Updated January 21, 2022 - 5:46 pm
Clark County’s average rate of new COVID-19 cases fell for a third-straight day on Friday, adding to evidence that the local omicron-fueled surge of the disease is peaking.
The 14-day average — considered a better indicator of the outbreak than daily figures — fell to 3,044 cases per day, down 135 from Thursday, according to state data.
The retreat from a high of 3,618 cases per day on Tuesday was the first time the metric had fallen for three consecutive days since early December. It resulted in an 8.2 percent decline from a week ago.
It’s not yet clear if the trend will continue. Recent declines in the new case rate have not been matched by drops in the county’s COVID-19 test positivity rate, another forward-looking metric that would ordinarily be expected to fall along with the case rate.
And even if the surge is cresting, that doesn’t mean it’s done inflicting damage. Hospitalizations and deaths both moved higher over the past week and could continue to climb for several weeks after new cases and positive tests begin to fall, public health experts say.
Hospitalizations, deaths climb
Other county figures from Friday:
— Southern Nevada Health District data showed 3,674 new cases, pushing total cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus to 447,266. That figure was well above the two-week average.
— Hospitalizations reached another record high, with 1,710 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients occupying beds in county hospitals, a 13 percent increase over last week.
— Fatalities also have been climbing this week after remaining relatively flat over recent weeks, when other county metrics for the disease were skyrocketing. The county recorded 21 new deaths in Friday’s report, far above the 14-day moving average of six per day, bringing the total for the pandemic to 6,715. The average increased by one death per day from the previous week but was unchanged from Thursday.
— The test positivity rate for the county, which tracks the percentage of individuals tested who are found to be infected, was unchanged from the preceding day at 38.2 percent. It ended the week about 6.4 percent higher than a week ago, but that was the smallest weekly increase in the rate since early December.
At-home COVID tests, which began federal distribution this week, were not included in the data.
Updated numbers for the state posted by the Department of Health and Human Services largely mirrored the Clark County data:
— The 14-day average of new COVID-19 cases per day reached 3,962, a decline of 74 from the previous day and 480 lower than its high on Tuesday. The 5,558 new cases reported Friday pushed the pandemic total for the state to to 587,106.
— Twenty-seven new deaths were reported Friday, bringing the total to 8,736 and pushing the 14-day average up by one, to eight per day.
— The number of confirmed or suspect COVID-19 patients rose to 1,970, up 29 from Thursday’s report.
— Friday and the daily test positivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 35.5 percent.
— COVID-19 testing continued to decline from its record of 20,776 tests administered on Jan. 15, with 15,446 tests performed during the preceding day.
— Vaccination levels continue to slowly climb in the state, though Nevada remains below the national average. As of Friday, 55.45 percent of eligible residents 5 and older had been fully vaccinated, compared to 54.81 in Clark County.
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.
Clark County’s daily numbers
New cases: 3,674
Test positivity rate: 38.2%
New cases per day, 2-week average: 3,044
New deaths per day, 2-week average: 6
Source: Southern Nevada Health District; state Department of Health and Human Services