Update: Douglas reports fifth coronavirus death

A second Douglas County coronavirus death was reported in two days on Wednesday evening, bringing the county to five total during the outbreak, four of which occurred in the last month.

There were 524 active Douglas County coronavirus cases with 551 recoveries.

No information was available about the identities of any of the dead.

Carson City Health and Human Services, which acts as Douglas County’s public health agency, reported 1,080 total cases since the outbreak began in March.

For those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have questions, call the Quad-County COVID-19 Hotline Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Spanish speakers are available. The phone number is (775) 434-1988.

For more information visit gethealthycarsoncity.org

On Wednesday, new guidance was issued shortening the quarantine period for those exposed to the virus.

Individuals may now resume normal activity after seven days if they tested negative starting on day five of the quarantine or after 10 days if they remain asymptomatic and testing is not available. When testing is not available, individuals who were exposed to COVID-19 and remain asymptomatic must be quarantined for 10 days from the time of their most recent exposure. This includes, but is not limited to, at home quarantine, in a hotel or dormitory room, or in a group quarantine facility.

Previously, the CDC guidelines recommended a 14-day period for quarantined individuals.

Recent data analysis demonstrated that most of those exposed to COVID-19 who later developed the infection did so on the third to fifth day after exposure rather than later, hence the shortening of recommended quarantine.

Today, Gov. Steve Sisolak was joined by experts from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to provide an update on Nevada’s COVID-19 vaccination planning process.

While a vaccine is not currently approved for use, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is on standby and prepared to distribute the state’s initial allocation and has developed priorities for immunization focusing first on Nevada’s essential health care providers.

Two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are showing promising results and have filed for emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration.

Nevada’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Playbook for Statewide Operations was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Oct. 16 by the Nevada State Immunization Program and since that time the playbook has been updated as more information is received from the CDC and the FDA related to the release of a vaccine.

Previous story: A fourth Douglas County death related to coronavirus was reported on Tuesday evening as the number of active cases in the county continued to climb.

There were 37 new cases reported by East Fork Fire Marshal Amy Ray and two recoveries. According to figures released from Carson City Health and Human Services, there were 501 active cases on Tuesday rapidly approaching the 547 recoveries.

Douglas County Public Health Officer Dr. John Holman said the county is feeling the strain on its healthcare system and first responders.

“Everybody needs to take the spread of COVID-19 in our community seriously,” Holman said. “We are at a critical point and the danger is real.”

He urged residents to refer to the guidelines from the state and the Centers for Disease Control.

“Additionally, if you travel during the holidays, I urge you and members of your household to voluntarily quarantine for 14 days when you return and get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible,” he said. “This is not a directive, but a request to help protect our most vulnerable residents and to reduce the burden on our healthcare system.”

According to the Nevada Hospital Association, Northern Nevada has experienced more than a 250 percent increase in confirmed hospitalizations for the disease over the past 30 days.

The Northern Nevada health care infrastructure is now showing signs of serious strain with patients being treated in alternative care sites and hospitals functioning under crisis standards of care, the association reported.

According to federal and state health officials, due to the incubation period of COVID-19, the soonest any impacts from the Thanksgiving holiday would be evaluated would be in a couple of weeks from now. With the current growth rate and case rate, and several factors such as colder weather leading to more indoor activities and back-to-back holidays, numbers are likely to surge in the coming weeks.

“This has been very difficult, COVID-19 significantly impacts all our day to day lives and required everyone to adapt to changing circumstances,” Holman said. “We understand there are various opinions out there about COVID-19, but as a physician and public health officer, I want to urge everyone to follow all current mitigation measures. Stay home when you can, limit your interactions with others to reduce the risk of exposure and reduce the risk of unknowingly spreading the virus, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing to help with slowing the spread.”


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