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Most computer models show Nevada COVID cases continuing to fall

Updated October 14, 2021 - 3:08 pm

All COVID-19 metrics are showing marked improvement in Nevada and most models foresee new cases continuing to fall in the weeks and months ahead, a state pandemic consultant said Thursday.

“The delta surge continues to recede across Nevada,” Ellie Graeden, a consultant to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, said at a remote news briefing, referring to the coronavirus strain that propelled the summer surge of the disease in the state. “… However, the surge isn’t over.”

The CEO of Talus Analytics said rural hospitals in the state remain strained, particular their ICU units, and noted that key metrics remain high despite recent declines in all four of the state’s key COVID-19 metrics since mid- to late-August.

”Nevada is still averaging five times more cases than in June,” she said.

Even so, most computer-generated models for the disease foresee continued declines in new COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations and test positivity rate, both in the state and nationally, she said. She didn’t specify how far the projections extend or provide other details.

While most of the algorithmic models are positive, Graeden noted that some show other possible scenarios, including the possibility that milder surges than the previous spikes in the state may lay ahead.

And she cautioned that optimism can evaporate quickly if a new more transmissible variant emerges or Nevadans stop getting vaccinated or abandon mitigation measures like mask-wearing.

County deaths climb

Graeden’s comments came shortly after Clark County reported 411 new coronavirus cases and 29 deaths during the preceding day.

Updated figures posted online by the Southern Nevada Health District pushed totals for the county to 326,283 COVID-19 cases and 5,830 deaths.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

New cases were above the two-week moving average of 335, while the longer-term metric declined by 13 from the preceding day, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The average has been falling steadily since it reached a recent high of 1,193 on Aug. 17.

Fatalities attributed to the disease caused by the new coronavirus were more than triple the 14-day moving average of eight per day, which increased by one from Wednesday’s report. The metric has been improving since it reached a recent high of 22 per day in late August, but has climbed higher by two per day 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.

The county’s test positivity rate, which tracks the people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, declined by 0.1 percentage points to 6.9 percent, but remained slightly higher than the 6.7 percent rate reported early last week.

There were 556 confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 in county hospitals as of Thursday’s report, down one from the day prior. The metric has been declining for more than two months now and is more than 52 percent below its recent high of 1,168 on Aug. 10.

State numbers

The state, meanwhile reported 615 new COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths during the preceding day.

Updated data from the Department of Health and Human Services pushed state totals to 430,170 COVID-19 cases and 7,412 deaths.

Remembering those we’ve lost to COVID-19

New cases were above the 14-day moving average of 524 per day, while the longer term measure was down by 17 from the preceding day.

Fatalities were nearly four times the 14-day moving average of 12 per day, one higher than the figure reported on Wednesday.

The statewide test positivity rate declined by 0.1 percentage point, to 7.9 percent.

Hospitalizations of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in the state bucked the downward trend and rose by 10 to 758, according to state data.

As of Thursday, 55 percent of eligible Nevadans 12 and older had been fully vaccinated, compared to 54.24 percent in Clark County, the data show.

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

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