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New COVID-19 cases, deaths in Nevada remain above recent averages

Updated April 21, 2021 - 4:51 pm

Nevada on Wednesday reported 436 new coronavirus cases and 11 additional deaths over the preceding day, continuing a recent streak of above-average daily updates.

Figures posted to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website brought totals in the state to 311,750 cases and 5,388 deaths.

The new cases and deaths reported on Wednesday remained well above the moving 14-day averages for both metrics. The average daily recorded cases for the period fell slightly to 269, while average daily fatalities stood three, state data shows.

State and county health agencies often redistribute the daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.

The state’s two-week positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, remained unchanged at 5.9 percent. The rate had been declining since mid-January before bottoming out at 4.2 percent in late March and early April and beginning to rise.

It’s too early to tell if the positivity rate will continue to plateau, state biostatistician Kyra Morgan said during a call with reporters on Wednesday.

“I would say that the slight increases that we have seen over the last couple of weeks are not necessarily unexpected or cause for concern,” she said.

As vaccination rates increase, officials anticipated that the state positivity rate also would increase. That’s because people who were more cautious about being tested frequently are more likely to get the vaccine, which would result in fewer people overall being tested, Morgan said.

As of Wednesday’s report, there were 335 people in Nevada hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, which is 22 fewer than the previous day, state data shows.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

The Nevada Hospital Association said in its weekly COVID-19 update that “Nevada’s COVID-19 hospitalizations remain manageable in all regions of the state” 10 days before the state returns control of public gatherings over to county authorities.

In another development Wednesday, the Washoe County Health Department reported that it 67 additional cases of the so-called U.K. variant of the coronavirus have been found in the county since March 25. That brought the total number of cases involving what is technically known as the B.1.1.7 variant in the county to 112.

The majority of the cases were contracted through youth sporting events, the workplace or at family gatherings, the health district said.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.K. variant spreads more rapidly and carries an increased risk of death compared to other variants. It is now the dominant strain of coronavirus circulating in the U.S. and Nevada, according to Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the School of Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Clark County on Wednesday reported 335 new coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths, according to figures posted to the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website.

Cumulative totals in the county rose to 240,909 cases and 4,227 deaths.

Clark County’s two-week positivity rate also remained unchanged at 5.7 percent.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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