Nevada’s first reported case was announced on March 5.
On multiple days in April, state health officials announced more than 200 new cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
While the total number of Nevadans infected with COVID-19 has grown every day, that’s due to more and more people being tested.
The percentage of tested people who have been confirmed to have the disease held relatively steady during the second half of April. It began to fall in May as the state’s daily testing capacity increased.
COVID-19 has killed more than 300 people in Nevada.
Most of those who died have been age 65 or older, but a handful of young adults have succumbed to the disease as well.
In Clark County, COVID-19 has killed black and Asian residents at a disproportionately high rate compared to their white and Hispanic counterparts.
The state’s first day of double-digit fatalities occurred in early April.
Most of Nevada’s 16 counties have reported confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Clark County, home to Las Vegas and two-thirds of the state’s population, has reported the vast majority of cases and deaths. Washoe County reported it had reached 1,000 cases as of May 5.
The state capital, Carson City, and more rural counties have far fewer cases and only a handful of deaths. Nye County saw a spike in cases in mid-April, more than doubling its reported total in a week’s time.
In the Las Vegas Valley, the virus has its strongest foothold in central Las Vegas and pockets spread around the valley.
The valley’s most populous ZIP codes have seen the highest number of cases.
More than 1,300 coronavirus cases in Clark County have resulted in hospitalization.
More than 500 of those patients have been admitted into intensive care.
More than 250 people in the county have died.
But social distancing measures appear to be slowing the spread of the virus.
While there are more cases daily, plotting the data on a logarithmic scale chart shows the case growth appears to be slowing. Deaths also appear to be slowing.
“All of the measures that we’re monitoring do indicate that Nevada has started to reach a plateau,” Nevada Department of Health and Human Services chief biostatician Kyra Morgan said on April 21. “However there’s not sufficient data to indicate we’ve started to see a significant decline in new cases.”
The number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Nevada appears to have peaked in late March and early April.
The number has been trending downward since mid-April, but hundreds are still being treated.
Officials say expanding coronavirus testing capabilities in Nevada is a key prerequisite to reopening the Strip and the rest of the state economy.
Clark County is planning to create new testing sites and utilize “strike teams” to target susceptible communities. Labs across the state have also increased the number of tests they can process each day.
As a result, Nevada’s testing capacity is expected to expand dramatically in May.
The coronavirus has disproportionately affected some racial and ethnic groups in Clark County.
African American, Asian and Pacific Islander residents have faced rates of infection, hospitalization and death that are higher than their share of the county’s population.
A similar trend of black communities being hit hard by the coronavirus has been seen nationwide, including in cities like Chicago, New York City and Milwaukee.
Dr. Vit Kraushaar, a medical investigator for the Southern Nevada Health District, said the county’s black residents have higher rates of underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, which can exacerbate the effects of COVID-19.
Local investigators have been unable to determine the race and ethnicity of all of the infected people because dozens of new cases are coming in daily, making it challenging to track detailed patient information.
Some of Nevada’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities have proven fertile ground for the spread of coronavirus.
Often supporting older residents who have underlying medical conditions, such facilities have seen hundreds of their residents and staff members infected with COVID-19.
As of late April, nursing home residents accounted for more than one-in-10 deaths related to coronavirus in Nevada. Most deaths have been in Clark County.
The rapid spread of the disease has spurred the Nevada National Guard to take on the responsibility of ensuring nursing homes are cleaned and properly staffed and equipped with protective equipment.
Research, graphics credit: Wes Rand, Michael Scott Davidson, Severiano del Castillo Galvan