By Kayla Anderson
According to the City of Sparks Regional Information Update as of Monday, there have been a total of 820 COVID-19 cases in Washoe County. Of those, there have been 278 recoveries, 514 active cases, and 28 deaths. Around 40 people are currently hospitalized and 59 people who tested positive have been discharged.
Washoe County also recently released a heat map showing the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 by zip code. Here are the current numbers of total COVID-19 cases in Sparks and Spanish Springs:
• 89434 (Sparks)- 50
• 89431 (Sparks)- 65
• 89436 (Spanish Springs)- 51
• 89441 (Spanish Springs)- 21
As of April 27, the most cases in Washoe County are in Reno- 126 cases in the 89502 zip code- and there have been 20 cases reported in North Lake Tahoe which includes 19 cases in Incline Village and one in Crystal Bay. The zip code map is updated every day, however, the WCHD stresses that the map shows only where people are self-isolating and does not reflect where they may have contracted coronavirus.
“For instance, someone may work in Stead but live in South Reno, so we don’t want people to develop a false sense of security if they see low numbers reported in their area. People should still practice staying at home, social distancing, and wearing face covers when they go out as per the governor’s orders,” WCHD Public Information Officer Scott Oxarart. The Health District’s zip code map currently has 16 data points and it is hoping to add new features soon such as a 7-day rolling average to show a flattening of the curve.
Here’s How to Get Tested
The Washoe County Health District is providing free COVID-19 tests through a drive-thru method for those that complete a risk assessment through their physician or by the COVID-19 hotline (775-328-2427) to determine priority. To be tested, Washoe County residents must display symptoms such as a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
Priority will be given to hospitalized patients and healthcare workers to help lessen the risk of spread in the healthcare system, then patients with symptoms who are first responders, those ages 65 and older, those with underlying conditions, or people in long-term care facilities will be tested. Lastly, anyone who is a critical infrastructure worker with symptoms, people who have mild symptoms in a region with a high number of hospitalizations, or healthcare employees and first responders will be given third priority to help reduce the likeliness of community spread.
The WCHD can test around 300 people per day and as of April 27 the District has 708 nasopharyngeal swab test kits in its supply. When someone takes a test through the Health District, it is sent to the state’s public health lab and people are notified within 24-72 hours. Priority is given to those who test positive so that contact tracing can quickly be investigated.
“The goal is to test 1000 people a day, but we haven’t been able to accomplish that yet. We are working with the National Guard to provide resources and with the State to coordinate more sample test kits,” Oxarart says.
For more information about COVID-19 testing or to fill out the assessment form online, visit https://covid19washoe.com/testing/.
Washoe County Distance Learning Continuing Through the End of the 2019/20 School Year
On April 21, Governor Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Department of Education directed the Washoe County School District to continue its distance learning initiative through the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year, therefore the WCSD has started initiating the next phase of its distance learning plan.
The WCSD has approached the evolving COVID-19 situation in 2-3-week stages and will be entering Phase 3 of distance learning on May 11 that will take students through May 29, leaving one week at the end of the school year.
“The majority of the schools end on June 5, so that leaves a whole week which is usually reserved for finals, getting ready for graduation, making up late assignments, and clearing up loose ends,” says WCSD Chief Academic Officer Debra Biersdorff. By ending the distance learning plan on May 29, the individual schools will then take ownership of what that final week will look like.
“Some teachers take their eighth graders on field trips, so some are planning virtual field trips and trying to think of happy fun things to do to close out their school year, and lay plans for those transitioning into the next grade,” she adds. Phase 3 will slowly build up students’ skills like a scaffolding project, being careful about integrating any new materials.
“Phase 3 starts May 11 and now we’re in a situation where we won’t see our students until the next school year, so it’s about building on to what we’re doing now while in Phase 2,” Biersdorff says. When the school year ends, though, the District will immediately start laying the groundwork for the fall. The design and writing for Phase 3 learning materials are being completed and the PreK packets are getting printed today.
The WCSD is also continuing its free meal distribution in conjunction with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada to local students ages 18 and under through at least 20 distribution centers in the Reno/Sparks area. Here’s a snapshot of where Sparks families may receive meals in either a drive-thru or walk-up method “grab ‘n go” style:
On Mondays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to noon:
• Greenbrae Elementary at 1840 4th St., Sparks
On Tuesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to noon:
• Lincoln Park Elementary School at 201 Lincoln Way, Sparks
• Robert Mitchell Elementary School at 1216 Prater Way, Sparks
On Tuesdays and Fridays, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.:
• Maxwell Elementary School 2300 Rock Blvd, Sparks
• Kate Smith Elementary School 1925 F St., Sparks
On Wednesdays only from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.:
• Agnes Risley Elementary at 1900 Sullivan Lane, Sparks
Students do not need to provide an ID to receive these meals and may receive multiple days’ worth of food consisting of one breakfast and one lunch per person per day. For more information, visit https://www.washoeschools.net/.