The Washoe County Health District is working with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and local partners to make sure the area is prepared for COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, if it is confirmed in the area.
No confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been found in Washoe County or in Nevada as of Feb. 28.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It has sickened more than 80,000 people worldwide and is responsible for almost 3,000 deaths. About 60 cases have been confirmed in the United States.
The health district has been completing risk assessments with residents who traveled to areas that have widespread transmission, have had direct contact with someone who has been suspected or confirmed to have the virus, and have had severe illness requiring hospitalization for a viral respiratory disease that has no other known cause.
There are two plans – isolation and quarantine plan and pandemic flu plan, which are being adjusted to COVID-19, according to the health district.
The health district set up a web page to help the public identify risk factors, learn about how the virus spreads, and symptoms to watch for. Information for businesses and employers, travelers and medical professionals is also available:
“The Washoe County Health District is working hard to protect residents from COVID-19 and to make sure we’re prepared,” district health officer Kevin Dick said in a statement. “Our hope is we don’t have a resident contract the virus; however, our staff is working diligently with the CDC and our local partners to do whatever we can to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 appearing in our community.”
District Board of Health Chairman John Novak was in Washington D.C. this week speaking to Nevada’s delegation about financial support to Washoe County.
“Nevada’s representation in Washington D.C. is well aware of the issues we’re facing,” Novak said in a statement. “Having this level of communication with our congressional representatives and the local jurisdictions puts us in the best possible spot to protect Washoe County residents from this disease.”
The Washoe County School District also put out a statement this week, addressing the community’s concerns about a possible coronavirus outbreak. It said its Student Health Services division is working with the Washoe County Health District, State of Nevada, and federal health officials to determine the best course of action to protect students and staff while ensuring the educational needs of students are being met.
“We are relying on health experts to provide us with guidance going forward, and depending upon the direction we receive, we will adapt our approach as necessary,” the school district said in a letter to families this week. “We can assure you that we are taking all necessary steps to gather information, following guidelines set forth by health officials, and that we will convey this information to our families and our community through the media, online, and through direct communication with our families.”
School officials are also telling families to keep ill children at home and for sick staff members to stay home.
This Is Reno’s COVID-19 news coverage
Gov. Steve Sisolak today announced Vax Nevada Days, a promotion to give away $5 million in cash and prizes to nearly 2,000 Nevada residents who have initiated the COVID-19 vaccine process.
Over the next two weeks Washoe County Health District vaccinators will be out in the community getting COVID-19 shots in arms at community events.
As the country enters its fifth month of the vaccine rollout, data shows racial disparities in vaccinations are an issue.
With summer fast approaching, parents of youngsters must face questions about whether to mask or un-mask head-on.
El condado de Washoe lidera las tasas de vacunación frente a otros condados del estado, con el 55% de los mayores de 12 años receptores de al menos una primera inyección y el 47% de los residentes completamente vacunados.
Washoe County is leading all other counties in the state for vaccination rates, with 55% of those 12 and older having had at least a first shot and 47% of residents fully vaccinated.
Preliminary evidence seems to suggest the COVID-19 vaccines make it less likely someone who’s vaccinated will transmit the coronavirus, but the proof is not yet ironclad.
A proposal to mandate workers be given the “right to return” and receive priority in the re-hiring process has pitted the powerful labor union against chambers of commerce, casinos and the Nevada Resort Association.
County Commissioner Kitty Jung expressed frustration with residents who refuse to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.