LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada authorities are warning anyone who participated in large gatherings in Las Vegas during the New Year's weekend to assume they have been exposed to COVID-19 and should be tested as soon as possible.
Video captured by 13 Action News and by people on the Las Vegas Strip show thousands gathered in Las Vegas to ring in 2021, in close proximity to others.
A violation of the current state 'pause' which limits public gatherings to no more than 50 people.
"It was a risk to go out on New Year's Eve the governor made it clear," said Caleb Cage, Nevada COVID-19 response director.
"At this time we focusing on people knowing how to handle the next steps," added Cage.
Cage said people should assume the exposure and may be capable of spreading it to others without realizing the situation.
He warned "asymptomatic" individuals, or those who will not show any symptoms should be concerned as well with spreading it to others.
"A lot of people don't wear masks out here unless they're told," said Megan Brownhill, who works at Fremont Street Temporary Tattoos, a kiosk at the Fremont Street Experience.
"We've gotten fined, like six times, because customers won't wear masks. I definitely believe there's probably been a lot of spreading of the virus," added Brownhill.
The Fremont Street Experience was restricted to only hotel guests with wristbands on New Year's Eve.
However, Brownhill says the restrictions were lifted the next day and the crowds were out in force.
Brownhill says she is concerned because a coworker recently tested positive for the virus.
"You can actually be infectious for up to two days prior to exhibiting any symptoms or signs, so those individuals who may be infectious may not even know it and can still spread the virus," explained Dr. Christina Madison with Roseman University.
Dr. Madison says in the coming days some of those who were infected on new year's eve will begin to show signs of the illness which may include fever, cough, body aches.
Starting on Jan. 11, the Texas Station site operating in the hotel’s parking garage at 2101 Texas Star Lane will operate three days a week as a neighborhood strike team site.
The days of operation will be announced when they become available.
The site will open at 8 a.m. and offer approximately 600 tests on a first-come-first-served basis as supplies permit.
County and Nevada National Guard staff will continue supporting the operation while the Health District will oversee on-site registration, lab processing of samples, and the notifications of test results.
No appointments are available at the site, and no insurance is necessary.
Also starting on the same day, the two sites overseen by University Medical Center -- UNLV and Cashman Center -- will begin requesting insurance information during the registration process.
There will continue to be no-out-of-pocket costs to patients, including the uninsured, but the insurance of patients who have it will be billed in order to recoup some testing-related costs.