Updated August 3, 2020 - 7:22 pm
CARSON CITY — Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday announced the state’s new long-term precision strategy to fight COVID-19, designed to track and target specific outbreak trouble spots without relinquishing gains made in other areas where mitigation is working better.
“This is a natural evolution in the state’s response, and one that recognizes the need for a deliberate and predictable response to the protracted crisis of a global pandemic,” Sisolak said in a press briefing in the Capitol.
“By switching to a strategic, targeted approach, we can protect the health and safety of Nevadans by mitigating the spread of disease at the root of where it is occurring, all while keeping our economy open and avoiding hurting the businesses that are doing their part.”
The specifics of the plan include a weekly assessment all of the state’s 17 counties according to three-level criteria for elevated disease transmission. The state’s COVID-19 response task force will review those criteria to gauge which counties are seeing declining or advancing risk.
If a county is seeing expanding risk, it will enter an assessment and review process that could result in changing the county’s mitigation level. In that assessment, the task force and county representatives will review metrics such as hospital and testing capacity, case investigation and tracing, and protection of vulnerable residents, such as nursing home inhabitants, to determine what’s causing the spread and how to address it. That could lead to possible increased enforcement, shrinking permitted gathering sizes, and limiting occupancy for certain businesses.
As Sisolak and Caleb Cage, the state’s COVID-19 response director outlined the provisions, the governor noted that four counties where bars are closed due to elevated risk, Clark, Elko, Nye and Washoe, would retain those restrictions.
“If the assessment determines that an increase in positives in a county are all stemming from skilled nursing facilities, then it wouldn’t make sense to close down indoor dining,” Sisolak said.
Where not enough data exist, or if the county resists, the state “will not hesitate” to implement stricter mitigation measures,” the governor said.
“I want to be clear: in no way are we relaxing our mitigation efforts – we are taking a more strategic, aggressive approach that will target this disease where it is spreading and take action to stop it,” Sisolak said. If Nevadans continue to wear face coverings as we’re all mandated to do, along with practicing aggressive social distancing, this targeted approach should work and will allow more sectors of our economy to remain open.
He added: “If Nevadans begin to relax their efforts and take this less seriously, this targeted approach will not work, and will lead our state backward which could ultimately lead once again to broad-based closures and limitations. I don’t want that, and neither do all of you.”