LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A year ago, Clark County hit the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic as a staggering 6,110 new cases were reported in a single day.
Southern Nevada Health District records show Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, had more cases reported than any other single day during the pandemic. Case numbers were exploding across Nevada as the omicron variant spread quickly through the population.
The case numbers were astonishing, about triple the previous highs. But omicron variants had a lower impact on the general population, and hospitals handled the surge in cases. Patient levels were lower than they had been a year earlier, when a wave of cases in December 2020 and January 2021 filled hospitals.
Five days after Clark County reported 6,110 cases, the second-highest total came: 5,612 on Jan. 13.
The state’s high came on Jan. 10, with 10,305 total cases in a single day across Nevada. That number includes confirmed and suspected cases.
Mandates that required people to wear facemasks indoors remained in place until Feb. 10. Gov. Steve Sisolak ended the mandate — one of the last indoor mask rules in the nation. Some people continued to wear masks in public places, and what had been a two-year running controversy over mask rules seemed to fade away.
About a month after that, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services changed the way they report on COVID-19. Daily reports became weekly reports, and are now released on Wednesdays. Daily data is still reported, but the reports are only posted once a week on SNHD’s website.
What’s happened in the year since?
It’s possible that we are seeing a similar spread of the virus. Wastewater samples from mid-December showed the highest levels of the virus ever detected. But it’s not causing illnesses as it had in the past, and the spikes have passed. People simply aren’t getting sick, or if they are, they aren’t getting tested. Home testing doesn’t get reported in data collected by the county or the state.
The virus has continued to morph, with new variants reported every few months. Generally, the variants have been less virulent, causing fewer serious illnesses. But underlying health conditions like hypertension and diabetes can mean trouble, and that’s one reason some people choose to continue wearing a mask. The current variants in the news are BQ.1.1, BQ.1 — the two dominant strains in Clark County — and XBB, the dominant strain in the Northeast U.S.
Some people rail against all-things-COVID, and have criticized any attention to the virus. Some have equated it to the flu.
But it’s still out there, and as long as it continues circulating, there’s a chance it could morph into something widely dangerous again.
Since the record was set a year ago, here’s how some Clark County numbers have changed. (Jan.6, 2022, reports will not be available until next Wednesday. Jan. 2 numbers provided for comparison):
- Total new cases:
- 392,971: Total cases as of Jan. 6, 2022
- 617,056: Total cases as of Jan. 2, 2023
- Total deaths involving COVID-19:
- 6,529: Total deaths reported as of Jan. 6, 2022
- 9,201: Total deaths reported as of Jan. 2, 2023
- Daily hospitalizations
- 1,194: Hospitalized patients on Jan. 6, 2022
- 258: Hospitalized patients on Jan. 2, 2023
(Data from Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.)