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Clark County sees 3 of 4 COVID-19 metrics increase

Updated December 20, 2021 - 4:22 pm

Clark County on Monday reported 1,379 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths during the preceding three days as three of its four key metrics for the disease increased.

Updated figures posted by the Southern Nevada Health District pushed totals for the county to 354,074 cases and 6,389 deaths.

Divided by three, the number of new cases was well above the two-week moving average of 404 per day, while the average was up 13 cases per day from Friday’s update.

Fatalities were slightly above the 14-day average of five per day, which was unchanged from Friday.

The county’s 14-day test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, climbed by 0.1 percentage point during the period to reach 8.0 percent, according to state data.

The state also reported 582 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, up from 573 in Friday’s report.

The county has been experiencing growth in its metrics for the disease caused by the new coronavirus since the beginning of November, though the increases have been relatively small compared to earlier waves of the disease and levels remain well below those of the summer surge.

It is not clear whether the omicron variant — of which there are five confirmed cases in Nevada — is playing a role in the recent rise of the metrics or whether it will significantly alter the course of the outbreak in the state and locally.

The current surge has moved the county farther from the goal of exiting the state’s face mask mandate for crowded indoor spaces.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

Translated to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s preferred seven-day moving average, the test positivity rate stood at 9.5 percent as of Monday, in the “substantial” risk of transmission category in its classification system. As of Monday afternoon, the county’s rate of new cases per 100,000 population for the period stood at 158.911, which is in the “high” transmission risk category.

To exit the mask mandate, a county must record back to back weeks with a test positivity rate of less than 8 percent and a new case rate of 50 per 100,000 population or less. The state will update its guidance on the mandate on Tuesday.

Update on breakthrough cases

The health district also updated its reporting on so-called breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in the county late Friday, showing 679 new infections over the preceding week in people considered fully vaccinated. Thirty-six of those people were hospitalized and nine died, according to the report.

That pushed breakthrough totals for the county to 15,669 cases — nearly 4.5 percent of total cases of all types — 803 hospitalizations and 240 deaths.

The vast majority of those cases were attributed to the dominant delta variant, with just one case of the newer omicron variant reported in the county.

The data demonstrates that vaccination provides strong protection against the most serious consequences of infection, with the death rate among the fully vaccinated 21 per 100,000 population, vs. 526 per 100,000 for unvaccinated Nevadans. Most of those who were hospitalized or died were 65 or older and had an underlying health condition, according to the report.

The state Department of Health and Human Services, meanwhile, on Monday reported 1,647 new COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths over the preceding three days.

Divided by three, new cases were well above the two-week moving average of 514 per day. The average for new cases also climbed during the period, jumping from 489 per day in Friday’s update. The average for deaths decreased by one to seven per day.

The update increased state totals to 470,600 cases of the disease and 8,311 deaths.

Remembering Nevadans lost to COVID-19

Of the state’s other key COVID-19 metrics, both the test positivity rate and the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations were unchanged at 7.6 percent and 667, respectively.

The state’s vaccination rate against the disease edged up to 53.88 percent of eligible Nevadans 5 and older, compared to 53.16 percent in Clark County.

Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

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