LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak cited the state’s progress in fighting COVID-19’s spread, laying out the progress made in all five areas initially identified in the state’s recovery plan in late April.
The governor’s comments on Thursday sounded a positive tone as resorts all over the state open their doors, and the gaming industry begins a long climb back from revenue lost since the March 17 closures.
Sisolak has consistently stated Nevada would rely on data as it followed the course set out in “Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery.” The plan came shortly after Nevada joined the Western States Pact, a coalition of governors from California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
“This data reflects the hard work and dedication of Nevadans throughout this great State who have taken the threat of this virus seriously, banded together as a community and have taken proactive, measured and necessary steps to flatten the curve of this virus, protect our healthcare systems and allow Nevada to slowly begin to reopen its communities and the economy on the path to a new normal,” Sisolak said.
In a Thursday news release, Sisolak gave updates on the five areas of progress:
Downward data trend
Sisolak allowed Nevada to enter Phase 1 of the recovery only after seeing a “consistent and sustainable downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases” and a decrease in the trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations over a 14-day period.
As of June 3, Nevada is on day 39 of a downward trajectory in positivity rate, with a cumulative test positivity rate of 5.7 percent, down from 12 percent on May 1. Nevada is well below the World Health Organization’s recommended standard of 10 percent.
Strengthen health care infrastructure
A major component of the response involved ensuring hospitals could respond without being overwhelmed.
According to the news release: “As of June 3, Nevada’s confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on an overall downward trajectory since April 21, a total of 43 days. The Nevada Hospital Association is reporting that member hospitals are within normal supply of personal protective equipment, or PPE.”
Initially, Nevada struggled to put testing and lab capacity in place to perform the necessary tests. “In May, Nevada increased daily testing by 500 percent and Nevada has the testing and laboratory capacity to test all patients, regardless of whether they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or not,” the news release reports.
The Nevada Health Response website recently launched a testing locator map at NVHealthResponse.nv.gov to help Nevadans find a nearby testing location.
Case contact tracing
Although resources were thin and concentrated on treating patients initially, hiring to perform contact tracing has taken place in local and state health departments.
“On Monday, Nevada rolled out a comprehensive 32-page COVID-19 Disease Outbreak Management Plan to help bridge Nevada from the current crisis response to an enhanced disease management process,” according to the news release.
Some of the answers have come from using private sector companies to conduct tracing, including Deloitte and Salesforce. “This effort, supported by these national technology leaders, will modernize and streamline case investigation and contact tracing with increased staffing to quickly identify and notify individuals who may have been close contacts to a person with COVID-19,” the release states.
Protect vulnerable populations
Nevada is one of four states that has inspected all nursing homes for federal infection control standards, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
“Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services remains ready and able to aggressively intervene when outbreaks are identified,” according to the release.
“We know we will continue to have new cases, and these criteria help us monitor Nevada’s overall, long-term capacity to respond effectively,” Sisolak said.