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COVID cases continue to decline in Washoe County

By Bob Conrad

Washoe County health officials today said good news continues as COVID-19 cases continue to decline. July of 2021 is the last time the region saw the same number of COVID-19 cases it has today.

There are just 27 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in hospitals right now, said Kevin Dick, district health officer. 

“That’s one of the lowest figures we’ve seen in a long time. We’re hoping we continue with the decrease in cases,” Dick said.

However, hospital capacities continue to be strained because of staffing shortages. 

That’s causing an 87% occupancy of staffed beds, Dick added, slightly higher than was reported last week despite fewer total COVID patients. 

At-home test kits are also now widely available, so people do not necessarily need to go to the Livestock Events Center. 

“We really encourage people to have those on hand,” Dick said.

Vaccines continue to be recommended if people want to avoid hospitalization and death from the coronavirus disease.

The unvaccinated “are 42 times more likely to die” from COVID-19, Dick said, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers from December. 

Risk meter to change

The decrease of cases means there will be changes to updates by the county and the longstanding risk meter. 

The Truckee Meadows Risk Meter may be phased out or changed to align with what the CDC is reporting for the region.

Dick said the Truckee Meadows Risk Meter was developed prior to COVID vaccines and is not consistent with the CDC’s meter, which has Washoe County in the medium range for the risk of contracting COVID-19. 

The Truckee Meadows Risk Meter, however, has the county in the high range still, which Dick said was due to hospital capacity and the test positivity rate – in addition to a seven-day lag.

“We’re assessing whether we continue to use that, modify it or drop that and continue with the CDC criteria,” he said. 

Media briefings by the Washoe County Health District will now be held every other week, an indication of the region emerging from the pandemic.

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