Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations continue to slow in Nevada

Medical bandages and gloves on a blue background.

Medical bandages and gloves on a blue background.

Nevada’s biostatistician Kyra Morgan told the legislative Health Committee on Wednesday that hospitalizations from the coronavirus continue to decline with just 239 confirmed beds occupied as of Wednesday morning and an additional 198 suspected cases.

She said as of Wednesday morning, Nevada has suffered 373 deaths among 7,166 confirmed positive cases.

Testing, she said, has ramped up and the state is now averaging 3,990 tests a day but the percentage of positive tests has dropped from a high of 12.2 percent in April to just 7.9 percent now.

“We’re pretty comfortable we’re testing all the folks that need to be tested in Nevada,” Morgan said.

She said the lower rates are an indication that social distancing, sanitizing hands, wearing masks and other changes in conduct are working.

She said the state is now seeing an average of 110 new cases a day.

She said there will continue to be outbreaks as the state moves through the reopening but that, at this point, the state has the infrastructure to contain the spread and do contact tracing.

Morgan told the committee the pandemic has increased the number of Nevadans relying on public services including Medicaid and food stamps. She said the Medicaid caseload is projected to reach 764,894 by the end of this month, up 100,000 from before the economic shutdown. That means 22 percent of Nevadans are receiving Medicaid benefits.

Asked about the status of infections in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Health and Human Services Director Richard Whitley said despite outbreaks reported at three Reno area facilities, Nevada is doing very well compared to other states. He said in this state, just 20 percent of COVID-19 deaths are in those facilities. In many states, he said, more than half the deaths are in nursing and assisted living facilities.

In Reno, he said the problem with those three operations was, “breaches in infection control.”

In one case, he said the problem was a patient, “who tended to wander and wandered throughout the facility.”

He said those issues at the three Reno facilities “have been addressed.” Whitley also pointed out that, when his inspectors find problems in any facility, they stay on site until the issue is resolved and remediated, they don’t just point out the problem and leave.

“We get a team in there and we make the corrections,” he said.

Whitley said Nevada’s facilities serving the most vulnerable “have had intense oversight.”


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