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Decline in coronavirus cases key to reopening state

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Three days after around 100 people gathered in front of the Capitol to protest the lockdown from the coronavirus, Nevadans learned there’s a very faint light at the end of the tunnel.

Saying that lives are more important than profits, Gov. Steve Sisolak said the reopening of the economy is dependent on expanded testing for the coronavirus.

“We could flip the switch and turn the lights back on, but our experts predict – and experience elsewhere in the world shows us – if we don’t do this in a controlled and informed manner, we’ll be hit like a tidal wave in two to three weeks,” Sisolak said. “And I won’t do that to our state. I cannot give you a firm date. The re-opening needs to be flexible, because it’s going to rely on data and the virus.”

Testing is key to the decision to reopen the state. As of Sunday, 1,124 tests have been performed in Douglas, Carson, Storey and Lyon, according to the Quad-County Emergency Operations Center. That’s out of a population of roughly 150,000 people. On Tuesday, a Douglas County woman in her 40s tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of Douglas cases to 10 active and six recovered. No deaths have been attributed to the virus in Douglas.

State medical officials announced testing would be expanded to everyone who shows symptoms of the disease.

On Tuesday, Douglas County Manager Patrick Cates pointed out that measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak have devastated the county’s economy with mass layoffs and the closure of some long-time businesses.

“Some will never reopen,” he said. “It’s time to get back to work. Five days ago, I was encouraged to learn of the White House’s framework for reopening the economy.”

Douglas County continues to work closely with the East Fork Fire District acting as emergency manager, Carson City Health and Human Services acting as Douglas County’s health authority, healthcare providers, businesses and our other Quad County partners to keep the community safe from the spread of the coronavirus, Cates said.

“Our people are doing the right things, following CDC guidelines and emergency directives,” he said. “It shows in our numbers with very low rates of infection. Douglas County is preparing for recovery.”

Through the Economic Vitality Program, county leadership has been working with the local chambers of commerce, visitor’s authorities and business associations at both the lake and the valley to help businesses through these difficult times.

“Consultation on directives, SBA loan coordination, and promoting plans for business recovery have been foremost in our efforts to help the business community,” said Economic Vitality Coordinator Lisa Granahan.

Dealing with the coronavirus outbreak has been hard on small businesses, including salons and spas.

While help has been promised to smaller businesses, collecting that has been a problem for some.

Genoa Spa and Genoa Spa & Boutique owner Linda Nicholudis said she’s filed for the Payroll Protection Program with three different banks, and on Monday she was told the program was out of money.

“I haven’t gotten a dime on the fifth week of being closed,” she said. “I have to keep the utilities going, pay for the house and two businesses. I had a new hairstylist who just moved to Genoa the week before she shut down.”

She said she filed at Wells Fargo right away, and then after that was rejected went to Greater Nevada Credit Union and Bank of America.

Nicholudis said some of her regular patrons are buying gift certificates for when the outbreak ends. Those are available at http://www.genoaspa.com.

On Tuesday, it was announced that schools would remain closed through the end of the semester.