weather icon Clear

COVID-19 strikes Esmeralda County

After reporting its first case of COVID-19 last week, Esmeralda County reported several additional cases, officials said.

Esmeralda County Commissioner Tim Hipp said a person who initially tested positive is believed to be a volunteer who was helping with the polls during the election. The Esmeralda County Courthouse has been closed since then, and the county employees are getting tested, Hipp said.

Esmeralda County was the last county in Nevada without an active COVID-19 case. It’s the smallest county in Nevada by population, with 974 residents.

“This is particularly difficult because most of our services are located in one building, unlike other counties where the sheriff’s department and jail are in different buildings. One positive case in our courthouse could effect the entire county’s workforce, so we need to be extra safe,” Hipp said.

The courthouse closed Nov. 12 and was slated to remain shut through the Thanksgiving holiday, according to information on Esmeralda County’s website.

Since reporting its first case, Esmeralda County has reported a number of new cases. The most recent count, according to state data, is eight.

“We are encouraging anyone who may feel that they were exposed to get tested,” Hipp said.

Until recently, Esmeralda County was one of the last few counties in the United States that didn’t have any active COVID-19 cases, along with Loving County, Texas and Kalawao County in Hawaii. Similar to Esmeralda County, Loving County also reported its first case recently, joining a growing number of scarcely populated rural areas across the continental United States that have been initially spared from the pandemic.

Cases increase in neighboring Nye County

Meanwhile, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Nye County has been on the rise in recent weeks. Most of the reported cases are in Pahrump, however, many small communities such as Beatty, Amargosa Valley and Tonopah have also seen an increase in cases, Nye County officials said.

Tonopah has seen six COVID-19 cases in the past several days as of Monday. The town has seen 65 cases since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

Tonopah also had its first reported death on Monday. Nye County has had 24 fatalities, including the recent one in Tonopah, since its first case in mid-March in Beatty. Amargosa Valley has had one death and the remaining deaths in the totals were Pahrump residents.

Nye County has seen 1,155 COVID-19 cases since the health crisis began, with a total of 120 cases in the previous seven days as of Monday, according to data from Nye County. Manhattan had its first reported case on Monday.

Also included in the 120 cases of the last seven days were 105 in Pahrump, six in Tonopah, five in Amargosa Valley, one in Beatty and two in Smoky Valley.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
STEVE SEBELIUS: Tell the truth, and shame the devil

President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election are not harmless, and will cause more mayhem if people around the nation fail to accept the truth.

Modern castle in Esmeralda County has a buyer

The Hard Luck Mine Castle in Esmeralda County has entered into escrow, Brian Krueger, a senior vice president with Coldwell Banker Premier Realty and the agent selling the property, said.

IRS schedules opening of tax season for Feb. 12

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation’s tax season will start on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.

UNR forum to examine state’s business outlook

The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno, will host Vision 2021: The Nevada Economic Forecast on Friday, Jan. 22 as part of the college’s continued efforts to support the growth of the state’s economy.

1099 forms due for businesses on Feb. 1

The Internal Revenue Service reminded businesses and other payors that a revised 1099-MISC and a new 1099-NEC must be furnished by Feb. 1, 2021.

Nevada Humanities announces two memoirs

Nevada Humanities has announced it has selected two memoirs — “Miracle Country: A Memoir” by Kendra Atleework and “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil — for its statewide 2021 Nevada Reads program.

Circle K construction continues in Pahrump

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, progress is being made and development undertaken, with one example of the continual drive to push forward despite enormous challenges to be seen right here in Pahrump.