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Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: June 17-23

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, June 23

7:23 p.m. | June 23, 2020

Nevada Sees Another Record Day Of COVID-19 Cases
By The Associated Press

Nevada reported the biggest one-day increase of new coronavirus cases in the state on Tuesday: 462 new diagnoses. It's the fourth time in the past eight days that the state has hit a new daily high. Sisolak announced last week that he would leave current restrictions on businesses and gatherings in place at least through the end of June in order to evaluate the climbing rates. Overall, Nevada has reported nearly 14,000 cases of the virus and 492 deaths from COVID-19.

Gov. Sisolak To Update State On COVID-19 Response On Wednesday
By Bree Zender

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is expected to provide an update on the state's COVID-19 response Wednesday evening in Carson City.

This comes after an uptick in diagnoses of the virus in the state.

The press conference is slated to begin at 5 p.m., according to the governor’s office. KUNR will broadcast the event live.

Washoe County Health Officials Report 54 New Cases Of COVID-19, Encourage Mask-Wearing
By Bree Zender

Washoe County’s Regional Information Center reported Tuesday its second-highest number of active cases: 686, which is behind the 698-case record from Saturday, June 20.

Seventy-one of the people who have active cases of the disease are currently hospitalized.

The county reported it added 54 cases, 30 recoveries and no deaths to its data.

Washoe health officials have been encouraging the use of face coverings since early April. The county said a recent Texas A&M study found that not wearing a face mask dramatically increases the wearer’s chances of contracting COVID-19.

Quad County Region Reports Seven New COVID-19 Cases
By Bree Zender

In the Quad County region, officials are reporting seven new positive cases and no additional recoveries Tuesday. The new cases include four Douglas County residents, two Carson City residents, and one Storey County resident.

The region also includes Lyon County. The total number of cases across that region is approaching 300, and 80 cases remain active.

Hospital In Elko Enacting No-Visitor Policy During Resurgence Of COVID-19
By Michelle Billman

Officials at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital announced Tuesday that they are reinstating strict visitor restrictions starting on Wednesday, including a zero-visitor protocol. Some exceptions may include pediatric and obstetric patients, as well as those getting end-of-life care. For more details, call the hospital at 775-738-5151.

In a statement, hospital CEO Steve Simpson said that this was not an easy decision but it was made out of an abundance of caution after a resurgence of the novel coronavirus in Elko County, which has reported 34 new cases in the past week.

On Tuesday specifically, Elko Co. reported five new positive cases, along with three recoveries.

Officials say many of the new cases are due to interactions during which people did not follow social distancing recommendations.

Nevada Secretary Of State Rejects Nearly 11,000 Mail-In Primary Ballots
By KUNR Staff

Due to missing or unmatched signatures, failures to return ballots on time and various other mistakes, election officials could not count 10,799 ballots in Nevada’s primary election on June 9.

The Nevada Independent reported that of the more than 490,000 ballots counted, the majority of the rejected ballots did not match signature matching requirements.

More than 12,000 voters who did not meet the signature requirements were sent follow-ups to be able to resolve the mistake and have their votes counted. About 5,600 of these follow-ups were resolved.

Nevada held its first-ever nearly all mail-in primary election to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Nevada Schools Work To Reopen Amid Pandemic Budget Cuts
By The Associated Press

Nevada teachers and administrators are bracing for budget cuts as they scramble to put together reopening plans amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Both the economic crisis and pandemic threaten the state's efforts to rise from the bottom of national education rankings. The projected $265 million shortfall in education threatens the Las Vegas-area Clark County School District and its recent efforts to improve education quality and equity for its more than 320,000 students. The leader of the county's teachers' union plans to fight cuts and keep teachers out of classrooms unless a safe reopening plan is in place.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Monday, June 22

7:18 p.m. | June 22, 2020

Washoe County Records 74th COVID-19-Related Death
By Stephanie Serrano

The Regional Information Center reported a new COVID-19-related death Monday in Washoe County: a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions. This brings the total of deaths in the county to 74.

