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COVID metrics send mixed signals on whether Nevada surge has crested

Nevada’s COVID-19 metrics continued to send mixed signals on Thursday, with 1,413 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths recorded over the preceding day amid another drop in the state’s test positivity rate.

Updated numbers posted by the state Department of Health and Human Services on the state’s coronavirus website pushed the state totals to 377,493 cases and 6,259 deaths.

New cases were far above the two-week moving average, which increased slightly from 930 to 932. It was the highest daily total reported not immediately following a weekend since the state logged 1,501 new cases on Jan. 23, according to records maintained by the Review-Journal.

Deaths were right at the average of 11 per day, which was unchanged from the previous day, and was the lowest daily figure reported since Aug. 3.

The number of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state increased by 34, from 1,217 to 1,251, continuing a recent pattern of daily fluctuations amid a relatively flat trend line.

The jump in Thursday’s update came a day after the Nevada Hospital Association said in its weekly report that hospitalizations in the southern part of the state “may have crested,” though facilities in the north were continuing to see caseload increases.

Some hospitals in the region “are reporting having some difficulties transferring patients for a higher level of care,” the trade group said. “The percentage of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 has also been elevated to watch status based on multiple weeks of increasing patient counts, albeit currently, COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming the hospital infrastructure.”

The state’s two-week test positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, continued to drop on Thursday, reaching 15.2 percent.

The rate, which began rising steadily after hitting a recent low of 3.3 percent on June 9, has now dropped more than a percentage point from its recent peak of 16.3 percent on Aug. 13.

State and county health agencies often redistribute the daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or a test or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.

As metrics have surged, the state has reported a significant increase in its vaccination numbers. State data now shows that 49.84 percent of eligible Nevadans 12 and older have been fully vaccinated.

Clark County, meanwhile, recorded 918 new COVID-19 cases and nine additional deaths over the preceding day, according to data posted Thursday by the Southern Nevada Health District on its coronavirus webpage. That brought county totals to 296,022 cases and 5,014 deaths.

The county’s two-week test positivity rate decreased by 0.5 percentage point on Thursday, to 14.8 percent.

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