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Southern Nevada records highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic started

Case surge brought on by omicron, more gatherings, officials say
COVID-19 test
Posted at 12:08 PM, Dec 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 15:15:30-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year, the Southern Nevada Health District reports the region set a new record for daily COVID-19 infections on Thursday.

The health district reported a single-day increase of 3,363 cases between Wednesday and Thursday this week — its single highest daily case count since the pandemic started. To date, there have been 369,414 cases of the virus recorded in Southern Nevada.

CORONAVIRUS: Nevada's test positivity hits 10.1% past 14 days

Over the past seven days, 10,861 cases of the virus have been reported. SNHD reports a seven-day moving average of 1,306 new positive cases as of Monday. No new deaths from the virus were reported as of Thursday.

"Cases have been increasing as the omicron variant becomes more prevalent and as people attend more social gatherings and travel during the holiday season," SNHD officials stated.

Health officials urged those who plan to gather with people outside their households for New Year's to take precautions "to protect themselves and others."

The best way to do that, district health officer Dr. Fermin Leguen says, is as follows:

  • Be fully vaccinated and receive a booster dose of the vaccine if eligible
  • Wear well-fitting masks when indoors and in crowded settings
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • "Most importantly," stay home and away from others if you are sick

Nationally, the U.S. has set multiple records for daily case counts amid a new surge of cases brought on by the omicron variant. On Wednesday, approximately 486,000 cases were recorded nationwide.

Emerging evidence indicates that omicron produces milder illness than other variants — but also spreads faster and better evades vaccines.

The omicron variant of COVID-19 is thought to be nearly 20 times more contagious than previous strains of the virus. The CDC says there is growing evidence that the virus is most infectious in the two or three days after symptoms arise.

MORE: What makes omicron different from past COVID-19 strains? And what can we do to slow the spread?