The center reported 23 new COVID-19 cases in Washoe, with 662 active cases.

Quad County Region Reports Nine New COVID-19 Cases
By Stephanie Serrano

Carson City Health and Human Services is reporting nine new positive cases and no additional recoveries of COVID-19 in the Quad County region. The region spreads across Carson City, along with Douglas, Storey and Lyon counties.

This brings the total number of cases to 289. There have been seven deaths there, and 73 cases remain active.

Elko County Reports 15 New Cases
By Stephanie Serrano

Elko County reported 15 new COVID-19 cases. Officials said the cases are tied to gatherings where social distancing guidelines were not being followed.

The county has one COVID-19-related death and 76 total cases. Fifty cases remain active.

Health officials are encouraging those waiting for test results to self-isolate.

Governor Sisolak Pushes Back Against Trump's Comments To Slow Down COVID-19 Testing
By The Associated Press

Nevada reported 330 new cases of COVID-19 as the governor on Monday pushed back against President Donald Trump's comments at a weekend rally suggesting testing should slow down. Gov. Steve Sisolak's office said the Democrat brought up the president's comments during a conference call involving the nation's governors and Vice President Mike Pence. Sisolak told Pence that the president's comments were "not helpful." The governor's office did not respond to inquiries seeking information about the vice president's response. Overall, more than 13,500 cases of the virus have been reported in Nevada, including 489 deaths.

Governor Sisolak Agrees To Delay Special Session
By The Associated Press

Gov. Steve Sisolak agreed on Monday to Democrats' request to delay convening a special session of the Legislature until early July. His announcement reverses expectations that lawmakers would return to Carson City before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The Legislature's leading Democrats said more time was needed to develop safety protocols in line with the state's COVID-19 plan that limits large gatherings while still allowing lobbyists and other members of the public to participate in the political process. Sisolak has not announced a final agenda for the special session and whether it will include only budgetary matters or criminal justice policy as well.

California Works Out Budget Deal To Cover $54 Billion State Deficit
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic-controlled state Legislature have agreed on a budget deal that would cover the state's estimated $54.3 billion deficit. Newsom and legislative leaders announced the agreement Monday. Sources with knowledge of the plan said it avoids permanent cuts to public schools and health care programs. But it also imposes $2.8 billion in salary cuts to state workers. In a joint statement, Newsom and the leaders of the Senate and Assembly said the agreement protects core services including education, health care and the social safety net. California's revenue has tanked during the coronavirus pandemic because of a statewide stay-at-home order.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Sunday, June 21

6:43 p.m. | June 21, 2020

Washoe Reports Jump In Recoveries In State-Licensed Facilities
By Bree Zender

Washoe County added 69 recoveries along with 30 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. 

The Regional Information Center said the jump in recoveries is attributed to a review of cases in state-licensed facilities. 659 cases remain active in Washoe County, according to the data.

The county’s COVID-19 death toll remained at 73, while 72 are hospitalized.

In the Quad Counties region, covering Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey Counties, health officials reported five additional cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and no recoveries. There was one case each for Carson City and Lyon County, both with connections to previously diagnosed cases. The other three are from Douglas County, two of whom had connections to other COVID-19 cases.

Statewide, Nevada reported 274 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. 13,205 people have been diagnosed with the virus in the state since the start of the pandemic.

Drop In Nevada Marriages Due To COVID-19 May Cost Domestic Violence Programs $2 Million
By KUNR staff

A drop in marriages due to the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lose revenue for the state that’s specifically directed at domestic violence prevention programs. 

The Nevada Independent reports that these programs could lose $2 million from the funds collected from marriage licenses, commissions and certificates, which tend to make up the bulk of program budgets in rural areas. 

Masked High School Seniors Graduate From The Top Of A Chairlift In South Lake Tahoe
By KUNR staff

The COVID-19 pandemic didn't stop graduating seniors from South Lake Tahoe and Mt.Tallac High Schools from getting their diplomas on Friday.

