As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly throughout Washoe County, public health officials are launching new guidance, tools, and information about the pandemic to help mitigate the virus.
Since the pandemic started, there have been 91,631 cases of Covid in Washoe County. More than 70,000 people have recovered, there are more than 20,000 active cases, and almost 11,000 breakthrough cases (people who tested positive for Covid two or more weeks after being fully vaccinated). According to the Regional Information Center’s dashboard, an average of 571 people test positive for Covid per day. More than 1,000 people have died from the virus, with the most deaths occurring in January of 2021. The weekly risk meter for getting Covid is still “very high” and approaching critical.
From March 2020 to the present, there were notable spikes of Covid in November 2020 and August of 2021. However, the number of new positive cases that have been recorded in January 2022 so far have overshot any earlier records. The incredible rise in the number of people who have contracted Covid could be attributed the highly contagious (yet less deadly) Omicron variant. There has been a 150 percent increase in positive Covid cases since December 26, 2021.
“When people talk about ‘flattening the curve’, this is the curve they are talking about,” reads a statement created by the Nevada Health Response next to the “Trends: Total Cases (Confirmed and Probable)” dashboard. “We want to slow the number of new cases so that our healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed and can provide care to everyone who needs it. Staying home, practicing social distancing, and wearing a face mask are important ways to help flatten the curve,” the statement continues.
As of January 24, more than 714,000 Covid vaccines have been administered and 63.77 percent of residents ages five and older have been fully vaccinated. Four percent of vaccinated people have tested positive for Covid.
On January 18, the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) added a self-survey feature to its case investigation process for those who test positive that is sent via text message to people ages 18 and older. The selfsurvey asks Washoe County residents for basic information and asks for contacts to those the infected person may have exposed. The survey takes about 10 minutes to do, and then the Health District notifies those exposed persons via an automated text message or email with instructions on self-isolation and quarantining.
“Supplementing our efforts with technology helps build our capacities with investigating the high volume of cases, and we will be able to identify exposed contacts more efficiently,” says WCHD Division Director of Epidemiology Dr. Nancy Diao. “We continue to maintain our investigation and contact tracing efforts to better serve the community. Please do your part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
At the beginning of the year, Northshore Clinical Laboratories began offering free COVID-19 tests available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at four Reno/Sparks locations, which are: Bartley Ranch Regional Park, 6000 Bartley Ranch Rd, Reno; Eagle Canyon Park, 400 Eagle Canyon Drive, Spanish Springs; South Valleys Regional Park, 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno; and North Valleys Regional Park, 8085 Silver Lake Rd, Reno. Appointments are not needed, all testing locations are walk-up, and only rapid antigen tests are available at this time. Rapid test results are available within one hour and people are notified via email and/or phone. Through North Shore Clinical Labs, around 1,600 people can get a test per day in Washoe County.