Updated September 27, 2021 - 5:56 pm
Clark County passed a positive milestone Monday in its battle against the coronavirus, with the Southern Nevada Health District announcing that more than 70 percent of the county’s 12 and older residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“Through our combined and sustained efforts, we can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and get back to enjoying our pre-pandemic lives,” Dr. Fermin Leguen, health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, said in a news release marking the achievement.
Meantime, updated figures posted by the health district on Monday showed all four of the county’s key COVID-19 metrics continuing their recent declines.
The 1,145 new COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths reported for Friday through Sunday raised totals for the county to 318,665 cases and 5,579 deaths.
New cases in the county were below the two-week moving average of 406 when averaged over three days, as the trend line continued to edge lower, dipping from 409 on Friday.
Deaths were slightly above the average for the period of six per day, but the average dropped from nine on Friday.
Hospitalizations also fell, with 623 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in county hospitals, 30 fewer than the 653 in Friday’s report.
The 14-day test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, dropped 0.2 percentage points to 8.2 percent.
The improving metrics mean the county is making progress toward exiting the state mask mandate in place for crowded indoor areas, though it still has a ways to go.
The 14-day average positivity rate translates to 8.93 percent using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s preferred seven-day average, which puts the county in the “substantial” transmission category in risk classification system.
To exit Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mask mandate, a county must record back-to-back weeks with a positivity rate of 8.0 percent or lower and fewer than 50 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. As of Monday, the county’s rate in that category stood at 142.85 cases per 100,000 over the past week.
That was nonetheless a big decline from the 189.92 per 100,000 reported at the beginning of last week.
All Nevada counties currently are rated in the CDC’s “high” transmission tier. State officials will update the state’s mask guidelines on Tuesday, but all 17 counties are expected to remain under a mask mandate.
The state, meanwhile, reported 1,981 new cases and 30 deaths. That was the fewest new cases reported after a weekend in more than two months.
That brought state totals to 418,477 cases and 7,045 deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The 14-day moving average of new cases itself rose slightly from 790 to 793. But new cases were below the average, when spread over three days. The average of daily fatalities for the period dropped from 14 to 11.
State and county health agencies often redistribute 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.
The state on Monday also reported a total of 692 so-called breakthrough cases, in which someone who is fully vaccinated is infected by COVID-19. That was an increase of 38 from the 654 reported a week ago.
Of the total, 423 occurred in people over the age of 70, while just seven were in the 20-29 age group. Clark County had by far the most breakthrough cases, with 587.
Following guidance from the CDC, Nevada only reports breakthrough cases in people who are hospitalized or die, meaning they vastly underestimate cases where patients experience mild or no symptoms.
A total of 162 breakthrough deaths have been reported in the state, with 105 occurring in people over the age of 70, including 13 in the last week.
The state’s two-week test positivity rate dropped 0.3 percentage point to 10.6 percent.
The rate has retreated from its recent high of 16.4 percent on Aug. 13, according to state data. Since then, it dropped quickly before flattening over the past two weeks.
The state also reported that 899 people in Nevada were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, 23 fewer than on Friday. That figure has been dropping slowly since late August.
As of Monday’s report, 55.27 percent of Nevadans 12 and older had been fully vaccinated. The rate was 54.64 percent in Clark County, state data show.
Carson City has the state’s highest vaccination rate, at 65.22 percent, while Storey County is on the other end of the spectrum at 19.04 percent.
Contact Jonah Dylan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.
—12+ population: 2.64 million.
— Doses administered: 3.08 million.
— Vaccinations initiated: 1.73 million.
— Vaccinations completed: 1.48 million.
— Eligible Nevadans vaccinated: 55.27 percent.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Nevada Department of Health and Human Services