Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick did not mince words today. He said the unvaccinated are responsible for increasing COVID-19 cases, and Gov. Steve Sisolak’s latest mask mandate is necessary because of the amount of people choosing not to get vaccinated.
“I want to also emphasize that [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] has demonstrated that they follow the body of science in making their decisions,” he said. “Our way forward is for people to be vaccinated. We have a very safe and effective vaccine, and it’s readily available.”
Dick also said he was frustrated by those refusing to get the vaccine. Washoe County is about 50% fully vaccinated. The county recently again surpassed an 8% test positivity rate, and the region’s Covid Risk Meter is again back in the “high” range.
“Our COVID-19 transmission is driven by our unvaccinated population,” Dick said. “We’ve heard a lot of people talking about whether to get vaccinated or not being a personal choice, and [that it] should just be up to each individual to make that decision, because it only affects them. That is false.”
The problem with the unvaccinated is they spread COVID-19 to the vaccinated, Dick added. “It affects everybody’s risk of being infected with COVID-19. We know that we have breakthrough cases occurring among vaccinated individuals, because we have so many unvaccinated people in our community…”
Delta cases rising
COVID-19 cases of the Delta variant continue to increase.
“We’re reporting a total of 301 cases which have been genetically sequenced and identified as the Delta variant,” said WCHD Public Information Officer Scott Oxarart.
Four COVID-19 Delta variant-related deaths have been reported in Washoe County since July 1. All four people were unvaccinated. There are more than 300 Delta variant cases in Washoe County, and more than 25 people have been hospitalized with the Delta variant — 22 of those cases were not vaccinated, and seven were in the Intensive Care Unit.
Those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine are less likely to contract, be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 and the Delta variant, Oxarart said.
“If we want to continue to move forward, if we want our economy to prosper and our lives to get back to normal, the solution is to take advantage of the incredible vaccines that have been developed and are available to us to protect ourselves and one another in our communities,” Dick said.
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 from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011, where he completed a dissertation on social media, journalism and crisis communications. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time research appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.