COVID-19 live updates: Washoe inches upward to new active-case high, county eyes UNR data

This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day Friday, Sept. 18. 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 inches upward to new active-case high

Friday, 4:15 p.m.

Washoe County announced 32 new diagnoses of COVID-19 and 28 additional recoveries Friday afternoon. The net gain of four cases pushed the county to a new high in known active cases of 1,350.

No coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday.

The county’s Regional Information Center said that the fastest-growing age ranges for the coronavirus are the 10-19 and 20-29 cohorts, and called the rise in cases at UNR “significant.” So far, 162 cases have been diagnosed at the university since Sept. 2.

Hospitalization data trended upward in Friday’s data release, with 68% of all staffed short-term acute-care hospital beds occupied, up 2 percentage points since Thursday’s data; and 43% of all ICU beds occupied, up 1 percentage point. Sixteen percent of available ventilators are in use, unchanged from Thursday.

In all, 8,493 cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in Washoe County since the pandemic began, with 6,990 reported recoveries — or about 82% of all cases.

Nevada cases spike by 501; deaths at 18

Friday, 11 a.m.

Nevada is reporting 501 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest spike in cases since Sept. 5. 

The state Department of Health and Human Services also reported 18 new deaths, the highest number of deaths since Sept. 4. 

On Friday, 8,001 new tests were reported. 

Hospitalizations decreased by one for confirmed cases, down to 358. The Intensive Care Unit also decreased in cases, down 14 to a total of 136. 

After trending downwards since Aug. 24, Nevada’s daily positivity rate rose, to 8.2 percent. For comparison, the goal set by WHO suggests a positivity rate of 5 percent.

166 new cases push Washoe County to record high

Thursday

Labor Day gatherings are being blamed for a record number of active COVID-19 cases in Washoe County, according to a report released by the Regional Information Center on Thursday.

The county reported 166 new cases over the past day and a total of 1,346 active cases, topping the previous high of 1,301 on July 25.

Two deaths attributed to the coronavirus were reported: a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions and a man in his 80s with an underlying health condition.

School amid pandemic:  Two Reno elementary schools report total of 5 new COVID-19 cases

Washoe County no longer on governor’s COVID-19 at-risk list

Thursday

Washoe County is no longer flagged as a county at risk for elevated disease transmission, according to data reported by the state COVID-19 task force Thursday.

To stay off the state list, counties must meet three criteria that track trends over the past two weeks, including the average number of tests conducted, the new case rate and the test positivity rate.

The data does not include the spike in new cases over the past two days.

Coronavirus in Nevada:  26% of recent Clark County COVID-19 cases visited a hotel, motel or resort

This week, Washoe County’s positivity rate dipped to 7 percent, the threshold for being flagged for elevated disease transmission. Washoe County also is conducting an average of 165 tests per 100,000 people a day, meeting the governor’s criteria.

Students arrive on the first day of school amid the COVID pandemic on Tuesday August 18, 2020.

The only criteria Washoe County is now failing is the new case rate, which remains at 278 new cases per 100,000 people. The governor’s criteria is a rate of 200 new cases per 100,000 people.

The county was allowed to re-open its bars late Wednesday.

Washoe District Health Officer Kevin Dick said he remains concerned about spikes in new cases among university students. He reiterated there is no evidence the coronavirus is being spread in the classroom, but rather during off-campus parties.

Anjeanette Damon is the government watchdog reporter for the RGJ. You can reach her at adamon@rgj.com or follow her on Twitter @AnjeanetteDamon. If you care about shining a bright light on decisions made by your elected officials, please consider subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.