LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A warning from health officials tonight about pandemic fatigue. After two and a half months of steady decline, Nevada's COVID-19 numbers are on the rise.
On Jan. 13, the state's test positivity rate peaked at 21.6%. Then, every day for about two and a half straight months, that number dropped all the way to 4.2%.
But this past Friday, April 2, that trend reversed again.
Since then, Nevada's test positivity rate has risen for six straight days by daily percentage change. Currently, Nevada's test positivity rate is at 4.5%, which is still below the World Health Organization's recommendation of 5%, but health officials are taking notice.
This rise in cases is happening in states across the country, including Nevada. Now, it has the attention of local health officials in Nevada, including Dr. Cort Lohff, the Chief Medical Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.
He says the recent rise in cases and hospitalizations is probably the result of several factors.
"It could be that people are relaxing their behavior, which might be facilitating the transmission of the virus," said Dr. Lohff.
"So, for example, they may not be wearing a mask as often or not wearing it correctly as we like them to do," he explained. "There may be more people that are gathering with large numbers of other people."
"Obviously, if you go around the city, you can see there’s more people out, larger crowds, things like that," added Dr. Lohff.
Recently, Southern Nevada reached a milestone, administering one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, but Dr. Lohff warns it's still not enough.
"The challenge now is to sustain that momentum. We’ve known that a lot of people who have received the first dose have not yet come back for the second dose when they are supposed to," he said.
"And we’re just not seeing the large uptick in people getting the vaccine now that we opened it up to everybody. So, those two kinds of trends are very concerning."
Dr. Lohff is urging everyone to stay vigilant and continue practicing the safety measures we've been doing for months: continuing to wear your mask, practicing your social distancing, and avoiding dangerous behaviors and large gatherings.
And most importantly, Dr. Lohff is urging every Nevadan over the age of 16 to sign up to get a vaccine and follow through on both doses, when necessary. You can do that by clicking this link.