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State positivity rate climbing as virus spreads

Nevada reported 2,337 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths on Wednesday, bringing totals posted by the state Department of Health and Human Services to 504,729 cases and 8,506 deaths.

The state’s 14-day moving average of new cases increased to 2,285 per day from 2,092 on Wednesday. The two-week average for fatalities held steady at five per day.

Of the state’s other closely watched metrics, the two-week test positivity rate rose by 2.6 percentage points to 21.1 percent, while the number of people in Nevada hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases increased to 1,281, 93 more than on Wednesday.

That number has been on the rise for weeks, and led the Nevada Hospital Association to declare on Wednesday that hospitals in Southern and rural Nevada are facing a staffing crisis.

While the omicron variant is believed to be less severe than previous COVID-19 variants, it has proven to be significantly more transmissible and is playing a major role in the rise in cases across the state, according to public health officials.

The rise has started to have an adverse affect on hospitals, especially as demand for testing increases and people flood to emergency rooms to find an available COVID-19 test.

Health officials have repeatedly asked people to find other testing locations, but demand has still been out of control at most testing sites.

The Las Vegas valley’s biggest testing site will move to a new location this weekend after demand at the UNLV campus caused traffic problems and hourslong waits in the area.

State and county health agencies often redistribute daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death 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 of Thursday’s report, state data show that 54.73 percent of Nevadans 5 and older had been fully vaccinated.

That figure fluctuates widely throughout the state.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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