LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Local health leaders are praising the decline of COVID cases in Southern Nevada, however, they are warning the pandemic is not over yet.

Health officials say the message is clear and are asking residents to take advantage of the tools that are available to keep them safe, such as mask use, vaccines, and testing sites.

On Wednesday afternoon, health leaders from the Southern Nevada Health District said even though the mask mandate was lifted last week by Governor Sisolak in most public places the omicron variant is still highly transmissible.

Health leaders tell 8 News Now about 70% of the population in Southern Nevada have started the vaccination process but only 57% have completed it.

As some testing sites are closing, they are encouraging all residents to become familiar with the other 175 testing locations around the valley and self-isolate if they test positive for the virus.

Cassius Lockett is with the Southern Nevada Health District and expressed his thoughts on the matter when it comes to protecting oneself from the virus.

“We need to start learning about living with the virus, like having pharmaceutical interventions and using your own judgments, and testing will all be part of the strategy moving forward,” Lockett adds.

While health officials say they understand and respect the fact that everyone has the choice of getting vaccinated and wearing a mask, they say they hope people don’t forget that the pandemic is not over.

Another topic that was brought up was the possibility of another spike in cases down the road. Health leaders 8 News Now spoke with say implementing health restrictions again would be a possibility.