In fact, KRNV-TV reports that around 300 students in their caps, gowns and masks rode the chairlift to the top of a ski run at Sierra At Tahoe Resort to get their certificates, with their families waiting in cars at the bottom.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Jim Tarwater said they decided to use a chairlift after seeing a similar ceremony elsewhere.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Saturday, June 20

6:24 p.m. | June 20, 2020

Nevada Sees Second Day Of Record Jumps In COVID-19 Cases

By Bree Zender

According to state data reported Saturday, Nevada’s COVID-19 cases climbed by 445, the most cases reported in one day since the start of the pandemic. This follows another record-setting day reported on Friday, when 410 cases were recorded.

Despite more cases, the overall trend in deaths due to the virus is continuing to decline. One person was reported to have died on Friday, bringing the state's total death count to 479. In Nevada, 12,931 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, out of nearly 275,000 tests performed. 

Much of the state’s tests performed outside of Clark County are processed at the State Laboratory in Reno. This week, State Lab Director Dr. Mark Pandori said there’s currently a backlog of tests due to increased testing at prisons and nursing facilities, as well as a failure in lab equipment. Pandori said Friday that the lab is in the process of clearing the backup.

COVID-19 Cases In Washoe County Jump By 42
By Bree Zender

Washoe County reported a record-setting 698 active cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. Officials from the Regional Information Center said that this is the third record-setting day in active cases in a row.

In addition, the county recorded 42 new cases and 29 recoveries. 

73 people are known to have died from the effects of the virus. 73 remain hospitalized, an increase of four. 

In the Quad Counties, health officials reported one new positive case, a Carson City resident, and eleven new recoveries Saturday. That area also includes Lyon, Douglas, and Storey Counties and has reported a total of 275 cases, 59 of which remain active.

Labor Day Nugget Rib Cook Off Cancelled For 2020
By Bree Zender

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Nugget Casino Resort said Friday that the annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off has been cancelled. 

The event in Sparks is typically held around Labor Day, and brings tens of thousands of people for barbecued food.

Nugget representatives said COVID-19 state and local government event restrictions were the reason for the cancellation, and they said they plan to return “bigger and better” in 2021.

Nevada DETR Interim Director Leaves Due To 'Threats To Her Personal Safety'
By Bree Zender

Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Interim Director Heather Korbulic will be leaving her position, according to a press release from Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office.

The release said Korbulic faced threats to her safety, which she cited as the reason for her leaving. Korbulic held the post during a time of significant economic uncertainty due to state-enforced business shutdowns to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. During her time in the role, the department launched the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, bringing assistance to contracted workers, and automated traditional Unemployment Insurance processes.

The release says Korbulic plans to transition back to her former role, as the Silver State Health Insurance’s executive director. Another interim DETR director is expected to be determined in the next week. 

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Friday, June 19

6:59 p.m. | June 19, 2020

Nevada Reports Its Highest Daily Jump In Cases
By Bree Zender and Lucia Starbuck

The state of Nevada is reporting its highest jump in COVID-19 cases Friday: a total of 410.

The state lab director, Dr. Mark Pandori, reported Thursday that the lab experienced a backlog of tests due to an increase in tests coming in from prisons and nursing facilities, as well as a robotics failure in the testing equipment.

He said the lab got through a majority of the backlog after those 410 cases were reported. He said there is no correlation between this spike in cases and the lab’s backlog, which is in the process of getting cleared up.

Washoe County Adds 31 COVID-19 Cases, Active Cases Up To 685
By Bree Zender

A woman in her 70s is the 73rd COVID-19-related death in Washoe County, according to the Regional Information Center. Officials reported that she had underlying health conditions.

The county added 31 new known cases of the virus and 15 recoveries on Friday.

There are 685 active cases of COVID-19, 69 of whom are currently hospitalized.

