Updated December 17, 2021 - 4:49 pm
Most of Clark County’s key COVID-19 metrics continued to climb over the past week, with the forward-looking indicators of new cases and test positivity rate gaining the most ground.
Updates Friday from the Southern Nevada Health District and the state added to the county’s recent coronavirus surge, with nearly 800 new cases of the disease reported during the previous day and another in a string of recent increases in the positivity rate, which now stands at 7.9 percent.
State officials acknowledged Thursday that they expect the rise to continue at least through the holidays.
The omicron variant, which was confirmed for the first time in Nevada this week in a case involving a Clark County woman, will play a role in determining the scope of the surge. Early evidence indicates this mutant spreads much more quickly than the still-dominant delta variant — as much as 70 times faster by some estimates — which could potentially cause the picture to quickly deteriorate.
It’s also possible that it will not have a drastic impact on all of the county’s COVID-19 metrics. Indications so far suggest omicron doesn’t produce as many serious cases as delta did, so it could drive up new cases and test positivity rate without having much of an impact on hospitalizations and deaths.
Substantial surge underway
Whatever omicron’s impact, it will only add to a substantial surge in the county that already has lasted more than six weeks.
Since Nov. 1, the county has reported 19,649 COVID-19 cases, or just over 5 percent of the total for the pandemic, according to state data.
The growth of new cases accelerated slightly in the past week, with the two-week moving average of new COVID-19 cases rising by 11 per day to 381, an increase of just under 3 percent. That was higher than the 2.4 percent average increase over the preceding five weeks.
The county’s test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, increased by half of a percentage point over the past week, a 6.8 percent rise. Since Nov. 1, the rate has risen 2 full percentage points.
The news is a bit better regarding the most serious outcomes of a coronavirus infection.
Hospitalizations of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients rose by just five over the past week to 573 as of Friday’s update, an increase of less than 1 percent. However, that number was 65 higher than the 508 hospitalizations reported at the end of the week of Nov. 1., an increase of nearly 13 percent.
COVID-related deaths decreased in the past week, dipping from an average of six per day to five. The average death rate has remained relatively flat since Nov. 1, oscillating between a low of three and a high of six.
Friday’s update from the health district and state nearly mirrored the longer-term trends.
County nears 800 daily cases
On Friday, the district reported 792 new COVID-19 cases — the second time this month the figure has approached the 800 mark — and nine deaths in Clark County during the previous day.
That pushed totals for the county to 352,695 cases of the disease and 6,367 deaths.
New cases were more than twice the two-week moving average of 381 cases per day, while the average increased by two cases per day from Thursday’s report, according to state data.
The daily tally of new cases was just slightly below the 796 reported on Dec. 8. That was the most cases the health district has reported since Sept. 11, when it added 824 new cases as the summer surge of the disease was beginning to decline.
Fatalities were nearly twice the average for the period of five per day, which was unchanged from Thursday’s update.
The county’s test positivity rate continued its recent ascent, inching up 0.1 percentage points from the previous day to 7.9 percent.
Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada
The state Department of Health and Human Services, meanwhile, reported 930 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths during the preceding day.
The update pushed totals for the state to 468,953 cases and 8,278 deaths.
Both daily figures were well above the two week moving averages of 489 cases and eight deaths per day. The average for new cases was unchanged, while fatalities increased by one per day from Thursday.
The state’s test positivity rate also moved higher, climbing 0.1 percentage points to 7.6 percent.
Data showed 667 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in Nevada hospitals, down 12 from Thursday.
The percentage of eligible Nevadans 5 and older considered fully vaccinated rose to 53.72 percent, compared to 52.99 percent in Clark County.
— 5+ population: 3 million.
— Doses administered: 3.82 million.
— Vaccinations initiated: 1.90 million.
— Vaccinations completed: 1.62 million.
— Eligible fully vaccinated: 53.72 percent.
Sources: Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau