LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the government turns the page on COVID-19, Nevada has reached 12,000 deaths for the pandemic.

Today — May 11, 2023 — marks the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Nationwide, a total of 1,131,819 deaths have been recorded. Nevada’s deaths amount to 1% of that total, but the state’s low population amplifies that total. A study released in March indicated Nevada ranked No. 8 in the nation for COVID-19 death rate. That study found that Nevada was 41st in the nation for vaccinations.

Officially, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported on Wednesday that 10 deaths recorded over the past week pushed the state’s total to 12,008 for the pandemic. Clark County’s total stands at 9,372 — more than 81% of the COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Experts believe the virus will linger.

When the world first started to get a glimpse of how fast COVID-19 was spreading in 2020, panic set in for the public and health care workers.

“It was a really traumatic time for health care workers so it’s a big step we are here now,” said Dr. Aishwarya Vyas-Lahar with Valley Oaks Medical Group.

Three years later, COVID-19 the public health emergency expired with little notice.

Dr. Aishwarya Vyas-Lahar. (KLAS)

Since the pandemic, free testing and vaccinations were encouraged and sometimes even mandatory, depending on where you work.

With the end of the public health emergency, Vyas-Lahar is worried about what that might mean for the spread of COVID-19 since treatment could come out-of-pocket.

“It was already a lot of challenges before when it was free and covered and now that it’s not. More people are going to have more resistance,” Vyas-Lahar said.

On Thursday, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) put out information to let the public know free help will still be out there for a bit longer.

“It doesn’t mean there is an end to the pandemic or there is an end for us to provide our services,” Dr. Fermin Leguen said.

SNHD said free vaccines will still be offered at various locations.

Two College of Southern Nevada campuses will also provide free testing.

There are also free COVID antigen tests at vending machines at different transit centers. That will end in March of 2024.

Check with your insurance company to see exactly what is covered for COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

For those who are uninsured, SNHD said they will have programs to help families.

They also say it has been hard to track COVID data due to the rise of at-home testing, so now they are using hospital data to assess community spread.

One statistic that persists: people are still being hospitalized for COVID-19. There are still more than 100 COVID-19 patients in Clark County hospitals, according to a DHHS report.