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Clark County, state COVID-19 test positivity rates hit new highs

Updated January 6, 2022 - 5:30 pm

Nevada and Clark County both registered the highest COVID-19 test positivity rates of the pandemic on Thursday, with more than one in five residents testing positive in both measures.

State data showed the county’s 14-day average rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested who are found to be infected, jumped 2.5 percentage points to 23.3 percent, higher than the previous record of 21.5 percent on Jan. 14, 2021. That reflects a jump of more than 301 percent from its recent low of 5.8 percent in early November and an increase of more than 86 percent in the last week alone.

The state rate, meanwhile, reached 21.1 percent, an increase of 2.6 percent from Wednesday. That eclipsed the previous state high of 20.4 percent reached in December 2020 and again in January 2022.

Both metrics are now more than four times the 5.0 percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization to prevent the spread of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Omicron percentages rising

Public health experts say the more-contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 is driving the surge, which also has led to sharp recent increases in new cases and hospitalizations. But deaths have remained relatively flat so far, supporting preliminary evidence that omicron does not lead to as many serious complications as other variants that preceded it, particularly delta.

Data on the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory website indicates that omicron now accounts for 67 percent of cases in Nevada and 83 percent of cases in Clark County.

Thursday’s report from the Southern Nevada Health District showed the surge is still holding sway in the county, with 1,629 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths recorded during the preceding day. That was the 10th straight day the county has seen more than 1,000 new infections, and on two of those days the total climbed above 3,000.

The updated figures pushed totals for the county to 383,353 cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus and 6,527 deaths.

New cases in the county were below the two-week moving average, which nonetheless increased by 169 to 2,035. Fatalities were well above the moving average, which held steady at four per day.

The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the county increased by 86, to 1,144, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The Nevada Hospital Association warned Wednesday that hospitals in Southern Nevada are in a staffing crisis brought on by the recent run-up in new cases, increased sickness among health care workers and an onslaught of people seeking COVID-19 testing.

Local health officials have repeatedly asked people to use local community testing sites and pharmacies, but demand has overwhelmed many of those operations as well. In some cases, sites have no available appointments for a week or more.

State averaging more than 2K case a day

The state, meanwhile, reported 2,337 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths during the preceding day. That brought totals posted by the state Department of Health and Human Services to 504,729 cases and 8,506 deaths.

Nevada’s 14-day moving average of new cases increased to 2,285 per day from 2,092 on Wednesday. The two-week average for fatalities held steady at five per day.

The number of people in Nevada hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases increased to 1,281, 93 more than on Wednesday. That number has now been rising for two months, with the upward trend accelerating over the past week.

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.

As of Thursday’s report, state data show that 54.73 percent of Nevadans 5 and older had been fully vaccinated, compared with 54.05 percent in Clark County. That figure fluctuates widely throughout the state.

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

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