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Nevada surpasses 2,000 cumulative deaths from coronavirus

Updated November 21, 2020 - 5:52 pm

Nevada surpassed 2,000 cumulative deaths from the coronavirus Saturday as the state reported 29 new deaths for the second consecutive day.

Also, 2,019 new cases were reported, only the third time during the pandemic that more than 2,000 new cases were recorded in the Department of Health and Human Services’ daily updates.

The updated figures posted to the department’s coronavirus website brought totals in the state to 131,733 cases and 2,011 deaths.

There were 103 deaths recorded in the past week, the most since Aug. 23-29, state data shows. When compared with last month’s figures, the number of weekly reported deaths has been rising throughout November.

Daily death reports tend to lag about a month behind an increase in case totals, so the death toll data is a better representation of the state of the pandemic from about a month ago, said Brian Labus, who serves on Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 medical advisory team.

“Looking at the trend in cases, it’s not a surprise to see the deaths increasing,” Labus told the Review-Journal on Saturday.

If infection transmission stopped today, people would still be dying of coronavirus through the end of the year. The grim milestone reached Saturday “underscores the severity of the problem,” said Labus, who is also a UNLV epidemiologist.

A single data point reflecting one person’s death doesn’t account for the thousands of people affected by coronavirus fatalities, he said.

“Every one of these people leaves behind families and friends,” Labus said. “It’s a person who died. It’s a gap in somebody’s family. It’s a hole in somebody’s life right now.”

This week, the U.S. surpassed a quarter-million coronavirus deaths and 11.5 million cases.

The state’s cumulative positivity rate, calculated by the Review-Journal as the number of cases divided by the number of people tested since the start of the pandemic, reached 14.33 percent Saturday, a 0.02 percentage point increase from the previous day.

The state health department calculates a positivity rate over a two-week period, and the rate increased by 0.5 of a percentage point on Saturday to reach 16.3 percent. It was the first time since the state began reporting the statistic in mid-October that it has surpassed 16 percent.

The rate is calculated using “testing encounters,” which is a larger number than the total of people tested, as many have been tested multiple times throughout the pandemic.

State data showed 1,566 new cases reported in Clark County, along with 20 additional deaths. Totals in the county rose to 103,499 cases and 1,690 deaths.

The Washoe County Health District reported a record 817 new cases, bringing its total to 21,175. Four additional deaths raised the total to 236.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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