COVID-19 outbreak in Lincoln County shuts down courthouse


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lincoln County has been battling a surge of COVID-19 cases recently, and now the courthouse in Pioche has been closed until further notice, according to the county’s health officer.

The court continues to operate on an appointment basis, but quarantining made it difficult to continue normal operations, according to Louise Buettner, Lincoln County’s health officer.

Melissa Rowe, administrator and CEO of Grover C. Dils Medical Center in Caliente, said Lincoln County’s vaccination rate is 38%, which might be contributing to the outbreak.

“We did see this very same thing happen in October and November of last year, so we believe this is likely the natural course of the virus,” Rowe said.

A Facebook post in late October indicated there were 65 active cases in the community. Buettner said there are currently 50 new cases.

Lincoln County is northeast of Las Vegas.

Buettner said the hospital in Caliente has 16 long-term care beds and four acute care beds, but COVID-19 patients are normally sent to Clark County hospitals or hospitals in Cedar City and St. George in Utah.

“People tend to be little lax on the masks,” Buettner said. “But on the whole, we are doing very well.” She said the current outbreak has been “less strenuous” on people.

In all, the county has had 623 cases since the pandemic began. Lincoln County’s population is about 5,200 people, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services dashboard.

The county’s test positivity rate is currently at 11.7% — double the rate in Clark County. The county was only recently flagged by the state for elevated transmission risk.

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