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Nevada, Clark County sees largest daily spike in COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 10:40:53-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada and Clark County are reporting the largest uptick in COVID-19 cases in a day since the pandemic began.

Nevada health officials reported the highest uptick in cases overnight with 379 new cases Tuesday with more than 6,300 tests completed on Monday. Officials also reported the highest single-day growth rate since May 22.

Health officials are linking the spike in cases in the state to Nevada entering Phase 2 of its reopening about two and a half weeks ago.

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They say with gyms, bars and other businesses able to reopen - combined with Memorial Day weekend gatherings and mass protests - they saw social distancing and other pandemic practices go out the window.

"The more testing you do, the more you're going to find," said Dr. Mike Johnson with the Southern Nevada Health District.

Johnson said an increase in community testing contributes to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Nevada. But it's not the only factor.

The reopening of more businesses, mass gatherings on Memorial Day, and at protests is what Dr. Johnson is calling "mixed compliance" of health precautions that are factoring into the rise.

"We are in the midst of a pandemic," Johnson said. "I think because of some of the reopenings that have happened and the relaxation of some of the requirements, some people may have a sense of complacency."

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Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela is part of the Nevada COVID-19 Task Force. She said everyone has a responsibility to do their part so that our economy can continue to reopen.

"We've already done the hard work of staying home. We now have to do the much easier job of washing our hands, wearing our face coverings and practicing social distancing," Cancela said.

Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said a need to shut down parts of Nevada's economy again is not on her radar. But what is, is people sticking to the guidelines Nevadans have heard for months.

"I feel very confident in my own community that they want to stay safe and stay open. I think everyone will get back on track," Kirkpatrick said.

Health officials don't believe the current numbers constitute the second wave of COVID-19 is here, but they are closely monitoring the trends as well in neighboring states like Arizona that have seen significant spikes in recent weeks.