Nevada’s COVID-19 Response Team update for September 23

News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Today, Caleb Cage, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director and Julia Peek, Deputy Administrator of Community Health Services, were joined by Dr. Mark Pandori, Nevada’s Chief of Testing, to provide updates on Nevada’s ongoing COVID-19 response, testing and reporting during a teleconference with members of the media.

Ten deaths were reported today, corresponding to cases diagnosed up to 5 weeks ago.

The facts, figures, and information provided on this media call are also provided in a dashboard on the home page of the Nevada Health Response website and can be accessed 24 hours a day.

INFECTION RATES

As of today, Nevada has logged 76,807 cases, an increase of 509 new cases. 425 or 83.5% were in Clark County, 54 or 10.6% were in Washoe County, and 30 or 4.9% were spread throughout the State. 

Nevada has now completed a total of 996,307 molecular tests since the beginning of COVID-19, an increase of 4,347 since yesterday. 

The cumulative test positivity rate is at 10.0%. The daily positivity rate is 8.6%. 

For the most recent 7-day period, cases are growing at a rate of 0.5%, or 366 new cases per day. For comparison, the growth rate for the 7-day period ending July 31 was 2.3%, or 1,037 new cases per day. 

Nevada has 479 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of yesterday, September 22, 2020. This includes 355 confirmed patients and 124 suspected patients. Statewide hospital occupancy rates are 72% while intensive care units (ICU) are at an occupancy rate of 61%. About 33% of the ventilators statewide are in use right now for all patients. 

Nevada’s confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to remain relatively level with only minor variation day-over-day.

The Clark County healthcare infrastructure remains in good condition. Patients with COVID-19 account for 11% of all individuals hospitalized in Clark County. COVID-19 patients are using 8% of the ventilator inventory and represent 24% of the patient population requiring intensive care. 

Northern Nevada healthcare infrastructure remains in good condition as COVID-19 places minimal demand on regional facilities. Individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in the northern region represent 7% of all patients hospitalized. They account for 15% of all intensive care patients and are using 3% of the available ventilators. 

CONTACT TRACING

Since the beginning of COVID-19 in Nevada to today, the State has identified a total of 19,121 cases as a result of contact tracing efforts statewide. This represents 24.9% of the total cases reported to date. 

Deloitte agents logged a total of 842 calls as of 8 PM PST on September 22.

Deloitte’s SMS (text) campaign resulted in 1,498 total SMS messages sent, with 552 unique outbound communications and an 81% response rate from unique contacts on September 22. 

COVID-19 surge staff has logged a total of 94,206 calls since its inception on June 18th through today.

The COVID-19 Trace app has been downloaded 36,571 time as of yesterday. This is a great tool that supplements traditional case investigation and contact tracing. When downloaded widely, it enables an individual to know a possible exposure they may have had that would not be visible to public health in a traditional investigation.

As a reminder this app collects no information on the individual. There is no way for public health officials to identify the user or if you have been exposed. It is a tool for the individual. 

CASE INVESTIGATION

Some background on the method of case investigation and contact tracing. Case investigation is a process that occurs when public health is notified of a case of any reportable condition. In many cases, the presence of an infectious disease mandates public health follow up in the form of an investigation. The appropriate jurisdiction reaches out to the case and conducts an interview.

For COVID-19, this is not a short interview and assesses a broad range of information. Public health collects general information about the case for all diseases that include their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity, underlying medical conditions, travel, and other such indicators. This data helps public health officials understand and identify any trends in cases demographically or geographically. 

Tracers then ask many specific details that help them understand how they may have been exposed to the illness and who may have been exposed by them, which would result in close contacts. All of the information is self-reported by the case.

They may forget information, they may get information incorrect, just based on memory and recollection of events and activities, or they may choose not to share information.

The data collected during case investigation is used to help identify who may have been exposed and get them quarantined and tested, but also identify any risks associated with the illness. This information helps the State direct resources, intervene if there are known risks that can be mitigated, and ultimately prevent the spread of infection in Nevada.

It is extremely important for Nevadans to answer the phone if called, and to share all information that they recall that could help with the public health response. The public health community wants to make sure they are acting on the most accurate and complete information to save lives and help slow the spread.

REINFECTION CASE UPDATE

The first documented case of COVID-19 reinfection occurred in Washoe County. The full final report will appear in the Lancet Journal in the coming weeks.

The State is working diligently with the CDC to replace the current COVID test with a combination test for the fall and winter months that will test for both the flu and for COVID-19. The State public health labs intend to make this the primary service test throughout Nevada.

False positives and false negatives do occur, but the instances are rare and are due to several different factors, including the amount of virus someone might carry, the pathology of the virus, and if a patient is asymptomatic or symptomatic. 

Although results are not always 100% accurate, the efficacy of COVID-19 test should not be called into question, given their overwhelming accuracy. 

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