Elko County And Quad Counties Report New Cases Friday
By Michelle Billman

There are five new positive COVID-19 cases in Elko County, according to the county officials on Friday. That brings the total number of cases there to 61, with 38 of them still active.

In the Quad Counties, health officials are reporting three new cases Friday and one new recovery for the region. The new cases include two Lyon County residents and one Douglas County resident. The total number of cases there is 274, and 69 cases remain active. That region includes Douglas, Lyon and Storey Counties, along with Carson City.

Gov. Sisolak Considers Measures To Increase Nevada’s Face Covering Usage
By Bree Zender

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he is asking the state medical advisory team to consider measures that would increase the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

This comes a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered residents and visitors to wear mandatory face coverings in most public indoor and some outdoor spaces.

In a tweet Friday, Sisolak said the state's health response team has been urging face coverings in public, and that it is one of the strongest methods of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

The governor has already mandated all workers to use coverings when interacting with members of the public.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Thursday, June 18

7:30 p.m. | June 18, 2020

State Lab Addresses Backlog Of COVID-19 Tests
By Lucia Starbuck

Washoe County announced Wednesday that COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals will be suspended until next week because of a backlog of test samples at the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory. The lab’s director addressed this problem in a press conference Thursday.

The state lab’s director Dr. Mark Pandori explained why the backlog occurred. He said there has been an increased volume of tests coming from prisons and nursing facilities, along with community-based COVID-19 testing. Additionally, last week, the robotics that extract specimens went offline.

“So what that ended up doing when the robot wasn't functioning was the amount that that engine could process went down when the amount of specimens went up briefly. It meant that specimens got held up and that their delay was in some cases a couple of days, in terms of getting results back out,” Pandori said. “And so it is a phenomenon that does occur in labs — crime labs, public health labs, clinical labs — even when specimen volume is high, and some piece of equipment fails, like the robotics did that we have.”

Pandori said the lab has the capacity to test, on average, 1,300 specimens per day, and there were a few days last week when the state lab received more than 2,000.

Pandori said the state lab should be caught up by Thursday night.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Nevada COVID-19 Cases Now Above 12,000
By Jayden Perez

The State of Nevada is reporting 234 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total of confirmed cases to more than 12,000. The death toll statewide is 475, according to the state’s online dashboard.

Washoe County Reports 83 New COVID-19 Cases Due To Reporting Delay
By Jayden Perez

Washoe County reported a new COVID-19-related death Thursday. The individual was a man in his 60s with an underlying health condition.

Eighty-three new cases of COVID-19 have also been reported. It should be noted that while this is a record increase in cases for Washoe County, it is due to a reporting delay; two days of results were reported at once.

There are 670 active cases total, which is a record and is not associated with the reporting delay. Health officials said this is a sign of increased community transmission.

Quad Counties And Elko Report New Cases
By Jayden Perez

Carson City Health and Human Services reported five new positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday and two new recoveries. The new cases include two Lyon County residents, two Carson City residents, and one Douglas County resident. That region has had just over 270 cases, and 67 remain active.

In Elko County, there have been nine new cases since Tuesday, along with one recovery. The Elko County Health Officer is advising that people who have tested for COVID-19 but are awaiting their results must self-isolate until a negative result is received, and that’s even if the person is asymptomatic.

Elko has had 56 confirmed cases and 33 of those are active.

Humboldt County Reports New Case Of COVID-19 Thursday
By Jayden Perez

Humboldt County reported a new case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases there to 79. Of the previous 78 cases, 72 have recovered, two are self-isolating, and four have died. There are currently three active cases. Humboldt General Hospital has tested 975 people and 20 are still pending.

Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital Begins Offering COVID-19 Antibody Tests
By Jayden Perez

The Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko announced this week it is offering testing to detect possible antibodies in people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

It is important to note that antibody tests do not confirm whether someone can currently spread COVID-19 or protect against future infection from the disease.

Antibody tests are important for identifying who might have been infected. This is especially helpful to find people who might have been infected but didn’t display any symptoms.

