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Nevada jobless tally keeps climbing, adding to record 28.2%

May 28, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. Nevada jobless figures continue to climb, with more than 18,000 people filing first-time claims for benefits last week. That will add to the record 28.2% statewide unemployment figure in April. The U.S. Labor Department tally on Thursday, May 28 comes after the state last week reported that Nevada unemployment is higher than any state ever, topping even the 25% nationwide estimates made during the Great Depression. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
1 of 4
FILE - In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. Nevada jobless figures continue to climb, with more than 18,000 people filing first-time claims for benefits last week. That will add to the record 28.2% statewide unemployment figure in April. The U.S. Labor Department tally on Thursday, May 28 comes after the state last week reported that Nevada unemployment is higher than any state ever, topping even the 25% nationwide estimates made during the Great Depression. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada jobless figures keep climbing, with more than 18,000 people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

That pushed the number of new benefits claims since coronavirus closures in mid-March to more than 480,000, and will add to the record 28.2% April unemployment rate the state reported.

The Nevada jobless figure is higher than any state ever, including during the Great Depression. It’s a stunning turnaround after unemployment hit an all-time-low 3.6% in February.

Casino companies are beginning to recall furloughed workers after Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said this week that gambling can resume June 4.

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The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Wednesday the jobless rate in the Las Vegas metropolitan area hit 33.5% in April.

State health officials reported Thursday that more than 8,100 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 402 have died.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death. The vast majority of people recover.

In other developments:

— Nellis Air Force Base will allow the return on Monday of all personnel who work at the facility north of Las Vegas. A statement Thursday said the base remains under a public health emergency but is moving to the third of five phases of resuming operations. Gatherings of more than 10 people will still be limited to essential missions. Dine-in options will resume at most base eateries with proper social distancing measures.

— Officials say more than 1,200 people were tested for the coronavirus during the first day of appointment-only drive-thru testing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said the testing effort involves the Nevada National Guard, University Medical Center and a private partner, Clinical Pathology Laboratories. The site moved this week to a parking garage near the Thomas & Mack Center after collecting nearly 14,000 samples since May 5 at a parking structure at the Orleans Hotel & Casino.

— University Medical Center in Las Vegas said it has begun testing every admitted patient for COVID-19. The state’s only public hospital and Level 1 trauma care center said Thursday it’s also offering testing to patients undergoing elective surgeries and outpatient procedures. Hospital chief executive Mason Van Houweling said UMC now has the ability to run 10,000 tests per day, with results available within hours for admitted patients. The hospital has 541 patient beds.

— The Washoe County Health District plans to offer drive-thru testing next week for people with no COVID-19 symptoms. Testing will be available mornings on a first-come, first-served basis Monday through June 6 at the Reno Livestock Events Center. Health District chief Kevin Dick says about 900 tests a day can be taken using nasal swabs. He acknowledged that testing can produce false negatives, but said it should provide information about how widespread the coronavirus is in the Reno-Sparks area.

— A half-century tradition is being broken with the cancellation of a yearly governor’s mansion fundraiser benefiting University of Nevada, Reno athletic programs. The 52nd annual Governor’s Dinner in Carson City had been scheduled July 9. The event began in 1969 and has featured past keynote speakers including NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, tennis star Andre Agassi and former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick.