Coronavirus updates: 50th COVID-19 victim reported in Washoe County

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This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day Saturday, May 23. 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.

Washoe County reports 50th death

3:00 p.m.

A man in his 80s with underlying health conditions became Washoe County’s 50th fatality from COVID-19 on Saturday.

The number of positive cases grew by five from Friday, to 1,361. 781 people have recovered, and there are currently 530 active cases, according to the county health department.

Unemployment website for gig workers, contractors, self-employed back up 

11:20 a.m.

Nevada’s unemployment site is working as of 11 a.m. Saturday after state officials said the site was not working for people filing for nontraditional benefits.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program covers people who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and people who do not have sufficient work history to have qualified previously.

“The launch was delayed because the vendor needed additional time to ensure the expected functionality of the system is fully accessible and operational,” said state public information director Rosa Mendez.

The system began accepting PUA claims on May 16 at www.employnv.gov. The first payments are expected to be made Wednesday.  

PUA claimants can contact the call center at (800) 603-9681 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday between 8 a.m. and noon.

Nevada unemployment site for non-traditional workers not working

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance filing system was not live or working at 8 a.m. as expected. The state’s unemployment system said it worked with Geographical Solutions, a California-based software company to get the filing system up and running.  It said the system should be up at some time Saturday.

No additional information was provided by the state.  Staff of the state’s unemployment department said earlier in the week that it had been working around the clock to  launch the system for workers who are not eligible for traditional benefits such as gig workers, contractors and 1099 filers by 8 a.m. Saturday. 

U.S. flags to be flown half-staff in honor of COVID-19 victims

Saturday

Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the United States flags to be flown at half-staff through sunset on Sunday at the Capitol and at other state public buildings and grounds to honor the victims of COVID-19 pandemic.

“During these unprecedented times, we must take time over the long weekend to reflect on everything that has happened during this pandemic,” Sisolak said in a statement on Friday. “Now is the time to pay tribute to both those who lost their fight or are currently embroiled in the fight against the virus.

“Although our grief is vast, we will emerge together, stronger as a State.”

The state is also following a federal request to lower the flags to recognize those who succumbed to the disease and to those who are still fighting.

Nevada is among other states in honoring victims.

Sisolak to give an update about Phase 2 reopening on Tuesday

Friday

Gov. Steve Sisolak is set to release more details on the next phase of his plan to reopen businesses at a news conference on Tuesday.

According to a news release from Sisolak’s office, the target date to reopen Nevada’s gaming industry is June 4, pending an evaluation in the state’s COVID-19 data.

The target date also depends on the results of a meeting with the Gaming Control Board on Tuesday.

Saturday marks two weeks since the first phase of Sisolak’s reopening plan began. Since then, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development has been monitoring the first phase of reopening, analyzing data trends and evaluating potential plans for the second phase.

“Without a thoughtful and measured reopening of Nevada’s gaming industry, all of the work that Nevadans have done to fight the spread of this viral pandemic will have been for naught,” officials said in the news release.

On Tuesday, the state Gaming Control Board will also hold an information workshop, where state and local health officials will provide an update on response measures to the outbreak.

40 new cases, 1 death reported in Washoe County

Friday

Washoe County is reporting 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total here to 1,356 cases.

The number of Washoe County residents who’ve died of the virus also jumped to 49—one more death was reported on Friday.

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The recent victim was a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions.

So far, 764 people have recovered and 544 are still considered active cases.

Washoe to randomly test households for COVID-19 antibodies

Friday

Washoe County announced Friday it would conduct COVID-19 antibody testing for 1,181 random households in the county as part of a study on how coronavirus has spread, according to a press release.

Letters are being sent out randomly, and one adult member of the household will be tested for antibodies. The remaining members of the household will receive a COVID-19 test.

Residents are being urged to check their mailboxes and respond no later than Tuesday, May 26 to participate. Instructions are included in the letter.

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