Updated November 24, 2020 - 6:07 pm
For the third time in less than two weeks, Nevada on Tuesday set a record for most coronavirus cases reported in a day since the start of the pandemic, state data shows.
There were 2,853 new cases reported Tuesday, along with 24 additional deaths, according to the Department of Health and Human Services website. The updated figures brought totals in the state to 139,080 cases and 2,047 deaths.
Two previous daily records have been set in the past two weeks, with 2,416 new cases reported Thursday and 2,269 cases reported Nov. 14, state data shows. Nov. 14 also was the first day that more than 2,000 additional cases were reported in Nevada, but there have been five other days since then, including Tuesday, when new cases surpassed 2,000.
Monday also was the first day when the seven-day average of new cases exceeded 2,000, which is more than double the average recorded earlier this month. Case totals and positivity rates have been increasing since mid-September.
Brian Labus, an assistant professor in epidemiology at UNLV and a member of the medical team advising Gov. Steve Sisolak, said Tuesday that the new numbers suggest gatherings of any kind are a bad idea.
“Clearly we’re seeing a lot of transmission within our community,” he said. “This is a terrible time to have gatherings. The best we can hope for is that people will try and at least be safer with gatherings.”
Labus reiterated Sisolak’s recent directives to wear a mask around those not in your household and not to share Thanksgiving with more than two households.
“Whether a restaurant or private home, the virus doesn’t care,” he said. “If we want to protect those we love, we have to wear a mask.”
Increased testing can account for some, but not all, of the increase in cases. Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations, a more stable disease indicator, last week climbed to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic, after hospitalizations rose sharply in Northern Nevada and more gradually in the southern part of the state.
Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, said Monday that Clark County hospitals are “very close to reaching a critical level.”
The Nevada Hospital Association on Tuesday said in its daily report that the state is continuing to experience an increase in patients hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Northern Nevada had experienced slowing hospital admissions, but a case increase over the weekend reversed the trend, the association said.
Rural counties are reporting an increased positivity rate, but it has not resulted in “significant case counts of serious disease requiring hospitalizations,” the statement said. However, some rural counties at an elevated risk are experiencing stress on hospitals, because of small facilities compared to the “relative burden of COVID-19 patients.”
Counties with stress on the hospitals include Churchill, Douglas, Elko and Nye, the hospital association said.
The state’s positivity rate, calculated by the Review-Journal as the number of cases divided by people tested since the start of the pandemic, reached 14.74 percent Tuesday.
The state health department calculates a positivity rate over a two-week period, and the rate reached 16.6 percent Tuesday. Saturday was the first time since the state began reporting the statistic in mid-October that it has surpassed 16 percent.
Clark County on Tuesday reported 2,219 additional cases, which accounts for about 78 percent of the spike in cases reported across the state. There also were 14 new deaths reported in the county, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website.
The updated figures brought totals in the county to 108,252 cases and 1,705 deaths.