Candice McDaniel, Deputy Director of Programs for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Ellie Graeden of Talus Analytics provided information on Nevada’s ongoing COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts during a call with members of the media on September 16.
As the Governor announced, his team has been reviewing the President’s Path Out of The Pandemic. The State is working with federal and local partners to prepare to implement the plan. In some cases, the State is waiting on more federal guidance or for federal regulations to be put in place. Overall, the President’s plan aligns with many of the plans and initiatives already in place in Nevada.
VACCINATION: This week, Nevada surpassed a COVID-19 vaccine milestone - more than 3 million doses have been administered to individuals who provided a Nevada address when being vaccinated. Additionally, Nevada has administered more than 3.1 million doses total. Nevada’s goal is to ensure the vaccine is available and accessible to all those who want to vaccinate, whether they live here or are just visiting.
CASES: As of Monday, statewide COVID-19 cases decreased by 4% over the past two weeks. In Clark County cases have declined over the past month from 1,013 per 100,000 to 720 per 100,000, however cases in 10 other counties in Nevada have increased and are above 1,000 cases per 100,000. Nevada’s test positivity declined to 11.5% statewide last week.
BIDEN PLAN: The State is continuing conversations around the plan President Biden announced last week, and, in some cases, the State is waiting for more federal guidance or regulations.
Updates will be provided as many of these policies develop and are put into place.
Last week President Biden announced a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing policy that will apply to all staff members at private sector businesses with 100 or more employees - about 70% of U.S. workers. This will have an impact on approximately 1,500 Nevada businesses, according to estimates from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. This new rule is expected to be issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the next few weeks.
This testing requirement will not apply to employees who are vaccinated and all Nevadans are encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
The State is continuing to work with local partners in efforts to ramp up testing capacity and lab turnaround time. The President also mandated that all people working in the federal government, federal contractors, health care providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid, and/or workers in the federal Head Start program must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Unlike private-sector employees, these employees will not be allowed to submit to weekly testing in lieu of vaccination.
HOSPITALS: Nevada Hospital Association issued a press release encouraging vaccination and adherence to mitigation measures. There is currently an increase in hospitalizations in Washoe County and the rural areas of the state that is causing significant concern.
HOSPITALIZATION: As continually shown in new studies being released, fully vaccinated people are significantly less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Approximately 90% of hospitalized patients in Nevada are unvaccinated compared to upwards of 86% nationally. Over the past two months, unvaccinated people were about four and a half times more likely to get COVID-19 nationally and 11 times more likely to die from the disease.
FLU: As fall arrives, flu cases are expected to rise across the U.S., and all Nevadans 6 months and older are strongly encouraged to get their flu shot.
Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, all Nevadans aged 12 and older can safely get the COVID-19 and flu vaccine at the same time this fall, with no wait between shots.
MASKS: In addition to getting vaccinated, new data continues to show that masks are a very effective way to help limit spread. According to a study from Stanford and Yale, wearing a surgical mask has been shown to reduce COVID-19 infection by 11% across all age groups and by 35% for those over 60 years old. While cloth masks reduce the risk of becoming infected, surgical masks are even more effective due to better filtration. Masks are currently required in all Nevada counties, and the most important thing to remember when choosing a mask is that it fits properly, covering both nose and mouth without leaving any gaps and that you wear it.