By Kayla Anderson
Last Tuesday, January 12, the Washoe County Regional Information Center released a statement following Governor Steve Sisolak’s recent guidance about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. As of late, the state will be moving away from its current tier-based structure designating which groups of Nevadans are in line to receive the vaccine, instead opting to move to a lane-based structure.
In the newly updated Nevada COVID-19 Playbook lane-based process, essential workers with appointments may get vaccinated in one drive-thru lane, the general population in the other. The governor also announced giving priority to Nevadans ages 70 and older to receive the vaccine since they are at a higher risk for suffering from complications from the pandemic. Census data shows that roughly 16.8 percent of the population in Washoe County is 65 or older and the Regional Information Center is currently working tirelessly to make it available to that demographic as soon as possible. As of January 17, the Regional Information Center selected 1,800 seniors to receive the first batch of the vaccine, chosen at random from those who signed up for its waiting list.
The Regional Information Center does not know when the next round of vaccines will become available since it depends on how many vaccines it receives. Once all Washoe County seniors ages 70 and older are inoculated, people age 65-69 may receive the vaccine but no one knows a timeline on when that will occur.
Besides signing up for the vaccine via the Regional Information Center’s waiting list (by calling 775-328-2427 or filling out the form on covid19washoe.com, completing the form online is preferred), seniors can call Renown Health, Saint Mary’s Health Network, or their medical provider to find out whether they have their own waiting lists or can schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.
As of January 12, Washoe County has received 22,760 vaccines. Of that, the Health District administered 8,708 of them (11,030 shots were distributed to community health partners/local hospitals). As of last week, it had 2,970 vaccines on hand, and the City of Sparks administered 130 vaccines to its police and fire departments.
Since January 17, there have been 39,608 total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County and 567 deaths. The Nevada Health Response COVID-19 dashboard shows 1,780 confirmed new cases per day in its 14-day moving average. Because of these recent statistics, Governor Sisolak has extended the “statewide pause” at least through February 12 in which restaurants, bars, recreation centers, gyms, casinos, et cetera must operate at 25 percent capacity. Public gathering places like churches, casino showrooms, movie theaters, and event centers are limited to 50 people or 25 percent of fire code capacity of the space, whichever is less.
In other news, the Spanish Springs Library resumed its hold pickups service on January 19. People with held materials may visit the library’s drive-thru on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. Book drops at all Washoe County libraries are still open 24/7 and library card holders will not incur fines or be penalized for overdue items. Washoe County School District secondary/middle and high school students returned to classes on a hybrid model on January 19.