people who identify as Hispanic currently living in the county. U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2019 show they make up about a quarter of the population.

White people make up the next highest demographic of those infected at 45 percent.

Other racial and ethnic groups each accounted for three percent or less of those who tested positive.

Both public and private testing in the county are still limited and primarily have gone to people with severe symptoms.

The CDC is investigating the role that social determinants including race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status have on COVID-19 infections nationwide, but they emphasized that no race or ethnicity is more or less prone to spreading the disease.

Nevada Jobless Claims Set Fifth-Straight Weekly Record
By Paul Boger

A record number of Nevadans have filed new claims for jobless benefits for a fifth-straight week.

The newest numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor show nearly 41,000 new unemployment applications were filed last week.

It brings the statewide total of people out of work in the state to 343,000 since casinos and other businesses closed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

That means 24 percent of the 1.43 million people working in the Silver State in February have since filed for benefits.

Those figures are also well above the national average of 148 claims per 1,000 workers over the period.

All of that makes Nevada among the states hardest hit by the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.

Elected Officials Condemn Las Vegas Mayor For Urging Governor To Reopen State
By The Associated Press

Nevada officials are condemning comments from the Las Vegas mayor calling for the state's casinos and other nonessential businesses to reopen. Mayor Carolyn Goodman also suggested the city serve as a test case in the time of coronavirus. Goodman said in a Wednesday interview on CNN that she wants everything back open and that she had suggested that the residents of Las Vegas become "a control group" to see how relaxing closures and restrictions would affect the city. Several elected officials called her comments reckless and embarrassing, and they said Las Vegas needs to listen to scientists urging people to stay home.

California To Allow Non-Emergency Surgeries
By The Associated Press

California Governor Gavin Newsom says hospitals in the state can soon once again start scheduling non-emergency surgeries. He called it the first significant change to the state's stay-at-home order since it was put in place more than a month ago. Newsom said examples include procedures for tumors, heart valves and chronic disease. The change does not include purely cosmetic surgeries. He said state officials will monitor hospitals closely to make sure they're not overwhelmed. If there is a surge of coronavirus cases, the scheduled surgery ban could be put back in place.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Wednesday, April 22

6:15 p.m. | April 22, 2020
By Noah Glick

Washoe Co. Death Toll At 21

Washoe County is reporting a third new death Wednesday from COVID-19, a man in his 90s with underlying health conditions.

That brings the total number of deaths countywide to 21.

Carson City Sees First COVID-19 Death

The Quad County Emergency Operations Center is reporting the first death from the novel coronavirus in Carson City, a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions.

Additionally, there are five new positive cases across the area that spans Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, as well as Carson City. That brings the total to 68 cases, with 25 recoveries and one death.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Carson City: 31 cases, 1 death, 13 recoveries
  • Douglas County: 17 cases, 0 deaths, 7 recoveries
  • Lyon County: 20 cases, 0 deaths, 5 recoveries
  • Storey County: 0 cases, 0 deaths, 0 recoveries

Two Local Care Facilities Responsible For Most COVID-19 Deaths In Washoe Co.
By Anh Gray

In Washoe County, there are a total of 118 confirmed cases spread across eight state-regulated facilities that include assisted living, behavioral inpatient care, and skilled nursing homes as of Wednesday, according to a state database.

As of Wednesday, more than 60% of the COVID-19-related deaths in Washoe were tied to one nursing care facility in Reno.

The state database reports that Lakeside Health and Wellness, a senior skilled nursing care facility, has 48 confirmed cases among residents and staff. The majority of the cases at this facility are from residents. There have been 13 total deaths at Lakeside, including a staff member.

The other cluster of COVID-19 cases in the county is at the Willow Springs Center, a residential facility for children and teens seeking behavioral or mental health treatment. There are 62 confirmed cases there, with one reported death of an employee. More than a third of those cases at Willow Springs are staff members.

There is a total of 21 COVID-19 deaths in Washoe County.

