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Another day of mixed messages from Nevada’s key COVID-19 metrics

Updated September 16, 2021 - 5:04 pm

Nevada on Thursday reported 1,475 new coronavirus cases and 32 deaths as the state’s major COVID-19 metrics continued to provide mixed signals on the direction of the outbreak.

Updated figures posted by the Department of Health and Human Services on the state’s coronavirus website pushed totals to 408,733 COVID-19 cases and 6,821 deaths.

New cases were above the two-week moving average, which registered its third increase in the last five reports with a small jump from 855 per day on Wednesday to 874.

Deaths also were well above the average of 11 per day over the period. The average, which rose one from the 10 reported Wednesday, has been fluctuating for weeks but remains below its recent high of 17 per day on Aug. 18.

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.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

The state’s two-week test positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, declined 0.1 percentage points to 11.5 percent.

The rate has dropped significantly from its recent peak of 16.4 percent Aug. 13, but has flatlined over the past week.

State officials on Thursday said they were pleased with what appears to be a significant decline in Clark County COVID-19 metrics, while cognizant that numbers in other parts of the state have not seen the same movement. Michelle White, chief of staff to Gov. Steve Sisolak, said many parts of the state are still not out of the woods.

“It is certainly great to see the progress in Southern Nevada, that is always great news, but I would also say that it is absolutely concerning looking at what we’re seeing in Northern Nevada, the increases in the rural counties especially when it comes to hospitalizations,” she said. “I continue to urge everyone to practice mitigation measures.”

State data also showed that 1,073 people were hospitalized with either confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, a decrease of 17 from Wednesday’s report. Though the number of hospitalizations has dropped slowly over the past month, concerns remain about capacity and staffing issues.

The Nevada Hospital Association said Wednesday that people can help hospital capacity issues by doing three things: getting the COVID-19 vaccine, avoiding hospitals for COVID-19 testing and using urgent care centers for non-emergency care.

“COVID-19 patients are continuing to surge at hospitals within the north and rural areas of the state,” the trade group said. “Several facilities are requesting triage tents to be erected outside the facilities, as well as staffing assistance through the National Guard or federal resources. Patient transfers to a higher level of care continue to be contentious.”

Remembering those we’ve lost to COVID-19

The rise in metrics in July triggered a state face mask mandate, which is effect in each of Nevada’s 17 counties. All counties are required to mask up in crowded indoor spaces after being classified as places with a “high or substantial rates of transmission” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Clark County, meanwhile, recorded 780 new COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths over the preceding day, according to data posted Thursday by the Southern Nevada Health District. That brought county totals to 313,601 COVID-19 cases and 5,402 deaths.

Clark County’s two-week test positivity rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 8.8 percent.

County numbers are included in the statewide totals.

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

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