Carson City health staff trying to reach 1,000 COVID-positive people before Thanksgiving |

Carson City health staff trying to reach 1,000 COVID-positive people before Thanksgiving

Carson City Health and Human Services staff is working to contact more than 1,000 individuals who recently tested positive for the coronavirus before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“CCHHS and city staff are working diligently to contact all positive cases which we hope to finish by this evening since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and these individuals need to stay home,” said Jessica Rapp, CCHHS public information officer, said Wednesday.

Between Nov. 16-23, CCHHS received notification of 1,187 positive test results in the quad-county area, a huge surge in cases. The tests are conducted by both CCHHS and medical providers in Carson City and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, who must report positive test results to the health department.

CCHHS had been reporting positive results after individuals were contacted and investigations conducted, but due to the significant uptick, the department has decided to start reporting test results as soon as they are received.

“In order to increase transparency to and to provide our community with accurate information needed for them to make decisions, we changed our reporting protocol. Effective Nov. 24, positive labs will be reported as active cases that day and the individual will be notified of their result,” said Rapp.

Rapp said the tests — molecular polymerase-chain reaction tests — used in the region are highly accurate.

As cases rise, CCHHS is urging the community to take more precautions.

“This disease is real, it is not the common cold or the flu. People need to take this seriously and stay home when sick, and follow all the preventive measures. The majority of people do not get really sick, but there are some of our loved ones that do get really sick and are dying from this disease,” said Rapp.

The department cannot yet conclude why there is roughly a quadrupling of cases, but the increases are happening nationwide. Washoe County’s daily infection rate, for example, is five times higher so far in November than it was in October.

CCHHS will also need to complete investigations before determining if any of the increase is concentrated in outbreaks at facilities such as Warm Springs Correctional Center or local assisted living facilities. Cases did jump across the entire quad county, however, and not just in Carson City.

Carson Tahoe Health is currently running at about 90 percent capacity at its regional medical center and is temporarily increasing capacity by using beds at Carson Tahoe Long-term Acute Care Hospital and Carson Tahoe Sierra Surgery.

“We continually monitor patient status and staff ability to assure proper care delivery, which is in a state of continual flux. We are grateful that a few weeks ago we proactively suspended non-emergent or non-time-sensitive surgeries, emergency surgeries have not been suspended,” said Diane Rush, director, marketing and communications, and PIO at the hospital. “Because of this, we are able to reallocate our resources to ensure a safe and healthy environment for each patient, COVID-positive or otherwise, that comes through our facilities.”