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COVID-19 Update: County uncertain about restrictions after May 1

By Bob Conrad

Health officials are cautiously optimistic about the future. A year into the pandemic, Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said today people should not get complacent about declining coronavirus disease cases, as an uptick of cases could still reoccur.

Nearly 10% of the county has been vaccinated for COVID-19. A new vaccine, the Janssen vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, is now in Washoe County, and seniors aged 65 and over, as well as even more essential workers, are getting the vaccines.

“We are remaining flat and, overall, trending downward,” Dick said. The region is getting close to the 5% test positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization for reopenings.

“But we are seeing headlines in the news about other areas of the country that are dropping mask requirements and allowing things to reopen,” he said. “I think that is premature, and I’m glad that we’re not seeing that happening here in Nevada and in Washoe County. We need to continue to work to getting our community vaccinated more fully, particularly with the concerns we have about various [new variants of the disease].

“We can see things change quickly,” he added.

The future is still an unknown, particularly with capacity restrictions on businesses.

Dick provided few details about what could happen after May 1, 2021 when the county takes over authority of COVID-19 restrictions.

While the Washoe County Health District is independent of Washoe County government, he said the district is working with the county, the City of Reno and Sparks on what restrictions could look like after May 1.

“We are expecting to get more information from [a] task force meeting tomorrow to see what that looks like,” he said. “We are working to try to develop that information so that it’s not a waiting game until May 1 and then we reveal that information.”He said more information would be available in April.

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