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Region sees spike in COVID-19 cases

By Bob Conrad

New COVID-19 cases over the holidays reached close to the peak levels seen in November of 2020. There were 410 new cases Dec. 30, 2021. 

The last time Washoe County had that high of a number was in January of 2021. Prior to then, the fall of 2020 surge of cases, which filled hospitals to capacity, had the most new cases of the coronavirus disease. 

Health officials warned about gatherings and travel prior to Christmas, which have historically been attributed to new cases. 

“After seeing an increase in COVID-19 case rates around the country, we knew it wouldn’t be long before it impacted Washoe County,” Washoe County Health District spokesperson Scott Oxarart told This Is Reno. “We reported 410 cases on Friday, which was the most cases reported since Jan. 7, 2021 (436). On Sunday, Dec. 26, the 7-day moving average for new cases in Washoe County was at 97.4. Since then, we’ve seen a 144% increase to 238.1 cases per day on the 7-day moving average.”

New COVID-19 cases in Washoe County as of Jan. 1, 2022. Image: Washoe Covid Dashboard.
New COVID-19 cases in Washoe County as of Jan. 1, 2022. Image: Washoe Covid Dashboard.

Hospital bed use remains about 80%, or the medium range.

Oxarart added that even more cases are expected “due to holiday travel, gatherings and the growth of the omicron variant in our community. It’s imperative that people get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster if eligible, because data shows that the vaccine works to protect people from serious illness and hospitalization. If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, get a COVID-19 test and isolate until you receive the results.”

The Truckee Meadows has not been below the 5% test positivity threshold since last summer. 

At Christmas, the threshold had dropped to 6.2% from a high of more than 20% in the fall of 2021. That number is now at 8%. 

Clark County also saw a rapid increase in new COVID-19 cases in the past week.

“Today, we are seeing an alarming number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reported after the end of year holidays,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said today. “My team is continuing to analyze the numbers and we are working with health districts and other partners to provide resources to combat the surge we are facing.”

Health officials continue to recommend vaccines to reduce the spread and severity of illness.

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