With major COVID-19 metrics climbing quickly, the Clark County Commission scheduled an emergency meeting on Tuesday to consider implementing measures to slow the spread of the disease.
Word of the emergency meeting came on a day when the county added more than 1,900 new COVID-19 cases over three days and saw spikes in the number of hospitalizations and the test positivity rate continue.
County lawmakers will discuss a Friday recommendation by the Southern Nevada Health District that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear face masks in crowded indoor public spaces, according to a copy of the emergency meeting agenda.
That recommendation prompted an administrative order filed Monday that again required all members of the public to wear masks inside the Regional Justice Center and Family Court building. The mandate immediately took effect.
If the commission on Tuesday were to adopt the health district’s advice and make it mandatory, it would be following Los Angeles County, which required that everyone wear masks indoors effective last Saturday.
“The fact is, we have to nip this in the bud, there is no question about it,” Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who sits on the health district board, said Monday.
Most of the state’s key COVID-19 metrics have been on the rise for more than a month, which public health experts have attributed to the more-contagious delta coronavirus variant primarily infecting people who have not been vaccinated.
The county has maintained control over most of the pandemic’s mitigation measures since May 1, when authority transitioned from the state.
The county reverted to pre-pandemic rules on June 1, enabling 100 percent capacity, among other things, as COVID-19 cases were declining and vaccination rates were increasing.
“I think we do still have to stay on top of this because nobody wants to go backward,” Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said of the virus in mid-May.
County officials were clear at the time that mitigation measures could always return if necessary.
Monday’s reports from the health district and the state Department of Health and Human Services did nothing to dampen the concerns.
Nevada reported 2,067 new coronavirus cases and three deaths over the preceding three days.
The number of new cases was the highest three-day total since the state halted weekend reporting of COVID-19 data in mid-April, eclipsing the 1,673 reported on July 12.
Data posted on the state’s coronavirus website for Friday through Sunday showed the two-week moving average of new COVID-19 cases increasing to 635 per day, a jump of 96 from the 539 cases a day reported Friday.
The state’s case total, meanwhile, rose to 345,163.
The two-week moving average of new cases has been climbing since it reached a low of 132 on June 5, with much of that growth occurring in Clark County.
Fatalities reported Monday increased the state death toll to 5,761. The three reported deaths were below the two-week moving average of three per day when spread over three days.
The state no longer reports numbers over the weekend, and public health officials have said that reporting on Monday and sometimes Tuesday can be inflated as a result of the delayed reporting.
The state’s two-week positivity rate, meanwhile, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, increased by 0.7 percentage point in Monday’s update to 12.0 percent, according to state data.
The rate has now risen in nearly 9 percentage points in just over a month after reaching a recent low of 3.3 percent on June 9.
State and county health agencies also 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.
Hospitalizations of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients also has been rising in recent weeks. Monday’s data showed 894 people with either confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 were hospitalized in the state, 75 more than on Friday and more than quadruple the recent low of 209 reported on June 12.
Meanwhile, the health district reported 1,907 new cases in Clark County for Friday through Sunday, bringing the local cumulative case total to 270,421. It also reported all three of the state’s deaths, bringing the number of deaths in the county to 4,566.
The county’s 14-day positivity rate also climbed to 13.5 percent, a level last seen in the county in mid-February.
County numbers are reflected in the statewide totals.
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— 12+ population: 2.64 million.
— Doses administered: 2.61 million.
— Vaccinations initiated: 1.48 million.
— Vaccinations completed: 1.25 million.
— % of eligible fully vaccinated: 46.50 percent.
Sources: Nevada Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau