NEW: Omicron above 50% in Clark County; test positivity at pandemic record

Coronavirus

The South African doctor who alerted officials of the possibility of a new variant, later named omicron, said the “unusual but mild” symptoms were what caught her attention. (Photo: Getty Images)

Below is the full COVID-19 report for Jan. 5.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The omicron variant now accounts for 52% of all cases in Clark County, according to data from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory. Omicron now accounts for 44% of all cases in Nevada.

Hospital staffing is at “crisis” level in Southern Nevada and rural counties as Clark County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate hit a record for the pandemic at 23.3%, according to data released today.

“Hospitals are not testing sites,” the Nevada Hospital Association said in a weekly update, reporting that a deluge of people wanting tests was putting a strain on hospitals. NHA said 22% of hospital patients have COVID-19 in Southern Nevada, and that’s not what is causing the struggle with staffing.

Test positivity rates set records in the county and statewide, surpassing the pandemic’s peak on Jan. 14, 2021. Clark County hit 23.3%, up from 20.8% yesterday, and higher than the Jan. 14 record of 21.5%. Statewide, the test positivity rate was 21.1%, up from 18.5% yesterday.

According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, that surpasses the Nevada record of 20.4% from the peak last winter. Daily records show the test positivity rate climbing as high as 22.3% on Dec. 8, 2020, but current state statistics show a 14-day moving average.

The graphs below show the test positivity for the state (first image), followed by Clark County’s test positivity rate.

Testing continues at high levels, with more than 20,000 test results reported in today’s data — now above 6 million total tests since the start of the pandemic.

The state reported 2,337 new cases today for a total of 504,729. Clark County had 1,629 new cases, with a total now at 383,353.

At-home tests are not even counted in the state’s figures.

Clark County reported 15 deaths. Nevada reported a total of 18 deaths.

A look at current COVID-19 numbers:

CLARK COUNTY

  • New cases: 1,629 (total: 383,353)
  • Deaths: 14 (total: 6,527)
  • Test positivity rate: 23.3% (up from 10.8% yesterday)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,144 (+86 from yesterday)

NEVADA

  • New cases: 2,337 (total: 504,729)
  • Deaths: 18 (total: 8,506)
  • Test positivity rate: 21.1% (up from 18.5% yesterday)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,281 (+97 from yesterday)

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 23.3%, up from 20.8% the previous day. The current case rate for Clark County is “high” at 675.4, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

Nevada’s test positivity rate is at 21.1%, up from 18.5% the previous day. It fell below 5.0%, the World Health Organization’s goal, on May 17 and climbed above it on June 28.

Of the 18 additional COVID-19-related deaths reported in Nevada, 15 were from Clark County. Southern Nevada now accounts for 6,512 of the state’s 8,488 deaths. The 14-day rolling average is at 5 deaths per day.

As of Dec. 29, the Southern Nevada Health District reports there are 249 breakthrough deaths (+3), 845 breakthrough hospitalizations (+15) and 19,501 breakthrough cases (+2,762). (Increases are compared to numbers reported on Dec. 22.)

As of yesterday, a total of 6,017,912 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Nevada, with an increase of 20,837 from 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 23.3%, 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 675.4 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, 11 of Nevada’s 17 counties are flagged for high transmission.

Clark County’s case rate (1,677 per 100,000 over the past 30 days) and test positivity rate (23.3%) are flagged in data reported today. Testing (368 tests per day per 100,000) is within the state’s acceptable range.

VACCINATION UPDATE

The state’s health department reports 4,008,968 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Nevada, as of Jan. 5.

As of today, 54.73% of Nevadans currently eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, and 64.84% of the eligible population has initiated vaccinations. Clark County reports that 54.05% 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 up (+97) since the previous day.

The current number of hospitalizations is 1,281 confirmed/suspected cases. Hospitals reported 195 of those patients were in intensive care units, and 111 were on ventilators. To give some perspective, the state set a record high for hospitalized patients on Dec. 13 with 2,025 patients.

The Nevada Hospital Association declared “crisis” staffing levels at hospitals in Southern Nevada and rural counties in its weekly update.

“In the south, COVID-19 cases have risen considerably over the past seven days, and significant numbers of hospital employees are testing positive for the disease,” according to NHA’s report.

In Southern Nevada, 22% of hospital patients have COVID-19, NHA said.

“Hospitals are not over-run by a COVID-19 surge as much as being understaffed as employees in all fields report being sick and unable to work. This is also further compounded by a significant increase in people coming to the emergency department solely for testing. Hospitals are not testing sites,” the report said.

“Hospitals have reached out to the state seeking help. Hospitals are still experiencing an exodus of clinical staff in the rural region as they leave for higher-paying traveling positions. This creates a shortage at several facilities based on staff retention and recruitment, as rural hospitals do not have the resources to match the hourly rates that traveling nurses can demand,” according to NHA’s report.

Flu cases are not putting additional pressure on healthcare infrastructure at this time, NHA said.

The graphs below show hospitalizations in Nevada (first image) and in Clark County:

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 345,891 recovered cases; that’s 90.6% 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

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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