The full COVID-19 report for Sept. 20-26 appears below.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With flu season approaching, COVID-19 cases in Clark County are at their lowest level since the early months of the pandemic.

The weekly total of cases reported by the Southern Nevada Health District was 587. The last time numbers were that low was in late May of 2020, when the pandemic was only 2 months old.

The numbers dropped over the past week, decreasing nearly 23% in Clark County and almost 21% statewide. Clark County’s 14-day moving average (per 100,000 population) is at 74, down from 96 last week. The average is at 114 for all of Nevada, down from 144 last week.

When the pandemic began, efforts were put in place to minimize COVID-19 cases by closing “non-essential” businesses and switching to remote learning. It was all about keeping the caseload from exploding and overwhelming hospitals. Now, nearly two and a half years later, hospitals are in no danger and subsequent “waves” of COVID-19 have caused fewer worries in the public. People are still getting sick and many are still dying — 18 deaths were reported in Clark County over the past week, and 26 statewide. A total of 8,981 people have died of COVID-19 in Clark County, and 11,501 statewide.

The pandemic isn’t over, but fears have dropped as illnesses became less severe with new variants. Vaccines have been given to 65% of Clark County residents according to state numbers (higher by the county’s numbers), and new vaccines have been modified to be more effective against new variants.

Comparing today’s numbers to the peak of the omicron spike in January is astonishing: 587 cases in the past week, compared to 6,110 cases in a single day — Saturday, June 8, 2022. The week of May 26, 2020, cases in Clark County totaled 537.

A statement from SNHD described the progress against COVID-19 as significant.

“As home testing has become more readily available, reported cases of COVID-19 are one of the indicators used to monitor the ongoing pandemic and to make recommendations to members of our community about how they can continue to take steps to protect themselves and others. Based on both our current level of cases and hospitalizations, Clark County’s COVID-19 community level is classified as low but still there is a substantial level of COVID-19 transmission in our community,” said Jennifer Sizemore, SNHD spokeswoman.

“We have made significant progress in our efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. Our case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have declined, and we have effective resources such as vaccines and antivirals to help people stay healthy,” Sizemore said. “We know the vaccines are the best protection we have from COVID-19, and the Southern Nevada Health District continues to urge people to get fully vaccinated and boosted, so that we can continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Epidemiologists continue to say the virus hasn’t gone away, and as long as it’s out there we risk the chance of a mutation that could spread easily.

And scientists are still hard at work every day to monitor what’s happening in the community.

Updated wastewater surveillance reports from Sept. 22 show rising levels of COVID-19 DNA in sewer samples — an indication of elevated levels of the virus. Higher levels have been detected at two of three Henderson monitoring sites, and the Clark County monitoring site showed a small increase.

Wastewater surveillance shows the presence of the virus, and levels usually increase before sickness actually occurs in the community.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are described in a Nevada Hospital Association (NHA) weekly report as decreasing, flat or non-existent for every county in the state. The number of patients in Clark County was 87, unchanged since the previous week. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 accounted for 8% of all traffic, NHA said. That number is up slightly from last week.

“The NHA’s Medical Intelligence partners forecast that Nevada will likely see modest increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout October. However, these increases will place lower hospital demands than in previous years,” NHA said.

Flu season starts on Sunday, Oct. 2. Flu cases have put only slight pressure on hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, but hospitals have always seen the treat of simultaneous outbreaks as a possible threat.

The COVID-19 variants currently causing sickness are still from omicron, with the (BA.5) variant responsible in 91.1% of the cases sequenced in Clark County, according to SNHD. The (BA.4) variant was found in 8.2% of cases and the (BA.2) variant caused 0.7% of the cases.

CLARK COUNTY

  • New daily confirmed cases (14-day moving average, per 100,000 population) 74 — down from 96 the previous week.
  • Total cases: 594,820*
  • Deaths: 18 since last week (total: 8,981)
  • Hospitalizations: 87 (unchanged since the previous week)
    *-A difference in case counts exists between SNHD and the state. By SNHD’s current count, Clark County has had 578,204 cases as of this week.

NEVADA

  • New daily confirmed cases (14-day moving average, per 100,000 population) 114 — down from 144 the previous week.
  • Total cases: 781,722
  • Deaths: 26 since last week (total: 11,501)
  • Hospitalizations: 118 (up 3 from the previous week)

The county’s COVID-19 community level moved to “low” on Aug. 11, and has remained there, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

See last week’s report here.