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Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Feb. 10-16, 2021

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

6:00 p.m. | February 16, 2021

New Daily Case Average In Nevada Now Below 500
By Michelle Billman

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada since the start of the pandemic has surpassed 289,000, but the average of new daily cases over the past two weeks has now dipped just below 500. The state also reported 13 new deaths related to the virus Tuesday, and the death toll across Nevada is now 4,733. 

In Washoe County, health officials are reporting three new deaths related to the virus Tuesday bringing the death toll there to 633. The deceased were women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and all had an underlying health condition. The county is also reporting 25 new cases and nearly 250 recoveries. 

Teachers Lobby At Nevada Statehouse For Higher Mining Taxes
By The Associated Press

Nevada teachers want lawmakers to back a plan to increase taxes on the state's mining industry to better fund schools. The Nevada State Education Association held a rally in front of the state Legislature on Monday to tell lawmakers that regardless of the state's budget problems, teachers still want them to seek out new sources of revenue to ensure schools are funded long-term. Teachers and their unions have long lobbied to increase funding for Nevada's cash-strapped schools. They now say the pandemic has exacerbated problems that include large class sizes and a lack of mental health services.

More California Reopenings On Way As Virus Numbers Improve
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says a substantial number of counties could see fewer restrictions on businesses starting next week as coronavirus numbers improve. He spoke Tuesday at the site of a new federally supported mass vaccination site in Los Angeles that opened Tuesday along with a similar site in Oakland. Both are intended to vaccinate people in communities hit hard by the pandemic. California expects to get about 6,000 doses of vaccine a day for each site. That's separate from the state's regular vaccination allocation. California got 1.08 million doses this week and expects to get 1.28 million doses next week.

Bill Would End Tax Hikes For Companies Researching Disease
By The Associated Press

Some California Democrats want to end some tax increases for businesses that are developing treatments for COVID-19 and other diseases. Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature agreed to temporarily increase taxes on some businesses to close what they thought would be a $54.3 billion budget shortfall. But that deficit was not as bad as lawmakers had feared. Now, the state has a projected one-time surplus of $15 billion this year. On Tuesday, some influential Democratic lawmakers urged approval of a measure that would rescind some of those tax increases for life sciences companies.

Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Monday, February 15, 2021

8:51 p.m. | February 15, 2021

Average Number Of New Daily Cases In Nevada Drops Below 550
By Michelle Billman

Over the long holiday weekend, Nevada’s total number of COVID-19 cases rose to more than 288,000. The average number of new daily cases over the past two weeks is now less than 550 as it continues to decline.

The state’s death toll sits above 4,700 now, with an average of 14 new deaths related to the virus per day. Statewide, health officials are reporting that just more than 77,000 vaccinations are complete while nearly 300,000 have been initiated. 

In Washoe County, three new deaths tied to the virus were recorded over the long weekend, bringing the county’s COVID-19 death toll to 630. Health officials are reminding everyone that if you know a senior who is interested in getting the vaccine, reach out to see if they help with scheduling an appointment or signing up for the waiting list online. More than 6,000 seniors who are 70 years and older have already been invited to schedule an appointment for the vaccine if they signed up for the Washoe County Senior COVID-19 vaccine list.

To learn more about vaccinations for seniors, visit covid19washoevaccine-dot-com

The Nevada Independent is reporting that seniors in several Nevada counties can now get vaccinated at Walmart and Sam’s Club. 

Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Saturday, February 13, 2021

6:49 p.m. | February 13, 2021

KUNR is committed to sharing information and resources on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in Nevada please visit the following:


Washoe County

Quad Counties

Elko County

Check back on Monday for our regular updates.

Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Friday, February 12, 2021

5:27 p.m. | February 12, 2021

More Than 75,000 Vaccines Administered in Washoe County
By Michelle Billman

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada has surpassed 287,000. The average number of new daily cases over the past two weeks is now below 600 as it continues to decline. The statewide death toll from the virus now stands at 4,663 Nevadans. 

In Washoe County, health officials are reporting that more than 75,000 vaccines have been administered. There were also two new deaths on Friday related to the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in Washoe to nearly 630 since the start of the pandemic. 

For more information, you can find Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard here, and Washoe County’s here.

University Of Nevada, Reno Developing New Means Of Disinfecting COVID-19  
By Jayden Perez

UNR researchers are testing how titanium oxide coated materials, when subjected to ultraviolet light, could be applied to reduce COVID-19 virus particles.

Based on their findings so far, researchers say that it's likely that the titanium oxide coating, which is a chemical compound, could be applied to a wider range of surfaces such as plastics, wood, and paper.

This could have potential use for businesses and hospitals as a way to disinfect surfaces.

According to a press release, the scientists used a closely related virus to the one that causes COVID-19 in their research. The research was not conducted outside of a lab, and the virus that specifically causes COVID-19 was not tested.

