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Clark County’s COVID-19 metrics inch closer to end of mask mandate

Updated October 19, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Clark County recorded 456 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths on Tuesday as the county advanced again toward the benchmarks needed to exit Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mask mandate.

The county’s two-week test positivity rate, which tracks the people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, dropped o.1 percentage points to 6.6 percent. That translates to 6.74 percent using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s preferred seven-day rate, which puts the county in the “moderate” transmission tier.

That means the county has now reached one of the two requirements to exit the state mask mandate by having a test positivity rate of 8 percent or lower over back-to back weeks. The state slipped below that level sometime during the week ending Oct. 5.

To reach the CDC’s “moderate” transmission tier, which would result in a lifting of the mandate, a county also must record back-to-back weeks with fewer than 50 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

CDC data showed that as of Tuesday, Clark County had a case rate of 114.62 per 100,000 people, a significant decrease from the 139.54 reported at this time last week.

State officials on Tuesday afternoon updated Nevada’s official mask guidelines to reflect the current transmission status. Esmeralda County, which has been in the “low” transmission tier for two weeks, will now not be required to mask up starting on Friday.

The rest of the Silver State will still be under a mask mandate for the foreseeable future. Lincoln County is in the “substantial” transmission tier, while Nevada’s other counties remain in the “high” transmission tier.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

Tuesday’s update also showed the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the county increased by 19, to 525, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Updated figures posted by the Southern Nevada Health District pushed totals for the county to 327,885 cases and 5,862 deaths.

While new cases were again higher than the two-week moving average of 310 per day, the average itself continued its recent downward progress by shedding 12 cases per day from Monday’s report. The two-week moving average of fatalities in the county held steady at seven.

The state, meanwhile, reported 862 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths over the preceding day. That brought totals to 432,861 cases and 7,466 deaths.

Nevada’s 14-day moving average of new cases also declined, dropping to 495 per day from 514 on Monday. The two-week average for fatalities held at 10 per day.

State and county health agencies often redistribute daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.

The averages show that the four key COVID-19 metrics have been falling since mid- to late-August.

Of the state’s other closely watched metrics, the two-week test positivity rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 7.5 percent, while the number of people in Nevada hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases rose to 711, 13 more than on Monday.

As of Wednesday’s report, state data show that 55.36 percent of Nevadans 12 and older had been fully vaccinated, compared with 54.60 percent in Clark County.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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