Washoe County tops state in new COVID-19 cases; health official advises not to loosen restrictions

The Record Street Brewing on East 4th in Reno, Nevada July 29, 2020.

The Washoe County Health District will try to stop Gov. Steve Sisolak’s proposed loosening of restrictions as cases in the Truckee Meadows hit record highs. 

Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said he is trying to meet with city and county managers today and is strongly advising against increasing public gathering limits from 50 to 250, as proposed by Sisolak on Tuesday.

It comes as Washoe County tops the state in cases per 100,000 over the last 30 days. The rate is 397.2  per 100,000 in Washoe and 301.5 in Clark County. 

 “Given the current status that we have in Washoe County, it is …  not the right time for us to be making these types of increases in gatherings and interactions while we are at a record high for the rates of diseases,” Dick said during the health district’s weekly media briefing. 

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He said he wants to find time as soon as possible to meet with city and county leaders to decide whether to lift restrictions. Sisolak said the new rules will go into effect at midnight tonight.  

“Washoe County is in the worst position as far as new cases per 100,000,” Dick said of the county topping the rest of the state. 

Dick said there is a significant increase in new cases with a new record high being hit for the 7-day rolling average of new cases, 106 per day. That is an 88 percent increase in cases in the past two weeks and tops the record highs hit in July.  

Dick said a big part of the increase is the growing number of cases in ages of 18 to 24.

State data shows Washoe topping state for case rate per 100,000 over last 30 days

Dick said UNR students have continued to have off-campus gatherings. He also said he has seen pictures of people violating social distancing mandates at Record Street Brewing Co. and Louis’ Basque Corner, both on Fourth Street in Reno, blocks from UNR’s campus. 

Dick said both businesses were issued notices of violation by the city.

He said new cases per 100,000 in the 18-24 age group is 4 to 4 1/2 times higher than those in other age groups.

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Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal