People receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Las Vegas on Feb. 17. (Photo: John Locher/AP)
LAS VEGAS — As customer capacity increased to 50% at casinos, businesses and restaurants, Nevada health officials said Monday they will begin to give back to counties oversight of coronavirus prevention measures.
The state COVID-19 Response Task Force plans meetings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with groups of county managers, emergency, public health and elected officials about the state handing over pandemic authority by May 1.
Task force chief Caleb Cage said the Nevada Hospital Association was reporting some of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations the state has seen in almost a year.
The 305 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 statewide compared with the more than 1,800 coronavirus patients that hospitals reported handling at their peak in December.
The first known death from COVID-19 in Nevada was reported a year ago, on March 15, 2020, and Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a sweeping statewide shutdown two days later of casinos, retail stores and nonessential businesses.
Thirteen casinos in Nevada remain shuttered, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday.
Meanwhile, state health officials reported 184 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the number to nearly 300,000 cases. Three new deaths reported since Sunday brought the toll to 5,121.
More than 2.8 million COVID-19 tests have been administered statewide, and test positivity — a measure of the number of people tested who receive a positive diagnosis — dropped to 5.7%. That number peaked at 21.6% on Jan. 13. The World Health Organization target is 5%.
About 614,000 people have gotten at least one inoculation shot in Nevada, including almost 345,000 who have been completely vaccinated, officials said.
Cage told reporters that Nevada hopes to meet President Joe Biden's goal of offering a vaccination to every adult who wants one by May 1, but said that does not necessarily mean everyone will be vaccinated by the end of May.
"The pace at which we're able to get through individuals is very much dependent upon the allocation or supply that we get," said Candice McDaniel, the state official heading the vaccination drive.