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‘Not quite at the end’; County eyes pandemic future as cases drop

Updated February 16, 2022 - 5:06 pm

Clark County on Wednesday reported 306 new coronavirus cases and 19 deaths, continuing trends that have gone on for weeks and moving the county further away from the peak of the omicron surge.

The updates pushed totals posted by the Southern Nevada Health District to 485,406 cases and 7,286 deaths.

“We’re not quite at the end of this,” Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick told reporters on Wednesday. “We have to do our part to make sure that we can continue to move forward.”

Cases have declined sharply since the county hit the peak of the omicron-driven surge a few weeks ago. That led Gov. Steve Sisolak to rescind the state’s mask mandate last week, though no county had hit the criteria previously needed to exit it.

New cases on Wednesday were again well below the two-week moving average, which saw another significant drop from 460 on Tuesday to 409. The two-week moving average of daily deaths held steady at nine.

The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 saw another decrease, dropping from 687 on Tuesday to 669.

The county’s 14-day test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested who are found to be infected, decreased by 1.3 percentage points to 16.9 percent in Wednesday’s update.

County officials announced this week that they will close two major COVID-19 testing sites in the coming weeks. The testing site at Texas Station, which reopened in January amid a rise in testing demand, will close on Sunday. The Sam Boyd Stadium site, which initially opened to chaotic lines and long wait times, will close on March 10.

The closures are a result of dropping metrics and decreased testing demand, said health district director of disease surveillance and control Cassius Lockett.

“Testing demand went down by 50 percent in a short period,” he said. “It’s also a matter of trying to spare resources.”

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

Officials also pointed to the increased access to at-home test kits, both from the state and from the federal government, in explaining the decision to start closing testing sites.

Meanwhile, the state reported 620 new cases and 25 deaths over the preceding day. That brought totals posted by the state Department of Health and Human Services to 641,199 cases and 9,446 deaths.

New cases were just below the two-week moving average, which decreased again to 659. The two-week moving average of daily deaths dropped from 12 to 11.

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.

In the state’s other closely watched metrics, the 14-day test positivity rate decreased 1.3 percentage points to 19.1 percent, while the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 decreased slightly to 847. That number has shifted significantly from day to day but has dropped quickly over the past few weeks.

As of Wednesday, state data showed that 56.31 percent of Nevadans 5 and older were fully vaccinated, compared with 55.70 percent in Clark County.

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

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