NEW: County back on COVID-19 ‘watch list’ for high transmission; weekend cases top 1,600 statewide

Coronavirus

Below is the full COVID-19 report for Dec. 17-19.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Giving up hard-fought ground in the battle against COVID-19, Clark County’s test positivity rate has risen to 8.0%, putting the county back on the state’s watch list for counties with high transmission rates.

The county had come off the list in late September, but the rate has been inching up since dropping as low as 5.8% on Nov. 1.

Combined data from Friday, Saturday and Sunday show 1,647 new cases statewide, with 1,379 from Clark County. The state reports 33 deaths — 22 from Clark County.

Hospitalizations showed little change, with 9 additional patients in Clark County and no change at all in the statewide count, which is now 667 patients.

A new report on Monday indicates 15 total hospitalizations for flu as of Dec. 11. While the omicron variant appears to cause less severe sickness from COVID-19, a surge in flu cases could put hospitals in a tough spot. A recent estimate indicates about 12% of hospital beds statewide are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

A look at current COVID-19 numbers:

CLARK COUNTY

  • New cases: 1,379 (total: 354,074)
  • Deaths: 22 (total: 6,389)
  • Test positivity rate: 8.0% (up from 7.9% on Friday)
  • Hospitalizations: 582 (up 9 from Friday)

NEVADA

  • New cases: 1,647 (total: 470,600)
  • Deaths: 33 (total: 8,311)
  • Test positivity rate: 7.6% (unchanged from Friday)
  • Hospitalizations: 667 (unchanged from Friday)

The state is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on the mask rule. The mandate will remain in place in each county until the following conditions are met:

  • The COVID-19 test positivity rate must be below 8%
  • The case rate (per 100,000 population over 7 days) must be below 50 for two full weeks. A rating above 100 cases per 100,000 individuals or higher is considered “high” transmission risk, while 50-99.99 per 100,000 is considered “substantial” by the CDC. The county must reach “moderate” for two full weeks.

Test positivity in Clark County is at 8.0%, up from 7.9% on Friday. The current case rate for Clark County is “high” at 143.6, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

Nevada’s test positivity rate is at 7.6%, unchanged from Friday. It fell below 5.0%, the World Health Organization’s goal, on May 17 and climbed above it on June 28.

Of the 33 additional COVID-19-related deaths reported in Nevada, 22 were from Clark County. Southern Nevada now accounts for 6,389 of the state’s 8,311 deaths. The 14-day rolling average is at 7 deaths per day.

As of Dec. 16, the Southern Nevada Health District reports there are 240 breakthrough deaths (+9), 803 breakthrough hospitalizations (+36) and 15,669 breakthrough cases (+679). (Increases are compared to numbers reported on Dec. 9.)

As of yesterday, a total of 5,797,004 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Nevada, with an increase of 25,879 since the previous day. The number of tests reported has gone up as more employers require employees to be vaccinated or go through weekly testing.

*NOTE: Daily lab data from DHHS and SNHD reports is updated every morning for the previous day.

TRACKING NV COUNTIES

The test positivity rate in Clark County has risen to 8%, which puts the county back on the state’s watch list for elevated transmission risk. The rate must be below 8% and a separate measure of the county’s case rate — currently “high” at 143.6 cases (per 100,000 population over the past seven days) — needs to drop below 50 for two straight weeks before the mask mandate can end.

In today’s report, six of Nevada’s 17 counties are flagged for high transmission.

Clark County’s case rate (521 per 100,000 over the past 30 days) and test positivity rate (8.0%) are flagged in data reported today. Testing (326 tests per day per 100,000) is within the state’s acceptable range.

VACCINATION UPDATE

The state’s health department reports 3,853,559 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Nevada, as of Dec. 19.

As of today, 53.88% of Nevadans currently eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, and 63.41% of the eligible population has initiated vaccinations. Clark County reports that 53.16% of its eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

A BREAKDOWN OF NEVADA HOSPITALIZATIONS

NOTE: The state is not updating hospitalization data on weekends or holidays.

According to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the number of hospitalized patients in Nevada was unchanged since Friday.

The current number of hospitalizations is 667 confirmed/suspected cases. Hospitals reported 164 of those patients were in intensive care units, and 107 were on ventilators. To give some perspective, the state set a record high for hospitalized patients on Dec. 13 with 2,025 cases.

The Nevada Hospital Association’s weekly update notes that Clark County’s hospitalizations continue to rise. It’s the only county in Nevada that is currently seeing increased COVID-19 patient loads. Staffing problems continue at hospitals statewide, but are especially challenging for transitional hospitals like skilled nursing facilities and behavioral health facilities.

And while the delta variant is the dominant variant among hospitalized patients throughout the state, NHA notes the arrival of the omicron variant. The first Nevada case involves a woman in her mid-20s who has received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but not a booster. She is not hospitalized, according to NHA.

COVID-19 patients are averaging a 9-day hospital stay, NHA reports.

NHA also reports Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill — Paxlovid — reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, or death by 89%. A growing number of options do not require shots.

RECOVERY CASES IN SOUTHERN NEVADA

The number of people who have recovered from the virus in Southern Nevada continues to increase. The latest county update estimates a total of 336,048 recovered cases; that’s 95% of all reported cases in the county, according to SNHD’s latest report.


MITIGATION MEASURES IN NEVADA

Nevada reopened to 100% capacity on June 1 and social distancing guidelines lifted, helping the state return to mostly pre-pandemic times, with some exceptions.

The CDC reversed course on July 27, saying fully vaccinated Americans in areas with “substantial and high” transmission should wear masks indoors when in public as COVID-19 cases rise. Most of Nevada falls into those two risk categories.

Nevada said it would adopt the CDC’s guidance with the new mask guideline that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 30. This overrides Clark County’s employee mask mandate, which went into effect in mid-July.

On Aug. 16, Gov. Sisolak signed a new directive that allows fully vaccinated attendees at large gatherings to remove their masks, but only if the venue chooses to require everyone in attendance to provide proof of vaccination. Those who have just one shot and are not “fully vaccinated” would still be allowed to attend, as would children under 12, but both would need to wear masks.

Masks still must be worn when required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local businesses and workplace guidance.

State approval for vaccinating children 5-11 years old was given on Nov. 3, with plans by the Southern Nevada Health District to begin vaccinations on Nov. 10. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for children at this time.

SEE ALSO: Previous day’s report

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