weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Bucking US trend, Clark County COVID cases, hospitalizations falling

Updated July 28, 2022 - 11:57 am

COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases continue to decline in Clark County and Nevada, according to state data released Wednesday, bucking the upward trend in the U.S. as a whole.

Hospitalizations declined for the third straight week, falling in the county to 349 from last week’s 365. That caps a 19 percent drop over three weeks. Statewide, hospitalizations also continued to dip, to 447 from the previous week’s 452, according to data from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

Christopher Lake with the Nevada Hospital Association described the sustained decline as “great news.”

“We hope this trend continues into the fall,” Lake, the association’s executive director for community resilience, said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“However, we have all experienced the unpredictability of this virus and the advent of new variants.”

In Clark County, the two-week daily average for new cases dropped over the past week to 538 from 626, according to state data, marking a 24 percent decline in three weeks. Statewide, the daily average also dropped for the third week, to 703 from 835.

“Instead of a sharp decline, we’ll see a diminished decline in cases and hospitalization over time, is what we expect,” Cassius Lockett, director of disease surveillance and prevention for the Southern Nevada Health District, said in an interview.

“But we don’t have a crystal ball,” he hastened to add.

Despite the declines, levels of the virus remain high in the county based on the numbers of cases and hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Actual case numbers are thought to be at least several times higher than confirmed cases because in part of the reliance on at-home rapid tests, whose positive results go unreported. But authorities say that numbers of confirmed cases are useful for tracking trends.

The two-week daily average of COVID-19 deaths remained at two in the county. Statewide, it decreased to two from three.

Across the nation, the seven-day average for COVID-19 hospital admissions increased by 4.7 percent, to 6,180, according to the most recent data from the CDC. The seven-day average of daily new cases in the U.S. increased by 0.5 percent, to 125,827.

The second omicron wave, caused by subvariants of the original omicron strain such as BA.5, struck Nevada earlier than much of the country.

In turn, the wave in the state is expected to recede sooner, said Brian Labus, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UNLV’s School of Public Health.

Over the course of the pandemic, once enough people locally had been infected with a particular variant, cases plateaued and then declined, Labus said last week.

As of Wednesday, the Nevada reported 581,693 cumulative confirmed cases in Clark County and 762,932 statewide. It reported 8,761 total deaths in the county and 11,221 in the state.

For months, there have been discrepancies between COVID-19 metrics reported by the state and those reported by the Southern Nevada Health District.

On Wednesday, state health department representative Shannon Litz said that a review has found that between November and June, thousands of cases were reported by laboratories only to the county health district and not to the state health department. The state has added these to its tally of cumulative cases.

“This historical lab data has increased the cumulative cases, but will not affect recent metrics related to trends,” Litz said in an email.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Badge found in search belonged to trooper killed in crash

A police badge that belonged to one of the Nevada Highway Patrol troopers killed Thursday was found during a search of the vehicle driven by the man arrested in connection with the fatal crash, police said.