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Washoe County’s 1st reported COVID-19 death is Nevada’s 15th

Updated March 29, 2020 - 6:13 pm

RENO — A man in his 40s who had traveled to New York is Washoe County’s first death from COVID-19, and a Reno Police officer also has tested positive, local officials announced Sunday.

The unidentified man was diagnosed and hospitalized Monday and died Saturday. County health officer Kevin Dick said the death was under investigation and it was not yet known if the man had underlying health issues.

The county also reported four new cases, bringing its overall total to 111. Nine have recovered, and 14 people are currently hospitalized, Dick said.

“And so, that means we are not flattening the curve,” he said. “Our first COVID death and these increasing numbers of cases need to be a call to action for everybody in our community to redouble their efforts to take social distancing measures, to wash your hands, to clean surfaces, and to not go to work when people are sick.”

As of Sunday night, there had been 15 COVID-19 deaths in Nevada and 920 cases, up from 738 the previous day, according to the nvhealthresponse.nv.gov website.

Dick added that county case investigators had reports of people who had COVID-19 symptoms out shopping or going to work.

“I’ve also heard that we have employers in our community that have told workers that they need to come to work even if they’re sick,” he said. “This is also a huge threat to the public health of our community. And those employers should recognize that this is a threat to their entire workforce.”

He added later he would not rule out “taking action against employers if we can show that those allegations are substantiated.”

The Reno police officer started showing symptoms March 21 and was immediately quarantined.

“Our first responders are on the front lines, and pivotal to our public safety. Our thoughts are with them as well during these difficult times,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said in a statement. The city declared a state of emergency on March 13 and asked non-essential businesses to close.

“I am asking each and every resident in our community to please, take this seriously. As this crisis continues, all of us will know someone who has been impacted by this disease,” she said.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter. Contact Tony Garcia at tgarcia@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307. Follow @TonyGLVNews on Twitter. Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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