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Nevada to seek federal help as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise

Updated July 2, 2021 - 7:20 pm

Nevada will ask for more federal assistance to combat increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, stagnating vaccination rates and a growing threat from the delta variant, particularly in the Las Vegas region, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced late Thursday.

Specifically, the governor said the state would seek help from federal “surge response teams” with outreach efforts to increase vaccination rates in Clark County.

On Thursday, the Biden administration announced it would be sending the teams to coronavirus hotspots to assist as needed with testing, vaccination efforts, technical expertise and treatments.

“We must continue to leverage resources at the federal, state and local level to increase access and confidence and get as many Nevadans protected from this deadly virus as possible,” Sisolak said in a news release.

“My office is working around-the-clock with state agencies and local partners to coordinate robust vaccination efforts, including but not limited to standing up more vaccination and testing sites, organizing Get-Out-The-Vaccine activities throughout the (Las Vegas) Valley, and developing a workplace vaccination program.”

“This additional support from our federal partners is necessary to assist in our outreach efforts and help meet the needs of Southern Nevada’s communities.”

The announcement comes at a time when Nevada is leading the nation in new infections from the coronavirus, according to data on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The bulk of the new cases are in Clark County, according to state data.

The state’s case numbers have been climbing for three weeks, ending a trend of declining case counts, hospitalizations and deaths. As a result of the positive trend, Nevada’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force stopped meeting in late May, and mass vaccination sites shut down in Clark County.

But Nevada’s vaccination rates remain well below federal averages, with 53 percent of eligible residents having received at least one dose, compared with a national average of 64 percent, according to federal and state data. In Clark County, the percentage is 56 percent, according to data from the Southern Nevada Health District.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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