Gov. Sisolak declares State of Emergency over virus, expresses frustration with feds
In an evening press conference from Las Vegas, Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a State of Emergency to “loosen regulations” and give Nevada authorities more tools to deal with the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
At the same time, he expressed frustration with the lack of response and failure to provide more test kits in Nevada from the federal government.
But Sisolak said there are “no immediate plans to shut anything down.”
Sisolak, a Democrat, said the emergency declaration is the first step in loosening up the regulatory environment and fostering better collaboration between the state, local officials and health officials across Nevada.
“We will work with stakeholders across the state to coordinate our efforts and the exchange of information,” he said, adding that includes tribal officials in Nevada.
• Not going to the emergency department unless it is essential. Emergency departments need to be able to serve the most severe needs.
- Practice everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Remember to clean your cell phones.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Sisolak said the emergency declaration should enable his medical directors to compile information from all parts of Nevada to get a better idea of what is happening.
As of Thursday evening, there were a total of 11 identified positive individuals in the state, two of them with confirmed infections.
He said a top priority is the safety of Nevada’s school children, promising to put out extensive guidance for school districts. He said Clark and Washoe school districts have already cancelled athletic, academic and other events and are “strongly encouraging” students and staff who feel sick to stay home.
In addition, the University of Nevada, Reno will begin online delivery of classes March 23. UNR isn’t closing the campus but will make an effort to diminish the spread of the virus by reducing the number of people gathering on the campus.
“All options are on the table to ensure the safety of our kids,” Sisolak said.
He said there has been a lot of discussion about banning large events but that, “I’m not going to arbitrarily pick a number out of a hat.”
He said getting more people tested is the only way to get a handle on how extensive the spread of the virus is in Nevada. Referring to the federal government, Sisolak said, “promises must be kept and, quite frankly, I’m tired of waiting.”
He said things are very fluid and that, “we face a different challenge multiple times a day.”
He said his staff is working with our federal delegation trying to get the help Nevada needs.
Once those test kits are here, he said there will be a spike in positives for the virus but that the result will be Nevada has a much better idea of what is happening.
He promised transparency with the media ands the public so that all Nevadans know what is happening.