I-Team: Sisolak on mask mandate, statistics: ‘Everything with COVID is in flux’

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s a rule we all know: If you’re indoors at a public place, you must wear a face covering.

Nevada is one of several states that currently have a mask mandate. But what lies ahead?

Gov. Steve Sisolak talked with our I-Team’s Vanessa Murphy about the situation.

Nevada has had a mask mandate since April of 2020, except for a brief few months when it was lifted.

While the goal to get rid of the masks is to reach “moderate” or “low” risk for two weeks in a row, most Nevada counties are still flagged for high rates of transmission,

“Everything with COVID is in flux. I mean, the new omicron variant coming through is making it more difficult,” Sisolak said.

“The test positivity rate is not as accurate a statistic as it was before because so many people are testing at home and those aren’t being counted into the totals,” he said.

Sisolak points to a slight uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations. While the Nevada Hospital Association reports the rate is flat in Southern Nevada, it also reports an increase in Clark County from 509 to 522 hospitalizations during the second half of November.

“Cases are still running a little higher than we’d like. We’re lower than the national average which is good, and I appreciate everybody complying as best they possibly can,” Sisolak said.

People are noticing that the mask mandate is not being enforced. Is it still effective?

“Well, you know we count on local governments to enforce it,” Sisolak said.

“As a state, we can’t do too much enforcing. We’ve got OSHA that’s going out looking at various things. We’re encouraging people to wear masks when they’re inside. That’s the rule,” he said.

“Some people obviously do not follow the rules. We’ve had discussion with T-Mobile as it relates to events that are being held in T-Mobile and they’ve committed to strengthening their enforcement as it relates to the mask,” Sisolak said.

Through Nov. 14, OSHA reports a total of 39 violations for the entire state. More than half of them appear to be issued to small businesses for violating COVID-19 protocols.

The next hurdle, Sisolak said, is the holidays — more events and more indoor gatherings.

He also talked about Sunday’s announcement on funding the widening of Interstate 15 at the California border — a source of frequent headaches for people coming to and from Las Vegas on weekends.

Sisolak and California Gov. Gavin Newsom made a joint announcement about the project.

Sisolak says he is 100% confident the project will start at the new year.

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