LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Wynn Resorts is working toward having its own COVID-19 testing lab in a bold attempt to bring back large events before vaccines are available.
Wynn CEO Matt Maddox has released a statement urging solutions now to take advantage of technology and what we know about the virus. He lays out a vision of how concerts and conventions could happen.
Imagine the following: Lionel Richie is playing at the Encore Theater at 7pm. Between 12pm and 4pm that day, you and your friends each provide a saliva sample at our on-property testing centers. The barcodes are scanned and you download the free UMC app and go about your day. All the information is hosted by UMC and the data is private. When the test results come back at 6pm, a negative test triggers a green light on the app and you can attend the show. And because the same process will apply, you can also head into a securely populated convention the following morning.
Maddox says private solutions to the pandemic can race to completion far faster than government regulations can get us there, and he cites the science to back the plan.
While his goal is not to create a “Wynn bubble,” the description sounds exactly like that. But it’s not designed to be a lasting bubble — just long enough to minimize possible COVID-19 exposure.
Wynn is working with UMC, Georgetown University and labs in California and New York to improve the process, which Maddox says reduces the chance of exposure to about 0.1%.
If, by chance, someone is infected after they take the test, science tells us that it takes approximately 48 hours for that person to become communicable. We are not planning on creating a full “Wynn bubble” by testing everyone in every environment, but instead requiring a test for employees to work or guests to attend a show, convention, nightclub or other crowded space that exceeds the “mass gathering” state mandated limits. Clearly, we will need approval from the state to execute this plan, but having worked closely with leading medical experts around the country, I believe that this approach can accelerate Nevada’s recovery, and not just for the Las Vegas Strip, but also to reopen our schools.
Nothing in life is 100% safe but establishing these safe zones by testing thousands of people per day with the PCR test, dramatically mitigates the danger of community spread and, with empirical evidence and careful execution, will work. The probability of a contagious COVID carrier entering a “safe zone” is less than one-tenth of 1%.
Wynn Resorts led other properties in Las Vegas in being transparent about cases among its workers.
Maddox first mentioned plans to work toward a different solution to COVID-19 in his company’s conference call disclosing losses in the second quarter of 2020.