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COVID-19 risk meter now in moderate range


Officials today said there is good news to share. The region’s COVID-19 risk meter is at the moderate range, showing reduced hospital cases, a lower test positivity rate and, overall, fewer daily new cases of the coronavirus disease.

“They’re averaging on the order from eight to 12 people in the ICU, which is different than we were several weeks back,” said Jeremy Smith with the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, a partner on the risk meter. “So things are looking really good on the data front.”

A potential hiccup in downward trends could be new strains of COVID-19.

“First of all … the United Kingdom variant is spreading fast,” said Dr. Ron Ayrel. “And it might be the predominant strain in the United States in a few weeks. Also, there’s another variant from South Africa and … one from Brazil, that appears to be evading the vaccine to some degree.”

However, the more dangerous South African variant is not a predominant strain in the U.S.

Dr. John Hess said basic measures — in place since COVID-19 arrived in Washoe County a year ago — should still be maintained.

“We still need to do our preventative measures. We still need to socially distance; we still need to wear masks; we still need to wash our hands regularly; [and] really limit our size of gatherings,” he said.

Hess also said the vaccinations are critical to reduce the spread of the virus, but it’s too early to tell how much of an impact they are having.

“The vaccine is a huge advantage for us for the future,” he explained. “But it’s not really telling the story yet, where there’s not enough of the population, even the high risk population, that’s had it, to really be reflecting that. What we want to see is, if there are cases, we don’t want to see the hospitalizations … which means we still need to do our preventative measures.”

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.