Coronavirus: Washoe confirms positive case in homeless population; Nevada cases top 1,000

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Video of an empty downtown Reno March 29, 2020. Reno Gazette Journal

Editor’s note: This story is being provided for free as a public service during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please consider supporting our local journalists in Nevada by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal. 

This is a breaking news story that will be updated throughout the day on Monday, March. 30. 

First positive test for member of Washoe’s homeless population 

12:01 p.m.

Washoe County has confirmed its first positive coronavirus test for a member of the homeless population.

The individual was being discharged from a local hospital Monday morning and will be given quarantined housing, Washoe County public information officer Adam Mayberry said.

Mayberry did not know whether the individual had been staying at the regional homeless shelter or how the individual made it to the hospital.

Pat Cashell, director of the Volunteers for America-run shelter, would not comment on whether the individual had been staying at the shelter prior to the positive test. 

All individuals who spend the night at the new homeless shelter at the Downtown Events Center are screened for such things as a cough or a fever, Cashell said. One individual recently was found to have a high fever and was quarantined appropriately at the Record Street location, Cashell said. That person, however, tested positive for strep throat.

Cashell said he wouldn’t comment on any positive coronavirus tests out of respect for individual privacy.

“I’m not commenting on any of this,” he said. “There should be a press conference and I’m sure the city of Reno will comment on it.”

Mayberry said he hoped to release more information on the individual who tested positive later Monday.

‘Threat is real’: local leaders say stay home 

11:45 a.m.

Local politicians pleaded Monday for people to stay home following the death of a Sparks man from the coronavirus.

“There’s still too many people out and about for unnecessary reasons,” said Arlen Melendez, chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.

A Washoe County man in his 40s died Sunday, prompting local officials to renew calls for people to self-isolate and only venture out of the house for essential supplies.

“We are beyond being inconvenienced,” Washoe County Commission Chairman Bob Lucey said. “This threat is real and this threat continues to grow. If you didn’t think you needed to stay home before, let me be clear: You need to stay home.”

‘Very competitive’ to obtain testing kits

11:15 a.m.

LAS VEGAS – It’s vital for Nevada to test as many people as possible for COVID-19, but stiff competition to obtain testing kits will remain a difficult hurdle during the pandemic, according to Former MGM CEO Jim Murren.

“This is very, very competitive,” said Murren, now chair of the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force in a virtual press conference Monday morning. “We’re up against bigger states, better-financed states. We’re also up against the federal government in order to secure some of these supplies, test kits and equipment.”

More: Coronavirus testing shortage in Nevada exacts public health, personal tolls

The task force is working with state health agencies to determine what types of testing kits they need, Murren said.

“We need to buy our people in Nevada time,” Murren said. “Time to get treated, time to get tested, time to understand the trajectory of this disease.”

Murren said the task force has several leads on sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE). The task force will report on those supplies as they arrive.

The task force has also received $3.9 million in monetary donations as of March 29, with several other donations in progress.

A new web site has been launched – www.nvc19.org – where the task force will post updates.

WCSD to hold first virtual board meeting 

11 a.m.

Joining with other public bodies, the Washoe County School District will have its Tuesday meeting virtually. The school district’s board meeting room is closed.

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. and will be livestreamed at www.youtube.com/channel/UChHIK-aa3yh6Z4EHo1Zntwg

To submit comments before or during the meeting email jbatchelder@washoeschools.net 

Total statewide cases now more than 1,000

10 a.m.

The total number of known Nevadan’s who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 has crested 1,000, with the Nevada Health Alliance dashboard saying there are now 1,008 cases.

So far, 11,215 people have been tested.

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Nevada senator launches small business resource guide

10:39 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen has launched a new online resource guide for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Rosen, D-Nev., on Monday said the portal will help business owners navigate a host of new loan and grant programs created under a sweeping, $2 trillion COVID relief package.

“Thousands of Nevada’s small businesses and their hard-working employees are struggling as a result of the uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed around the world,” Rosen said in a statement. “Helping our small business community navigate this difficult time will be paramount for helping protect the health of our state’s economy in the long run.”

In addition to financial relief to small business owners, Congress’ largest-ever emergency aid bill will offer millions of dollars in direct payments to residents and tax breaks for the Silver State’s hard-hit casino industry.

Rosen, who joined the rest of Nevada’s congressional delegation in supporting the measure, encouraged residents to reach out to her office with questions about applying for financial aid.

“My team is taking steps to help Nevada small businesses understand the much-needed resources and federal support that is currently available to them, including the new loan and grant programs created by the CARES Act,” she wrote.

