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Clark County’s COVID-19 case rate jumps sharply over holiday weekend

Updated December 28, 2021 - 8:08 am

Clark County on Monday reported 2,369 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths during the previous three days, as the longer-term gauge for new cases jumped sharply over the holiday weekend.

Divided evenly over the three days to reflect the Friday through Sunday data dump, the daily average of nearly 790 new cases per day was far above the 14-day moving average of 590 per day. The average itself jumped 161 cases per day from 429 on Thursday, the last time the state updated its metrics. In other words, the average increased by more than 40 cases a day over the long weekend.

Numbers reported following weekends are often impacted by reporting delays, particularly following holidays, as many health care providers are not fully staffed. For example, Monday’s update was the fourth straight day without a reported death, statistically improbable given the county has averaged five fatalities a day over the previous two weeks, according to state data.

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.

Hospitalizations of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients at county hospitals stood at 658 as of Monday’s update, 106 more than Thursday.

The test positivity rate continued its recent ascent, adding 0.7 percentage points to reach 8.8 percent — a full 3 percentage points above its recent low of 5.8 percent on Nov. 1.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

Meanwhile, the Southern Nevada Health District last week updated its reporting on so-called breakthrough cases involving individuals who are infected with the virus despite being fully vaccinated, reporting 1,070 new cases, 27 hospitalizations and six additional deaths during the preceding week.

The report issued late Wednesday pushed breakthrough totals in the county to 16,739 cases, 830 hospitalizations and 246 deaths.

New breakthrough cases make up an increasing percentage of total cases, accounting for 27.04 percent of the total so far in December.

But health district figures confirm what public health experts have stressed: Vaccination provides strong protection against the most serious outcomes of a COVID-19 infection. The death rate for fully vaccinated individuals was at 21 per 100,000 population in the most recent report versus 535 per 100,000 among the unvaccinated.

The state Department of Health and Human Services, meanwhile, reported 3,654 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths over the previous four days.

Averaged over four days to reflect data for Thursday through Sunday, the nearly 914 new cases per day was well above the 14-day moving average of 703 per day. That was a big jump for the average, which stood at 533 per day on Thursday.

Deaths were below the average for the 14-day period of four per day, while the average declined from six per day in Thursday’s update.

The statewide test positivity rate climbed as well to 8.1 percent, one-half percentage point above Thursday’s update.

Hospitalizations likewise jumped over the four days, with 746 patients occupying beds, 68 more than Thursday.

Vaccinations showed continued progress despite the holiday, with 54.18 percent of eligible Nevadans age 5 and older having completed a vaccine course, compared to 53.48 percent in Clark County.

Overall, the county has recorded 360,268 cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus, with 6,415 deaths.

Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

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