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Clark County continues recent trend of improving COVID-19 metrics

Updated September 23, 2021 - 5:30 pm

Clark County on Thursday recorded 559 new coronavirus cases and 30 deaths over the preceding day, continuing the recent trend of declining caseload and fatalities.

Figures reported by the Southern Nevada Health District brought county totals to 316,956 cases and 5,545 cumulative deaths in the county.

Those figures were both above the two-week moving averages for Clark County, which stood at 416 cases and nine deaths per day. But both averages have been declining from recent peaks of 1,124 new cases per day on Aug. 17 and 22 deaths per day from Aug. 25-28.

The county’s two-week test positivity rate held steady at 8.6 percent.

Nevada as a whole reported 1,053 new cases and 35 deaths over the preceding day, bringing state totals to 415,424 cases and 6,983 deaths.

County numbers are included in the statewide totals.

New cases reported by the state Department of Health and Human Services were above the two-week moving average, which nonetheless declined from 825 the previous day to 812.

Deaths were well above the two-week moving average, which increased to 14 per day. That number has been slowly increasing over the past week after falling from a recent high of 22 per day on Aug. 25-28, the same time that Clark County’s fatalities began to decline. The state data show that improvements in Clark County have been largely offset by increasing cases and deaths in the state’s northern and rural counties.

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’s two-week test positivity rate held steady at 11.1 percent. The rate has dropped significantly from its recent peak of 16.4 percent Aug. 13, but has flatlined over the past few weeks.

State data also showed that 961 people were hospitalized with either confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, a decrease of 25 from Wednesday’s report. While patient numbers have been dropping throughout the state, staffing still remains an issue, particularly in Washoe and rural counties, the Nevada Hospital Association said Wednesday.

“During the past few months, staffed beds within Washoe County have contracted from 1,782 total beds (8/8/2021) to 1,320 staffed beds (9/21),” the trade group said. “Staffed intensive care beds in Washoe County have been reduced from 233 (8/8) to 166 (9/21). Rural hospitals are also experiencing staffing shortfalls as larger facilities, and travel staffing agencies poach nurses. Similar issues are also being felt in the south.”

COVID-19-related hospitalizations dropped below 1,000 for the first time in two months on Wednesday and have been declining since hitting its recent peak of 1,282 on Aug 24, according to state data.

A rise in the metrics triggered a state face mask mandate on July 30, which is now in effect in each of Nevada’s 17 counties. All counties are required to mask up in crowded indoor spaces after being classified as places with a “high or substantial rates of transmission” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated CDC data showed that all of Nevada was still in the “high” transmission tier as of Thursday.

As of Thursday’s report, 54.67 percent of Nevadans 12 and older had been fully vaccinated.

That varies significantly from county to county. Storey County has a vaccination rate of just 18.82 percent, while Carson City has the state’s highest, at 64.75 percent. Clark County is at 54.01 percent, state data show.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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