Nevada COVID-19 Task Force loosens some standards for counties

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada COVID-19 Task Force on Thursday loosened the standards for testing levels and test positivity rates that counties must meet to stay off the state’s watch list.

Task Force Director Caleb Cage and State Biostatistician Kyra Morgan outlined the adjustments.

Counties can now conduct a third fewer COVID-19 tests — dropping from 150 tests per day per 100,000 residents to the new standard of 100 per day.

The test positivity threshold will go from 7% to 8%.

Both adjustments are in line with national standards — Nevada’s standards had been stricter, and will continue to be strict. A straight comparison is difficult because national standards use a green-yellow-red scale, while the state has a simpler above-or-below threshold.

Along with case rate, the two standards that were adjusted today are used by the state to “flag” counties that show an elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission. Counties that don’t meet standards in two categories are required to address the problems with specific actions that the state must approve.

The Task Force took no action on the threshold for the case rate. Counties with a case rate greater than 200 cases per 100,000 residents will continue to meet this criteria.

Officials said the adjustments are more sustainable going forward, and still stringent enough to catch problems early.

Currently, Nevada has two counties — Washoe and Humboldt — that are flagged. Both counties still would have been flagged under the adjusted standards, officials noted.

Updates from Washoe County and Clark County:

CLARK COUNTY

As of Oct. 5, Clark is experiencing a case rate of 314.9 per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 6.9 percent. That’s an increase from a case rate of 301.5 per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 6.7 percent last week. The case rate is the only measure that is over allowable standards.

County officials said they will continue all current mitigation measures, as data is trending in a positive direction.

WASHOE COUNTY

As of October 5, Washoe has shown a case rate of 412.2 per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 8.4 percent. That’s an increase from a case rate of 397.2 per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 7.8 percent last week.

Officials identified an escalation of cases in younger age groups: 10-19 and 20-29. Attention to activities at UNR followed.

Washoe County officials reported actions taken by UNR — now under the leadership of former Governor Brian Sandoval — aimed at helping mitigate the spread and decrease the transmission, including the closure of an on-campus fitness center. A “Protect the Pack” campaign at UNR helped get the word out.

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