Updated June 22, 2020 - 12:26 pm
Noncommercial driving skill tests were suspended Friday after a Las Vegas-based Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles drive examiner tested positive for coronavirus.
The positive test comes during the first week state DMV offices reopened after being shut down for nearly three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re taking this brief pause to re-evaluate our protocols,” said DMV Director Julie Butler in a statement. “Even though our examiners have been wearing personal protective equipment, the driver and the examiner sit in close proximity during a test. We must continue to put the safety of the public and our employees first.”
The examiner, who is based at the West Flamingo office, reported feeling ill before reporting for work on Wednesday and has not worked since.
DMV officials said the examiner was wearing full personal protective equipment, including a face shield, mask, gloves and gown during all tests performed on Monday and Tuesday. DMV officials noted wearing all the personal protective equipment was mandatory in their guidelines released ahead of their reopening.
Despite the claim, the Las Vegas Review-Journal witnessed drive examiners wearing only a mask and gloves ahead of entering customers’ vehicles Monday at the Henderson office located off American Pacific Drive and Stephanie Street.
“The DMV relaxed this requirement at the request of the examiners, who are doing a difficult job,” said Kevin Malone, DMV spokesman via email. “Full PPE will be strictly required beginning next week. The examiner who became ill was wearing full PPE during the two days of testing Monday and Tuesday.”
The case has been reported to the Southern Nevada Health District for investigation.
Employees and individuals the examiner may have come into contact will be notified by the Health District, the DMV said.
The drive test area at the West Flamingo office has been closed and the DMV is planning a deep cleaning of the facility on Saturday, during a previously announced closure.
Driving skills tests will resume on Monday, with drive examiners continuing to wear full personal protective equipment.
Additionally, driving test applicants will now be required, instead of encouraged, to wear face coverings.
The DMV will continue taking the temperatures of driving test applicants before administering the test and will also check employee temperatures daily beginning next week.
Sneeze shields have been installed at DMV offices and employees have received training on social distancing.
“We know there is a huge demand for drive tests and we apologize for this temporary disruption in services while we continually look for the safest and most efficient ways to serve the public,” Butler said.
Appointment system returns
The Department of Motor Vehicles has reopened its appointment services and offices will serve only customers with appointments starting Monday.
The reintroduction of the appointment system will help reduce long lines that have formed outside the offices since the DMV resumed limited in-person services Monday. Procedures at rural and commercial offices will not change.
Appointment scheduling for both general services and drive tests will be available at 8 p.m. Friday on the DMV website.