The tests are only available to patients with a doctor’s order due to state testing priority guidelines.

California Orders People To Wear Masks In Most Indoor Spaces
By The Associated Press

California on Thursday began requiring people to wear face masks in most indoor spaces and some outdoor ones as the state battles the coronavirus. Governor Gavin Newsom had until now let local and county governments set rules on masks. The order requires Californians to wear them in most indoor spaces, while riding or driving public transportation, in most workplaces and while outside if they can't be 6 feet away from others. There are exemptions for children ages two and under, people with medical conditions and for outdoor activities such as running and hiking, if distance can be maintained.

Regional Novel Coronavirus Updates: Wednesday, June 17

6:47 p.m. | June 17, 2020

Washoe County COVID-19 Test Results Backlogged
By Stephanie Serrano

The Washoe County Health District reported seven new COVID-19 cases, with a total of just more than 2,000 cases across the county.

There have been 71 coronavirus-related deaths, and 634 cases remain active.

District Health Officer Kevin Dick said due to an increase in state and local testing, the county has yet to receive results from tests sampled on Friday. Dick said the district will see a delay in numbers and is unsure when the state lab will get back on track.

He is encouraging business owners to require masks to help encourage residents to become a part of the solution. He is still asking community members to practice social distancing and proper handwashing.

Washoe County School District Reopening For Fall Sports
By Stephanie Serrano

Washoe County School District Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill said the district is working to reopen schools with two task forces, with more than 60 members.

Current plans involve welcoming back students involved with fall sports on July 6. McNeill said coaches and sporting staff will have a mandatory health training for best practices for gyms and weight rooms.

Additionally, the superintendent noted that kindergarten registration is open in-person at the schools.

The district will share the results from a survey about distance learning sent out to families at the next district board of trustees meeting on July 7.

Dayton Church Continues To Fight Back On 50-Person Cap
By The Associated Press

A rural Nevada church is asking a U.S. appeals court to overturn a federal judge's refusal to strike down the state's 50-person cap on religious gatherings as unconstitutional. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley filed a formal notice of its appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco after a judge in Las Vegas rejected its second request last week for a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the flat cap. It also filed a new request to resume worship services while the appeal is pending at 50% of the church's capacity. That's the same limit placed on casinos, restaurants, taverns and theme parks.

New Asymptomatic Testing Available In Sparks
By Stephanie Serrano

A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site for asymptomatic individuals will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 23 at Edward Reed High School in Sparks.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Nevada Medicaid is hosting the testing site and is encouraging any adult not experiencing symptoms to get tested. Tests will be conducted on a first come, first served basis.

Patients are asked to bring an official form of ID.

Quad County Sees Two New COVID-19 Cases
By Stephanie Serrano

The Carson City Health and Human Services is reporting two new positive COVID-19 cases in the Quad County region. The region spreads across Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

The two new positive cases are residents of Lyon County: a male in his 80s and a woman in her 20s. Neither case has a connection to a previous case.

The total number of cases across the region is 266, with 66 remaining active.

Get Caught Up:

  • June 16 | Regional Updates
    • Nevada Reports Highest Single-Day COVID-19 Case Jump
    • Washoe County Reports 13 New COVID-19 Cases
    • Quad-County Region Reports Two Additional Cases Of COVID-19
    • Elko County Reports 10 New Cases Of COVID-19
    • Reopening Guidelines For Washoe County School District Athletic Activities
    • American Gaming Association Pushes For Digital Payments On Casino Floor
    • Newsom Defends California’s Reopening Pace

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

Michelle Billman is the news director at KUNR Public Radio in Reno, Nevada where she oversees a scrappy crew of multimedia storytellers. She’s a transplant from the East Coast, where she earned degrees in creative writing and English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Virginia Tech.
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.
Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America focusing on community reporting and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local community issues are her passion, including the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, a lack of access to healthcare, protests and challenges facing vulnerable communities in northern Nevada.
Jayden Perez is a former web producer and student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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