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Nevada COVID-19 Task Force meets with Washoe County officials over uptick in cases

Posted at 10:10 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 00:26:40-04

CARSON CITY (KTNV) — The Nevada COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force held an emergency meeting Thursday with Washoe County officials to discuss their plan to combat increasing COVID-19 trends in the county.

Washoe County has seen an increasing trend in the COVID-19 burden on the county since Sept. 28. After being flagged five consecutive weeks for having an elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission, officials from Washoe County provided an assessment summary to the Task Force.

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A summary of the assessment is below:

Washoe County

Assessment Summary:

  • COVID-19 is widespread in Washoe County and is mostly occurring through community transmission that is not tied to known cases of infection.
  • As of Oct. 27, the 7-day rolling average of new daily cases in Washoe County was 157, a 24% increase in new cases from the previous week.
  • Washoe County test positivity rate has increased over the past week from 8.5% to 9.1% despite the number of tests per day increasing.
  • Washoe County has seen 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.
  • Washoe County has also seen an increase in cases in the 0-9 and 10-19 age ranges but not as large.
  • The number of tests per 100,000 population has increased from 260 per day to 296 tests per day.
  • Licensed ICU beds in Washoe County hospital occupancy rates are 66% and 46% respectively for general hospital and intensive care units. 79% of staffed hospital beds are occupied.
  • The status of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains good in Washoe County.

Approved Action Plan:

  • The Task Force unanimously supported Washoe County’s action plan as provided and written with additional conditions outlined by Chair Cage. The jurisdictions of Washoe County, City of Reno and City of Sparks agreed to return to the restriction level in place before implementation of Directive 33 by limiting the size of gatherings from the current 250 limit to 50 people or fewer while reviewing requests for outside events on a case by case basis. These new restrictions will go into effect on Nov. 5.
  • Additionally, the jurisdictions will increase 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.
  • Chair Cage added that Washoe County, the City of Reno and City of Sparks will coordinate with the Department of Business and Industry to develop an action plan and define changes that can be made to enforcement, setting specific goals for the percent of businesses to be visited in a given time period.
  • Chair Cage requested that Washoe County Health District and Washoe County Emergency Management and the state Division of Emergency Management coordinate on community-based testing, and future PPE and resource request needs.
  • Chair Cage added the 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 turn around times and contact tracing and disease investigation measures.
  • Lastly, Chair Cage requested that decisions be made regarding a proposed use of a COVID Risk Meter.

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.