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Nevada COVID-19 Task Force: Clark among counties flagged for elevated risk

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NEVADA (KTNV) — The Nevada COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force met with four counties flagged for having an elevated risk of transmission of COVID-19.

CORONAVIRUS: Confirmed cases in Clark County, what's happening around the state

Clark and Elko counties have been flagged for the past three weeks, Lyon for four and Washoe for six consecutive weeks. All the counties are flagged for having high case rates per 100,000 residents and high test-positivity rates.

Clark County

Assessment Summary:

· As of Nov. 2, Clark County had a case rate per 100,000 of 559 and a test positivity rate of 9.8%.

· Clark County reports its access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is steady. Testing capacity, case investigation and contact tracing and efforts to protect vulnerable populations have also been sufficient.

· Clark County reports experiencing some challenges with enforcement and compliance from businesses.

Approved Action Plan:

· The Task force approved Clark County’s plan that outlines mitigation actions. In particular, Clark County will seek the opening of an additional Community Based Collection Site, to coincide with the operations at Cashman Center and UNLV.

· Additionally, Clark County will focus on the top 10 zip codes where more “strike teams” will be deployed for the community to have access to free testing.

· Southern Nevada Health District stated they have the capacity to ensure contact tracing and notifications are completed in a timely fashion, typically within 48 hours.

· COVID-19 Task Force Chair Caleb Cage requested that promotion of the COVID Trace app be integrated into outreach at the Community Based Collection sites.

Elko County

Assessment Summary:

· Elko reports a 54% increase in confirmed cases in the month of October, and attributed the increase to community spread and clusters among families and friends.

· Elko reports that lengthy test reporting times has been one of the factors leading to the upward trend in cases.

· The hospital infrastructure is in good condition; however, it is understood this could change quickly. The county reports adequate access to PPE at this time.

Approved Action Plan:

· The Task Force approved Elko County’s plan. Elko County’s plan includes a specific focus on two actions:

o Adequate testing with an acceptable reporting time

o Increased use of face covering in personal/private settings, encouraged by local leaders in the community through various means of communications including social media, radio, and other visual presentations (billboards, etc.), which will be supported by CARES Act funding.

· Chair Cage requested a further breakdown on enforcement and the need for additional meetings to address issues in lab reporting, prior to the next Task Force meeting.

Lyon County

Assessment Summary:

· Lyon County saw an outbreak at a long-term care facility in October that officials believe let to further spread in the community. They also attributed the increase to community spread and clusters among families and friends.

· Although not recently flagged for low testing averages, challenges remain with enforcing compliance with individuals and families.

Approved Action Plan:

· Lyon’s approved action plan includes continued community education on contact tracing and its importance, promoting preventative actions and emphasizing the importance of staying home when feeling sick to protect friends, family, coworkers, and communities.

· As the holidays approach, Carson City Health and Human Services will also provide community education related to the holidays, family gatherings, and actions that should be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during these times.

· Lyon County will continue to work with their cities, special districts and tribes to ensure a strong public outreach, testing information and compliance processes for businesses and events.

· Lyon County will continue to support state regulatory agencies such as OSHA and NDEP with compliance efforts throughout the County and continue to enforce the directives within the County organization to ensure the wellbeing of their employees and the public that they serve.

· County officials have cancelled all large gatherings over which they have authority. Private large gathering plans are submitted to County Emergency Management and then to Nevada Regulators and Public Health Officer for review.

Washoe County

Assessment Summary:

· COVID-19 is widespread in Washoe County and is mostly occurring through community transmission that is not able to be tied back to known cases of infection.

· As of Nov. 3, the 7-day rolling average of new daily cases in Washoe County was 187, an 19% increase in new cases from the previous week.

· Washoe County’s test positivity rate has increased over the past week from 9.1% to 10.8%. Tests have also been increasing in that time period.

· Washoe County continues to see significant increase in numbers of cases occurring in the 30-59-year-old age range, in addition to the 20-29-year-old ranges in the last several weeks.

· Licensed ICU beds in Washoe County hospital occupancy rates are 66% and 46% respectively for general hospital and intensive care units. 81% of staffed hospital beds are occupied.

· The status of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains good in Washoe County.

Action Plan Updates:

· The Task Force took no additional action from the plan approved during the October 29 meeting.

· Effective Nov. 5, 2020, public gatherings in Washoe County are to be limited to 50 people or less for all indoor and outdoor events.

· Additionally, the jurisdictions have increased their public education and communication outreach. Particularly, though their “Mask On, Move On” outreach campaign. The local business community along with other stakeholders like Washoe County School District, University of Nevada, Reno, Economic Development in Reno-Sparks-Tahoe and the Chamber of Commerce will be engaged in this effort to communicate throughout the community that everyone needs to together to reduce new case numbers and positivity rates to avoid shut downs of our local businesses and industries.

· Washoe County, the City of Reno and City of Sparks have agreed to increased enforcement and will meet weekly with Department of Business and Industry to improve alignment of inspection execution and increase compliance.

· Washoe County Health District and Washoe County Emergency Management and the state Division of Emergency Management are coordinating on community-based testing in priority zip codes with high infection rates.

· Washoe County Health Officer will work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Nevada State Public Health Lab to address lab testing reporting times and contact tracing and disease investigation measures.

All counties -- regardless of risk level -- must maintain the statewide baseline mitigation measures, including wearing face coverings, limits on gathering sizes and capacity in businesses.

More information about the task force can be found online on the Nevada Health Response here.