People waited in a huge line at the GSR for a Mobile Harvest food distribution from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada on April 24, 2020. Reno Gazette Journal
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This breaking news story will be updated throughout the day on Saturday, April 24.
State death toll reaches 204
11:42 a.m. Saturday
The state death toll has reached 204 on Saturday, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
In total, 37,208 people have been tested, and of that total, 4,539 have tested positive.
Washoe health officer warns protesters from spreading disease
Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick encouraged protesters to practice social distancing at an upcoming rally to promote the reopening of businesses.
People are expected to gather at 11 a.m. Saturday in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Las Vegas in protest of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s stay-at-home order, which he issued last month to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
At a press briefing on Friday, Dick said he respects the public’s right to free speech, but he also values lives.
He emphasized that gatherings could easily spread COVID-19 and referenced televised footage of crowds mingling close together at a protest that took place on April 18. Many of those protesters were not wearing masks.
Participants are expected to march from Rancho San Rafael to downtown Reno and back to the park, organizers with Operation Nevada said on the event website.
Read the full story here: Washoe health officer to protesters: Free speech matters, but so do your lives
Health officials want to expand testing in the future
The Washoe County Regional Response Team is working on expanding testing to 1,000 tests per day starting Monday.
However, at a press conference on Friday, health officials said it’s unlikely they will meet that goal due to shortages in test collection kits.
Some of those challenges in meeting the quota — set by Gov. Steve Sisolak and his Medical Advisory Board — stem from limitations going back to the state lab capacity and the testing materials needed for the kits.
Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick said the health district does not have 1,000 collection kits available. But he emphasized that both the Nevada State Public Health and the Southern Nevada Public Health laboratories are working on developing the capacity to produce more tests.
Usually, an average of 240 to 250 tests are administered daily in Washoe County, Dick said.
The goal is to expand testing to those who are asymptomatic and to the vulnerable populations in the community. That includes nursing homes, long-term healthcare facilities, healthcare workers and first responders.
Dick also cautioned people from thinking that mass testing is available to everyone. Currently, only people with symptoms are being tested, either by the health district or through their medical provider.
He said health officials are developing the criteria and framework for expanding testing moving forward.
Read the full story here: Governor’s goal of 1,000 tested a day for COVID-19 currently not possible
Six succumb to COVID-19; state death toll surpasses 200
Six more people fell victim to the COVID-19 coronavirus on Friday, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
The statewide death toll jumped from 197 to 203 deaths late Friday afternoon, according to the state’s dashboard, which tracks the number of deaths, positive cases, and tests.
In total, 36,192 people have been tested, and of that total, 4,398 people have tested positive, according to the state’s dashboard.
Three more die in Washoe; one was a teenage boy
In Washoe County, three people died on Friday, bringing the county death toll to 25, according to the Washoe County COVID-19 Impact Dashboard.
The victims included two women, one in her 90s and another in her 70s. A teenage boy with underlying health conditions also died of the virus.
“It is very sobering to see a teenager pass away from COVID-19,” Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick said Friday at a press conference.
“It’s important for our entire community to understand that everybody is vulnerable to COVID-19,” he said.
Dick said the boy was a case the health district was previously aware of, but he could not say how the boy contracted the disease.
When asked about how the boy was exposed, Dick said he didn’t have that information at that moment.
“Tragically, there was a rapid decline in this individual who went from a healthy teenager to being deceased from COVID-19 in about five days,” he said.
The health district’s website reports that 72 people between the ages of 10 to 19 have tested positive in Washoe County.
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