Those with questions about federal assistance are encouraged to contact the senator at smallbusiness@rosen.senate.gov.

For more information, visit rosen.senate.gov.

753 known cases in Clark County, up 225 since last report

8:50 a.m.

One more person has died in Clark County due to COVID-19 and the number of cases there increased to 753.

A total of 15 people have died of the disease in Clark County. Sixteen people have died statewide.

The new known case number is 225 cases higher than what was last reported in the county over the weekend — a total of 528 cases.

This content is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing here to the Reno Gazette Journal.

It’s likely state labs are only capturing a small number of the people who’ve actually caught coronavirus as a testing shortage continues to limit who can get tested.

Monday morning update puts Nevada cases at 996

8:15 a.m.

The number of known Nevadans with COVID-19 jumped again on Monday to 996, according to the Nevada Health Alliance dashboard.

It is unclear where the new cases are located.

920 known cases of COVID-19 in Nevada

7:45 a.m.

The number of known COVID-19 cases in Nevada jumped by 182 on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 920, according to the Nevada Health Response dashboard.

Yesterday, 738 cases had been reported.

The number of people who have died from the disease remains at 15. And roughly 11,000 people have been tested statewide.

Individual counties in Nevada are reporting 654 cases, a difference of 266 people between the two figures.

This gap is due to labs reporting positive tests directly to the state, which is able to update its dashboard quicker than individual counties are able to announce new positives.

Healthy Nevada participants contacted about COVID-19

Renown Health said it is working with people who participated in the Healthy Nevada Project to collect data to better understand how the impact of the coronavirus. The Nevada Project launched in 2016 took the DNA of thousands of Nevadans to do health risk studies. 

In a survey using those contact, questions were asked about travel, attendance at events, and if a person is showing symptoms of COVID-19.  The online survey of 13 questions was emailed to people and asked if they had taken your temperature in the last 48 hours, how they may be protecting themselves and if they would want to be contacted if COVID-19 testing became more widely available. 

According to Healthy Nevada, the data is being studied by the Desert Research Institute to look at the population risk of people in the Silver State.  The Desert Research Institute is a non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Update from Nevada COVID-19 task force coming Monday

LAS VEGAS – Jim Murren, chair of the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force will provide an update on Monday morning. 

The announcements on the task force and its activities to date will be held at 10 a.m. 

Check back here for updates. 

Moratorium placed on evictions, foreclosures

Sunday, March 29, 6 a.m.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Sunday an emergency directive putting a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures in Nevada in hopes of providing relief to those facing financial crisis related to the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The directive will be in effect for 90 days and applies to residential and commercial tenants. 

“This is not the time to put people out on the streets,” Sisolak said. “This is also not the time to evict small business owners who have been hit by the economic fallout of this pandemic.”

The directive does not end contractual obligations or constitute “free rent,” he added.

First death in Washoe County

A Washoe County man in his 40s has died of coronavirus, the first death from the virus reported in northern Nevada. 

That death makes for a total of 15 statewide, with all but the most recent occurring in Clark County. It’s unclear if this man had underlying health conditions, according to a release from the Washoe County Regional Information Center. 

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The man recently traveled to New York City and was diagnosed and hospitalized on March 23.

“We’re devastated to learn that a Washoe County resident has died due to COVID-19,” said Kevin Dick, District Health Officer for Washoe County. “Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”

Coronavirus: WCSD rolls out distance learning to 64,000 students amid pandemic

Reno officer among 14 new cases in Washoe County

The Washoe County Health District also said on Sunday that 14 new COVID-19 cases were discovered in Washoe County, bringing the county total to 107. One additional person has recovered, bringing that total to eight people released from self-isolation. 

Among those new cases is a Reno Police Department patrol officer. That officer began experiencing symptoms on March 21 and immediately began quarantining at home. 

Coronavirus impact:  3,200 Caesars workers notified of layoffs

White Pine County reports first case

Authorities in White Pine County on Sunday announced their first case of COVID-19.

No other details were released about the case. 

“It is here, folks. It is time to step up,” read a press release from the White Pine County Office of Public Health that was reposted to the sheriff’s office Facebook page. “Your actions will determine the course of this battle for days and weeks to come.” 

Nevada coronavirus cases by county

Our Data Central page includes an interactive map that tracks confirmed COVID-19 cases, recoveries, and deaths from around the state, nation, and world.

The map is updated automatically and shows a closeup of each [state] county.

Or, zoom out to see numbers from around the nation and the world.

(Not seeing the map? Click here to get to our interactive Data Central page.)

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