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Washoe County is reflecting the statewide trend of vaccination challenges. In its vaccination efforts, there is a gap of about 30,000 between the number of people who received the first dose of vaccine (44,280), and those who came back for the second dose of vaccine (14,593), as reported by the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
District Health Officer Kevin Dick told This Is Reno during the Washoe County Health District’s weekly COVID-19 media briefing that the lag may have happened because there is a three- to four-week interval between the first and second doses of the vaccine. But Dick did not rule out the fact that a small number of people not turning up for the second dose of vaccine might also reflect in these numbers.
About 3-10% have been no-shows for their vaccine appointments as reported last week.
As of today, only 11% of vaccinations administered in Nevada have reached Hispanics.
About 30% of the Nevada population is Hispanic, yet they constitute 35% of total COVID-19 cases.
There is an understanding among health officials that many in the Hispanic community might be undocumented and continue to stay away from government-monitored events, such as testing or vaccination, for the fear of legal consequences.
Dick stressed that the health workers do not ask for or collect any data on immigration status. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided free of cost to everyone regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
“In addition, the federal government has put out an announcement that they don’t want ICE interfering or using any of the vaccination locations in their activities,” Dick said. “So, I want to encourage everybody in the community, and particularly the LatinX community, that we know has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” to get vaccinated.
COVID situation in Washoe County
The rate of COVID-19 transmission in Washoe County is down to 25 per 100,000 people, Dick said. The district is striving to get down to 10 per 100,000.
According to Dick, the seven-day moving average of daily new cases is showing a “significant decline” at about 116. It’s staying in the range of about 110-120 new cases per day.
The seven-day moving average has “kind of flattened out,” Dick added.
On Tuesday, the district reported 41 new cases, the lowest since Oct. 10, last year.
The positivity rate in Washoe County is reported at 11.6% in a 14-day period with a seven-day lag. There has also been reduced demand for COVID-19 testing, but the district believes that the pandemic is letting up as a majority of community members are collaborating in the mitigation efforts.
Still, the disease continues to be lethal, and numbers can change quickly, health officials said.
A total of 604 people passed away from COVID-19 since the first reported case in the county nearly a year ago.
“We still have deaths that are occurring just about [on] a daily basis from COVID-19. We expect that [total] number to continue to climb,” said Dick.
In addition to the UK variant of COVID-19, which was found in Clark County and 32 other states, the South African variant is also reportedly in the U.S. Both variants are thought to be more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain.
Even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, people are advised to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Vaccinated individuals may not get sick themselves, but they might infect others.
Practice caution over the Super Bowl weekend
The district recommended caution over the Super Bowl weekend when people gather together to cheer for their favorite football teams. In addition, the lunar new year is coming up on Feb. 12, when family gatherings also take place.
Dick urged people to wear a mask, maintain hygiene and social distance in compliance with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline on the Super Bowl. If you have a small gathering with people with whom you don’t live, outdoors is safer than indoors, according to the CDC guideline.
In Washoe County, along with the rest of America, the number of new COVID-19 cases surged after every weekend of large-scale gatherings and festivities.
State launched COVID vaccine call center
On Wednesday, Nevada Health Response announced that the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has launched a vaccination call center to answer questions and assist Nevadans who may need help making an appointment.
The call center is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week and can be reached at 1-800-401-0946.
Through the call center, Nevadans will be able to get county-specific updates and information as well.
Numbers at-a-glance in Washoe County
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 41,586 up from 40,818 ( 1/27)
- Deaths: 607 up from 589
- Recovered: 30,301 up from 27,761
- Active Cases: 10,678 down from 12,468
- Hospitalized: 102 down from 132
- Vaccines administered in Washoe County total: 58,873
- Tests performed: 348,477 (+1,108)
According to the Nevada Hospital Association, in Washoe County as of Feb. 3:
- 67% staffed hospital beds are occupied (+3% since 2/2)
- 66% of all licensed hospital beds are occupied (+3%)
- 47% of all Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+4%)
- 16% of all ventilators are in use (+1%)
NOTE: Numbers are for all hospital patients in Washoe County and not just COVID-19 patients.