The omicron variant is still spreading in the community, but area health officials say the surge of new cases may have peaked. The number of the omicron variant cases are on the decline.
“Now we’re seeing a significant downward trend in COVID-19 cases over the last 10 days, and looking at our data, we see a peak that occurred back on Jan. 21,” Health Officer Kevin Dick said. “We’ve seen a significant decline the last few days. Our worst fear is that we have a plateau at some high level and don’t continue with the decline.”
The high number of cases continue to keep the region in the very high risk category, but that’s down from the severe rating two weeks ago. The drop was attributed to increased hospital capacity.
Dick said there have been 52 deaths so far this year, with most of those people who were not vaccinated.
Dick stressed getting the booster shot will provide much greater immunity from severe illness and death from COVID-19, particularly for those with other health conditions and those over the age of 50.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, published at the end of January, shows 94,640 people who were unvaccinated died from COVID-19 between April 4 and December 4, 2021. There were 22,567 fully vaccinated people who died in the same period.
“Unvaccinated adults had five times the risk of infection and more than 50 times the risk of COVID-19-associated death,” the CDC website notes.
Dick echoed the CDC’s assessment.
“The vast majority of deaths and severe illness…are the unvaccinated population,” Dick said today. “But we also know that the booster is very important for improving people’s protection if they are eligible for the booster and have only received the initial series of their vaccine.”
County continues contract with Northshore Labs
University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval yesterday announced an immediate end to its contract with Northshore Laboratories, citing subpar performance.
Washoe County officials, however, said they intend to continue using the company for its free pop-up testing locations.
Dick distanced himself and the health district from that decision.
“We work closely with Washoe County, but the release and the testing with Northshore is from Washoe County, which is separate from the health district,” he said today. “So I would refer you to them for any further comment.”
County spokesperson Bethany Drysdale said the county will continue using the company even after news the company is being investigated in three states.
“We continue to review licensing status with the State of Nevada to make sure that the testing in our community meets the necessary requirements,” she said. “The supplemental testing conducted by Northshore Clinical Labs got our community through an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 infections, and we are beginning to see a steep drop in demand for tests.”
A This Is Reno reader today said she signed up online to get tested at a Northshore location but never ended up going.
“Just yesterday, I got an email from them saying I had tested last Friday and my results were negative,” she said. “How weird is that?”