Viral Vegas: Deaths Jump, Tourism Slumps Amid Long Pandemic
By The Associated Press

The toll of the coronavirus is reshaping Las Vegas almost a year after the pandemic took hold. The tourist destination known for bright lights, big crowds, indulgent meals and headline shows is a much quieter place these days. Visitors arrive to find some freedoms curtailed and some familiar attractions closed. Some marquee properties have been idled, including the Mirage casino and its iconic man-made volcano eruptions on the Strip. Other places are open only on weekends. Parking and bargain prices are abundant. January was Nevada's deadliest month since the pandemic began, with more than 1,100 deaths.

Nevada School District OKs Testing, Some Students To Return
By The Associated Press

The largest school district in Nevada has agreed to welcome some students back to partial in-person learning on March 1. The Clark County school board trustees voted 4-3 to approve an agreement on Thursday with the Clark County Education Association, Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees and the Education Support Employees Association. The agreement outlines $3.3 million in contracts for daily symptom screenings, monthly COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment for all employees in an effort to bring back pre-kindergarten through third grade students. It is unclear when older students will return. Employees who are considered “vulnerable” will not be required to return to campuses.

4-6 Million Added To California's Vaccine Eligibility List
By The Associated Press

California is expanding the list of people eligible for coronavirus vaccine by another 4 to 6 million people. State Health Director Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that starting March 15 severely disabled people and those with health conditions that put them at high risk can get in line for shots. Among those included are people with certain cancer, heart, lung and kidney conditions, as well as pregnant women, those with Down syndrome, organ transplant recipients and the severely obese. California has been plagued by vaccine shortages and Ghaly acknowledged he's not sure how long it will take for the federal supply of shots to meet demand.

Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Thursday, February 11, 2021

6:51 p.m. | February 11, 2021

Sisolak Ends Nevada’s COVID Pause, Gradually Ease Restrictions
By Paul Boger

Governor Steve Sisolak says Nevada will, once again, begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions starting next week. He announced the end to the months-long “pause” on lifting any restrictions during a press conference on Thursday. 

Under the new plan, the state will begin to lift capacity limits for most businesses in the state to at least 35% starting Monday. It then calls for another increase to 50% capacity in mid-March.

Sisolak also pledged to give counties more authority to enact their own COVID-19 mitigation rules starting May 1.

“This is a collaboration that we’re reviewing with the local health districts to ensure that they’re ready at that time, in order to do that, to accomplish it. It’s in everyone’s best interest that we get this over to the local jurisdictions.” 

Certain provisions including the state’s mask mandate and social distancing requirements will remain in place for the foreseeable future. High-risk venues such as strip clubs, nightclubs, day clubs and brothels are expected to remain closed until May.

Lawmakers Approve $50 Million In Small Business COVID Relief
By Paul Boger

Nevada Lawmakers have approved a bill aimed at providing COVID relief to small businesses. 

Assembly Bill 106 is an appropriation of $50 million from the general fund to what’s called the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support Grant Program. Using CARES Act money, the program is earmarked for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic and can be used make rent, payroll or to buy inventory and personal protective equipment, 

The measure is among Governor Sisolak’s top priorities this session, and he personally presented the bill to lawmakers during a committee hearing on Wednesday. 

“This program gives us something that we can all agree on, that when we are able to provide help to those who need it during one of the most trying times in our state’s history, we’re going to get it done. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican priority. It’s not urban [and] it’s not rural. Helping small businesses is a Nevada priority.”

The bill passed both houses with unanimous support, with Democrats hailing the grants as the largest small businesses assistance program in state history.

Republicans, though, were less enthusiastic about the measure. Some insisted removing Sisolak’s pandemic-related business restrictions, such as capacity caps, would be the best way to help. The restrictions have fallen in line with what public health official’s recommendations, but Senator Ira Hansen of Sparks says they’re to blame for the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“I’m glad we’re giving $50 million. Congratulations to all. But we better start looking for long-term solutions rather [than] these one-shot appropriations — things where we sit around singing Kumbayah like we’re saving the business community that we absolutely allowed to be devastated by the governor’s edicts.”

The measure will now head to the governor for final approval and will immediately go into effect when signed. 

Nevada Continues To See COVID Numbers Trend Downward
By Paul Boger

Health officials in Nevada reported 55 COVID-19-related deaths as the state continues to see an overall downward trend in COVID-19 metrics. 

Nevada's two-week rolling average of new daily cases has seen a steady decline over the past month and a half. Late last year, the state was tracking an average of nearly 2,300 new cases of the coronavirus every day. Now it's adding just over 600.

The state's test positivity rate has also experienced a decline over the past month, dropping to 14.4%. There are now fewer than 900 people in the state currently being hospitalized for COVID-19.

California Overtakes New York In COVID Death Count
By The Associated Press

California has edged past New York in the grim statistic of the number of deaths due to COVID-19. Johns Hopkins University data reported Thursday, shows California's death toll has reached climbed to more than 45,000. The development comes as coronavirus trends are showing improvement in California. State Department of Public Health data shows the most recent seven-day test positivity rate has fallen to 4.8 percent. The daily number of new positive cases has also fallen dramatically. The state, however, is grappling with vaccine shortages that are crippling efforts to inoculate substantial numbers of people.

