LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Governor Steve Sisolak and State COVID-19 response director, Caleb Cage, laid out Nevada’s new long-term mitigation plan Monday evening. The plan, called Roadmap to Recovery: Moving to a New Normal,” is what they call a more targeted approach tailored for each county and its unique needs.
Sisolak said the plan will still be “state managed” but “locally executed.” This means counties across Nevada will work with the State’s COVID-19 response task force to review the data and come up with the best way to move forward.
Sisolak said the State will update the three Elevated Disease Transmission criteria (testing, case rate and positivity rate) each week for each county. Criteria will be evaluated based on certain metrics.
If a particular county is at an increased risk based on the data, it could result in changing the county’s mitigation level. This could lead to more targeted measures, such as increased enforcement, smaller gathering sizes and a smaller fire code capacity for certain busineses.
The idea is to determine the root cause of the spread and come up with an action plan to address it. Cage says county plans should be data-driven, and when approved, they’ll be implemented by the county.
Sisolak said this long-term strategy is meant to keep compliant businesses open, but it’s up to all of us to follow these rules. He noted if Nevadans do not help, it could lead to broad-cased closures and limitations.
Sisolak says until action plans are finalized, the current restrictions on bars and taverns in certain counties, including Clark, Nye, Washoe and Elko, will stay in place.
Sisolak says this is a long-term strategy he hopes will help Nevada balance two main goals: keeping everyone safe but ensuring that our economy is stable.
Cage announced a change in timeframe for the aforementioned criteria. Changes include:
- Average number of tests per day, per 100,000 must be less than 150 (reported over 14-day period, with seven-day lag)
- Case rate per 100,000 must be less than 200 (now completed by taking total number of cases diagnosed and reported over a 30-day period divided by the number of people living in the county)
- Case rate per 100,000 must be less than 50 and testing positivity must be less than 7% (reported over 14-day period, with seven-day lag)
The task force is reviewing six different metrics each day, including:
- Hospital capacity
- Access to PPE
- Testing capacity
- Case investigation and contact tracing
- Protection of vulnerable populations
Sisolak stressed, “I want to be clear: In no way are we relaxing our mitigation efforts. We are taking a more strategic, aggressive approach that will target this disease where it is spreading and take action to stop it.” He said we are in a “very precarious position.”
During a press conference last Monday, Sisolak essentially warned businesses, ‘if you don’t follow the rules to help fight COVID-19, we’ll find you, and there will be consequences.’
Sisolak announced last week that he plans on moving away from the Phased reopening approach, saying that enforcement needs to be more targeted. The latest numbers show some improvement, but he’s making it clear, now is not the time to stop social distancing wearing masks.
One of the biggest points of last week’s update was that bars in Clark County, as well as in Elko, Washoe and Nye counties, were to remain closed for at least a week.
This press conference comes as Nevada reported nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths in the past 24 hours.