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Nevada sets another record for COVID-19 deaths

Updated December 16, 2020 - 5:44 pm

Nevada reported a record number of coronavirus deaths in a single day and saw hospitalizations top 2,000 for the second time in three days, according to state data posted Wednesday.

The 57 COVID-19 deaths eclipsed the previous record of 50 reported Dec. 10. It also drove the moving seven-day average of deaths reported daily to a record high of 38.

The latest data from the state Department of Health and Human Services also showed 2,366 additional cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus. That was well below the seven-day moving average of daily case reports of 2,538.

The update brought Nevada totals to 2,653 deaths and 194,098 cases.

The state’s two-week positivity rate, meanwhile, registered its seventh-straight decline to reach 20.7 percent. The rate, which tracks the proportion of people tested who are confirmed to have the disease, has now declined more than 1 percentage point since reaching a recent top of 21.8 percent on Dec. 8.

Hospitalizations of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in the state rebounded after a one-day decline, rising by 29 patients to 2,008. The state topped the 2,000 mark for the first time on Monday, when 2,025 patients were recorded.

Figures for Clark County’s hospitals also increased over the preceding day, rising by 12 patients to a near-record 1,550 COVID-19 patients.

Though the situation in the state’s hospitals remains serious, the Nevada Hospital Association said in an update Wednesday that the growth of the caseload has slowed slightly.

“Despite these large numbers (of hospitalizations), the curve appears to be flattening on a statewide basis,” the association said. “… The south is consistently admitting confirmed COVID-19 patients daily, but the rate of new hospital admissions is gradually declining.”

For the time being, shortages of medical professionals pose the biggest risk to patients in Clark County, it said.

“Hospital supplies such as PPE and equipment such as ventilators, remains in a good status,” the association said. “Staffing is where the challenges are continuing.”

Despite the slowdown in new admissions, officials with the state’s government’s COVID-19 response team continue to believe the Thanksgiving holiday has yet to fully impact Southern Nevada.

While mitigating measures like hand-washing, the wearing of face masks and social distancing may have reduced the number of of initial infections, one official explained at a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, social events often take time to make their full presence felt, as family members infect other family members and the virus continues to spread into the community at large.

“There is great housing exposure,” said Julia Peek, deputy administrator for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “… That can potentially expose family members over the following days and weeks.”

Clark County, meanwhile, reported 1,889 additional cases and 43 new deaths, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website. Those figures are reflected in the state reporting as well.

The updated figures brought totals in the county to 146,723 cases and 2,080 deaths.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

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