Health officials in northern Nevada say current trends in the coronavirus reflect those that have led to one of the worst of the pandemic and foresee the possibility of school closings or re-restricting business opportunities if the steep trajectory of new cases does not begin to smooth out soon.
A positive test result, the benchmark for the spread of the virus in the population, rose in Nevada from 3.4% in mid-May to 16.3% on Monday.
Washoe County health officer Kevin Dick, driven primarily by the proliferation of the delta variant, said the rate of positive results in the Reno Sparks area rose from 5% in mid-July to 15.4% on Tuesday.
In Clark County, including Las Vegas, the figure was 17.1% on Monday.
Dick said an average of 150 new infections are reported every day in Washu County in seven days, more than six times the July 9 rate, and hospitalizations quadrupled to 120 today.
“I think what we’re seeing with the delta option is alarming,” Dick told reporters Tuesday.
“If you look at the increase in the number of cases that we saw a little over a month after it happened. This is very similar to how we grew from October to November, ”he said of the peak surge, which reached an average of 481 new daily cases.
“We are currently at about a third of our peak during the November surge, so our caseload is growing rapidly. And so we have to act now and respect each other and the governor’s mandate … so we can try to bring those numbers down, ”he said.
Washoe County Health District also confirmed Tuesday the first death from COVID-19 of a fully vaccinated person in the Reno Sparks area, a man in his 80s with multiple underlying medical conditions.
But Dick stressed that deaths among vaccinated people are still extremely rare across the country, the vast majority of vaccinated people do not go to the hospital, and that vaccination of Nevadans is the only way to reverse the sharp increase in the spread of infection. virus.
As of Aug.4, 40 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported statewide among more than 1.5 million Nevada residents who have been fully vaccinated, according to government health officials.
Dick said the medical district is “getting a lot of calls” about businesses not requiring masks on their premises. He warned that it will be difficult to avoid a return to restrictions on business opportunities or school closures if more Nevadans are not vaccinated and meet mask requirements.
“Nobody wants to go back to a stop,” he said.
“These are challenging times when we can stay safe by opening a school and returning everyone to classrooms with the same transmission rates that we have in our community. I expect that we will have classes that we need to close if there are cases of illness, ”he said. said.
The Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce is following the latest trends with “some concern,” Chamber President Anne Silver said Tuesday.
“None of us wants another shutdown and does not want capacity limitations. But we also want to make sure employees and customers are safe, ”she said. “We urge our members to respect the governor’s mask mandate and ensure that clients comply with it.”
Silver said about 30% of the ward’s 2,300 members indicated that they require their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of hiring or when hiring new employees.
“Our food and retail workforce in Washu County is already under pressure. So if the number of cases continues to grow and workers have to take time off to recover, this will certainly affect our business, ”she said.