July 4 parties caused jump in virus cases, Carson City supervisors told | NevadaAppeal.com

July 4 parties caused jump in virus cases, Carson City supervisors told

By Anne Knowles aknowles@nevadaappeal.com

Vaccinations for children

Carson City Health and Human Services is open Monday through Friday for children to receive the needed vaccines to start the school year. The clinic is practicing strict coronavirus mitigation measures and is taking patients by appointment. The clinic is at 900 E. Long St. and can be contacted at (775) 887-2190.

For children’s vaccination records register at izrecord.nv.gov or call the help desk at (775) 684-5954 or email izit@nv.health.gov. Parents can also call or email Immunize Nevada at (775) 624-7117 or info@immunizenevada.org.

Social gatherings caused a recent jump in coronavirus cases, according to public health officials.

“The surge is due to Fourth of July parties,” Nicki Aaker, director, Carson City Health and Human Services told the Board of Supervisors Thursday.

The number of cases per day has more than doubled in the last month, from an average of four positive test results a day to 10 in the combined area of Carson City and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties. Two weeks ago, at the previous board meeting, the reported caseload was an average seven cases per day based on a seven-day rolling average.

In Carson City, cases have risen from an average of two a day to six in the last four weeks, said Dustin Boothe, division manager, CCHHS.

The social gatherings have also increased the contact tracing workload to as many as 20 or more individuals who have to be contacted after someone tests positive to inform them they may have been exposed to the virus.

Also at issue in the growing caseload is the sometimes long wait between testing and results.

“One of the reasons you’re seeing a rise in cases is the delay in testing results. You feel better after five days and still don’t have results and you go out,” said Supervisor Stacey Giomi. “Thirty to 35 percent of cases are passing it on because they’ve been tested and not gotten their results and they feel fine but they’re not.”

Test results can take up to 10 days, but Susan Pintar, chair, Board of Health, said labs are reporting positive results more quickly than negative tests.

“We tell people to isolate until their tests come back,” said Aaker.

Mayor Bob Crowell asked about the positivity rate, the percent of people in the population testing positive. Boothe said it was difficult to calculate because the data is reported differently from different sources, but CCHHS recently hired a biostatistician funded by federal grants who will work to determine that and other data.

Based on available data, the positivity rate is roughly 2.5 percent, said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski.

“The tipping point is 10 percent so we can see we’re not at that critical point. It does tell us and the public we’re not Clark County,” said Bonkowski.

So far, 16,383 tests have been performed in the quad county area, but people who test positive are tested multiple times so calculations based on aggregate testing are imprecise estimates.

The board also dealt with a last minute communication from the Nevada Association of Counties, which in the early afternoon emailed the mayor and city manager with an unpublished document from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The document designates Carson City as a “yellow zone” and recommended what appeared to be more stringent guidelines than are currently in place by the state of Nevada.
The board, however, voted to reply to NACO, saying that the city follows Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directives.

Beginning July 25, the coronavirus hotline at 775-283-4789 will no longer be available on Saturdays, when it was receiving fewer calls, to help it staff it for busier times.

The board also discussed what to do with $10 million in CARES Act money available to the city for coronavirus-related expenses. The city will receive half the money upfront and be reimbursed after expenses for the second half if it filed a plan of expenditure by Sept. 1.

Sheri Russell, chief financial officer, said based on discussions with city department heads and other entities she was proposing $2 million for city departments and contingency; $1.55 million for the Carson City School District; $1.85 million for Carson Tahoe Health; and $200,000 for one long-term care facility which requested it. Those facilities are receiving federal dollars in other ways.

She is recommending $1 million for nonprofits and $1 million for local businesses to stock up on masks and other personal protective equipment also be set aside. The remaining $2.6 million is yet to be determined but Russell said she has confirmed the money can be used to pay for health and public safety employee salaries as well.

The supervisors approved a temporary encroachment permit policy to loosen restrictions and allow the city’s restaurants to use sidewalks and other outdoor space for outdoor dining and curbside pickup.

The board voted to complete 2020 fiscal year capital improvement projects that had been put on hold while the city waited for recent tax collections.

“I feel confident in my numbers that these dollars can be released, especially with all the CARES (Act) money we’re getting,” said Russell.

Those projects put on hold include a waste transfer pad at the Carson City Landfill, a new irrigation system for Lone Mountain Cemetery, and cameras at the Carson City jail.

The board also approved several contracts, including the city’s annual

$1 million temporary staffing contract through the state, a $300,000 contract with ConvergeOne, Inc. for a new city-wide phone system, and a $610,500 contract with Aspen Developers Corp. for the Telegraph Street Reconstruction Project.