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

Rosen Calls For Strong Federal Response, More Open Business Funding
By Noah Glick

Nevada U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen is calling for a stronger federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a media call Wednesday, Rosen said she has called on Vice President Mike Pence to direct the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct a national inventory of all COVID-19 diagnostic test supplies. She said she’s also asked for a public release of all COVID-19 data, along with a detailed plan and timeline for future inventory shortages.

“COVID-19 doesn’t pick winners and losers. It doesn’t care. It’s an equal opportunity virus, if you will, an equal opportunity devastator, killer in many cases,” the first-term senator said. “So, we have to have as a national response, one that can help us distribute equitably across the states.”

Rosen says it shouldn’t matter whether you live in a big state or small state to get COVID-19 relief, but she acknowledges that there is still one group being left out of federal support: small gaming operators.

“It seems to me that the Small Business Administration is arbitrarily picking winners and losers. There’s a decades-old rule about receiving gaming revenue and if you receive a third of your money from gaming revenue that you wouldn't qualify for certain small business loans. It’s from the 1990s, it’s antiquated, [there's] no reason for it to be in there.”

Rosen and Nevada’s other U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto have argued that small gaming operators should be able to access loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. A recent coronavirus stimulus bill that would inject an additional $310 billion into the program passed through the Senate and is expected to pass the House Thursday.

Rosen added that she supports the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, which would provide $250 million in new funds for cities and counties that have populations under 500,000.

National Guard Helping To Inspect Nevada Nursing Homes
By The Associated Press

The National Guard is joining Nevada health inspectors investigating outbreaks of the coronavirus at nursing homes and assisted living centers. They currently account for nearly one out of six of Nevada’s COVID-19 deaths and nearly 9% of the total cases statewide. About 15 Guard members planned to begin Wednesday assisting in the inspections. A Guard spokesman says it will effectively double the number of teams they have to do the task. Gov. Steve Sisolak says targeting those facilities will be an integral part of a series of steps the state must take before he’ll begin to ease any statewide restrictions or reopen any businesses.

Republicans File Motion To Join Mail-In Election Dispute
By Paul Boger

Republicans in Nevada are asking a judge to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit between Democrats and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

Lawyers for the GOP filed a motion to side with the state in its plans to conduct the primary election mostly by mail because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats sued the Secretary of State last week asking for a litany of changes to the state’s upcoming mail-in primary election.

Chiefly, they want election officials to open more than one in-person polling place per county as is currently planned, and allow some organizations to collect ballots on behalf of voters.

In a statement, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald said Democrats are trying to use the COVID-19 pandemic to "skirt" election laws.

1:16 p.m. | April 22, 2020
By Noah Glick

Two New COVID-19 Deaths Reported In Washoe Co.

Two more Washoe County residents have died from COVID-19, both males with underlying conditions. One man was in his 70s and the other was in his 80s. That brings the total deaths countywide to 20.

Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said that Nevada and Washoe County have likely already reached their peak, but that means it’s even more important to keep maintaining social distancing and other safety measures.

“It appears that we are flattening the curve and that we may have passed the peak, but we will need several weeks of data to really provide us with any assurance of that,” Dick said.

Additionally, Dick said another 26 people have contracted the virus, bringing the county total to 710. On a brighter note, he said 195 people have recovered so far.

Washoe County hospital capacity:

  • Acute care beds: 57% available
  • ICU beds: 53% available
  • Ventilators: 24% in use

Dick said anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call 328-2427, and if necessary, schedule a test.

Sisolak Provides Update On Reopening Nevada’s Economy

Nev. Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state will open in phases, but ultimately it all depends on data.

During a press conference Tuesday, Sisolak outlined his plan for reopening Nevada’s economy, much of which has been shuttered since last month.

He said before anything can begin, there first needs to be a clear downward trend of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for two straight weeks, stable health care facilities, and expanded testing.

Sisolak said he wants to avoid implementing the state’s crisis standards of care, which would lead health care providers to decide who would get care if not everyone can be treated.

