Public health officials in Nevada reported 26 new coronavirus-related deaths Friday, pushing the state’s pandemic death toll past 6,000.
That grim milestone comes as Nevada grapples with a fourth wave of infections due largely to the spread of the delta variant. The death toll now sits at 6,005.
“This is another significant and heartbreaking milestone for our State,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement. “My heart aches alongside all of the Nevada families who are mourning the loss of a loved one.
“Kathy and I send our condolences to those who have lost a cherished family member or friend to this virus, and please know the State of Nevada will always keep their legacy and their memory in our hearts.”
Friday was the third straight day the state has reported more than 20 deaths.
The state Department of Health and Human Services on Friday also reported 1,299 new coronavirus cases statewide, bringing the cumulative case total to 363,574.
Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada
New cases were well above the moving two-week average of 936 cases per day. The state has averaged nine deaths per day over the same period.
Candice McDaniel, deputy director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters Friday afternoon that the current surge is nearing last summer’s case levels. Hospitalizations, she said, have exceeded the levels officials saw during last summer’s wave of infections.
Numbers released Friday by the state showed 1,230 people hospitalized throughout Nevada for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, a decrease of three patients from the previous day.
Last week, the rising disease metrics led to a new mask mandate for indoor public spaces. The mandate applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike in counties with high rates of transmission, which include Clark County.
Statewide, the two-week positivity rate is at 15.8 percent, more than three times higher than the 5 percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization to stop the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Clark County’s two-week positivity rate remained unchanged from the previous day at 16.7 percent.
Health officials in the county reported 956 new cases Friday, bringing the local cumulative case total to 285,938. All 26 deaths reported in the state on Friday were from Clark County.
County figures are reflected in statewide totals.
Sisolak has urged Nevadans to get vaccinated against the virus.
“The vaccines are free, safe and incredibly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death,” he said in a Friday statement.
A total of 48.24 percent of Nevadans 12 and over have been fully vaccinated.
McDaniel, the deputy director of the state health department, said vaccines are the way out of the pandemic. She said the state is encouraging those who have waited to now get the jab.
“We are constantly exploring ways to protect public health and our economy and jobs through this current surge, but we remind the public that their role is critical, and please continue masking and get your shot,” she said.