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COVID-19: 60 variants in Washoe County despite downward trend

By Jeri Chadwell

The Washoe County Health District is reporting 60 COVID-19 variants in the region, including four cases of the B.1.617 variant first identified in India.

Nonetheless, District Health Officer Kevin Dick said on Thursday that COVID-19 trends in Washoe County continue to be encouraging. The seven-day moving average of daily new cases has fallen to 39. That’s down from a high of nearly 500 in late November following Thanksgiving.

Health district officials and their hospital partners continue to encourage Washoe County residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Soon, however, Renown hospital will stop administering first doses of the vaccine.

The final day to receive a first dose of vaccine from Renown will be next Wednesday, May 12.The hospital will continue to provide second doses to those who’ve received their first dose there until everyone has had the opportunity to get their second shot. Renown staff have administered more than 73,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Dick and WCHD’s James English have stressed the priority of getting as many people vaccinated as possible prior to the planned June 1 relaxing of COVID-19 mitigation directives like social distancing and business capacity limits.

The health district’s vaccination site at Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center off Wells Avenue is also providing COVID-19 vaccinations without an appointment.

English said the vaccination process from start to finish tends to be 30 minutes or fewer for those with appointments, but those without one can fill out WCHD’s questionnaire on site and will get a shot. People with appointments will be able to see which vaccine they’re signing up for. Those without will receive whatever vaccine is being administered on the day they arrive.

To further its efforts to get COVID-19 vaccine shots in arms, the health district is planning to begin visiting places like food banks and churches. He said the first of these will be held at a church in Sun Valley on May 16. The exact location and time have yet to be determined but will be announced soon.

For those seeking additional information about COVID-19 and vaccination against the virus, the state has opened up a live chat feature on its NVCOVIDfighter.com website.

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