LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said “effective immediately” Nevadans will no longer have to wear masks in public places due to a downward trend in COVID-19 case numbers.

“We have seen a rapid decline in case of numbers coupled with declining hospitalizations; a drop of COVID-19 detected in wastewater, and a broader availability of testing and available treatments,” Sisolak said Thursday.

The Clark County School District said it welcomed the news and said masks will no longer be required on CCSD campuses, schools, or facilities after the end of the school day on Thursday. However, masks will still be required on school buses.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board also followed Sisolak’s decision, removing its mandate for gaming establishments.

The first omicron case was reported two months ago. The single highest case day was on Jan. 10 when there were 7,865 cases reported. Currently, the state is averaging around 1,280 cases a day, Sisolak said.

He also pointed out that during the surge fewer than 0.01% of Nevadans required critical care hospitalization.

Southern Nevada and rural hospitals remain on crisis status due to staff shortages. Sisolak said he doesn’t think dropping the mask mandate will adversely impact that.

“I’m hopeful this will not cause an increase in hospitalizations as we go forward.”

Sisolak said there will be locations where the public could be asked to wear masks.

“Like hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities will be overseen at the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services. The safety of healthcare staff and patients is our top priority,” he said. “Also, federally masks are still mandated at airports, on planes, on public buses and school buses.”

Sisolak said employers, organizations and school districts could set their own policies regarding masks.

The governor had come under increasing pressure as other states lifted their mask mandates. Nevada was one of a half-dozen states with a mandate requiring masks to be worn in indoor public settings. Nevada has been under a mask mandate for more than five months.

When the mandate when into effect, Sisolak had said it would be lifted once the two-week average of new cases dropped below 50 per 100,000 and the test positivity rate was below 5%.

As of Feb. 8, the test positivity rate for Nevada was 25.3% and the two-week average of new cases is 192.1 per 100,000 people.

The Nevada Republican Party issued a biting statement late Thursday afternoon in response to Sisolak’s decision: “Today, we’d like to thank the Governor of Nevada Gavin Newsom for lifting the mask mandate in Nevada, and having his assistant Steve Sisolak carry out the order.”

Newsom announced the end of California’s mask mandate on Monday.

“Instead of following suit with other liberal governors, Governor Sisolak should do what is right for Nevadans and cease his abuse of emergency powers, and declare an end to the emergency in Nevada as we re-open and repair the damage he has inflicted the past four years,” the GOP statement said.