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COVID-19 cases continue to rise, many cases likely unreported

By Kristen Hackbarth

The number of reported new daily COVID-19 cases more than doubled over the past two weeks, increasing from nearly 55 new cases per day to 111. Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick said the actual new daily case count is likely five to 10 times higher. 

“We know that most people are using at-home test kits…so we’re not getting those results,” Dick said. “We also know people are not getting very sick, so they may not be getting tested.” 

Despite lacking confirmed case data, Dick said data trends over the last several months have shown an upward trend in cases. 

“And from that we know that the number of cases are just continuing to increase right now,” he added.

Flu cases are on the rise as well, Dick said. For those who are vaccinated and boosted, the COVID-19 infection tends to be mild. Still, 23 people are hospitalized with COVID as of Wednesday. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to list Washoe County’s community risk for COVID-19 as low – however, Dick said those who are out and about interacting with people as they did before the pandemic are likely to get infected with the coronavirus disease. 

He recommended that those who want to reduce their risk of getting infected consider masking and social distancing. 

His advice for those who are sick was simple: “If you’re feeling symptoms, if you’re feeling sick, please stay home and get better… Don’t make other people sick.” 

WCHD officials also said the testing site at Reno-Sparks Livestock Event Center would be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Starting June 6 the testing site will be accessed through the East Ninth Street entrance near Building A due to rodeo preparations along Wells Avenue. 

Dick: Gun violence also a public health crisis

Dick also commented on the May 24 shooting in Uvalde, Texas that resulted in 19 children and two adults being killed by a gunman. He said such shootings are a worsening public health crisis, and cited a CDC report released May 13 that found a 35% increase in firearm homicides from 2019 to 2020.

He said the increase in firearm related suicides was even greater.

Mass shootings are also up 50% in 2022 over 2021. 

“The situation is getting worse, not better,” Dick said. “Our health is not safe because of the level of gun violence that is occurring in our country. Not only is it the direct impacts of people that are being shot, injured or killed with firearms, but the threat that we live under with gun violence. We are not in a healthy society when we have that level of gun violence.”

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