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COVID-19 deaths continue to rise in Washoe County

By Jeri Chadwell
REMSA Ambulance

More than a dozen additional deaths related to COVID-19 have been confirmed in Washoe County since the 800th death was announced on Monday.

This brings the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the month of September to 57. For comparison, in July the number of deaths related to the virus was five.

The percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied in Washoe County has risen to 90%.

Emergency rooms and EMS providers are being swamped by people who officials said do not need their services. Health officials are imploring people who do not have emergency medical needs to refrain from going to the emergency room or calling 911 and instead call their primary care physicians or visit an urgent care location.

Local health organizations shared this graphic to remind the community of the types of medical emergencies for which use of 9-1-1 would apply. Image: WCHD

Some people have gone to emergency rooms seeking COVID-19 testing. They should instead be scheduling tests at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center or seeking tests at one of two Walmart locations: 

Staffing shortages in hospitals, long-term care facilities and nursing homes remain a problem.

Washoe County Health District’s (WCHD) Kevin Dick said the contact tracing duties for cases among middle and high school students has been transferred to the Washoe County School District. This is allowing WCHD to conduct contact tracing for cases among 18 to 28 year old people, including at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Washoe County School District is reporting 56 new cases and 212 active cases among students district-wide as of Tuesday afternoon. Among staff, there are 9 new cases and 33 active cases. Students and staff at 92 schools are affected.

UNR’s COVID-19 dashboard, which posts weekly case counts on a 4-day lag, on Tuesday showed a decline in reported student cases and a slight increase in employee reported cases. Reported positive cases between both students and staff were 53.

As of the last update from Nevada Health Response on Sept. 19, all of Nevada’s counties are showing a high transmission rate of the virus.

Throughout the state, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status are required to wear face coverings indoors or while in crowded outdoor settings.

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