Updated December 10, 2020 - 4:22 pm
For the second time in a week, Nevada on Thursday reported a new record single-day record of coronavirus deaths, with 50 additional fatalities.
That was two more than the previous record set Dec. 3, according to Department of Health and Human Services data posted on the state’s coronavirus website. The seven-day moving average of daily reported deaths remained at 26, the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.
The new data also reflected 2,193 additional COVID-19 cases, well below the moving seven-day average of 2,714. The updated figures brought totals in the state to 178,527 cases and 2,434 deaths.
Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada
COVID-19 hospitalizations also continued to climb to 1,699, up 186 or 12.2 percent from last week. There also were 30 more intensive care patients, 382, from last week, an 8.5 percent increase. Patients on ventilators stood at 246, up[ 44, or 22 percent, from a week ago.
After increasing steadily for weeks, the two-week positivity rate calculated by the health department decreased by 0.2 percentage points on Thursday, reaching 22.1 percent.
But state biostatistician Kyra Morgan said at a meeting of the state COVID-19 mitigation task force at its weekly meeting that most metrics are still increasing.
“There’s not any indication that we’re approaching a plateau,” she said, presenting data indicating that the state has 27,839 estimated active cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus – nearly 2.5 times the state’s summer peak of 11,452 reached on July 19.
Nevada’s case fatality rate also has declined from the more than 5 percent rate seen in May to the current cumulative rate of 1.4 percent. But the high positivity test rate coupled with higher testing volume overall “really does imply a pretty bad problem,” Morgan said.
Studies and guidance from the CDC and other health agencies nationally and overseas show the greatest risk of exposure is in indoor places where people are not wearing masks, she noted.
“We have such rampant community transmission at this point I personally assume anywhere that I’m going outside of my household I will be potentially exposed to COVID,” Morgan said.
Hospital representatives from across the state also briefed the task force on their issues and concerns, with several noting a persistent delay in getting test results. The lag can be up to a week or more.
“We’re seeing and feeling the same stresses and crunches that the urban hospitals and facilities are feeling, said Jason Bleak, CEO of the Battle Mountain Medical Center in Lander County. “We’re feeling the stresses of increased volume of patients coming through our doors, seeing the decreased amount of staffing that’s available to us as more positives are coming out. We’re also in our rural facilities … experiencing a decrease in the space that’s available.”
Sixteen of 17 Nevada counties are in elevated risk for COVID spread based on the state’s benchmarks on testing, cases and positivity rates. The task force took no new action Thursday on new restrictions for businesses or the public.
The state remains in a three-week pause ordered Gov. Steve Sisolak to monitor and assess the rate of infection spread and related metrics, with the potential for a stricter level of restrictions coming if recent rapid surges do not abate. That three-week period concludes Monday night at midnight.
In Clark County, there were 1,654 additional cases reported on Thursday, along with 35 new fatalities, according to data posted ono the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website. Those figures are included in the state reporting.
Totals in the county rose to 135,296 cases and 1,935 deaths.