Governor scraps phased re-opening plan | NevadaAppeal.com
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Governor scraps phased re-opening plan

By Sam Metz The Associated Press

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday that he planned to scrap the phased reopening plan put in place in March and replace it with a “long-term mitigation strategy” that will rely on more local indicators of the spread of the coronavirus and provide a clearer picture of the state’s reopening plan for businesses, residents and local officials.

“This is our ‘new normal,’” the governor said.

The new criteria will build upon county-by-county guidelines put in place two weeks ago, when the governor closed bars that don’t serve food in seven counties — including Clark and Washoe, home to Las Vegas and Reno.

Sisolak also announced bars in some counties would reopen. Two weeks after he announced bars in high-risk counties would close, four out of the seven have since met criteria to reopen. The lifting of restrictions will apply to Humboldt, Lander and Lyon County. Bars that don’t serve food in Clark, Washoe, Nye and Elko County will remain closed.

Sisolak’s new strategy will replace industry and statewide guidelines and evaluate data in a more narrow fashion. In place of industrywide guidelines, the state will now use contact tracing data to identify and place limitations on high risk businesses. The state will also narrow county-by-county guidelines and evaluate data in municipalities and zip codes.

Sisolak had previously been apprehensive to enforce the statewide mask mandate and instead emphasized “education,“ but now, he said, the time for spreading awareness has passed.

“We’re close to five months in, no more excuses. If people aren’t following the rules to keep us safe, there needs to be consequences,” he said.

Nevada health officials reported 997 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, but for the first time in a month no additional deaths.

The numbers released by the state Department of Health and Human Services kept the total number of known deaths at 734 but pushed the total confirmed coronavirus cases to 43,831.

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.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across Nevada decreased from a day earlier, with 879 confirmed cases and 233 suspected cases.

Health and hospital officials in Las Vegas said Monday they’ve closed a busy drive-thru coronavirus testing site in a casino parking structure to replace it with an indoor operation at a city-owned conference hall.

Clark County and University Medical Center said the downtown Cashman Center site will open Aug. 4, replacing the Texas Station hotel-casino site.

With testing operations at capacity and several-day waits for results, the hospital recently adjusted testing policies to give priority to people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to the virus.

Officials have also introduced a five-day waiting period following negative test results for health care workers and first-responders, unless symptoms of COVID-19 appear.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe illness including pneumonia and death. The vast majority recover.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The Cashman Center testing operation plans to provide walk-up testing, but officials recommend people make appointments to avoid long waits. Reservations will be offered through the University Medical Center website or by telephone.

Since May 5, Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District, UMC, the Nevada National Guard and area ambulance companies have conducted more than 121,000 COVID-19 tests at various Las Vegas-area locations, officials said.