Updated January 20, 2021 - 4:26 pm
Nevada on Wednesday reported a record 71 coronavirus deaths over the preceding day, even as other disease metrics continued to trend lower.
The record is “a stark reminder of how deadly this virus is,” said Caleb Cage, director of the state’s COVID-19 response.
The fatalities brought the cumulative death toll for the state to 3,863, according to figures posted to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website. The daily figure eclipsed the previous one-day record of 63 fatalities reported on Saturday.
The 14-day moving average of daily reported deaths increased by two, to 20.
The state also reported 1,171 new cases of COVID-19, raising the cumulative total to 265,143. New cases were below the moving 14-day average of reported cases of 1,495.
The two-week moving average has been trending downward throughout January, and Wednesday was the fifth straight day the statistic has decreased, state data shows.
The two-week positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested who are diagnosed with the disease, fell to 20.5 percent, a 0.3 percentage-point decrease from the day prior and its fifth straight daily decrease.
The state also reported 1,727 people in Nevada were hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases on the preceding day, an increase of 11 from the previous report. Although hospitalizations remain at high levels, they have been trending slightly lower since December, state data shows.
According the Nevada Hospital Association, 39 percent of all intensive care unit patients statewide were hospitalized for COVID-19. In Southern Nevada, however, adult ICU beds were at 78 percent capacity, with 44 percent of them filled by coronavirus patients.
Both new cases and the positivity rate are forward-looking indicators, while trends in hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag a few weeks behind other metrics and don’t reflect the current state of the pandemic, state officials have said.
Cage, the state COVID-19 response director, said that while deaths continue to set records, the downward trend in the other key metrics bodes well.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we are seeing a sustained trend that would indicate we are moving in the right direction,” he said in a remote news briefing. “… We’re waiting on additional information and analysis to confirm that.”
Clark County, meanwhile, reported 821 new cases and 61 additional deaths, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website. The updated figures brought totals in the county to 203,292 cases and 2,934 deaths.