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NEW: Omicron spread may be slowing in Clark County; cases still high at 3,924 |

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NEW: Omicron spread may be slowing in Clark County; cases still high at 3,924

Below is the full COVID-19 report for Jan. 19.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Clark County's test positivity rate might be ready to level off after skyrocketing since the end of December, a sign that the omicron variant might have reached its peak in Southern Nevada.

New COVID-19 cases remain high at 3,924 -- and 5,827 statewide -- but the spread of the virus could be about to go on the decline.

Clark County's test positivity rate hit 38.2% in data released today, up only slightly over yesterday's figure, 38.0%. The rate had shot up rapidly since the end of December, when it was around 10%. The slower infection rate doesn't mean the virus isn't still circulating. The omicron variant is highly contagious, and vaccines have proven to reduce the chance of severe illness. Health officials emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing a mask indoors in public places.

Statewide, the test positivity rate reached 35.4%, up from 35.2% the previous day.

Of the 21 deaths reported statewide, 19 were in Clark County. Deaths are typically reported days -- even weeks -- after they actually occur, and health officials have warned that it's not certain if omicron will produce fewer deaths. Those numbers could increase significantly in the coming weeks, especially in light of hospitalizations that have climbed near record level.

Hospitalizations in Clark County shot up by 77 after dropping for a single day on Wednesday. The total number of hospitalized patients now stands at 1,704 in the county. Statewide, hospitalizations are at 1,941 -- less than 100 below the record set during last winter's peak.

Hospitals are 98% full in Clark County, according to a Wednesday report from the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA). "Crisis" status for hospital staffing continues in the county and in rural Nevada as the omicron variant's spread continues.

About 43% of the patients hospitalized in Clark County are fully vaccinated, according to NHA.

The graphs below show the test positivity for the state (first image), followed by Clark County’s test positivity rate.

More than 14,000 tests were reported in the county, and more than 20,500 across Nevada. People can now begin ordering four COVID-19 home tests from the post office for free delivery (https://www.covidtests.gov/). At-home tests are not even counted in the state's figures.

Information from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory indicates that 100% of the recently tested samples in Clark County were from the omicron variant. Omicron accounts for 98% of the recent cases across the state.

A look at current COVID-19 numbers:

CLARK COUNTY

  • New cases: 3,924 (total: 443,592)
  • Deaths: 19 (total: 6,694)
  • Test positivity rate: 38.2% (up from 38.0% the previous day)
  • Testing: 4,794,598 (+14,033 from the previous day)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,704 (up 77 from the previous day)

NEVADA

  • New cases: 5,827 (total: 581,548)
  • Deaths: 21 (total: 8,709)
  • Test positivity rate: 35.4% (up from 35.2% the previous day)
  • Testing: 6,322,215 (+20,591 from the previous day)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,941 (up 89 from the previous day)

As of Jan. 13, the Southern Nevada Health District reports there are 270 breakthrough deaths (+9), 896 breakthrough hospitalizations (+23) and 39,101 breakthrough cases (+11,896). (Increases are compared to numbers reported on Jan. 6.) Breakthrough cases now account for almost 42% of all new COVID-19 cases.

*NOTE: Daily lab data from DHHS and SNHD reports is updated every morning for the previous day.

TRACKING NV COUNTIES

The test positivity rate in Clark County has risen to 38.2%, which puts the county back on the state's watch list for elevated transmission risk. The rate must be below 8% and a separate measure of the county's case rate -- currently "high" at 894 cases (per 100,000 population over the past seven days) -- needs to drop below 50 for two straight weeks before the mask mandate can end.

In today’s report, 16 of Nevada's 17 counties are flagged for high transmission.

Clark County’s case rate (3,980 per 100,000 over the past 30 days) and test positivity rate (38.2%) are flagged in data reported today. Testing (624 tests per day per 100,000) is within the state’s acceptable range.

VACCINATION UPDATE

The state’s health department reports 4,126,455 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Nevada, as of Jan. 19.

As of yesterday, 55.41% of Nevadans currently eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, and 65.98% of the eligible population has initiated vaccinations. Clark County reports that 54.77% of its eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

A BREAKDOWN OF NEVADA HOSPITALIZATIONS

NOTE: The state is not updating hospitalization data on weekends or holidays.

According to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the number of hospitalized patients in Nevada was up (+89) since yesterday.

The current number of hospitalizations is 1,941 confirmed/suspected cases. Hospitals reported 327 of those patients were in intensive care units, and 177 were on ventilators. To give some perspective, the state set a record high for hospitalized patients on Dec. 13, 2020, with 2,025 patients.

The Nevada Hospital Association (NHA) reports in its weekly update that Clark County hospitalizations "are at the highest number since the pandemic began."


Hospital staffing remains in ‘crisis’ as hospital bed occupancy rises to 98% in Clark County

In addition to "crisis" staffing conditions in Clark County and rural hospitals for the third straight week, NHA designated a "warning" status for hospital occupancy levels:

Hospitals formally requested staffing assistance from the Governor's Office last week, and the state has responded with resources from Battle Born Medical Corp and apprentice nurses. "Many positions throughout southern hospitals are unstaffed daily as personnel are sick or forced to isolate themselves. There is no current timeline for governmental assistance to arrive," the NHA said.

Fully vaccinated individuals currently represent approximately 43% of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated COVID-19 will never be eradicated.

Clark County is reporting that wastewater monitoring indicates the rate of omicron spread is starting to recede.

The graphs below show hospitalizations in Nevada (first image) and in Clark County:

RECOVERY CASES IN SOUTHERN NEVADA

The number of people who have recovered from the virus in Southern Nevada continues to increase. The latest county update estimates a total of 393,386 recovered cases; that’s 88.7% of all reported cases in the county, according to SNHD’s latest report.

MITIGATION MEASURES IN NEVADA

Nevada reopened to 100% capacity on June 1 and social distancing guidelines lifted, helping the state return to mostly pre-pandemic times, with some exceptions.

The CDC reversed course on July 27, saying fully vaccinated Americans in areas with “substantial and high” transmission should wear masks indoors when in public as COVID-19 cases rise. Most of Nevada falls into those two risk categories.

Nevada said it would adopt the CDC’s guidance with the new mask guideline that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 30. This overrides Clark County’s employee mask mandate, which went into effect in mid-July.

On Aug. 16, Gov. Sisolak signed a new directive that allows fully vaccinated attendees at large gatherings to remove their masks, but only if the venue chooses to require everyone in attendance to provide proof of vaccination. Those who have just one shot and are not “fully vaccinated” would still be allowed to attend, as would children under 12, but both would need to wear masks.

Masks still must be worn when required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local businesses and workplace guidance.

State approval for vaccinating children 5-11 years old was given on Nov. 3, with plans by the Southern Nevada Health District to begin vaccinations on Nov. 10. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for children at this time.

SEE ALSO: Previous day’s report

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