This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day Thursday, July 2. This story is part of the Reno Gazette Journal’s essential COVID-19 coverage and is being provided for free. Please consider subscribing to the RGJ to support our work.
Renown: Despite huge rises in positive COVID-19 cases, hospitals aren’t seeing a surge
Renown Health CEO and President Tony Slonim said while the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise in Northern Nevada, there are still enough hospital beds.
There are no plans yet to open Renown’s alternative care site. In April the hospital spent $11 million to turn its Mill Street parking structure into a three-story facility with 1,400 beds.
“We have not seen a commensurate rise in the number of the hospitalizations that outstrip capacity at this point,” Slonim said on Thursday.
On Thursday, 85 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Washoe County, up from 82 on Wednesday. Slonim estimated that Renown had at least 100 beds available.
Slonim said it is comforting to know the facility is available as cases in Nevada continue to grow at higher pace than the rest of the country.
“We have the beds available should we need them,” he said, adding, “Nothing would please me more if we never have to use them.”
Slonim said the hospital is tracking the increasing number of cases, which appears to be a surge as numbers have increased all week.
He said the hospital has enough ventilators, protective equipment and beds.
He said some of the reason hospitals may not be seeing such a huge number of hospitalizations is because across the country younger people are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates.
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119 new cases, 1 death in Washoe County
Health officials reported 119 new cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County and 1,019 active cases, both record numbers for the county.
Washoe officials also reported one death, a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions. Seventy-two patients recovered over the past day. A total of 2,923 cases have been identified in Washoe County since the outbreak was first identified locally in March; a total 1,827 patients have recovered.
Eighty-five COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in Washoe County, up from 82 yesterday.
632 new cases, 14 additional deaths statewide
The known number of Nevadans who have tested positive for COVID-19 reached 19,733 on Thursday morning, according to the Nevada Health Alliance dashboard. That’s an increase of 632 new cases over what was previously reported on Wednesday.
Fourteen additional deaths were reported, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Nevada to 525.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose for the 10th straight day. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases currently in Nevada hospitals has reached 502 cases — an increase of 48 hospitalizations and a new high since the outbreak began.
An additional 160 hospitalized patients are suspected of having the coronavirus. The combined total of 662 confirmed and suspected cases in Nevada hospitals is the state’s highest since April 12, when 671 patients were confirmed or suspected of infection. Of those 662 cases, 196 are in intensive care units, up sharply from 142 yesterday.
Seventy-eight patients are on ventilators, up from 74 yesterday.
The 632 new cases identified on Wednesday were discovered through 10,145 tests, the highest number of tests administered in a single day in Nevada. The seven-day rolling average for positive tests stands at 15.7% well above the World Health Organization’s goal of 5%.
The latest estimate of COVID-19’s effective reproduction number in Nevada is 1.48 — roughly speaking, each person infected with coronavirus transmits the disease to 1.48 other people on average. The number is down from an estimate of 1.61 earlier this week, but it’s still the highest rate in the U.S. Nevada was third-lowest, trailing only New York and New Jersey, on April 22.
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Balloon race canceled for 2020
Thursday, 8:28 a.m.
The Great Reno Balloon Race has been canceled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Thursday morning.
“Our small, but mighty team of mostly volunteers has been working tirelessly to find the best solution to hold the 39th annual event, and to provide the experience that our fans have come to know without putting their health at risk,” Executive Director Pete Copeland said in a news release. “Because there is so much uncertainty around the pandemic, we no longer have a choice and cannot put on a spectator event in 2020.”
The event began in 1982 with just 20 balloons, but has grown into a marquee event on Reno’s late-summer calendar. The free event draws about 120,000 spectators to Rancho San Rafael Park each year.
Copeland said the event would return Sept. 10-12, 2021.