Rate of Nevada virus cases nearly triple from late May

July 2, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Officials said Wednesday that the rate of coronavirus cases reported each day in Nevada is nearly three times higher than a month ago.

In the seven days leading up to Tuesday, reports of confirmed cases were growing about 3.9%, or 644 cases, every day. The rate at the end of May was 1.4%, or 116 a day, according to Caleb Cage, COVID-19 response director for the state government.

Hospitalizations have also been increasing since May 31, around the time Nevada starting easing restrictions on businesses. Cage said that while Nevada is seeing more patients hospitalized with the virus, it’s not seeing an increase in patients in the ICU or on ventilators, meaning cases are less severe.

“It is clear we are seeing an increase in cases and wearing masks and social distancing are more important now than ever,” Cage said.

Gov. Steve Sisolak last week ordered people to wear face masks in public. On Monday, the Democrat said Nevada would keep current limits on social distancing and businesses in place through the end of July due to the uptick in cases.

Since the face mask rule took effect Friday, investigators with Nevada’s Department of Business and Industry have made 259 compliance checks at businesses across the state, Cage said. Of those checks, he said, 85% of businesses were complying with the rule.

Nevada plans to purchase hand sanitizing stations that it will place in communities experiencing high rates of COVID-19 case confirmations, starting with Clark County, according to a state plan released Wednesday.

The state also plans to start what officials are calling the COVID-19 Prevention Ambassador Program, where trained volunteers and paid staff will identify and enter public places where people may not be social distancing or wearing face masks. The “Ambassadors” “will be trained to educate and encourage individuals to exercise protective measures” and will provide “risk reduction kits” that include information about the virus, free face coverings and hand sanitizer and referrals for testing or social services.

Nevada has reported more than 19,000 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began and 511 deaths.

For most people, the virus cause s mild or moderate symptoms for two to three weeks. The vast majority recover. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death.

In other developments:

—State contact tracers interviewed a sample of about 1,315 people who tested positive for COVID-19 between June 4 and June 12 to learn more about their interactions leading up to their diagnoses, including whether they went to any of Nevada’s newly reopened casinos or protests such as the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The tracers interviewed 346 people, and of that group, 7% said they had visited a casino, according to Julia Peek, Deputy Administrator of Community Health Services. Nearly 12% said they had attended a social event, and of that group, about 26% said they had attended a peaceful display of civic activism. The tracers reported 81% of the people they interviewed had not visited a casino or attended a social event.

—The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Wednesday that since casinos reopened on June 4, the board’s inspectors have made more than 7,400 checks of gambling properties and found 111 cases of violations of health and safety policies. The board did not release details of the violations or the locations, citing confidentiality rules.

—Health officials in Clark County reported two more cases of a serious inflammatory condition in children linked to the coronavirus. The condition is known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome. It is considered uncommon and deaths are rare. The Southern Nevada Health District said Wednesday the two children tested positive for COVID-19 and were hospitalized and later discharged and were recovering.