At least 123 visitors to Nevada tested positive for virus
LAS VEGAS — At least 123 visitors to Nevada tested positive for the coronavirus while visiting the state in recent weeks or shortly after returning home, according to state health data.
The cases jumped in the weeks after Nevada’s casinos reopened on June 4 after being shuttered for nearly three months. Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state was ready to welcome people from across the country, saying “We’re encouraging visitors to come and enjoy themselves and have a good time.”
Last week, Sisolak re-imposed restrictions on bars and restaurants to address a spike in cases, including closing bars in counties deemed hotspots. When asked if he’d close casinos again, the governor said he would wait for additional information before deciding whether to implement new restrictions on them.
It’s unclear how many visitors came since then. Tourist data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for the month of June is set to be released at the end of this month.
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the week the casinos opened, 16 visitors tested positive in the state.
The biggest wave of cases was between June 22 and June 28, when 31 visitors tested positive for the virus in the state.
Eight of those people were from Arizona and 13 were from California. Two each came from Florida, Texas and Utah, while Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee and Brazil all had a resident test positive in Nevada.
Between the last few days of June and the Fourth of July weekend, 24 visitors tested positive for the virus while in the state. Half were from California.
Since early June, Californians have accounted for 46% of the visitors to Nevada who tested positive for the virus while in the state or shortly after returning home. Arizonans accounted for 17% of those cases, followed by Texans, who made up about 10% and Utah residents, who were about 6%.
Overall, Nevada has reported 30,000 cases of COVID-19, including 618 deaths.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for up to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death. The vast majority recover.
Associated Press writer Sam Metz in Carson City contributed to this report.