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Is Nevada next to require masks in public?

Posted at 8:03 AM, Jun 24, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Western states like Washington, California, and parts of Oregon are requiring face coverings while in public, and the Las Vegas culinary union is now calling on Gov. Steve Sisolak to follow suit in order to protect workers in Nevada.

The governor has announced a news conference for Wednesday -- you can watch a livestream at 5 p.m. here -- and he's expected to address a surge in cases overall and a spike in hospital visits connected to COVID-19.

RELATED: US virus cases surge to highest level in 2 months

Experts say requiring face masks may be the next step.

Pictures of busy restaurants with little social distancing have popped up and circulated online in recent days.

On Monday, Wet‘n’Wild reopened and video of people packed together in a line in the sweltering heat caused some concern on social media.

Back on June 15, Gov. Sisolak said, "We had the expectation that, as a result of reopening and an increase in testing, our positive cases are likely to increase. We have seen an increase in positive cases but that has yet to negatively impact the capacity of our hospitals. "

RELATED: Gov. Sisolak says Nevada not ready for Phase 3 of reopening

The latest numbers, however, show just that.

Five new daily case records were set in just the past eight days. COVID-19 hospital stays continue to trend upward for the fourth consecutive week.

The positive test rate is spiking, bottoming out just below 2% in late May and early June, but now it's about to exceed the World Health Organization's recommendations.

"The positive rate looks at how many people are taking the test and how many of them are coming back positive," explained family physician and syndicated radio show host Dr. Daliah Wachs. She says positive tests are just one factor among many that health officials are watching as trigger points for restrictions.

COVID-19 Tracker | The latest numbers in Clark County and Nevada

"I wouldn't be surprised if the governor's next step is to mandate the masks because we're moving towards that direction," she said.

"We need everybody wearing masks," said Geoconda Argüello-Kline with Culinary Union Local 226 during a press conference hosted by the union on Monday.

"Why are we different than California?" she asked. "Why are the workers here in Nevada? We have been asking and asking and asking to the leadership of Nevada."

The governor tells 13 Investigates the numbers are evaluated daily and if surges in cases popped up, especially among certain industries or activities, like gaming, he would consider a public mandate.

Wednesday's press conference is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Click here to watch it live or in full after it is over.

WATCH GOV. SISOLAK'S UPDATE