Novel Coronavirus In Nevada: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

6:37 p.m. | February 10, 2021

COVID-19 Cases Trending Downward in Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

COVID-19 cases are trending downward in Washoe County. The number of new daily cases has been under 100 for about a week. 

There were 42 additional cases reported on Wednesday and three deaths.

Washoe’s test positivity rate has dropped from about 18% in mid-January to 11%.

Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said it’s a good sign but the public must remain vigilant in virus mitigation efforts.

“While our demand for testing has decreased, seeing that positivity number come down in spite of a reduced number of people getting tested is quite encouraging. However, we do remain flagged under the county tracking system for both the number of new cases that are occurring and the positivity rate,” Dick said.

Statewide, the test positivity rate is nearly 15%. One of the criteria the state uses for designating a high transmission rate is a positivity rate over 8%. 

There have been an average of 650 new daily cases over the last two weeks statewide and an average of 15 deaths daily during that same period.

For more information, you can find Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard here, and Washoe County’s here

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

Under 10% Of Nevadans Have Received First COVID-19 Shot
By Lucia Starbuck

More than 375,000 Nevadans have received their first COVID-19 shot. That’s more than 9% of the population. 

Of that number, more than 75,000 vaccines have been administered in Washoe County. Nearly 16% of Washoe’s population has received the first shot.

Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said they’re still working on vaccinating adults over the age of 70 and educators. Next, they’ll focus on essential shelter staff. Dick said vaccinating vulnerable community members and essential staff simultaneously is a good approach.

“It’s important that we provide a balance between essential workers that we need to continue to deliver services, that are frontline, and are directly exposed, and at risk of not being able to continue to provide those services if they do acquire COVID-19, and balancing that with the needs of the general population that we know are at higher risk,” Dick said.

Nearly 68% of all COVID-19-related deaths in Washoe are among people 70 years and older.

County and state officials are pleading with the public to reach out to those you know older than 70 to see if they need help signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

You can sign up a senior 70 years or older on Washoe County’s COVID-19 vaccination waitlist here, and see other COVID-19 vaccination options for those 70 and older here.

2021 Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Canceled (Again)
By Lucia Starbuck

The Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, a 178-mile run around Reno and Lake Tahoe, is canceled again this year due to the pandemic, according to an onlinestatement. The event was originally scheduled for June 4 and 5.

The statement went on to say there was a large hurdle in getting all permits approved, as the race spans two states and nine counties. The statement also said organizers could not ensure social distancing and mask-wearing could be followed the whole time.

The race has been rescheduled for next year.

Las Vegas Strip Marathon Shortened, Moved To Next Year
By The Associated Press

Distance runners will cover a shorter course when the Rock 'n' Roll race series returns to the Las Vegas Strip in a year. Tourism and event officials said Tuesday the marathon will become a half-marathon under a three-year, $450,000 agreement approved by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board. The marathon traces its origin to 1967. It moved to the Las Vegas Strip in 2005 and became a Rock 'n' Roll series race in 2009, held at night in November. Races in 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to the pandemic.

California Probes Whistleblower Allegations From COVID Lab
By The Associated Press

The California Department of Public Health is investigating whistleblower allegations of mismanagement and incompetence - including reports of workers sleeping on the job - at the state's new billion-dollar COVID-19 testing laboratory. Internal documents from the PerkinElmer-run lab detail alleged problems like contamination causing inconclusive tests, swapped samples and inaccurate results sent to patients. The records were obtained by CBS13 TV in Sacramento. The news station interviewed current and former employees who claim to have found COVID-19 test swabs found in restrooms. Tomas Aragon, director of California's health department, says the state is taking the allegations seriously.

Get Caught Up:

February 10, 2021 | Regional Updates

  • Washoe Reports Lowest New Daily Cases On Tuesday Since Mid-June
  • COVID-19 Hospitalizations Declining In Nevada
  • WCHD To Begin Vaccinating Community Support Frontline Staff
  • Early Reports Indicate More Side Effects For Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose, But They’re Temporary
  • Governor Sisolak Announces New Initiative To Address Inequitable Vaccine Distribution
  • Elko County Creates Fund To Pay COVID-19 Fines For Businesses

For continued updates on the novel coronavirus in Nevada, visit our related stories page.

Michelle Billman is a former news director 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.
Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
Jayden Perez is a former web producer and student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Olivia Ali is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in journalism and minoring in history. She is also the editor-in-chief of The Nevada Sagebrush. Prior to working at KUNR, she interned at the Reno Gazette Journal as a reporting intern and at the Sacramento SPCA as a digital marketing analyst intern through the Dow Jones News Fund. After she graduates, she hopes to work in audience engagement or digital media. Outside of journalism, Olivia loves to travel, learn as much as she can and watch reality television when she gets a spare moment.
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