Updated November 25, 2020 - 12:37 pm
For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Nevada on Wednesday surpassed more than 3,000 new cases reported in a single day, state data shows.
The 3,159 additional cases reported Wednesday set a new daily record for the state, just one day after the previous record was set at 2,853 cases. For the second straight day, Nevada reported 24 new deaths, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website.
The updated data brought totals for the state to 142,239 cases and 2,071 deaths.
Of the more than 3,000 new cases, 1,160 cases from four Northern Nevada counties were attributed to a procedural change in how the counties report data, according to Carson City Health and Human Services.
The cases had been compiled since Nov. 16 and are from Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties. The cases were reported Tuesday evening, but are included in Wednesday’s total from the state because of differing reporting schedules.
The agency said that prior to Tuesday, cases were not reported to the state until an investigation was complete. But now, “positive labs received” will be reported as active cases.
During a call with reporters, Nevada COVID-19 response director Caleb Cage said the reporting from the Northern Nevada counties “drastically affected” the total cases recorded Wednesday.
The Nevada Hospital Association on Wednesday said that “if the current pattern of demand continues” on hospitals, the “current wave” of cases will peak in the first half of December and last through the first half of February, according to the association’s daily report.
Cage said that timeline is a “best-case scenario,” and cases could peak later “if we don’t get it under control in the next few weeks.” Upcoming holidays will be especially critical, he said.
“It’s absolutely critical that we do everything we can to make sure that we’re protecting hospital capacity,” Cage said. “Please have as responsible of a Thanksgiving as you can, so that peak doesn’t happen later in December or in January.”
As of Wednesday, 1,414 people are hospitalized in Nevada with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, as the state continued to experiencing “exponential increases” in hospitalizations, the Nevada Hospital Association said. Only seven of the patients are children.
About 15 to 20 percent of all emergency room visits in the state are now related to COVID-19, the association said.
Case totals and positivity rates have been increasing since mid-September, and the number of weekly deaths has increased in November compared with last month, state data shows.
Of all the cases reported since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, 10 percent have been recorded in the past week, Cage said Wednesday. Forty-eight percent of all the cases during the pandemic occurred since September.
As Thanksgiving approaches, Brian Labus, a member of the medical team advising Gov. Steve Sisolak, told the Review-Journal on Tuesday that holiday gatherings of any kind are a bad idea in light of the spike in cases.
“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.”
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 14.96 percent on Wednesday, an increase of 0.22 percentage points from the previous day.
The state health department calculates a positivity rate over a two-week period, and the rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points on Wednesday to reach 16.5 percent.
Clark County on Wednesday reported an additional 1,575 coronavirus cases and 14 new deaths, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website. The updated data brought totals in the county to 109,827 cases and 1,719 deaths.