NEW: COVID-19 cases, test positivity rates shatter records again in Nevada, Clark County

Coronavirus

Below is the full COVID-19 report for Jan. 6.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County and the state set records again for daily COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates, with the county soaring over 25% headed into the weekend.

The omicron variant has taken over as the dominant strain of COVID-19, with more than four out of every five cases classified as omicron in Clark Country. The delta variant accounts for 17% of the total in the county, according to data from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.

Clark County reported 3,508 new cases — about 74% of the state’s total of 4,743 new cases. Both case numbers were new highs for the pandemic.

Test positivity rates continue to skyrocket — now at 25.8% in the county and 23.5% statewide. The steep climb shown on graphics charting the test positivity rate makes it clear that it’s still headed much higher. Those rates surpass record highs set Thursday.

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 26,000 test results reported in today’s data — now above 6 million total tests since the start of the pandemic.

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

Hospitalizations continue to climb, and are nearly double what they were at the start of Christmas week. The Nevada Hospital Association has declared “crisis” staffing levels at hospitals in Southern Nevada and rural counties, and issued a plea to the public to get tested for COVID-19 somewhere else.

Of the 4 additional COVID-19-related deaths reported in Nevada, 2 were from Clark County. Southern Nevada now accounts for 6,529 of the state’s 8,510 deaths. The 14-day rolling average is at 4 deaths per day.

Over the course of the pandemic, deaths have spiked in the weeks following spikes in case numbers, but it’s possible that the omicron variant will not have the same deadly toll. Health officials continue to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated because it reduces the likelihood of severe illness.

A look at current COVID-19 numbers:

CLARK COUNTY

  • New cases: 3,508 (total: 386,861)
  • Deaths: 2 (total: 6,529)
  • Test positivity rate: 25.8% (up from 23.3% yesterday)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,194 (+50 from yesterday)

NEVADA

  • New cases: 4,743 (total: 509,472)
  • Deaths: 4 (total: 8,510)
  • Test positivity rate: 23.5% (up from 21.1% yesterday)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,326 (+45 from yesterday)

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 6,044,535 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Nevada, with an increase of 26,623 from the previous day.

*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 25.8%, 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 658.2 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, 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties are flagged for high transmission.

Clark County’s case rate (1,902 per 100,000 over the past 30 days) and test positivity rate (25.8%) are flagged in data reported today. Testing (402 tests per day per 100,000) is within the state’s acceptable range.

VACCINATION UPDATE

The state’s health department reports 4,019,963 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Nevada, as of Jan. 6.

As of Friday, 54.79% of Nevadans currently eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, and 64.94% of the eligible population has initiated vaccinations. Clark County reports that 54.10% 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 (+45) since the previous day.

The current number of hospitalizations is 1,326 confirmed/suspected cases. Hospitals reported 218 of those patients were in intensive care units, and 123 were on ventilators. To give some perspective, the state set a record high for hospitalized patients on Dec. 13, 2020, 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 349,146 recovered cases; that’s 90.3% 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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