Clark County, other regional groups talk status of their COVID-19 response

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With the growing number of coronavirus cases across Southern Nevada, Clark County and other regional groups held a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday.

Metro Police, UMC and homeless shelters talked about where they are when it comes to battling the virus.

A major point of concern was the homeless population, as several nonprofits and shelters had to temporarily close due to cases of COVID-19.

Shelters are also having to reduce capacity for distancing, which has created a need for more housing.

“We are also actively pursuing contracts with transitional housing, motels, hotels and provider services,” said Kevin Schiller, Clark County assistant manager.

UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling said the medical center has tested around 600 community members, with 20% of those tests coming back positive.

Houweling also noted they’re doing okay on the number of ventilators being used so far.

“We got about 120 ventilators; about 50% of those are unused now, but those will go up every day.”

Metro is seeing decreases in some crimes, but Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said all hands are on deck to keep the community safe.

“In my jurisdiction alone, violent crime is down about 20%, property crime is down about 28%, overall crime is down about 27%.”

There is also a 37% reduction in domestic violence.

However, there is one area that has seen an increase. Calls about firearms at “crime hotspots” are up 35%.

Thirty-nine officers have been tested for COVID-19, two of which were positive and 22 negative. Eighty-four staff members have been quarantined.

“We do have the challenges with the PPE and the new environment,” said Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck. “You will see a little more caretaking in the response, as we are trying to protect our people and your people.”

Steinbeck also said they are fully staffed.

Their message to the public? We will get through this.

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said they will continue to keep the community informed at least once a week. She said they are also looking for retired doctors and nurses who could work.

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