Gov. Steve Sisolak gets the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from Trashelle Miro, pharmacy manager, at an Albertson’s supermarket pharmacy in Las Vegas on Thursday. (Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
LAS VEGAS — Nevada's governor rolled up his left sleeve and got a coronavirus vaccination Thursday along with grocery workers at a Las Vegas-area supermarket.
"As we get vaccinations we will be able to open up," said Gov. Steve Sisolak, promoting efforts to vaccinate Nevada residents so the state's key tourism industry can again begin enticing crowds to town.
Sisolak, a Democrat, is 67 and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November. He has been eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with others in his age group.
He received a one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, followed by others including Albertson's employee Roman Avalos, during a news event with leaders of the local United Food and Commercial Workers union.
"It makes it safer for them, for their families and all the guests we're bringing in, all the conventioneers," the governor told reporters. "We want to make it as safe as possible."
Sisolak received his shot shortly after workers in the key Las Vegas restaurant, hospitality and casino industry were told they can begin getting vaccinated and on the day a newspaper reported that a rural Nevada county has yet to receive any doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Esmeralda County Sheriff's Sgt. Matthew Kirkland told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that residents are getting vaccinated in neighboring counties, but there are no local inoculation sites. The nearest is in the Nye County town of Tonopah, about a 30-minute drive from the Esmeralda County seat of Goldfield.
Esmeralda County has fewer than 1,000 residents and no hospitals, supermarkets or incorporated communities. Kirkland said military veterans can get inoculated at Veterans Affairs clinics in Las Vegas, almost a three-hour drive south of Goldfield, or in Reno, a four-hour drive north.
State health officials list one other county reporting no doses administered: Storey County, where the Carson City Health and Human Services agency has held vaccination clinics.
Two rural Nevada counties — Esmeralda and Eureka — have recorded no deaths from the coronavirus, according to state data.
Esmeralda County reported its first virus case in November, eight months after the first COVID-19 case was reported in the state. It tallied 37 cases as of Thursday.
The state Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday reported 618 new COVID-19 cases statewide and 13 more deaths. That brought totals to 297,765 cases and 5,080 deaths since last March. Most infections and deaths have been in and around Las Vegas, the state's most populous area.
Kirkland estimated that at least 15% of Esmeralda County residents have received vaccinations and up to 80% have vaccination appointments.
"If people go to Raley's (in Tonopah) or the VA hospital or pharmacies in Vegas or Reno, I'm not getting that information, so our guess is a very rough guess," he told the Review-Journal.
In other developments:
— Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks reported it no longer had any COVID-19 isolation patients, nearly a year after receiving its first. Hospital CEO Helen Lidholm called the discharge on Tuesday of the last two coronavirus patients a milestone worth noting, even if more coronavirus patients might be admitted. The 124-bed hospital recently began allowing visitors with restrictions.
— CVS pharmacies plan to begin offering vaccinations starting Saturday at some stores in the Las Vegas area. CVS Health said people who meet Nevada eligibility requirements can make appointments at CVS.com, the CVS Pharmacy app or by telephone at 800-746-7287. Vaccinations won't be provided without an appointment.