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Nevada reports more deaths as COVID delta variant spreads

Updated August 4, 2021 - 3:58 pm

Nevada on Wednesday reported 24 coronavirus deaths as the two-week moving average of daily deaths increased to eight per day.

The state also reported 993 new cases, the first time in two weeks that the daily case number was less than 1,000.

The data posted online by the Department of Health and Human Services raised state totals to 361,140 cases and 5,953 deaths.

New cases were above the two-week moving average, which rose from 908 on Tuesday to 910. The rate has been rising steadily since it hit a recent low of 132 cases per day on June 5, according to state data.

Nevada’s two-week positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, also continued to rise, jumping 0.4 percentage points to 15.5 percent. That’s more than three times the 5.0 percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization to curb the spread of the virus. The rate had hit a recent low of 3.3 percent on June 9.

The state reported 1,206 hospitalizations of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, a decrease of nine from Tuesday’s report. Hospitalizations also have been climbing since reaching a recent low of 209 on June 12 and have surpassed the high water mark of the second wave last summer.

As of last week, there had been only 235 reported hospitalizations involving so-called breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people in the state.

In its weekly report, the Nevada Hospital Association said Wednesday that about 26 percent of patients hospitalized in the region have COVID-19.

Still, the report said that while numbers are trending up, they still have not reached “alert” or “crisis” levels.

“While the total numbers of COVID hospitalizations and confirmed COVID hospitalizations have exceeded the patient counts seen in the previous summer surge, ICU utilization and the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation remain below the previous levels,” the report said.

State and county health agencies often redistribute the 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.

As case numbers have surged, especially in Clark County, public health officials have been emphasizing the need for more Nevadans to get vaccinated. They’ve promoted incentive-based programs like a $5 million state raffle and numerous pop-up vaccine events, and the vaccination numbers have started to increase.

Wednesday’s report showed that the two-week moving average of doses administered to Nevada residents per day was at 6,210, well above the average of just under 5,000 a few weeks ago.

Still, Nevada remains below the national average in vaccine numbers. According to Wednesday’s report, 48.02 percent of the population 12 and older have been fully vaccinated.

The so-called delta variant has been responsible for much of the recent surge. State figures released early this week indicated the variant was responsible for 84 percent of COVID-19 cases in the last week, based on genetic testing done on a sampling of the new cases. In Clark County, the delta variant accounted for 88 percent of the samples collected in July and genetically sequenced, a significant increase from the 59 percent reported in June.

The Southern Nevada Health District, meanwhile, reported 725 new COVID-19 cases in Clark County on Wednesday, bringing the local case total to 284,046. County numbers are included in the statewide totals.

It also reported 23 of the state’s deaths, bringing the number of deaths in the county to 4,744.

The county’s 14-day positivity rate also continued to climb, increasing to 16.5 percent.

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

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