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Bars in 7 Nevada counties must close again

Updated July 10, 2020 - 8:09 pm

CARSON CITY — Seven counties in Nevada with elevated indicators of COVID-19 transmission will see bars and other alcohol-only establishments close for a minimum of two weeks under guidance that follows Gov. Steve Sisolak’s latest emergency directive.

The seven affected counties are Nevada’s two largest, Clark and Washoe, with Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon and Nye. Bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries and wineries that don’t serve food in those counties had to close effective 11:59 p.m. Friday. They will be re-evaluated July 24.

The closures are based on elevated disease transmission criteria from the Department of Health and Human Services for determining whether a county must fall back from Phase Two-level operating guidelines for alcohol-only establishments to closures in place under Phase One. Counties that meet two of the three criteria are considered at elevated risk for transmission.

The criteria are:

* Average daily tests: an average of 150 tests per day per 100,000 residents.

* New case rate: a 14-day new case rate of fewer than 100 per 100,000 residents.

* Positive test rate: A seven-day average of positive tests, measured after a seven-day lag, divided by the county population. Counties with new case rate higher than 25, combined with a positive test rate higher than 7 percent, will meet this criterion for elevated disease transmission risk.

As an example: At the low end, White Pine County, with a population of 9,580 in July 2019, has a testing average of 1,776 per 100,000, a 14-day case rate of 28 and a seven-day positive test rate of 1 percent and meets none of the criteria for elevated transmission, according to numbers distributed Friday with the guidance.

At the other extreme, Nye County, with a July 2019 population of 46,523, has a testing average of 77.5 per 100,000, a 14-day case rate of nearly 205 and a seven-day positive test rate of 18 percent and meets all three of the criteria.

Eight counties meet the elevated criteria for inadequate testing, five for high case rates and eight for high positive rates.

Counties “must show positive trends out of two of the three risk criteria to be allowed to reopen,” the guidance says. Counties must also seek state health department approval for reopening with mitigation initiatives and compliance plans. Counties can be added to the elevated risk category “at any time” based on changing criteria.

As with earlier state directives, local governments can enact stricter rules.

The state’s move on bars comes amid Nevada’s monthlong surge in COVID-19 cases and as drinking establishments have been broadly tagged as relative hot spots for virus transmission amid close quarters and low compliance with social distancing directives.

After an adjustment of tracking results last week, Nevada saw a new daily case record Friday, with 1,004 new cases. The state’s cumulative positive test rate has climbed t0 7.7 percent from a low of 5.2 percent in mid-June, and its seven-day moving average on positives is 12.7 percent.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Violations of mask mandate in Clark County by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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