LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada's test positivity rate is now below 10%, a major milestone in our fight against COVID-19. The last time our test positivity rate was this low was back on Nov. 3.
“It shows there's less transmission, but it also shows fewer people are being tested for it. The goal ultimately is to get below 5%. That's the target to show that we basically have things kind of under control in our community. We're still up twice that,” expressed Dr. Brian Labus, an infectious disease epidemiologist.
That 5% threshold is something Nevada hasn’t been able to achieve since late June 2020.
Other markers like deaths, hospitalizations, and confirmed cases are also on the decline. However, even though the trends show a decrease, health experts say there’s a lot of work still left to do against COVID-19.
Labus, who is also an associate professor at UNLV School of Public Health, says the current numbers are encouraging, but he is concerned that people will let down their guard.
“Because if we do that the numbers are going to go back up. We saw that happening in September, we saw that happening in the spring, where we had one wave and then things got better and then everybody back off what they were doing and the next wave came,” said Labus.
There is one big difference this time around and that is vaccinations. Not only has it been several weeks that vaccines have been distributed throughout the country.
“One dose is actually much more effective at vaccination than what we previously thought. Also, the other thing is that there is really strong data looking at the fact that it looks like vaccination also helps to decrease the transmission rate of the virus as well, “ said Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice with Roseman University of Health Sciences (RU)
Even with this new data, two doses of COVID-19 vaccines are still required to get full immunization against the virus.
Nonetheless, even with the vaccine - wearing masks, social distancing, and limiting your exposure to others is still necessary.