Nevada officials hopeful about virus trends amid reopening

LAS VEGAS — Nevada health officials say they're hopeful about the direction of the state's COVID-19 outbreak as reported cases, deaths and hospitalization trends remain favorable and the state gradually reopens following a winter surge.
State biostatistician Kyra Morgan said during a telephone news conference Monday that Nevada did not see any significant increase in reported coronavirus cases after allowing businesses to increase capacity to 35% up from 25% in mid-February, nor from allowing another increase up to 50% capacity on March 15.
State COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage said officials are watching closely but hoping that the statewide mask mandate, along with other measures aimed to stop spread of the virus, will help keep cases low and businesses open.
The comments came hours after the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans not to let their guard down in the fight against COVID-19 and ease precautions. Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she has a recurring feeling "of impending doom."
Nationally, cases of the virus are up about 10% over the past week from the previous week, to about 60,000 cases per day, with both hospitalizations and deaths ticking up.
Nevada, however, has seen consistent declines in cases, hospitalizations and deaths since mid-January. The state's 14-day rate of COVID-19 tests coming back positive fell slightly to 4.2% Monday, down from 4.3% a day earlier.
The state reported 212 new cases and one additional death from COVID-19 on Monday.
Monday figures are often lower because the reporting of new cases and deaths tends to lag on weekends.
Nevada still appears on track to transition some decision-making on closures and mitigation measures to county officials on May 1, Cage said, with health officials "extremely hopeful" that numbers will be very low by that date if the current trends hold and the state continues its ramped up vaccinations.
Nearly 25% of Nevada's population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 18% of the state's population 16 and older is fully vaccinated. The state plans to open up vaccine appointments to everyone 16 and older on April 5.

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