Carson woman is first COVID-19 death in Quad-County region
The death this week of a Carson City woman attributed to the coronavirus was a blow to the people working to keep the disease from spreading.
“We had a death in the hospital two days ago that shook the epidemiology staff,” Deputy East Fork Fire Chief Dave Fogerson said Friday.
Starting at 8 a.m. Monday, Quad-County residents who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and want to be tested can call (775) 782-9090. The phone will be staffed starting Monday at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers will be asked what county they reside in along with other demographic information. Testing will begin the week of May 4.
He pointed out that each person who tests positive for the virus and their immediate circle are contacted daily to make sure they’re doing OK, and that the epidemiologists get to know those suffering with the disease and their families.
“We were hoping to be a region that didn’t experience a death and we had one this week,” Jeanne Freeman, director of Carson City Health and Human Services said on Friday.
The woman in her 70s had an underlying health condition. CCHHS said the case and how she contracted the disease was under investigation.
Freeman said testing of 1,800 asymptomatic residents across Douglas, Carson, Storey and Lyon proposed for the first week of May is designed to give political leaders, including the governor, the data they’ve asked for to determine when its safe to reopen.
“If he (Gov. Sisolak) needs data and doesn’t know how prevalent the disease is in the community, it’s high time we hop on that horse,” she told the Douglas County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
“We’re looking at how many people we need to test in order for us to know what the prevalence is in our community.”
Freeman said she believes people will be interested in participating in the test during the first weeks of May, and that she’d like to begin testing every two weeks. CCHHS said testing would take place periodically between May 4 and May 13.
“The idea is that there are people, who are asymptomatic who are going to test positive,” she said. “The people who make appointments may show up symptomatic, but we’ll still test them.”
She said subsequent tests will require an extension of the National Guard call-up that expires the middle of May.
“We’re trying to expand what that picture looks like in all positions, so we can get leaders information they need to make the decisions.”
Another limitation would be the demand for tests from surrounding jurisdictions.
“We want to be good neighbors and make sure there are test kits for others to use,” she said.
The tests will be done with a nasal swab and are very effective at determining whether someone has the disease, but won’t show if they’ve had it in the past and recovered. Patients would be phoned two to three days after testing with results.
Freeman said the Nevada State Public Health Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, is validating antibody tests.
Once that’s done there will be a means to determine if someone’s had the disease and whether any immunity is developed as a result.
While Washoe County has started unveiling coronavirus results by ZIP Code, Freeman said public health officers are reluctant to share that information to protect patient confidentiality.
“Because we’ve had such small numbers populationwise we’ve been careful not to give out information that identifies someone by doing those maps too early,” she said.
Revealing ZIP codes might also give people in areas with fewer reported infections a false sense of security.
“We know it’s important, but we want to get the messaging right,” she said.
To add to the misery, Freeman said quad-county public health officials are preparing for what could be a banner flu season next October.
The asymptomatic tests are being provided through the Nevada Public Health Lab in partnership with Carson City Health and Human Services.
Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 should call the Quad-County hotline from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 775-283-4789.
Most people with COVID-19 experience symptoms such as fever and cough for up to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Nevada health officials said Friday that 197 people have died and nearly 4,400 have tested positive.
Quad-County Emergency Operations Center (Quad EOC) is reporting three new positive cases and two additional recoveries of COVID-19 in the Quad-County region. This brings the total number of cases to 75, with 27 recoveries and one death, 47 cases remain active.
The new cases are:
- A female Carson City resident in her 40’s
- A female Lyon County resident in her 50’s
- A female Douglas County resident in her 30’s
Carson City Health and Human Services is working to identify close risk contacts to prevent further spread of the disease. Due to medical privacy requirements and to protect their identity, no further information about the cases will be released.
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There are two Quad-County residents currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. As of April 23,2020, approximately 1,228 COVID-19 tests were performed by all providers in the Quad-County region.
Statewide numbers can be found at the Nevada Health Response website (nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/).
We are seeing COVID-19 spread through our communities. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. Help flatten the curve; keep the number of cases low by staying home and practicing social distancing.
The Quad-County COVID-19 Hotline is staffed 7 days a week 8 am to 5 pm. Spanish speakers are available. The phone number is (775) 283-4789.
Stay informed. For updates and more information on COVID-19 visit https://gethealthycarsoncity.org/novel-coronavirus-2019/.