Coronavirus updates: State reports 12 new deaths, governor implores Nevadans to stay home

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This breaking news story will be updated throughout the day on Monday, April 6.

State reports 12 new deaths related to COVID-19

The state reported 12 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday evening, a steep increase though it’s unknown if they all occurred today, said Gov. Steve Sisolak. 

It’s currently unknown where those deaths took place. Counties are expected to issue more information on Tuesday. 

The total number of known Nevadans with COVID-19 increased to 1,953 on Monday, a 117-case increase over the figure previously reported on Sunday, according to newly updated numbers from the state.

The number of deaths related to coronavirus remains at 46, according to the state dashboard that tracks COVID-19 statistics.

So far, 17,629 people have been tested.

It’s likely that the true number of Nevadans with COVID-19 is higher than what’s officially reported. A national testing shortage has limited the number of people who can be tested.

Sisolak implores Nevadans to stay home, updates state’s anti-COVID-19 measures

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday implored Nevadans to stay home to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and provided an update on the fight against the virus.

He also addressed strain the spike in unemployment has placed on the state’s capacity to process and pay claims.  

In a speech delivered over YouTube, Sisolak thanked people who have been staying home to limit contact with others for their effort and warned people who haven’t that stricter enforcement of separation measures could be on the way.

“If we don’t get more cooperation … we are going to tighten the faucet a little bit more,” Sisolak said. “This is not the time to get together and have Easter dinner because there could be a transmission there.”

Sisolak also provided an update on case numbers and the amount of gear and equipment available to medical providers who are scrambling to get ahead of an expected surge in infections.

Statewide, he said 61 percent of hospital beds and 74 percent of ICU beds are already occupied and 44 percent of ventilators are in use. He said there are 838 ventilators in the state with 372 already in use and an order for 450 more that is yet to be fulfilled.

He also said there are currently 282 people already hospitalized with COVID-19 and that number is expected to grow and peak sometime within April or May.

“My concern is minimizing that peak and keeping as many Nevadans alive as we possibly can,” Sisolak said. “I’m not going to get into the forecasting business on when we will get to our peak day.”

Sisolak, along with Major General Ondra Berry of the Nevada National Guard, also detailed efforts to acquire a wide range of medical supplies that are running short.

Sisolak said the state has delivered more than 1 million pieces of personal protective equipment, including more than 736,000 N95 masks, mainly to medical providers.

But he also said the state is running low on components that make up tests to detect the disease.

The tests are important because additional testing allows officials to better track progress of the pandemic.

He said the state has received 4,000 testing swabs and 3,000 reagents, but hasn’t received any complete testing kits. He said people in Nevada are working to assemble kits from components and the supply is far short of what’s needed to adequately test across a state with more than 3 million people.  

Statewide, he said, there have been 1,953 positive tests. The number of actual infections is thought to be higher.

“Until we can widely expand testing … it remains absolutely critical we all continue to stay home for Nevada and practice strict social distancing,” he said.

Sisolak also urged people to be patient as they file for unemployment benefits. The pandemic has prompted widespread closures to limit the spread which has led to a historic spike in unemployment.

He acknowledged the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation has struggled to keep pace.

“We do not have the structure in place to process this kind of volume,” Sisolak said. “DETR has never received the funding that it should receive.”

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony closes land to non-members

In an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus pandemic the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony has closed its Hungry Valley land to non-members.

The closure, which is in addition to a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on colony land, applies to non-members who sometimes use the area for hiking, dog walking and off-highway driving.

“There has been too much activity with off road vehicles,” Chairman Arlen Melendez said Monday during an online address to the public.

In addition to closing the land to non-members and implementing a curfew, members are also under a stay-at-home order, Melendez said.

The Reno Sparks Indian Colony has about 1,500 members and it’s land covers about 15,000 acres. 

Models predicting Washoe’s COVID-19 peak suggest late April or late May

12:30 p.m.

A model projecting when Washoe County will see its peak number of COVID-19 cases says it could be the end of May before cases here top out, according to Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick.

Local officials and emergency managers are using several models to project when the Silver State will reach the top of its curve, but one, which hones in on Washoe County, says the peak number of cases here could be on or around May 23.

That model takes into account Gov. Sisolak’s April 1 stay-at-home order and the earlier closure of nonessential businesses. The same model projects the statewide peak of COVID-19 cases could occur slightly before Washoe County, on around May 12.

A different model says the peak could be later this month on April 20. But that model only accounts for the statewide peak, not Washoe County’s peak.

“I don’t think that we’re probably going to have our peak that early,” Dick said on a Monday press call.

Locally, the number of new cases reported each day has tempered slightly. No more than 19 new cases have been reported each day for the last three days, down from a high mark of 45 new cases set on April 3.

Dick says he’s hopeful those diminished new case numbers are a sign social distancing and other measures have begun to “flatten the curve” in Washoe.

“There’s of course a lot of uncertainty; we don’t know where we could end up with this, but that’s the range — the April 20 to May 23 timeframe,” Dick said.

— Sam Gross

Washoe reports 17 new cases, 30 total recoveries out of 281 cases

11:45 a.m.

Seventeen more Washoe County residents tested positive for COVID-19, according to new numbers released on Monday by the Washoe County Health District.

That brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the county to 281. So far, 30 of those people have recovered, bringing the total number of active cases to 247.

The number of dead from the disease in Washoe County remains at 4. Twenty-one people are currently hospitalized.

— Sam Gross

Clark County reports 89 new cases

8:22 a.m.

Clark County reported 89 new COVID-19 cases Monday morning, bringing the total there to 1,608 cases, according to recently released figures.

The number of deaths there remain at 41.

One new case in Carson City and in Lyon County

10:00 a.m.

Carson City Health and Human Services is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 in the Quad-County region of Carson City, plus Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, with six recoveries.

This brings the total number of cases to 22, with eight recoveries in the Carson City and Lyon, Storey and Douglas County region. A total of 14 cases remain active.

The new cases are

  • A female Carson City resident in her 20s in unknown condition.
  • A male Lyon County resident in his 40’s in stable condition.

Case totals by municipality are:

  • Carson City: 11 cases, 7 active cases, 4 recoveries
  • Douglas County: 7 total cases, 3 active cases, 4 recoveries
  • Lyon County: 4 total cases, 4 active cases
  • Storey County: 0 cases

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Operations suspended at Yerington copper mine

9:16 a.m.

Nevada Copper is suspending production for at least six weeks at its Pumpkin Hollow mine in Yerington.

The company announced the temporary closure Monday, citing government-mandated restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

State-ordered travel and workplace restrictions “have resulted in significant operational delays and work constraints,” according to a press release. “Their continued impact without mitigation measures, especially during ramp up of the company’s underground mine, prevent it from continuing effective operations.”

The company also cited concerns over workforce safety and disruptions to the mine’s supply chain as reasons for the suspension.

Essential mine services, including underground mine development, will continue, according to the press release.

“Our priority is to protect the health and well-being of our workforce, and as a result of the workplace and travel restrictions imposed on our mining operations by government-mandated directives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary that the company suspends copper production during this period,” Nevada Copper’s Chief Executive Officer Matt Gili said. “The company will seek to protect its employees and business and maintain its facilities so that copper production will be ready to re-commence operations as quickly as possible once the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted.”

Pumpkin Hollow has two permitted projects, including an underground mine and a large-scale open pit project.

Nevada Copper estimates there is about 635 million pounds of copper accessible through the underground mine and the open pit mine has about 5 billion pounds of copper and a 20-year life. In addition, Pumpkin Hollow has 100,000 tons of ore stockpiled.

— Amy Alonzo

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