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Nye County remains on list for high-risk of transmission

Nye County is one of six counties flagged last week as having a high-risk of COVID-19 transmission that still meet two of the three criteria that signal a sustained elevated risk, reported the COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Humboldt County dropped off the list for the first time, but county and state officials will continue to monitor data to ensure this is a sustained trend in a positive direction.

Nye, Washoe, Clark, Elko and Lander counties had action plans approved by the task force last week. Each presented updates this week, but no additional action was taken as results from mitigation measures would not be reflected in data yet.

Between Aug. 19 and Aug. 27, Nye County had seen an increase of 25 positive COVID-19 cases with one new death. Of those, 23 were in Pahrump, one in Round Mountain and one in Amargosa Valley. As of Monday, Aug. 31, Nye County’s online tracker showed a total of 11 new positives reported in a seven-day period with one case in Smoky Valley in the previous seven days.

In mid-August, the task force approved allowing bars to reopen in the areas of the county outside of Pahrump, including an enforcement mechanism to allow county officials to reclose those bars if cases increase.

Through contact tracing, the county has identified two primary epicenters of problem exposure over the week prior to Aug. 27: large, multigenerational families residing in the same household and law enforcement personnel with spread to their families.

Clark County continued to maintain high test positivity (13%) in the Aug. 27 report; however, it had experienced a decrease in the previous two weeks. A week prior to the Aug. 27 report, the task force approved an action plan that continues the current restrictions for bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries and wineries.

The county announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the state to administer up to 60,000 additional drive-through coronavirus tests over 14 days at three locations throughout the Las Vegas Valley at no cost to individuals.

The additional testing will run from Aug. 31 through Sept. 18.

As of Aug. 26, Washoe County met two of the three elevated disease transmission criteria, with another increase in test positivity rate over the past week. The county reported that the majority of its cases are associated with workplaces, retail, recreation, dining and private social gatherings.

The state committed to assisting Washoe in reviewing the mitigation efforts of municipalities within the county in an effort to increase engagement.

In Lander County, a low case rate had been maintained in the Aug. 27 report, but because of its low testing numbers and small population, it still hit two of the assessment criteria. In the week prior to the Aug. 27 report, the county had identified a total of three new COVID-19 cases and was still lacking a demand to perform a significant number of COVID-19 testing per day.

Lander’s approved action plan from mid-August included community-based testing events beginning Aug. 31, messaging efforts and ongoing contact tracing.

As of the Aug. 27 report, the week marked the second in a row that Churchill County showed an elevated risk of transmission. The county maintained a low testing number but had a high case rate and high positivity. Churchill had maintained its initial surged hospital capacity implemented at the start of the pandemic and reported no patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Churchill’s approved action plan includes focusing on education, community testing, rapid contact tracing response and compliance with state directives.

The bulk of Elko County’s cases were primarily in the populated areas of the city of Elko, Spring Creek, the city of West Wendover and the city of Carlin. Since Aug. 1, Elko County had reported 278 new cases and 272 recoveries, along with reporting 86 active cases as of the Aug. 27 report.

In the week prior to the Aug. 27 report, Elko’s positivity rate climbed from 14.8 percent to 16.8 percent, while the county had seen a slight uptick in case rate and decrease on the tests per day measures.

Given the continued and sustained elevated risk of transmission, the task force approved an action plan for Elko that continued current restrictions for bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries and wineries for another two weeks from time of the Aug. 27 report.

Based on the report’s data, Lyon County was flagged for having an elevated risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The week of the report, state officials stated they were going to work with Lyon County to develop an assessment and action plan to implement if the county continued to show an elevated risk of transmission this week.

All counties — regardless of risk level — must maintain the statewide baseline mitigation measures, including wearing face coverings, limits on gathering sizes and capacity in businesses.

More information about the task force can be found online on the Nevada Health Response page at nvhealthresponse.nv.gov, under “News and Information” and “COVID Task Force Assessment.”

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