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Nevada official: ‘Worst of the omicron wave is over’ in Clark County

Updated January 28, 2022 - 7:48 am

After a week of decreases in major COVID-19 metrics, a public health official said Thursday that the current omicron-driven surge has peaked in Clark County.

“I’m pretty comfortable saying that specifically in Clark County I think the worst of the omicron wave is over,” state biostatistician Kyra Morgan said.

Cases started rising in December and quickly broke most records for the pandemic. Omicron has proven to be more contagious than previous variants, and the sheer volume of cases has overwhelmed hospitals and initially caused long delays at major testing sites.

But data from places that were hit with omicron sooner has shown that the overall wave doesn’t last as long as previous variants. That means the curve should look like an icicle once it’s finished — a rapid increase followed by a similarly rapid decrease.

Morgan echoed that Thursday, adding that Washoe County and other parts of the state are behind Clark County in the surge and might not have peaked yet.

New cases decline

Earlier on Thursday, the county reported 2,823 new coronavirus cases and 31 deaths, mostly keeping in line with trends seen for the past week.

Thursday’s update brought totals posted by the Southern Nevada Health District to 466,673 cases and 6,833 deaths.

The two-week moving average of daily new cases underwent another significant decrease, dropping from 2,645 on Wednesday to 2,475. That number has been dropping consistently and is a good indication that cases are on the decline throughout the county.

Still, hospitalizations remain high and can be volatile from day to day, while deaths have been increasing significantly this week.

The two-week moving average of daily deaths increased from seven to nine, and the county has reported over 30 deaths for three straight days. The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the county dropped by 93, to 1,592.

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.

While the state tracks metrics using a 14-day clip, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks numbers using a seven-day average. CDC data on Thursday showed that Clark County has a test positivity rate of 31.3 percent, below the 35 percent using the state’s preferred 14-day average.

Testing demand still high

State officials said Thursday that the 580,000-plus test kits requested by Gov. Steve Sisolak from the federal government are expected to arrive in Nevada next week. More information on the rollout will be available soon, said Julia Peek, deputy administrator for the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

“Testing demand remains high, but the demand has been lessened compared to prior weeks,” she said. “At many physical sites, the wait times have gone down or been eliminated, so access is fast and easy.”

The county on Thursday also showed a case rate of 1,105.52 per 100,000 people, according to CDC data. That number had risen to over 2,000 before dropping sharply over the past week.

The state reported 4,122 new cases and 38 deaths, bringing totals posted by the state Department of Health and Human Services to 611,775 cases and 8,875 deaths.

New cases were above the two-week moving average, which nonetheless decreased to 3,410 from 3,585 on Wednesday. The two-week moving average of daily fatalities increased from 10 to 11.

Of the state’s other closely watched metrics, the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 decreased by 111 to 1,866, while the 14-day test positivity rate decreased by 0.5 percentage point to 34.2 percent.

As of Thursday, state data showed that 55.66 percent of Nevadans 5 and older are fully vaccinated, compared with 55.04 percent in Clark County. That number varies widely throughout the state. Storey County has the state’s lowest vaccination rate at 22.62 percent, while Carson City has the highest at 63.91 percent.

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

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