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Washoe County enters month seven of pandemic, surpasses 10,000 case threshold

By Sudhiti Naskar
UNR Mackay Stadium

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Washoe County Health District officer Kevin Dick provided some insight for people of Washoe County on Wednesday during the weekly COVID-19 press briefing. 

Oct. 5 “marks the seventh month” he said, since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Washoe County on March 5. 

“And we have now surpassed the 10,000 case threshold in just that seven month period,” Dick said. “We need to recognize this is serious and significant.”

In this time period, Washoe County has lost 165 lives to COVID-19.

He drew attention to some recent disease trends based on the data available. 

Data shows 18-29 year olds getting infected in large numbers

As per data last week, 25% of cases are in those ages 20-29; 22% of the cases are from individuals ages 18-24. These age ranges often comprise college students, a group that was singled out at last week’s briefing as a large source of cases.

Dick noted that while many in this age range “are not typically affected as severely by COVID-19,” they can potentially spread the disease to other more vulnerable populations such as faculty and staff, people in their households, and others they might be interacting with in commerce or recreation.

He requested the “younger” population to “do their part” to bring down the numbers, as “currently we have elevated disease transmission occurring.” 

According to Department of Health and Human Services data, as of Oct. 5, the test positivity rate in Washoe County is 8.4%. When the test positivity rate is 5% or less it is considered less severe. 

We need to continue to be vigilant to “suppress the spread,” Dick added.

The county today put out a comprehensive chart shedding light on the disease impact on ages and races.

County health officials set to meet governor on large gathering decision

The health district remains concerned about Gov. Steve Sisolak’s recent decision to allow large gatherings of 250 or more in light of the elevated disease transmission in the county. District officials were scheduled to meet with him Wednesday afternoon.  

“I am confident that we will talk through the issues and resolve them and be on a good path going forward,” said Dick.   

UNR makes “difficult decisions” 

Dick was joined by former governor Brian Sandoval, the newly-elected President of University of Nevada, Reno, and Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, the director of UNR’s Student Health Center. They briefed people of Washoe County about measures UNR has taken in the face of an increasing number of infections reported in the past weeks. 

Sandoval said that UNR has had to make some “difficult decisions.” 

UNR has closed the Wiegand Fitness Center for the remainder of the semester, as 60 positive cases among students have been linked to the gym. Six employees have tested positive after having been there. About half of them “unknowingly visited the fitness center during their period of infectivity,” said Sandoval.

The university has decided not to have fans for the football season-opener on Oct. 24 against the University of Wyoming.  Attendance at that game will be limited to the players and 250 people, including family, cheerleaders and band members following the governor’s directive on large gatherings.   

UNR has put up a new COVID-19 dashboard on its website, which will give regular updates on campus disease numbers. The university is calling the dashboard and other efforts “Protect the Pack,” he said. 

So far, UNR has tested 2,176 students and 102 faculty and staff, said Dr. Hug-English. 

Numbers at-a-glance:

Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 10,225 (+118 from 10/6)

  • Deaths: 167 (+2)
  • Recovered:  8,827 (+119)
  • Active Cases: 1,231 (-3)
  • Tests performed: 150,188 (+972)

According to the Nevada Hospital Association, in Washoe County as of October 7:

  • 64% of all staffed short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+2% since 10/6)
  • 49% of the all Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (-1%)
  • 18% of all ventilators are in use (+0%)

NOTE: Numbers are for all hospital patients in Washoe County and not just COVID-19 patients.


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