“This is going to take a big lift from all of us at every level and in every sector,” said Gov. Sisolak. “As I’ve said before, we could flip the switch and turn the lights back on, but our experts predict – and experience elsewhere in the world shows us – if we don’t do this in a controlled and informed manner, we’ll be hit like a tidal wave in two to three weeks. And I won’t do that to our state. I know other leaders don’t want that for Nevada, either.”

Phase One would be much like current standards, with social distancing practices still in place. But, some businesses, like gyms, movie theaters and restaurants might be able to begin opening.

Culinary Union, SEIU Join Forces To Demand More Worker Protections

Two of Nevada’s biggest unions are calling on corporations in the state to do more to protect workers.

The Culinary Union represents 60,000 casino workers across the state, most of whom are out of work due to COVID-19.

Geoconda Argüello-Kline is the union’s treasurer/secretary. She said since the shutdown, worker pay and protections have mostly been decided by individual casinos.

“Some of the companies, they pay two weeks. And some of the companies, they pay one week. And some of the companies, nothing,” she said during a press conference Tuesday.

The Culinary Union is joining with the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union to demand that these companies do more to protect workers, including immediate investments in health, safety and training.

“Here in Nevada, we have some of the largest healthcare corporations in the nation. We are also home to some of the largest, wealthiest and powerful corporations in the country. We are joining together to demand that these corporations show true leadership,” said Brenda Marzan, president of SEIU Local 1107 in Las Vegas.

SEIU, which represents hospital workers, said it has seen some hospitals in the area make cuts, citing the lack of elective procedures that typically bring in more revenue.

Nevada Likely Past The COVID-19 Peak

The likelihood that Nevada and Washoe County have reached their peak of new COVID-19 cases is greater than it was last week.

According to the latest projections from the Los Alamos Laboratory, there’s an 82% chance that Nevada already reached its peak, and if the state hasn’t reached its peak yet, there’s about a 25% chance it will next week.

“If we’re at the peak, then we’re not continuing to see more and more and more increasing numbers of cases occurring on a daily basis. But the bad news about being at the peak is that means we have the most cases that are occurring in our community that we’re testing and diagnosing on a daily basis, and that means we’re at the greatest risk of spread,” Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said at Wednesday’s Reno City Council meeting.

Dick said because of that risk, health officials are urging everyone to continue with social distancing practices, washing hands regularly and wearing face masks in public.

Nevada Reaches 4,000 COVID-19 Cases

As of Tuesday, the state of Nevada has had a cumulative total of 4,081 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, with 172 deaths statewide.

Of the positive cases:

  • 52% are female
  • 14% are 70+
  • 14% are 60-69
  • 16% are 50-59
  • 16% are 40-49
  • 18% are 30-39
  • 14% are 20-29
  • 3% are 10-19
  • Are 3% under 10

COVID-19 Continues To Climb In Rural Counties

While most of the COVID-19 cases are in Nevada’s urban centers, rural counties are also experiencing growing cases of the virus.

Churchill County reported its first death Saturday, a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions. Countywide, there are three total cases.

Humboldt County is also seeing growth in COVID-19 cases, with seven new cases as of Monday. The county now has seen a total of 34 cases, with two deaths.

In Elko County, 12 people have tested positive for the virus, and one person has died. Six people have recovered so far.

And the Quad County region that spans Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, as well as Carson City, is reporting an additional two cases and six recoveries. No residents in this area have died as of Wednesday morning.

Get Caught Up:

  • April 21 | Regional Updates
    • Nevada Gov. Extends School Closures
    • Washoe Co. Reports 22 New Cases Tuesday
    • Northern Nevada Food Bank Distributing Food Wednesday At Reno-Stead Airport
    • Nevada AG Calls On Feds To Protect SNAP Benefits for 3.1 Million People
    • California Delays Trout Season In Three Counties Amid Pandemic
    • Allegiant Airlines To Get $171.9 Million In COVID-19 Relief Funds

For continued updates on the novel 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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